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Showing posts from 2014

Financial Services Taxation Conference Speaker Profile: Judy Morris CTA

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Judy Morris joined the Australian Taxation Office in 2009. Prior to joining the Tax Office, Judy was a Corporate Tax Partner with a large advisory firm. She has also worked as Head of Tax for a large Australian listed group.

How long have you been affiliated with The Tax Institute?

I have been a member of the Tax Institute since 2001.

What does the Financial Services Taxation Conference mean to you, and more broadly, to the tax industry?

The Conference is an important opportunity to hear about issues specifically relevant to financial services and share experiences and perspectives.

What is the topic that you are presenting at the Financial Services Taxation Conference and what can attendees expect to learn?

My colleague James Campbell and I will present on the ATO’s Changing Approach to Resolution of Banking and Finance Industry Issues.
Delegates will learn about approaches the ATO is using through its Banking and Finance Strategy for the identification and resolution of key areas of co…

Wishing you a safe and happy festive season

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I’d like to take this opportunity to wish you all the very best for the holiday period. I look forward to bringing you more great benefits and opportunities in 2015.

With the year quickly coming to a close, I wish to acknowledge those who have volunteered their time and hard work, both this year and over the last 71 years, to make The Tax Institute the success it is today. In particular, a very big thank you to our committees, volunteers, National Council, and particularly Michael Flynn, 2014 president, for their valuable contributions throughout the year.

Launch your employees’ tax career by studying the Graduate Diploma

Since its launch, we have received many enquiries regarding how candidates can secure a career advantage by studying for the Graduate Diploma of Applied Tax Law.

Your employees can join the 2015 program now. Once they have reviewed the Graduate Diploma brochure, key dates and fees, and FAQs, we recommend that they locate their:
current resume; andacademic transcripts. …

National Convention Speaker Profile: Andy Hutt

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Andy Hutt is the leader of KPMG’s Global Mobility Services in the Asia / Pacific region and is responsible for ensuring that their clients receive a consistently high standard of service across the region.

He is also the partner in charge of the Australian Global Mobility Services Practice. Andy has more than 20 years’ experience in Australia and the UK of advising clients on the taxation and financial aspects of both employee mobility and incentive arrangements.

How long have you been affiliated with The Tax Institute?

Twelve years.

What does the National Convention mean to you, and more broadly, to the tax industry?

It’s a great opportunity to share your experiences with peers and to contribute to the ongoing high performance of the profession.

What will you be presenting and what can attendees expect to learn from your session?

I’ll be discussing tax issues in structuring an effective executive package. I’ll cover topics such as: Taxation of employee shares and optionsRemuneration gove…

Tax policy and advocacy

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One of the things that surprised me in my early months as president is the number of submissions that the Institute makes to government and the ATO. Most of the submissions are the result of collaboration between our members and our three Tax Policy staff. During the year to date, the Institute has made over 50 submissions and has been involved in a number of consultations, including:
the unenacted “protection measure” changes (protecting taxpayers in respect of certain unenacted measures that are not proceeding);changes to employee share schemes;changes to managed investment schemes;CGT and non-resident issues and superannuation matters; and the House of Representatives Tax and Revenue Committee which is responsible for, among other things, scrutiny of the ATO, including the ATO’s handling of tax disputes. We have also consulted with the Board of Taxation on its reviews of Div 7A, the debt/equity tax rules, the thin capitalisation arm’s length debt test, and the review of
tax impedime…

Looking back

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This is my final President’s Report, so I cannot help but reflect on the past year.

Personal highlights have been attending the various conventions where I have had the opportunity to meet many of our members, representing the Institute before government, and working closely with Institute staff on a number of projects.

The Institute has clocked up a number of achievements over the past year. While each is significant in its own right, when you look at them collectively, they reflect a move away from the Institute’s traditional focus on providing smaller state-based professional development seminars.

First, the Institute achieved a major milestone in becoming recognised as a “higher education provider” and launching the Graduate Diploma of Applied Tax Law in October.

Second, the Institute introduced four new courses as part of its education program:
Tax for Financial Advising;Advanced Superannuation;Tax for Trusts in Estate Planning and Wealth Management; and Corporate Tax. Third, we h…

Upcoming CPD events

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30th National Convention

Recognised as Australia’s premier taxation conference, the National Convention is being held at the RACV Royal Pines, Benowa, in Queensland on 18 to 20 March 2015.
This year, the National Convention will celebrate its 30th anniversary and we have much planned for this milestone.

