In March, I had the pleasure of presenting the inaugural Tax Adviser of the Year Awards at the National Convention. There were three categories of award: the Emerging Tax Star, the Tax Adviser of the Year, and the Chartered Tax Adviser of the year. The winners, Matthew Andruchowycz, Wayne Plummer and David Russell, were visibly moved by the ceremony. Following on from their successful launch, I can see these awards growing in stature in the years to come.
The National Convention was well attended and, judging from the formal and informal feedback, it was a great success. I congratulate the volunteers on the program committee for assembling a program that was relevant to a diverse range of practitioners. Although virtually all attendees were tax practitioners, they came from very different practices and geographical locations. I can think of no other event that sees sole practitioners from country and regional Australia rubbing shoulders with partners from large law and accounting firms and the Commissioner of Taxation and his deputies. The National Convention is unique in this respect.
Two developments that were “hot off the press” were the Board of Taxation’s papers on the Post Implementation Review of Division 7A of Part III of the Income Tax Assessment Act 1936 and the Review of the Debt and Equity Tax Rules. Division 7A has been a bugbear of advisers and their clients since its inception. In my experience, many accountants assume that it does not apply if funds are lent for income-producing purposes or to a trust rather than to an individual. Both assumptions might seem reasonable, but they are wrong. Ron Jorgensen did a fabulous job of getting on top of the material in the short time allowed to him. I am hoping that this paper will be a catalyst for significant reforms to Div 7A.
Chapter 5 of the discussion paper on the debt and equity tax rules deals with the integrity provision in s 974-80. Section 974-80 has been a major source of concern to advisers of corporate taxpayers for many years. Hopefully, this paper will trigger some action by the government to reform or do away with s 974-80.
Leaving behind the serious business of tax education, attendees enjoyed the conference dinner and entertainment on Thursday night. Many also took the opportunity to do some relaxing and sightseeing in Tasmania.
Michael Flynn CTA is President of the National Council at The Tax Institute.
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.