Tuesday, 29 September 2015

2014 Emerging Tax Star of the Year winner: Matthew Andruchowycz, CTA

I am a Principal at DMAW Lawyers in the Business Transactions and Advice team. I am a taxation and superannuation specialist. I work primarily with accountants, financial planners, business owners and high net wealth individuals on business transactions, wealth generation strategies and tax disputes.

What does the Tax Adviser of the Year Awards mean to you, and more broadly, to the tax profession?

Recognition for hard work, high energy and a passion for tax.

What are 5 main tips/tricks that you used for preparing your application?
  • no waffle
  • peer review
  • attached letter from boss to The Tax Institute
  • attached examples of work and business development initiatives
  • attached feedback from The Tax Institute presentations.

What was it like to be named a finalists/winner in your category?

Very proud. I tried to hide it in the lead up (as a finalist) and on the night (as a winner) but I was absolutely stoked. It was an amazing night/moment. It will be hard to beat.

What are 4 main reasons for applying for the Tax Awards?
  • need to be in it to win it
  • nothing to lose
  • no time wastage because the application can form the basis of other applications or your CV
  • brings you out of your comfort zone.

What do you believe put your application above the others?

Peer review. That process removed all traces of emotion from my application. I was told the Judges were serious people who would be looking for objective content, nothing else.

How has applying for the Tax Awards benefitted you?

For me it equated to maybe 10 years of business development in one hit. I have met some great people and had lots of laughs. The whole process was perfect and the benefits have not stopped.  Without question it is the best thing I have done in my professional career.
 
What do you like to do when you’re not knee-deep in tax?

Spend time with my wife and daughter. Build things in the shed. I recently installed a cricket bowling machine with full netting. It's good fun.

  
http://www.taxinstitute.com.au/about-us/tax-adviser-of-the-year-awards/about
     
 








Friday, 25 September 2015

The AFR Tax Reform Summit

On Tuesday and Wednesday this week, the Tax Institute participated in the AFR Tax Reform Summit in Sydney. The Summit involved a star-studded line-up of speakers who discussed tax reform while they stood on shifting sands. In their commentary, there was a strange mix of optimism and scepticism about what the new leadership team in Canberra would be able do on tax reform by the next election.

The reason for optimism is in the fresh brand of leadership on tax at the State and Federal levels of government. The Hon. Jay Weatherill MP in South Australia and Andrew Barr in the ACT (both speakers at the Summit), together with the Hon. Michael Baird MP in New South Wales, are leading the charge on tax reform at the State level. Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull's early mantra has been that tax reform is at the centre of his efforts to make Australia a more innovative, productive and prosperous economy.

There are reasons for scepticism in the comments of Shadow Treasurer the Hon. Chris Bowen MP at the Summit, who categorically refused to support GST reform on the basis that there is no consensus on how the extra cash would be spent. The economist Saul Eslake argued that the income tax system is like a giant Swiss cheese and that the GST base should not be broadened without broadening the income tax base too. There was also a surprising divergence of views on whether the company tax rate is too high.

Irrespective of the likelihood of “big bang" tax reform in the near future, Stephen Healey, President of The Tax Institute, explained the potential to reduce complexity in our existing tax system. Sitting in a room of business leaders and technical experts at the Summit, one could not help but think what they could have achieved in two days in the real world, in the time they had to spend using their brain power to fix the tax system. The opportunity cost of complexity and its impact on productivity is something that members would be acutely aware of.



 
Thilini Wickramasuriya FTI is a 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.

Tuesday, 22 September 2015

2015 SME Tax Adviser of the Year Award winner: Peter Bobbin CTA

As a solicitor I pursue excellence in law; both thought and application, to me it is highly satisfying to make a difference. But having fun at the same time is important. Fun? I am a tax lawyer, a superannuation lawyer, a trust lawyer and an estate planning lawyer. I am also a senior principal of law firm Argyle Lawyers.