This is the tax profession’s key annual event, so why not be part of it?

As always, the convention has been developed by an expert team, with over 30 sessions addressing the latest tax issues and a program that is technically relevant and practical. It is designed to meet the needs of tax professionals in all industries, at all stages of their career.

With a packed social schedule (including everything from networking with like-minded professionals and attending the trade show featuring exclusive offers from our business alliance partners, to attending the gala dinner where we will announce the Tax Adviser of the Year Awards), the National Convention is the must-attend event for tax pr…

ATO's National Tax Liaison Group

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Earlier this week, Tax Institute President, Michael Flynn CTA, and Vice-President, Stephen Healey CTA, joined me at the ATO’s quarterly National Tax Liaison Group meeting.

At this meeting we discussed issues with the senior leadership of the ATO and Treasury, including: review of ATO advice and guidance: exploring the concept of ‘enabling’ ATO guidance, to facilitate mutual risk mitigation and allow for more useful guidance - sunset clauses, restricted reliance to classes of taxpayers and/or conditions on reliance (such as reporting / attestation requirements);a project led by the Tax Institute to review and clean-up (initially part of) the existing suite of ATO advice and guidance;identifying ways to increase timeliness of administrative or policy-based responses – how best to raise the ‘on the horizon’ issues;the impact of possible compliance strategies on the ATO/taxpayer relationship and how the profession can foster willing participation;progress of announced tax measures;update …

Financial Services Taxation Conference Speaker Profile: Peter Oliver CTA

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Peter Oliver is a Partner in the Financial Services Group at KPMG. He has over 15 years experience advising clients on corporate matters, mergers and acquisitions and cross-border transactions within the financial services sector, particularly insurance, life insurance and funds management. He is heavily involved in industry consultation with Treasury and the ATO on life insurance and wealth management tax issues, both through the Financial Services Council’s Life Insurance Tax Working Group and on behalf of clients.

How long have you been affiliated with The Tax Institute?

I have been affiliated with the Tax Institute for most of my career, attending various events including the Financial Services Taxation Conference.

What does the Financial Services Taxation Conference mean to you, and more broadly, to the tax industry?

I consider the Financial Services Taxation Conference to be the leading tax conference for the financial services sector, drawing together leading advisers and corpora…

Your representative at the Committee for Tax and Revenue

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The House of Representatives Parliamentary Committee for Tax and Revenue has tabled its latest bi-annual inquiry report into the overall operations of the Tax Office.

The Tax Institute appeared before the Committee to give evidence in relation to members’ experiences with the Tax Office; we also detailed these in a written submission. Below are some extracts from the Committee’s report with respect to a selection of key areas of concern to members.

Tax Agent Portal

The Tax Institute outlined the impact of unplanned system outages on the productivity of tax agents:

“The analogy that we like to use internally is that… the portal is almost like a dinosaur that is trying to deal with the 21st century. …tax practitioners are continually being pushed more and more towards an electronic way of interacting. The amount of reliance they currently place on the portal means that outages, whether they be planned or - more problematically - unplanned, really do have a huge effect on practitioners’ a…

Upcoming events and CPD

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Graduate Diploma of Applied Tax Law – get started in 2014!

Enrolments for the Graduate Diploma of Applied Tax Law subjects for study period 1 in 2015 are now open.

However, if you want to get started in 2014, the subjects CTA1 Foundations and CTA2A Advanced are currently open for enrolments for study period 3 2014.
These two subjects are the initial steps in our Chartered Tax Adviser Program that produces tax advisers with the professional tax skills and acute commercial skills to join our growing international network of Chartered Tax Advisers.

To find out more, and enrol, go to taxinstitute.com.au/education.

Upcoming events

Financial Services Taxation Conference

The 2015 Financial Services Taxation Conference has just been launched. Taking place on 18 to 20 February at the Surfers Paradise Marriott Resort & Spa on the Gold Coast, the conference will cover numerous tax issues of relevance to our industry, including infrastructure, TOFA, nominees and custodians, Pt IVA, transfer pri…

State convention locations and the ruling on Bitcoins

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Residential vs CBD locations for state conventions

One issue that state councils and education committees consider every year is whether to hold their state convention in, or away from, their capital city. The advantage of holding conferences in the country are that participants are more likely to attend all of the technical sessions and the social functions, and generally mix with each other far more than if the conference were held in the city. But the outstanding success of the NSW Tax Forum has provided a powerful example to other states of the benefits of holding conferences in the CBD. The main advantages are that attendances are higher, there are better opportunities for more junior people to attend, and the conference can provide participants with more alternative sessions and flexibility to attend the sessions that interest them.

