Tuesday, 29 April 2014

Speaker Profile: The ‘new’ Part IVA – what is the experience so far?

In the latest speaker profile in our series, we sit down with James Pettigrew, ATI from Deloitte who is on the panel for The ‘new’ Part IVA – what is the experience so far? session at the upcoming 7th Annual Tax Forum.

Tell us about yourself

I am a partner in the financial services tax group of Deloitte based in Sydney. I advise clients in the banking, financial services, infrastructure, and property sectors.

How long have you been affiliated with The Tax Institute?

I have been involved with The Tax Institute since August of 1998.

What does The Tax Forum mean to you, and more broadly, to the tax industry?

The Tax Forum is an opportunity to get industry specialists together to share knowledge with the broader membership of The Tax Institute on a range of current matters of interest.

What is the topic that you are presenting at the 7th Annual Tax forum?

I am on the discussion panel for “The ‘new’ Part IVA – what is the experience so far?” session.

What can attendees expect to learn from your session? 

We panel will discuss some of the current attitudes of advisors and the ATO to the new rules in Part IVA, having regard to practical examples.

What new or hot topics will you cover? 

We will cover some specific examples of the application of Part IVA to common fact situations and consider in particular whether changes to a proposal that take into account tax outcomes can amount to a scheme to which Part IVA can apply.

How will attending your session help delegates help their clients?

The session should give attendees a greater appreciation of how Part IVA could apply in specific and common fact situations. This will help both where they encounter these and like fact situations in their practice and also in gaining a conceptual understanding of Part IVA which can be applied more broadly.

Which other sessions at the conference are you most interested in attending? 

I am keen to attend the “Capital allowances/Division 243” session (12C on the program), the “Corporate Q&A panel” (7B), as well as the “M&A update” (6B).

What do you like to do when you’re not knee-deep in tax?

I like to spend time at home with my family or on the water on our boat.

The annual Tax Forum has become the must attend event in the NSW calendar for practitioners and tax professionals, and features 42 sessions and over 50 speakers, which gives you plenty of technical content to take back to the office.

Find out more about the conference and register now.

Monday, 28 April 2014

Next steps: Alleviating the burden on small business

The Board of Taxation has now commenced its fast-track review into impediments in the tax system for small business. Members will recall that the Federal Government recently announced this review at our National Convention in Hobart.

As I have said before, there is significant work to be done in simplifying the existing tax laws to alleviate the compliance burden on small business. As members would be well aware, often measures which were originally brought in to assist small business and simply their tax affairs have proven to be prohibitively complex.

The Board has been asked to identify features of the tax system that unreasonably or unnecessarily hinder small business from growing and achieving their commercial goals. The Board is to identify the short and medium-term priorities for small business tax reform, with particular focus on high priority options for simplification and deregulation. The focus will be on aspects of the tax system that unreasonably impede the goals of a broad cross section of businesses. The Board’s Terms of Reference for this review are available on its website.

The Tax Institute will be actively participating in the Board’s review. We are keen for member input on priority areas for reform, so please let us know the details of the impediments and how they relate to particular circumstances of a small business, for example:

  • Industry/sector in which the small business operates;
  • Size of the business (number of employees/capital employed/annual turnover); and
  • Stage in the lifecycle of the business (start-up/mature/winding-up).

Practical examples or descriptions of common situations/business structures in which the impediments regularly appear would be useful for us to provide to the Board.

Please send your thoughts to Tax Policy by Monday 5 May 2014.

Robert Jeremenko
Robert
Jeremenko
Robert Jeremenko CTA is Senior Tax Counsel of 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.

Thursday, 24 April 2014

Tax reform is yet to come

It’s crucial that the government takes a whole-of-nation approach to addressing the myriad issues raised in the Henry Review.

The government’s much anticipated Tax Reform White Paper, which I noted in my previous column, is an ideal forum to deal with these broader issues. In our recent federal Budget submission, we called for reform of taxation of trusts to be dealt with as part of this process. Reform of the rules governing the taxation of trusts is essential to provide certainty to the thousands of taxpayers that use trusts, reduce compliance costs and prevent outcomes that are inconsistent with the policy intent.