I am proud of what Argyle Lawyers has achieved, my charity trustee role is my way of giving back and cycling is what allows me to switch off.

I am the person who created modern estate planning in Australia, no other person can trace their embrace of this earlier than myself. In my early career I was usually introduced in my public speaking as the Tax Doctor of Death!

I also trace my superannuation fund skills and services to 1985, only few (still working) can match this.
 
But tax law is my basis, including tax advice, tax litigation and business succession, whether personal or corporate.
 
How long have you been affiliated with The Tax Institute?
 
I have been a member of the Institute for 25 years.
 
What does the Tax Awards mean to you, and more broadly, to the tax profession?
 
It is a great honour, a personal career highlight of which I am very proud and humbled.
 
What are 5 main tips/tricks that you used for preparing your application?
 
No real tips or tricks, just tell the truth about your commitment to the tax profession and clients.
 
What was it like to be named a finalists/winner in your category?
 
I have considered it to be a great honour to have been named as a finalist and then as a winner.
 
What are 4 main reasons for applying for the Tax Awards?
  • To gain professional recognition of my peers.
  • To enable a personal reflection on my career.
  • To gain a seriously unique marketing advantage.
  • To encourage others in the tax profession to apply.
 
What do you believe put your application above the others?
 
The effort that I have put in to my career, the tax profession, my business and tax law.
 
How has applying for the Tax Awards benefitted you?
 
I have gained formal recognition of my peers and can more easily summarise and present to others, including friends and family, the career I have created and enjoyed.
 
Of course it has also given me a seriously unique marketing advantage.
 
What do you like to do when you’re not knee-deep in tax?
  • Love and enjoy my family.
  • Drink aged wine.
  • Cycle over very long distances.
  • Research tax, superannuation and trust law cases.

http://www.taxinstitute.com.au/about-us/tax-adviser-of-the-year-awards/about




Friday, 18 September 2015

What a difference a week can make!

This week, we have a new Prime Minister. Next week, we might see further changes to our country's leadership.

One thing remains the same though - our need for tax reform.

First up this week, on Monday Deloitte Access Economics released its report entitled Shedding light on the debate: Myth-busting tax reform, putting the issues of bracket creep, the GST and company tax cuts front and centre of the tax reform debate.

This was followed on Wednesday by the Assistant Treasurer Josh Frydenberg's speech entitled “An efficient and resilient GST"  that shone the spotlight on GST.

Also on Wednesday, the Government introduced into Parliament legislation to combat multinational tax avoidance. The same Bill also implements Action 13 of the G20 and OECD's Action Plan on Base Erosion and Profit Shifting, concerning transfer pricing documentation and Country-by-Country reporting. There is more to come on both these fronts as the work of the G20 and OECD on multinational tax avoidance continues. A copy of the Bill can be accessed here. The Tax Institute's views on these issues can be found on our website – please refer to our submissions.

Whatever comes of the action packed week we have had in the world of tax, clear direction and a commitment to structural tax reform at home is still needed. Perhaps next up, this will be reinvigorated.


Stephanie Caredes CTA is a 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, 17 September 2015

23rd National Tax Intensive Retreat speaker profile: Terry Murphy

Terry Murphy is a QC practicing predominantly at the Victorian and Western Australian Bars. He is a member of the Tax Committee of the Business Section of the Law Council of Australia and a member of the Melbourne Law Masters Tax Advisory Board at the University of Melbourne (where he lectures in the LLM program).

How long have you been affiliated with The Tax Institute?

I have been affiliated with The Tax Institute for more than 25 years.

What is the topic your are presenting at the 23rd National Tax Retreat and what can attendees expect to learn from your session?

I'm presenting on vesting trusts and attendees will walk away with a practical insight into the issues involved in vesting trusts and the steps that may be taken to deal with them.

How will attending your session help delegates help their clients?

By identifying  the potential issues and devising and potential strategies to deal with them.