Without wanting to pre-empt them, I think the Queensland State Council will need to closely consider whether to hold its state convention in Brisban…

Outcomes of the G20 Summit

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With the completion of the G20 Leaders Summit in Brisbane, koalas and other cuddly fauna can rest easy once more.

But what were the meeting outcomes? For the keen beans, you can read the entire communiqué here.

With respect to tax, the leaders committed that profits should be taxed where economic activities deriving the profits are performed and where value is created. They also committed to finalising work on the OECD BEPS Action Plan in 2015, including transparency of taxpayer-specific rulings found to constitute harmful tax practices. Finally, there was broad endorsement of the global Common Reporting Standard for the automatic exchange of tax information.

There is clearly much more work to be done next year and beyond. Australia must continue to work closely with other G20 nations and the OECD on the BEPS action items to ensure that our tax laws are keeping pace with global business practices.

The OECD's work, once completed and depending on the exact nature of what is incorpo…

President of the Chartered Institute of Taxation visits The Tax Institute

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Anne Fairpo, President of the Chartered Institute of Taxation (UK), joins Sydney based UK CTA’s at a function at The Tax Institute in Sydney.


Left to right: David Williams CTA, Anne Fairpo CTA, Tracy Rens CTA, Prof Gordon Cooper CTA.


The Tax Institute is Australia’s leading professional association in tax. Its 13,000 members include tax agents, accountants and lawyers as well as tax practitioners in corporations, government and academia.

A credential with professional credibility

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In the wake of recent revelations of widespread cheating at Australian universities and headlines listing widespread sharing of answers to financial services exams there is sure to be an increased focus on the bona fides of taxation education.

The recent revelation that thousands of university students have been paying ghostwriters to complete their assignments highlights a disturbing phenomenon – one that whistleblower academics have been expressing increasing concern about for years: the watering down of academic standards.

Where a close connection exists between education and the profession it supports, the qualification needed to obtain work and an established regulatory registration system it is important that standards are met and the credentials are not weakened through poor assessment practices.

Exposing the MyMaster scandal means the credentials of all university graduates are now questionable in the eyes of potential employers. After all, how can they be sure a graduate comp…

Tax Adviser of the Year Awards 2015

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Launch of the Graduate Diploma of Applied Tax Law

To meet the changing needs of tax professionals, on 14 October 2014, The Tax Institute launched a new postgraduate qualification, the Graduate Diploma of Applied Tax Law.

It is the firm belief of the Institute and the profession that the knowledge and skills of tax professionals should be at least at a postgraduate level. The Graduate Diploma of Applied Tax Law is a high-quality offering which will meet this need while maintaining its practical and applied focus — hallmarks of all Tax Institute programs.

The Tax Institute’s approach for this program was two-fold. First, it ensured compliance with the Tax Practitioners Board’s content requirements for courses in Australian taxation law and commercial law, and second, it aligned with the Australian qualifications framework (AQF) for graduate diploma level programs.

To add further validation, the program was benchmarked against other providers of such programs.

For more information on the …

G20 Summit

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This weekend Brisbane will host the Group of Twenty (G20) Leaders’ Summit.

The G20 comprises 19 countries plus the European Union and this year Australia is President of the grouping. Prime Minister Tony Abbott is calling this weekend ‘the most important meeting ever held in Australia’; certainly a bold claim, but in the tax space, the meeting is expected to endorse the current work on multinational tax issues and BEPS.

Will there be any unexpected tax announcements? We have urged the Government not to make decisions that would put Australia at a competitive disadvantage in relation to the global business community, by moving out of step on BEPS. We must continue to work closely with other G20 nations and the OECD on the BEPS action items to ensure that our tax laws are keeping pace with global business practices.

Who’s Who

Experiencing the Brisbane hospitality will be Presidents/PMs including: Obama; Xi Jinping (China), David Cameron (UK), Joko Widodo (Indonesia), Francois Hollande (F…

Launch of the Graduate Diploma of Applied Tax Law

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At the event, which was streamed live to boardrooms around the country, Michael Flynn, CTA, President, The Tax Institute announced that: “With the impending changes in the landscape of the profession, we need to ensure that the tax professionals of today, and those of the future, are prepared and ready to meet these changes and be equipped to handle them and continue to succeed.