Reform of state taxes to create a more efficient tax system while boosting investment and growth should also be addressed as part of this consultation. By taking a leadership position on state tax reform, the government has an opportunity to bring the states on board with a unified vision for tax reform in Australia. Potentially, this could lead to a greater role for consumption taxes such as the GST, and replacing inefficient and complicated state taxes.

The government’s red tape repeal days are a welcome development but genuine deregulation of the tax system is yet to come.


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.

Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Speaker Profile: How to treat costs associated with buy-sell transactions and corporate restructures

In the latest speaker profile in our series, we sit down with Craig Duncan from PwC who is presenting the How to treat costs associated with buy-sell transactions and corporate restructures session with Mark Edmonds at the upcoming 7th Annual Tax Forum.

Tell us about yourself

I am a Director in the PwC Indirect Taxes Group in Sydney specialising in GST and have over twelve years’ experience in both Australian and UK indirect taxes.

I specialise in advising clients on GST issues on projects including; IPOs, takeovers of public companies, mergers, buying and selling companies and assets, domestic and international corporate reorganisations and public private partnerships.

What does The Tax Forum mean to you, and more broadly, to the tax industry?

The annual Tax Forum is an important event, not only from a tax technical training perspective, but it is also a great environment to network with peers in the tax industry.

What is the topic that you are presenting at the 7th Annual Tax forum?

The session I am presenting is called “How to treat costs associated with buy-sell transactions and corporate restructures”.

What can attendees expect to learn from your session?

The session aims to give delegates a good understanding of the differing income tax and GST treatment of transaction costs, and of the relevant issues to consider to maximise the ability to claim deductions/credits.

What new or hot topics will you cover?

Topical issues include recovery of GST on transaction costs, including costs incurred in respect of unsuccessful transactions.

How will attending your session help delegates help their clients?

Advisors should be assisted through an enhanced knowledge of the GST recovery on transaction costs.

What do you like to do when you’re not knee-deep in tax?

I like to travel and watch AFL and rugby (and almost any other sport).

The annual Tax Forum has become the must attend event in the NSW calendar for practitioners and tax professionals, and features 42 sessions and over 50 speakers, which gives you plenty of technical content to take back to the office.

Find out more about the conference and register now.

Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Member survey findings

To ensure that we continue to be responsive to members’ needs, the Institute once again participated in the Annual Business and Professions Study run by Beaton Research + Consulting. This survey measures member satisfaction, engagement and the overall performance of the Institute, and benchmarks the Institute against other associations in the market.

The results showed that we are generally getting things right, maintaining high scores for member engagement, keeping members up to date, and value of membership.

We appreciate members’ feedback, which continually helps us to confirm that we are moving in the right direction and ensures that we quickly respond to any areas needing improvement.

2014-15 membership renewal

Being a member of The Tax Institute means you have demonstrated a strong level of technical knowledge of the tax system and the highest level of ethical and professional conduct.

I invite all members to renew your membership online. This year, all online renewals made before 13 June 2014 go into the draw to win one of five iPad minis preloaded with Tax Institute e-books (valued at $1,000!), including our new title, The Tax Adviser's Guide to Part IVA.

Annual report and AGM

The Tax Institute’s annual report will be available online from late April, and the AGM will be held at 4.00pm on Wednesday 21 May 2014 at the Institute’s offices.

Tax Adviser of the Year Awards

The response to the Tax Adviser of the Year Awards was overwhelming. High-calibre nominations flooded in, making the judging process a long and difficult one. Three finalists were selected in each category and flown to Hobart to attend the 29th National Convention and the tax awards gala dinner.

The finalists and winners were announced in a ceremony on 20 March 2013. Meet the winners and finalists.

Noel Rowland
Noel
Rowland
Noel Rowland is Chief Executive Officer of 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.

Thursday, 17 April 2014

Commission of Audit report

As we head into the Easter long-weekend, the Federal Government is mulling over the release of its Commission of Audit report.

The Commission was established by the Government as an independent body to review and report on the Government’s performance, functions and roles.

