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Showing posts from September, 2014

VIC 2nd Annual Tax Forum Presenter Q&A with Andrew Mills

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Andrew Mills, CTA (Life), from the Australian Taxation Officewill be presenting Session 8 at the VIC 2nd Annual Tax Forum which will be held on 9-10 October at the Park Hyatt in Melbourne. 

Andrew has over 30 years’ experience in the commerce and tax profession and is currently the Second Commissioner at the ATO. He is responsible for the ATO’s law practice, including law interpretation, dispute resolution and the ATO’s role in Law Design and Practice. Prior to joining the ATO, Andrew was a Director of the specialist national tax firm, Greenwoods & Freehills for over 20 years and Managing Director of the firm from 2006 to 2011. He has advised clients from large multinational businesses, small and medium enterprises, as well as superannuation funds, charities and individuals.

How long have you been affiliated with The Tax Institute?

I joined The Tax Institute in 1986 and was a member of the NSW Technical Committee in the early 1980’s. I was the President of The Tax Institute in 2006/0…

Meet a member: Julian Feiner, Allens

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Name Julian Feiner
Company Allens 
State Victoria
Member since 2009
Areas of specialty
Corporate and international taxation, with a particular focus on audits and disputes involving transfer pricing and anti-avoidance issues, as well as transactions involving mergers and acquisitions, corporate restructuring, withholding tax and GST issues.

Why are you a member of The Tax Institute?
It is the best way to engage with the professional tax community in Australia, learn from other tax practitioners, and gain experience by presenting at conventions and seminars. I recently joined The Tax Institute’s Victorian Education Committee and look forward to contributing to the program of Victorian events in the future.

How is your membership beneficial to your practice and clients?
A particular benefit of the membership is that it provides access to The Tax Institute’s extensive online resources, which draw together conference papers and opinions from leading tax practitioners across a broad range of topical is…

Recap of ATO’s National Tax Liaison Group session

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On 18 September Tax Institute President, Michael Flynn CTA, and Vice-President, Stephen Healey CTA, joined me at the ATO’s quarterly National Tax Liaison Group meeting. 

The NTLG is the ATO’s peak consultative group on tax matters. Noting the importance of an efficient, well-designed and administered tax system, the NTLG drives improvements to: 
tax law interpretation, administration, design and policy; confidence in and compliance with the tax system; and ATO service delivery. At this meeting we discussed many issues with the ATO and Treasury, including:
progress of announced tax measures;Australia's 2014 G20 Presidency and OECD BEPS latest;planning for the future of the tax practitioner/ATO relationship re tax system modernisation;managing impact of changes in ATO and Treasury operations due to redundancies;progress of Project DO IT;tax Transparency (public disclosure of tax information of large companies);capacity for increased use of safe harbours to decrease compliance costs;ATO…

Furthering excellence in the tax profession through higher education

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We are excited to announce that The Tax Institute has been granted higher education provider status. This is a significant milestone for the tax profession and for your professional association. This means that the Institute will now be able to provide postgraduate courses to the tax profession.

Anticipating tomorrow’s needs

This important step has been taken in anticipation of the changing needs of the profession. Over the next decade and beyond, the complexity of the tax environment will intensify, with shifts right across the taxation system. As a result, tax professionals will need to equip themselves with the skills and capabilities to provide higher-order professional tax advice.

What postgraduate courses will the Institute provide?

The Tax Institute will soon launch the Graduate Diploma of Applied Tax Law. This postgraduate program adds to our existing and well-respected subjects to provide a graduate diploma qualification. It will be taught and delivered in our usual practical and…

Nominations open for the 2nd Annual Tax Adviser of the Year Awards

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Nominations are open for The Tax Institute’s 2015 Tax Adviser of the Year Awards

Designed to recognise the profession’s highest achievers, the awards continue the Institute’s commitment to honouring the best and brightest professionals in the tax profession.

If you believe these awards resonate with you, or a colleague or employer of yours, this is your chance to be recognised by the industry’s leading tax luminaries.

Nominations close 09 December 2014

Nominate yourself, a colleague or industry peer in one of four award categories:

Emerging Tax Star Award
Tax Adviser of the Year – SME
Tax Adviser of the Year – Corporate
Chartered Tax Adviser of the Year

The awards will be judged by senior tax practitioners according to a set of criteria for each category and will be presented at an official awards ceremony at our National Convention on the Gold Coast in March 2015.