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

Judicial Adventures in Settlements and Resettlements. Also, Current ATO Hot Spots - Discussion Forum.

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

Golf and travel.


http://www.taxinstitute.com.au/professional-development/conventions-and-retreats/national-tax-intensive-retreat/23rd-national-tax-intensive-retreat

Tuesday, 15 September 2015

2015 Tasmanian State Convention speaker profile: Georgina Sertori

I have been working at Deloitte since 2007, and in that time I have worked on a variety of clients ranging from Mum and Dad small businesses to large multi-national companies. I was promoted to Client Manager in July 2014, and am enjoying the challenge. I currently work 4 days a week, and have two beautiful daughters. In October 2014 I ran the Melbourne Marathon (42.2km) so I am definitely always up for a challenge!

What does 2015 Tasmanian State Convention mean to you, and more broadly, to the tax industry?

The State Convention is a fantastic way for a large group of like-minded individuals to come together to discuss and learn about important issues in taxation. It is about networking and learning together.

What can attendees expect to take away from your session?

A general tax update – hopefully will give attendees some new knowledge and application.

Which other sessions at the 2015 Tasmanian State Convention are you most interested in attending?

I am looking forward to the GST and Property Development session as I think this will be very relevant to a lot of my clients.

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

I love spending as much time as possible with my family, checking out all the good coffee shops around Launnie, watching my beloved Adelaide Crows, and I also love having a little bit of me-time by going for a run!



Join us in Hobart for The Tax Institute's 2015 Tasmanian State ConventionIt is Tasmania's premier annual taxation event with an outstanding line up of speakers that are sure to educate and stimulate.  

Friday, 11 September 2015

Amendments to the Exposure Draft regarding Multinational Tax Avoidance

“Isn't it just at the Exposure Draft stage? It's not law yet. I'll worry about it later."

This is a common statement in practice. We live and breathe Exposure Draft legislation, so that you don't have to.

Last week, we lodged a submission to Treasury on a recent Exposure Draft titled Tax Laws Amendment (Tax Integrity Multinational Anti-avoidance Law) Bill 2015: Country by country reporting. This is the latest chapter in Australia's approach to Base Erosion and Profit Shifting but it is interesting for another reason as well.

If the heading of this particular Exposure Draft is excluded (which it would be, if inserted into the tax legislation), a reader would not know what the law is about on the face of the provisions.

It essentially stipulates that an entity above a specified threshold must give a statement to the Commissioner unless the Commissioner says the section does not apply to them. There is no substance in the Exposure Draft as to the content of the statement, or when the Commissioner should exclude an entity. It is extremely uncertain and gives the Commissioner an unprecedented and unacceptable level of discretion.

We have strongly recommended that significant amendments should be made to this Exposure Draft before it ever finds its way onto your desk.


Thilini Wickramasuriya FTI is a 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, 10 September 2015

23rd National Tax Intensive Retreat speaker profile: John Middleton

John Middleton, CTA, is a Special Counsel at Clayton Utz Brisbane and specialises in revenue and commercial law. He has provided legal advice in respect of the structuring, restructuring, purchase and sale of businesses and entities of all types. He has particular experience in CGT planning for the sale of businesses and also practises in stamp duty, GST and general tax.

How long have you been affiliated with The Tax Institute?

I have been going to the Institute's conferences for 20 years and have been a member since 1998.

What is the topic you are presenting at the 23rd National Tax Intensive Retreat?

Workshop 2: Cleaning Up/Winding Up Companies and Vesting Trusts.

What can attendees expect to learn from your session?

I expect we'll all learn a few things from each other. Every year someone asks a "what if" question that is a real game changer, and the answer sheet goes out the window!

How will attending your session help delegates help their clients?

Old structures aren't that common - but everyone has one or two that are close to exit in their client base.