The report is expected to be released publicly next week and will contain recommendations for wide-ranging and substantial reductions in government spending, including suggested changes to the size and operations of government departments and agencies.

The Government’s response to the Audit report will be detailed in the May Budget, which may also contain new revenue measures to assist in addressing the deficit.

Technical Committees at The Tax Institute

A quick reminder to members about the opportunity to become a member of the Tax Institute’s technical committees.

I encourage members who wish to become involved in the technical committees to consider the new structure (that was outlined in my previous blog post) and express your interest in being involved with a particular committee that aligns most closely with your expertise and ability to contribute. To do so, please email us at Tax Policy indicating the committee(s) of interest as well as a brief outline of your relevant experience as soon as possible.

Australia’s top lawyers

And finally this week, congratulations to the members who were named in the Financial Review’s list of Australia's top lawyers. Being chosen through an exhaustive evaluation survey of their professional peers is a wonderful achievement indeed.

Access the full list.

Robert Jeremenko
Robert
Jeremenko
Robert Jeremenko CTA is Senior Tax Counsel of 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.

Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Meet a member: Judy White, CTA at BDO

Judy White, CTA
Judy White, CTA
Name

Judy White, CTA

Company

BDO

State

Queensland

Member since

2009

Areas of specialty

I specialise in three key areas of taxation:

  • employment taxes, particularly fringe benefits tax and superannuation guarantee;
  • tax effect accounting; and
  • accounting and taxation advice (including GST implementation) to the financial services industry, drawing on my experience of working with credit union clients since 1999.

Why are you a member of The Tax Institute?

I consider my membership of The Tax Institute a great privilege, especially given the experience I've gained through the networks I've developed and the education programs.

I became a member for two reasons. First, I was lecturing with the Institute on its education programs so had first-hand insight into the value to be gained through membership. Second, I was very interested in the events provided by the Institute, most notably the financial services conference because of the link to my sector specialisation, and membership provided added benefits for such events.

Since joining more than five years ago, I have been impressed with the range of services and the quality of the education and seminars the Institute provides. This has been a key driver for me becoming increasingly involved in The Tax Institute, whether through attending seminars, or presenting lectures and seminars. This active involvement saw me become a member of the Membership Committee in 2012 and I've since been involved in other committees relating to education and the Young Tax Professionals program.

How is your membership beneficial to your practice and clients?

My membership is invaluable to BDO and my clients because the high quality of the training and education that I and my colleagues receive as members of The Tax Institute is clearly reflected in our work. Personally, I also gain great benefit from the many opportunities for members to network with each other and share insights.

How did you end up in tax?

Before specialising in tax, I worked in BDO’s business advisory services team, providing accounting, taxation and advisory services to a wide range of clients. In 2008, an opportunity arose to move into the tax team and because I am always up for a new challenge, I welcomed the opportunity to apply my skills in a new practice area. When I look back, it’s a shift I am very glad I made!

What are the challenges for tax practitioners this year?

With economic conditions continuing to place pressure on many sectors of the market, I see bringing in new clients as a key challenge for tax practitioners.

At BDO, we consider the need for meaningful tax reform to be of utmost importance for our clients and the broader Australian taxpaying community, so keeping up the momentum in this area will also be paramount.

Most memorable career moment to date

Most definitely when I was selected to represent The Tax Institute and conduct presentations as part of its FBT Roadshow in Queensland during 2012.

Other highlights include the uptake of a tax effect accounting tool I developed across the BDO in Australia network, and the professional and personal satisfaction I get from the long-standing relationships I have with my clients, particularly those in the credit union industry.

How do you relax?

I thoroughly enjoy listening to music, going to the gym and spending time with my family. My husband and I have two children (Xander, 9 and Alicia, 7) so a lot of time is spent as a family, whether that is enjoying a trip to the movies, going to Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary, taking a walk, or watching the kids take part in their chosen sports.

Advice to those entering the profession

Work hard and remember it’s the quality of time not the quantity of time that delivers the most benefit for you and your clients, and work on your professional relationships with colleagues and clients so you build a robust network. Most importantly, be yourself.

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.

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Speaker Profile: When the ATO comes knocking...