As noted by many, Australia’s competitive and comparative advantage is based on our ability to teach thinking and applied skills and this advantage will only be secured with education programs that deliver on this promise where it matters — in the workplace.

The Institute’s programs have been built on this philosophy, acquiring skills for tomorrow through explicit teaching which encourages higher order thinking today.”

Professor Dale Pinto, CTA, Professor of Taxation Law, from Curtin Law School, said: “Today is a watershed moment in the proud history of the Institute and for me it has truly been a privilege to …

Event highlights from October

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Though the calendar year is drawing to a close, the level of activity at the Institute certainly is not. October is one of our busiest months for significant conferences and events, and ones in which I hope many members had a chance to participate.

Launch of the Graduate Diploma of Applied Tax law

The official launch of the Graduate Diploma of Applied Tax Law occurred on 14 October 2014, and it was only made possible by the Institute achieving the status of a “higher education provider”. This is by far the most significant achievement of the Institute in education to date and one for which a number of individuals, including Professor Dale Pinto and the Institute’s General Manager Education and Professional Standards, Ruth Ferraro, deserve recognition.

There are evermore pressures on experienced tax professionals to keep up-to-date, and for new entrants to the profession to find a high-quality pathway to recognition of their professional status. The Graduate Diploma offers candidates a…

Your representation at the Federal Treasury’s Revenue Group

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This week I was pleased to represent Tax Institute members at Federal Treasury’s Revenue Group stakeholder consultation meeting in Canberra.

This regular consultation aims to engage the taxpaying community in a wider conversation about strategic tax policy issues. It supplements Treasury consultations on specific tax measures, with which the Tax Institute is actively involved. The meeting includes representatives from the tax and superannuation professions, business and community groups.

We discussed a variety of issues at the meeting, including: Tax White Paper process;Status of announced tax measures: Superannuation, personal tax;Small business tax;Corporate and international tax;Legislation forward work program;Progress of reviews: Financial System Inquiry;Review of income streams;Board of Tax Reviews;House of Representatives Tax and Revenue Committee: Inquiry into tax disputes; andG20 Finance Minister’s meeting and BEPS.
I would be pleased to discuss any of the above in further d…

Tax reform anyone?

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Last week we saw the Federal Government spark a national conversation about the need for nationwide tax reform, including the tax and spending mix at the State government level.

The Tax Institute strongly supports this debate and congratulates the Prime Minister for calling for a mature debate on the future of Australia’s tax system.

On a daily basis, tax professionals interact with a complex and unwieldy tax system that is under increasing pressure to raise sufficient revenue to meet spending commitments. True reform can only be achieved by a national conversation on the role of all taxes in our system, including the GST.

Australia deserves a mature tax reform debate focussing on the country’s tax mix at both the state and federal levels that is ideally free of cheap, political scaremongering.

Multinational taxation

Last week, The Tax Institute attended an invitation-only roundtable on multinational tax issues, which was held by the Federal Opposition. The Hon Bill Shorten MP, the Hon …

Investing in quality tax learning is a necessary part of developing the tax profession

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Tax is a well-respected specialisation in the accountancy profession. In serving their clients, tax professionals in the modern world need a range of skill sets, not least excellence in the understanding and application of tax laws and regulations. 

Gordon Grant, Head of Tax Learning and Development at one of the major accounting firms in Australia, provided some insight on the need for investment in tax learning and education.

I am originally from the UK where, in my experience, people with a range of different degree disciplines (and a number without degrees) choose to join professional services firms and enter the tax profession having technical competencies developed by undertaking qualifications and training offered by professional bodies in addition to internal, employer-provided learning programs.

In Australia, where professional education in tax looks slightly different than in the UK, my experience is that the value of an internal learning program for participants can be greatly…

On the taxation of multinationals

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The international community’s pressure is mounting on the taxation of multinationals; and it is starting to result in some significant changes to existing taxation structures.
Recently, in delivering the Budget, the Irish Finance Minister announced that the government would begin phasing out the ‘double Irish’ structure. As members will be aware, the double Irish allows firms with operations in Ireland to make intellectual property royalty payments to a separate Irish-registered subsidiary that is resident in a country that has no corporate income tax.
This change takes effect from 1 January 2015 for new companies, but existing companies have a generous transition period to the end of 2020.
However, despite the positive sentiment behind this face-saving announcement, there is still a major aspect of the Irish tax system that remains of international concern: the very low 12.5% company tax rate that will remain untouched.
It is clear that it will take much more pressure from the inter…

The Tax Institute’s education training is a win-win for partners and employees

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As students begin the search for grad positions and employers start sifting through countless CVs, we took the opportunity to sit down with Martin Booth, partner at Moore Stephens Sydney, to talk about his ideal candidate.