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

Who has the time not to be knee-deep in tax? The joy of having a conference in Noosa is the ability to combine business and pleasure.


http://www.taxinstitute.com.au/professional-development/conventions-and-retreats/national-tax-intensive-retreat/23rd-national-tax-intensive-retreat








Monday, 7 September 2015

2015 Tasmanian State Convention speaker profile: Damian O'Connor

I started work with the ATO in 1974 and moved into private legal practice in 1998. Along the way I have had exposure to just about every tax issue there is. The challenge of getting my head around complex tax rules and providing practical advice to clients still gets me out of bed in the morning.

What does 2015 Tasmanian State Convention mean to you, and more broadly, to the tax industry?

The Tassie State Convention is a great opportunity to network with like-minded tax professionals who are keen to develop their technical skills and to share their practical experience through the Tax Institute.

What can attendees expect to take away from your session?

Just as it says on the box, my session will provide some Practical Solutions for Real Life Problems with trusts – with a focus on practical and plain English.

Which other sessions at the 2015 Tasmanian State Convention are you most interested in attending?

It is a great program – two must attend sessions for me are the panel discussion on the realities of being a tax professional, and the keynote address on Doing Business in China. I majored in Chinese language when I was a younger man completing my BA, and I enjoy visiting China and torturing the locals with my rusty language skills and I look forward to hearing Shona’s experiences.

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

I enjoy getting to the footy when I am in Melbourne, and taking in some Queensland sunshine when I get the chance. At the moment I am studying Vietnamese, and to the great embarrassment of my wife Jackie, I am also learning to play the Ukulele.



Join us in Hobart for The Tax Institute's 2015 Tasmanian State ConventionIt is Tasmania's premier annual taxation event with an outstanding line up of speakers that are sure to educate and stimulate.  

16th Global Conference on Environmental Taxation

With the current environmental policy debate taking place in Australia the 16th Global Conference on Environmental Taxation (GCET16), held 24 - 26 September 2015, is a rare chance to hear from global experts in the area of market-based instruments relevant for greening of the economy and progressing sustainable development.

GCET16 provides enlightened analysis of tax policy from around the world to promote informed sustainable environmental goals. Join delegates from up to 50 countries representing a variety of sectors (academic, government, the private sector, and NGOs) across law, economics, accounting, environmental management, and public administration to contribute your ideas and deepen your understanding of the legal, economic and behavioural issues surrounding environmental taxation.

With a theme of Green Fiscal Reform: Protecting our Natural Resources for a Sustainable Future, the conference’s keynote and plenary speakers include The Hon Bob Carr, Director of the UTS Australia – China Relations Institute, Prof Ross Garnaut, Professorial Research Fellow at the University of Melbourne, Chloe Monroe, Chair and CEO, the Clean Energy Regulator as well as leading figures from the OECD, US Consulate-General, CPA Australia and the Nature Conservation Trust of NSW, among others.


Details
Dates: 24 - 26 September 2015
Venue: UTS Faculty of Law
Building 5 cnr Quay St and Ultimo Road
Haymarket, Sydney, NSW (map)

Register online by 18 September 2015.


For full conference program click here.

Please note, this event is not organised by The Tax Institute. If you have any queries contact UTS directly at: GCET16(at)catalystevents.com.au 

An update on our recent submissions

In amongst all the chatter about ‘tax reform', and reform in general, the Government is still pursuing the deregulation agenda – that is, its mission to cut ‘red tape'.

Last Friday, Treasury released for consultation the Treasury Legislation Amendment (Spring Repeal Day) Bill 2015. The exposure draft will repeal certain provisions relating to ‘business identifiers' and ‘lost members and unclaimed superannuation' among other things.

Spring offers the perfect opportunity for some spring cleaning of all kinds, and as such we encourage members to give some thought to the areas of the tax law and administration that could be cleaned up. If you have any areas of the tax law and administration that you believe are suitable for red tape reduction, please let us know via our Tax Policy inbox.