Lyndall Cromption, CTA
Lyndall Cromption, CTA
In the latest speaker profile in our series, we sit down with Lyndall Cromption, CTA from Riordans Lawyers who is presenting the When the ATO comes knocking session with Craig Jackson, CTA at the upcoming 7th Annual Tax Forum.

Tell us about yourself

I am the Assistant Commissioner of Taxation based in the World Square offices in Sydney. I have worked with the ATO for a period of 10 years. During that time I have worked in the areas of provision of advice, disputes and litigation and most recently have the national responsibility for developing the compliance strategy for the banking and finance industry.

A key aspect of the national banking and finance strategy role is consulting with taxpayers, industry bodies and advisors on industry issues, with a focus of resolving problems and providing guidance.

How long have you been affiliated with The Tax Institute?

I am a Chartered Tax Adviser with The Tax Institute and have been a member since 2003.

What does The Tax Forum mean to you, and more broadly, to the tax industry?

The Tax Forum provides a great opportunity to network with other tax professionals and to hear details of the latest taxation issues in the current environment.

What is the topic that you are presenting at the 7th Annual Tax forum?

Craig Jackson, CTA and I am presenting at the session titled “When to ATO comes knocking…” The session will consider the various stages of an ATO compliance review, including the ATO’s approach to risk ratings and the standards and level of evidence required at different stages of a review, audit or dispute. It will consider the importance of retaining and accessing information and documentation to the success of resolving disputes, with a focus on compliance activities within the PGI market segment. This session will also deal with ATO information gathering methods and processes.

What can attendees expect to learn from your session? 

Attendees can expect to learn about their rights and responsibilities, how to handle formal and informal ATO enquiries, the level of documentation required to be presented, avenues available for dispute resolution, and managing their interaction with the ATO. Attendees can also expect to learn about risk management and preparing for reviews/audits. The session will also provide insights into how the ATO views the processes and uses the information.

What new or hot topics will you cover? 

Topics covered include the ATO risk ratings, ATO compliance reviews, corporate governance and audit preparedness, and the increased level of intensity from ATO auditors and the increasing expectation to finalise reviews faster which shows the importance of retaining and accessing information and documentation.

How will attending your session help delegates help their clients?

By attending the session, delegates will receive up to date knowledge from an experienced tax practitioner and a senior ATO officer which will help them better prepare their clients for possible ATO review activity, inform them of the various avenues of dispute resolution and how they can best handle ATO requests for information.

The annual Tax Forum has become the must attend event in the NSW calendar for practitioners and tax professionals, and features 42 sessions and over 50 speakers, which gives you plenty of technical content to take back to the office.

Find out more about the conference and register now.

Monday, 14 April 2014

Join a Tax Institute Technical Committee

I am pleased to advise all members of an important and exciting opportunity to potentially become an active member of The Tax Institute’s technical committees.

The purpose of our technical committee structure is to support the policy and advocacy activities of The Tax Institute as carried out by the Tax Policy and Advocacy team and to ensure that member concerns with tax law and administration are represented.

A re-tuning of this purpose, combined with the fact that the ATO has a new consultative model, has resulted in changes to our committee structure. These changes aim to ensure that as many Tax Institute members as possible are actively engaged in supporting our policy and advocacy activities and that volunteer members are fully engaged with driving the purpose of the committees. They also seek to ensure that there is appropriate geographic representation and input into committee activities.

The new technical committee structure comprises:

  • Large Business (large business and international issues)
  • FBT
  • GST
  • Dispute Resolution
  • Superannuation
  • Not-For-Profit; and
  • Technical Resource (SME and tax practitioner issues as well as all issues not covered by one of the above committees).

As well as special purpose sub-committees and working groups covering issues as needed, including:

  • Tax Reform; and
  • Deregulation.

Each committee has a charter that sets out the roles and responsibilities of members and these are available on request.

I encourage members who wish to become involved in the technical committees to consider the new structure and express your interest in being involved with a particular committee that aligns most closely with your expertise and ability to contribute.

Robert Jeremenko
Robert
Jeremenko
Robert Jeremenko CTA is Senior Tax Counsel of 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.