To learn more about the Tax Adviser of the Year awards, find out how to nominate, view previous winner’s profiles or learn ab…

Talking financial planners and tax advice with Alan Jones

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Financial planners giving tax advice

The ongoing saga continues with respect to that portion of the financial planning community without appropriate qualifications being allowed to give wide-ranging tax advice with their financial advice.  

The Federal Government has now tabled regulations that allow financial planners who join a financial planning association to give this tax advice without having completed courses in tax and commercial law.

This is even more surprising given the recent Parliamentary investigations into a number of rogue financial advisers. For example, a recent Senate Committee found the activities of some advisers were ‘unethical, dishonest, well below professional standards and a grievous breach of their duties’.

Given that the Committee then recommended minimum education, experience and continuing professional development requirements for the financial planning industry at large, it is illogical that the Government is bypassing some of these conditions for the provis…

Pride in our achievements

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Graduate Diploma of Applied Tax Accreditation Granted

In August, the Institute was granted higher education provider status, and secured accreditation for the Graduate Diploma of Applied Tax Law. This has been a long process, which required significant investments of time and energy by volunteer members of the Education Examinations and Quality Assurance Board, particularly the Chair, Professor Dale Pinto, CTA, the Education Advisory Board, chaired by Wayne Healy, CTA, and by the General Manager Education, Ruth Ferraro. I would like to congratulate them on this achievement. Registration is critical for a number of reasons, including to ensure that the CTA program continues to be recognised by other professional bodies (such as the Chartered Accountants ANZ).

The accreditation of the course also recognises the high quality of our CTA program. We believe that completion of the CTA program will soon become an essential step in the career of all who aspire to join the tax profession. Accred…

Inside the House of Reps Tax and Revenue Committee Inquiry

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Last week, Niv Tadmore (Co-chair of the Institute’s Dispute Resolution Committee), Thilini Wickramasuriya (one of the Institute’s tax counsel) and I appeared to give evidence before the House of Representatives Tax and Revenue Committee in relation to its inquiry into tax disputes. (Robert Jeremenko refers to the genesis and the activities of this committee in his column this month.) One of the key issues that the Committee is inquiring into is whether a separate agency should be created to review and determine objections to tax assessments.

As might be expected, the ATO strongly opposes the establishment of a separate agency. Our position is that a separate agency is unnecessary, but it would be worthwhile for the Commissioner to re-establish a separate review and appeals area, which operates independently from the rest of the ATO. The Institute had previously provided the Committee with a detailed written submission into the ATO’s handling of tax disputes, so our appearance before th…

Professional Practice Structures & Parliamentary Committee

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Professional Practice Structures

This week the ATO released draft guidelines on the tax risks flowing from the use of partnerships of discretionary trusts and similar structures. You may read more detail about the ATO guidelines here.

The Tax Institute acknowledges the ATO’s need to risk-assess professional practices, but this work should not taint legitimate business structures.

Unfortunately, the guidelines are a blunt instrument based on effective tax rates rather than legislation and case law. The ATO must consult widely and publicly before finalising these guidelines to ensure that they are based on an understanding of how professional practices function in today’s economy.

Listen to my chat with Alan Jones from the 2GB breakfast show for more information on the implications of the proposed changes on consumer protection. 

Parliamentary Committee for Tax and Revenue 

Further to our appearance at the Committee last week, the Hansard containing the evidence of both The Tax Institute and …

The Tax Adviser of the Year Awards are back in 2015

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I am pleased to announce that nominations are now open for the 2nd Annual Tax Adviser of the Year Awards. These awards were launched last year to identify those individuals who are making their mark in the industry and to reward them with a valuable opportunity to highlight their excellence in tax before their peers.

Our 2014 winners were:

David Russell, CTA, AM, RFD, QC — Chartered Tax Adviser of the Year 2014;Wayne Plummer, ATI, PwC Australia — Tax Adviser of the Year 2014; andMatthew Andruchowycz, CTA, Wallmans Lawyers — Emerging Tax Star 2014.
The awards will once again be judged by an expert panel that will include industry figures and esteemed members of the profession, and all finalists will be celebrated at our awards ceremony in March.

Entries opened on 1 September and will remain open until 9 December 2014. The full criteria for each category, as well as further information on how to apply or nominate a peer, and information on the 2014 panel and finalists, can be found on our w…