We expect both cadets and graduates to do The Tax Institute’s CTA1 and CTA2 courses at Moore Stephens Sydney and, when it’s introduced, we’ll also be encouraging them to undertake the Graduate Diploma of Applied Tax Law.

We’ve always found The Tax Institute’s tax training a win-win for both the partners and its employees. At university, people will often only do one tax subject, which only covers some very basic legal concepts. And if my experience is anything to go by, it goes in one ear and out the other as soon as exams are over.

I’ve got a Master’s of Taxation degree, so I think I’m in a good position to draw a comparison between lawyers and accountants. What I like about The Tax Institute’s courses are that they’re more focused on the legal rather than accounting …

Employee share schemes and start-ups

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This week the Federal Government announced changes to the tax treatment of employee share schemes.  This was part of a wider package called the Industry Innovation and Competitiveness Agenda.

The Government's announcement includes an unravelling of the infamous 2009 tax changes to employee share schemes and this is a welcome move. It will go a long way to addressing the unfair imposition of a significant tax burden on employees. It should also address the significant compliance burden that employers face under the current rules.

However, as members are well aware, the devil is often in the detail, so we look forward to carefully consulting with the Government on draft legislation to ensure that the new rules deliver the intended outcome and serve to improve the tax treatment for both employees and employers. The Tax Institute's submission to Treasury on this matter can be accessed here.

The 2009 tax changes certainly have taken their place in the annals of political history as so…

New Graduate Diploma Raises the Bar for the Tax Profession

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15 October, 2014:  Last night The Tax Institute launched its first postgraduate course, the Graduate Diploma of Applied Tax Law, at an event attended by the tax profession’s leading luminaries, including Commissioner of Taxation, Chris Jordan AO.

According to Noel Rowland, CEO of The Tax Institute, “The Tax Institute is raising the bar for the tax profession.

“The launch of our Graduate Diploma of Applied Tax Law means that we are the only professional association to provide a postgraduate education solely in tax.

“The tax profession will undergo fundamental shifts in both its business model and its workforce, resulting in the need for a changing professional capability in Australia.

“Consumers of tax services are now seeking tax professionals who offer more than tax advice, and who are equipped with the skills to take on the role of business advisor as a whole.

“Tax professionals must be at the centre of business decisions and be able to think and problem solve in a highly nuanced e…

The public debate on the taxation of multinationals

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Most recently, members may have read some of the series of Fairfax press reports stemming from a publication that claimed almost a third of Australia’s largest companies are paying less than 10¢ in the dollar in corporate tax. Whilst there is ongoing commentary on the details and analysis contained within the report (Who Pays for our Common Wealth?), we can be certain that the focus on our tax system and the way that it interacts with the global tax environment is set to intensify.

Late last week the Leader of the Australian Greens, Senator Christine Milne, successfully moved that the Senate Economics References Committee examine tax avoidance and aggressive minimisation by both Australian corporates and multinationals operating in Australia.  Specifically, the Committee will examine: 

the adequacy of Australia's current laws;any need for greater transparency to deter tax avoidance and provide assurance that all companies are complying fully with Australia's taxation laws;the br…

Recognising the tax profession's highest achievers

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We are pleased to announce that nominations are once again open for The Tax Institute’s Tax Adviser of the Year Awards. Designed to celebrate the profession’s highest achievers, this is your chance to be recognised by the profession’s leading tax luminaries.

This year we’ve introduced two new categories; the SME Tax Adviser of the Year Award and the Corporate Tax Adviser of the Year Award.

Nominations close 9 December 2014

Nominate yourself, a colleague or industry peer in one of four award categories:
Emerging Tax Star AwardNEW:SME Tax Adviser of the Year NEW:Corporate Tax Adviser of the Year Chartered Tax Adviser of the YearEntries close 9 December 2014 - Download your entry kit and application forms now and start working on your nomination today.

The awards will be judged by leading tax practitioners and will be presented at an official awards ceremony at our 30th National Convention on the Gold Coast in March 2015.

Three finalists selected in each category will be flown to the Gold Coas…