Friday, 11 April 2014

Cutting the tax red tape

Consultation in full swing

One of the things I did not appreciate until I became president was how much involvement I would have in signing off on submissions and participating in consultations with the Tax Office and with Treasury in relation to new legislation.

Recently I spent half a day consulting on a measure that is designed to protect taxpayers who relied upon measures that had been announced but which will now not be enacted as a result of the Assistant Treasurer’s announcement in December last year. I expect that by the time you are reading this column the draft legislation will have been released for public comment. I have also been involved in a consultation about a potential new law that would give the Commissioner power to alter the operation of the tax law to remedy outcomes that are unintended or anomalous. This measure is at a very early stage of gestation – the government has not yet considered whether it would be prepared to propose such a law. Subject to seeing the proposed law, The Tax Institute is willing to support it provided it can only be exercised in favour of taxpayers.

Tax red tape

Another issue on which The Tax Institute has been consulting is the government’s campaign to reduce red tape. This consultation has provided a good opportunity for member input, as I explain further below. On 19 March 2014 the government introduced its first tranche of red tape repeal bills including the Omnibus Repeal Day (Autumn 2014) Bill 2014. The Bill proposed four redundant tax measures for repeal.

I welcome the government’s efforts to cut red tape and hope that regulation in the tax system continues to be a focus of these efforts. Given the complexity of our tax system, there are myriad opportunities for reform, ranging from specific policy changes to administrative changes. These include duplication of information requests, inefficient forms of election and streamlining opportunities to name just a few.

We approached our members over the Christmas/New Year period for suggestions as to areas in the tax system where the deregulation initiative could start to be targeted.

The suggestions we have received so far are:
  • many returns and associated ATO forms cannot yet be lodged electronically and/or cannot be downloaded electronically;
  • duplication of reporting obligations for closely held trusts such as the requirement to prepare a TFN report and TB statements;
  • various improvements to compliance with the transfer pricing rules contained in Div 815 of the Income Tax Assessment Act 1997 (Cth) are required;
  • level of loan documentation required to comply with Div 7A is burdensome;
  • for deregulating taxation of individuals:
    • the definition of Income Test should be standardised instead of having different income tests for different purposes; and
    • allow a personal services entity (PSE) to pay a PAYG instalment amount calculated by the ATO, rather than the PSE having to determine the amount of the PAYG instalment;
  • taxable payments reporting in the building and construction industry through the “Taxable Payments Annual Report” serves to increase compliance costs on already compliant taxpayers;
  • the method for calculating foreign exchange gains and losses for small entities transacting with non-resident entities in the same group needs to be simplified; and
  • complexity of small business CGT concessions makes it difficult for taxpayers to confirm whether they qualify for a concession under these rules.
We will continue to look for opportunities for reducing regulation and the compliance burden of the Australian tax and transfer system. We will use the various options open to us, such as liaising with the deregulation division in Treasury and through our regular consultation activities with the ATO, to assist the government with this initiative.

When amending tax laws, consultation is key as the need for deregulation should be balanced with the need for genuine tax reform. A focus on wholesale tax reform would lead to a more efficient tax system that would deliver benefits over the long run.

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.

Tuesday, 8 April 2014

Speaker Profile: Taxpayer Alerts – Be Alert and Alarmed

In the latest speaker profile in our series, we sit down with Tony Riordan, CTA from Riordans Lawyers who is presenting the Taxpayer Alerts – Be Alert and Alarmed session with Arthur Athanasiou, CTA at the upcoming 2014 Private Business Tax Retreat.

Tell us about yourself

I am the tax partner at Riordans Lawyers a boutique commercial practice in Melbourne’s CBD. I have a particular interest in the structuring of entities and in trust law.

How long have you been affiliated with The Tax Institute?

I have been involved in The Tax Institute’s activity for in excess of 25 years.

What does the 2014 Private Business Tax Retreat mean to you, and more broadly, to the tax industry?

The Private Business Tax Retreat enables an exchange of views and the enhancement of knowledge in a collegiate atmosphere.

