Move over Masterchef, there’s a new and more pertinent Masterclass in town.
An exciting addition to an already stellar line-up at the 49th Western Australia State Convention is the M&A taxation masterclass-style session on day one. With more and more companies looking to consolidate to rationalise operations, the main elements of Australia’s M&A-focussed tax code will continue to cause concern for tax advisers and their clients. The appetite for knowledge in this space continues to grow alongside the level of M&A activity in Western Australia, despite whispers that the economy is set for a downturn.
Read on to discover what’s on the menu for M&A at the convention, along with the rest of the program, designed to suit every appetite.
The bread and butter of it all…
As 2 July draws closer, many practitioners – and members of the public – are asking themselves what Australia’s GST and superannuation system will look like post-Federal Election. As with all areas of tax, these ‘bread and butter’ taxes will continue to morph according to the political landscape. Jemma Sanderson, CTA (Cooper Partners) and Tony Ince, CTA (RSM Australia) will unpack the day-to-day issues facing SME practitioners, as well as highlight potential risks and action items required for clients on day two of the convention.
Other bread and butter issues that will be brought to the table include Division 7A, unpaid present entitlements (UPEs) and a cheeky insider’s perspective on how to effectively run an AAT case. The keynote address from Justice Pagone on the current trends in tax disputes and the update from Inspector-General of Taxation, Ali Noroozi, are also two not-to-be-missed sessions for every practitioner.
This year’s convention also captures tax issues with a uniquely Western Australian flavour. The Hon Dr Mike Nahan, MLA, WA State Treasurer will discuss the opportunities and challenges of tax reform from a purely Western Australian perspective whilst Nicki Suchenia, WA Commissioner of State Revenue will outline the new and upcoming changes at State Revenue that will affect practitioners.
Finally, don’t miss our workshop session, Exiting Business Structures, in which Ken Schurgott, CTA-Life (Brown Wright Stein Lawyers) gets to the meat of the issues in advising successful clients about selling to third parties, transferring control in a corporate joint venture, getting access to funds without disproportionate tax liabilities, using concessional tax treatments and more.
M&A taxation: roasting old chestnuts
The key pillars of Australia’s M&A tax consolidation system has been in place for over 10 years, yet issues such as scrip-for-scrip rollover, consolidation, demergers and transaction-related distributions still continue to challenge advisers. The question is, why?
Australia’s tax consolidation regime is undoubtedly extremely complex and incredibly complicated. But the answer may just lie in the resurgence of M&A tax-related transactions in Australia. M&A activity fell silent in the years after 2008 but is making a comeback. Last year alone saw a 15% increase in the level of M&A activity in Western Australia compared to the previous year, where, interestingly enough, the bulk of transactions fell within the middle market space.*
With buy-side and sell-side transactions in Western Australia alone on the rise, tax advisers who were once shielded from M&A activity will now likely face a barrage of new tax issues stemming from those transactions. Join Nick Heggart, CTA (Greenwoods & Herbert Smith Freehills) for an in-depth, masterclass-style session focused on the major M&A issues that continue to cause concern for tax advisers and their clients, which will also incorporate several case studies to tease out the issues.
An expanded menu for the big end of town...
2016 brings a new corporate stream for the larger end of town and corporate practitioners. Hot topics such as tax transparency, the life cycle of transactions from the ATO’s standpoint, stapled entities, transfer pricing and the raft of new changes associated with multinational and anti-avoidance legislation (MAAL) will be analysed and unpacked at this year’s convention.
Respected speakers have been invited to dissect these topics with delegates, including Jeremy Hirschhorn, CTA (Deputy Commissioner, ATO) who will discuss focus areas and priorities for the large market, highlighting how companies can manage and benefit from greater tax transparency.
This year, the convention will also host a new Q&A session, encouraging open dialogue between delegates and speakers on the activities of the Board of Taxation and the Administrative Appeals Tribual (AAT). Stephen Frost, FTI (AAT Deputy President) and member of the Board of Taxation, Craig Yaxley, CTA (KPMG) will facilitate this interactive session.
A special panel session, ‘The Life Cycle of a Transaction in the Era of Constructive Engagement’ sees Geofrey Fooks (Wesfarmers), Jeremy Hirschhorn, CTA, (ATO), Andrew Orme, ATO and Dr Niv Tadmore, CTA (Clayton Utz) focus on practical insights from the life cycle of a transaction in the public groups and international (PGI) market using a case study as a practical reference point.
With the Federal Budget and Federal Election done and dusted by the time of this convention, tax advisers will be left with a new tax landscape and grappling with the issues that heightened M&A activity will bring, as well as continue to tackle the complexities of superannuation and GST.
The 49th Western Australian Convention takes place 11-12 August 2016 at the Novotel Vines Swan Valley Resort. Choose from 21 sessions over two days, across two streams – SME & Corporate. Includes up to 13 CPD hours. Find out more.
*Pitcher Partners ‘Western Australian M&A: A year of consolidation, rationalisation and new beginnings’ (March 2016)