We also recently lodged several submissions. We wrote to the Federal Assistant Treasurer welcoming the income tax relief to be provided to facilitate the transition to MySuper products. We made a submission to Federal Treasury suggesting an alternative proposal regarding the 2015-16 Federal Budget measure to impose a cap on salary sacrificed entertainment expenses. We also wrote to the South Australian Treasurer regarding some of our concerns in the Bill introducing measures stemming from the South Australian 2015-16 State Budget.


Stephanie Caredes CTA is a 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, 3 September 2015

Dux interview: Jace Gawne-Buckland, Advanced Superannuation

Position: Senior Manager
Company: Grant Thornton Australia Ltd

What is your background?

I am a Chartered Accountant and have over 8 years experience with Grant Thornton in the Privately Held Business division. I work primarily with small to medium sized businesses and high net wealth individuals assisting them with business advisory, taxation matters and family office services.

Most valuable aspect of Advanced Superannuation that you have taken away?

Gaining a better understanding of the laws and regulations for self-managed superannuation funds so that I can assist my clients with their wealth management, investment strategies, retirement and estate planning.

What areas are you now more confident in?

I feel confident in assisting clients with contribution strategies to maximise their wealth held in superannuation and then access this wealth. In addition, I feel my clients will benefit from my increased knowledge regarding the treatment and taxation of superannuation benefits and the rules around investing using their superannuation funds.

What were your reasons for undertaking Advanced Superannuation?

Superannuation is a fantastic tool not only for wealth management but also tax planning purposes. It is therefore very important for me to be confident around SMSF law and regulations when assisting my clients with their business and personal goals. It provides me the ability to take a holistic approach when assisting my clients, resulting in me becoming a more trusted advisor.

Where to now with continuing education?

I will be looking to further my knowledge on superannuation regulations through practical application and further studies. I will also look to undertake studies on different subject matters with The Tax Institute which will develop my abilities to better service my clients.


http://taxinstitute.com.au/education/graduate-diploma-of-applied-tax-lawTake the next step in your tax career with the Graduate Diploma of Applied Tax Law 

Find out more

Tuesday, 1 September 2015

Nominations sought for Australia’s best tax professionals

The Tax Institute has announced the opening of nominations for the 3rd Annual Tax Adviser of the Year Awards (The Awards), which showcase the profession’s leading experts and rising stars.

The Awards recognise tax professionals across all levels of experience for their professionalism, leadership, high ethical standards and commitment to excellence.

Nominations for the four categories – Emerging Tax Star; SME Tax Adviser of the Year; Corporate Tax Adviser of the Year; and Chartered Tax Adviser of the Year – close on 5 November 2015, with winners announced in March at The Tax Institute’s National Convention.

The Tax Institute’s Chief Executive Officer Noel Rowland said the Awards were designed to celebrate and recognise the shining stars of the Australian tax profession.

“The Awards recognise the best and brightest professionals in the industry for their commitment to clients and the wider community,” said Mr Rowland.

“The calibre of applications across all categories continues to strengthen each year, and we expect nominees for the third annual Awards to be no different.”

Previous winners include the ATO Second Commissioner Andrew Mills, KPMG tax director Minh Dao and Peter Bobbin of Rockwell Oliver.

Matthew Andruchowycz, CTA, Principal at DMAW Lawyers was named the 2014 Emerging Tax Star Winner, and credits it with his career success trajectory over the past six months.

The Emerging Tax Star Award is open to all practitioners with less than five years’ tax experience, with the SME Tax Adviser, Corporate Tax Adviser, and Chartered Tax Adviser categories open to The Tax Institute membership body.

Nominations close on 5 November 2015. For further information please visit thetaxinstitute.com.au/taxawards.
The Tax Institute is the country’s leading professional association and educator in tax. Its 15,000 members include tax agents, accountants and lawyers as well as tax practitioners in corporations, government and academia.  The Tax Institute supports the tax profession through education and professional development and works to continually improve tax law and its administration.


http://www.taxinstitute.com.au/about-us/tax-adviser-of-the-year-awards/about