What is the topic that you are presenting at the 2014 Private Business Tax Retreat?

I will be presenting on two topics at the retreat, Session 1 “Taxpayer Alerts – Be Alert and Alarmed” and Session 5 “Lessons from Experience – Business Entity Structuring”. I will also be involved in the panel discussion in Session 6 “Case Study Session Covering the Issues Raised in Session 5 – Learning from the Experience of our Leading Tax Professionals”.

What can attendees expect to learn from your session?

Session 1 will look at some of the practical issues of the Taxpayer Alert System. Session 5 will, amongst other things, provide an understanding of the relevant control mechanisms available for inter-generational transfer of discretionary trusts and the entities which they own, how those mechanisms have been applied in the past, and how they can be adapted to meet inter-generational change issues in the future.

What new or hot topics will you cover?

I will be discussing both the amendment of deeds after Clark, and the inclusion of sophisticated Protector Clauses.

How will attending your session help delegates help their clients?

It is hoped that both sessions will provide delegates with improved insights into the topics.

Which other sessions at the conference are you most interested in attending?

I am looking forward to the session “Professional practice structures”.

What do you like to do when you’re not knee-deep in tax?

I enjoy spending time with my family and keeping fit.

We are now in our 4th year, and this Queensland signature event is only getting better and better. Join us on the Gold Coast, at the beautiful Palazzo Versace Hotel for the 2014 Private Business Tax Retreat.

Find out more about the conference and register now.

Monday, 7 April 2014

Alleviating the compliance burden on small business

The Federal Government recently announced that the Board of Taxation will conduct a fast-track review of impediments in the tax system that unreasonably affect small business. The announcement was made by the Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasurer, the Hon Steven Ciobo MP, at our 29th National Convention in Hobart.

There is significant work to be done in respect of simplifying existing tax laws to alleviate the compliance burden on small business and so we welcome this review by the Board of Taxation. As practitioners would be well aware, measures which were originally brought in to assist small business and simply their tax affairs have proved to be prohibitively complex.

The current small business CGT concessions are an obvious example. The operation of these concessions is problematic due to the complex nature of the rules. The provisions are so complex that it is difficult for a small business to confirm that they qualify for a concession under the rules. Seeking advice on whether the concessions could apply can prove too costly for some.

The rules were intended to provide a simple tax concession, but taxpayers often find it is not worth their while trying to determine if the concessions apply. The concessions should be simplified to make them more easily understood and more readily able to be applied.

There are other areas for reform that immediately come to mind: simplifying carry-forward loss integrity measures and identifying areas in which ATO processes and interactions with small business can be simplified.

A review of trust taxation would also provide certainty and reduce compliance costs for the hundreds of thousands of businesses that operate through trusts. The Government will consider this in the context of the Tax Reform White Paper later this year. That broader review should not discourage the Board from considering the possibility of creating a separate ‘small business entity’ structure through which small business can operate, amalgamating the benefits of existing structures: the company, trust, partnership and sole trader.

Robert Jeremenko
Robert
Jeremenko
Robert Jeremenko CTA is Senior Tax Counsel of 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.

Friday, 4 April 2014

Helping financial advisers meet the new TASR requirements

From 1 July 2014, the Tax Agent Services Act 2009 applies to Australian financial service licence holders who provide tax advice. This has resulted in the creation of a new category which you may need to register as — the tax (financial) adviser.

If this affects your financial adviser, or your colleagues, let them know about the resources we offer, and our free "Financial Planners and Tax Advice" video on our website.

Tax Knowledge eXchange

With our new title The Tax Adviser’s Guide to Part IVA now available, the online books package for the Tax Knowledge eXchange has grown to include seven titles. In a few months, we’ll also be adding the new edition of Trusts and Estates: Taxation and Practice, giving you access to eight practical guides and handbooks and eight CPD hours.

That means you can now take care of up to 20 of your CPD hour requirements with a Tax Knowledge eXchange subscription.

A Course in Commercial Law

The completion of a suitable course in commercial law is now a minimum requirement for registering as a tax agent. More importantly, it is no longer possible for you to undertake and provide the services required as a tax agent without regular, and consistent, engagement with Australia’s commercial law environment.

Fortunately, the Institute delivers three units recognised by the Tax Practitioners Board. Enrolments are open for both the CommLaw2 — Entities and Business Structures and CommLaw3 — Property Law units.

Will you meet your CPD requirements before June 30?

Towards the end of last month, we emailed all voting members of the Institute to remind you how important it is to ensure you’re meeting your continuing professional development requirements each year.

Being a member of the Institute means you have demonstrated a strong level of technical knowledge of the tax system and the highest level of ethical and professional conduct.

It is this "mark of expertise" which sets members of the Institute apart. It is therefore extremely important to ensure that you maintain this professional standing by keeping up to date with all the developments in the tax system.

The list below gives examples of how you can meet your CPD requirements:


Visit our website to find out more.

Noel Rowland
Noel
Rowland
Noel Rowland is Chief Executive Officer of 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.

Thursday, 3 April 2014

Discretionary trusts: a wider perspective (download free article)

A popular business, investment and tax planning vehicle, the establishment of a discretionary trust is not a difficult task. Indeed, a deed may be obtained “off-the-shelf”. But care is always needed to ensure that the deed as drafted is satisfactory from a trust law perspective and also has the requisite flexibility for taxation purposes (for example, that there is power to “stream” particular kinds of amounts and that the beneficiary class is wide enough).

It also needs to be understood that, despite the wide terms of a discretionary trust deed, issues of fiduciary duty (for example, where the appointor/guardian (or whatever) is also a discretionary object) or undue influence may arise. These issues may well become live issues where there is contention between the potential objects of a discretionary trust (for example, family members).

This article by John Gaal, author of Discretionary Trust Distributions, originally published in Taxation in Australia, considers several recent decisions which highlight different points, including inadequate powers of amendment, proper law of the trust, the power to vary, the meaning of "beneficiary" and the identification of the appointor/protector.

Download the free article.

John Gall, founder of TaxCounsel, is the author of The Tax Institute title Discretionary Trust Distributions. Now in its third edition, this leading title examines the considerations that arise in relation to the making of distributions of income out of a typical discretionary trust, and covers the "streaming", anti-avoidance and primary producer trust amendments and much more.

Tax profession’s best and brightest recognised at the inaugural Tax Adviser of the Year Awards

MEDIA RELEASE 28 March 2014:   The Tax Institute has announced the winners of the inaugural Tax Adviser of the Year Awards, showcasing the profession’s leading experts and rising stars.

Introduced as part of the Institute’s 70th anniversary celebrations, the awards recognise tax professionals across all levels of experience for their professionalism, leadership, high ethical standards and commitment to excellence.

The winners in each category – Chartered Tax Adviser of the Year, Tax Adviser of the Year and Emerging Tax Star – were announced at a ceremony in Hobart on Thursday, 27th of March during the Institute’s 29th National Convention.

The Chief Executive Officer of The Tax Institute, Noel Rowland, said there had been an overwhelming response to the awards.

“These awards celebrate excellence in tax. From an incredibly strong field of entrants, the judges selected three worthy winners at the top of their game or on their way to the top of this important profession,” Mr Rowland said.

David Russell QC was named Chartered Tax Adviser of the Year. A distinguished barrister with a track record of advocating a fairer tax system, Mr Russell was commended for his active participation in tax forums in Australia and overseas. The judges also recognised his work authoring papers across a diverse range of taxation topics, as well as his generosity mentoring junior members of the bar.

The Tax Adviser of the Year award went to PwC corporate tax partner Wayne Plummer. Mr Plummer impressed the judges with his many years of high-level technical work, industry leadership and reputation for cultivating mutual trust and respect with clients and colleagues. He was also praised for his frequent contributions to the development of tax law and administration through the preparation of technical papers for The Tax Institute and the Australian Taxation Office.

Matthew Andruchowycz, a senior associate at Wallmans Lawyers, won the Emerging Tax Star Award. According to the judges, he displayed an ability to work on complex matters at a level significantly beyond what would be expected of a tax professional with fewer than five years’ experience. A clear future leader of the tax profession, Mr Andruchowycz also had an outstanding record of networking activities, including his involvement with The Tax Institute.

Mr Rowland congratulated the winners and thanked the judges for their hard work.

“The quality of the applications across all categories is a testament to the strength of the tax profession in Australia. With such dedicated and talented individuals working across all levels of the profession, I am confident the profession has a bright future,” Mr Rowland said.

About the awards

The applications were assessed by an independent expert judging panel made up of leading industry figures.

The Chartered Tax Adviser of the Year Award recognises advisers with more than 10 years’ tax experience who have an impressive record of achievement as thought leaders and making a positive contribution for their clients.

The Tax Adviser of the Year Award recognises outstanding tax professionals with more than five years’ tax experience, who have achieved success through inspiration to others, innovation and excellence in tax initiatives while contributing to the tax community.

The Emerging Tax Star Award category is open to tax professionals with less than five years’ tax experience who have demonstrated commitment, outstanding professionalism, high ethical standards and initiative in their approach to tax issues.

Contact:
Dylan Malloch, Sefiani Communications Group: 0407 620 613

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.

Wednesday, 2 April 2014

Speaker Profile: Promoter Penalties session

In the latest speaker profile in our series, we sit down with Damien Bourke from EY who is presenting the Promoter Penalties – The Receipt of a Section 353-10 Notice is as Daunting as the Regime Itself session at the upcoming 2014 Private Business Tax Retreat.

Tell us about yourself

I am a law partner with EY in Brisbane, the firm I joined following 15 years in practice in my own law firm. I have practiced in tax related litigation for much of my legal career. Recently, I undertook a mediation course which will help me to become accredited as mediator next month. My aim is to promote the early resolution of disputes before parties become entrenched and whilst costs can be maintained. Presently I am involved in the expansion of EY’s legal capability which is proceeding across the Asia Pacific region.

I live with my wife in New Farm Brisbane. I have one daughter aged 19 and another aged 15.

How long have you been affiliated with The Tax Institute?

For the whole of the time that I have been with EY, which is 5 years.

What does the 2014 Private Business Tax Retreat mean to you, and more broadly, to the tax industry?

It provides a wonderful opportunity for focused learning on topics which are relevant and current. The debates are on issues which are directed and informative. The quality and experience of the speakers is something which I thought was impressive.

What is the topic that you are presenting at the 2014 Private Business Tax Retreat?

I will be presenting the Promoter Penalties Penalties – The Receipt of a Section 353-10 Notice is as Daunting as the Regime Itself session.

What can attendees expect to learn from your session?

I am hoping to raise an awareness of the difficulties faced by tax advisors – and the tensions which arise in giving legitimate tax advice and promoting. These tensions are not only apparent with the traditional protagonists (ATO/Taxpayer/advisor) but extend to the law makers, including elements of the judiciary.

What new or hot topics will you cover?

The case of Ludekins has been to the Federal Court; Full Federal Court and is on its way to the High Court.

We are going to look at the competing judgments in the Federal court and see what might likely happen in the High court. I am going to analyse what the judges have said historically (both here and in the UK) around an advisors duty to clients in revenue matters. I am going to examine the legislation to determine if the policy objective is achieved and particularly how the EM might have painted a different picture to the reality.

How will attending your session help delegates help their clients?

This session will enable delegates to not only help their clients but also themselves in how they give advice and provide assistance with the implementation of that advice. It should help to give some insight into the large "grey" area of what is considered advice/promotion.

Which other sessions at the conference are you most interested in attending?

The session on part IVA is something which I find particularly interesting. It is an area which is still being explored and which is going to involve a lot of work to get around going forward.

What do you like to do when you’re not knee-deep in tax?

Swimming and bike riding are my major pursuits exercise wise. I am an avid reader and like spending time reading fiction or watching movies.

I also enjoy spending time with friends, at a local bar or BBQ at home.

We are now in our 4th year, and this Queensland signature event is only getting better and better. Join us on the Gold Coast, at the beautiful Palazzo Versace Hotel for the 2014 Private Business Tax Retreat.

Find out more about the conference and register now.