Tuesday, 29 March 2016

WA Tax Intensive – Meet The Presenter: Professor Graeme Cooper, CTA

The second WA Tax Intensive, on 28-29 April, brings some of the country’s leading tax experts to deliver practical, workshop-led sessions to discuss real-world solutions to common client tax issues. 

One of Australia’s leading commentators on tax law and policy, Professor Graeme Cooper, CTA, will present an informative workshop on Part IVA on day two of the Intensive. We spoke to Graeme about what to expect from his session. 

‘Part IVA might look incomprehensible,’ Graeme told us, ‘but there are a few critical points in the regime where the courts have told us what the rules mean and what they allow the ATO to do and not to do. People need to know that if they are trying to advise clients up front, or if the ATO unexpectedly comes knocking’ he said.

During the three hour workshop, Graeme will discuss when and how Part IVA can interfere with restructuring a client’s business affairs, and how to redeem the situation if a Part IVA line has been crossed. 

Graeme will bring his insight as a Professor of Taxation Law at the University of Sydney and from 20 years in practice with Greenwoods & Herbert Smith Freehills, not to mention his work on projects for the Board of Taxation, ATO, Treasury, National Audit Office, and the OECD in France, the IMF and the World Bank.

Graeme feels ‘It is especially important to have a good grasp because the text of Part IVA is easy to misunderstand. I see this a lot; people take the text at face value when the courts have told us repeatedly the text means something else entirely.’

In Graeme’s session and workshop, restructuring issues and significant transactions are examined in a practical format, with case studies and a panel synopsis to further illuminate the issues. 

The workshop facilitators are Dale Pinto, CTA-Life, of Curtin University, Nick Heggart, CTA, Greenwoods & Herbert Smith Freehills, Helen Hodgson, CTA, Curtin University and Richard Norton, CTA, Norton & Smailes.

The second annual WA Tax Intensive also features David Marschke, CTA, of Mills OakleyLawyers, looking at Restructuring Opportunities and Ron Jorgensen, CTA, RigbyCooke Lawyers, on Managing Trust Deed Amendments, as well as our Keynote Address; Disruptive Ethics, by Professor Derek Parkin, OAM, University of Notre Dame Australia.

Join us at the Novotel Vines Swan Valley Resort, 28 - 29 April 2016. Find out more.

Thursday, 10 March 2016

Agribusiness – Rising to the Challenge

Agribusiness is a major growth area for Queensland, and is enjoying an increased level of direct and indirect investment by domestic and overseas parties. Recent years have seen an expanding number of affluent overseas consumers demanding our agricultural output, many of whom live on our doorstep, in Asia.

Agribusiness clients navigating their way through a complex maze of commercial and tax issues have been turning to their professional advisers for assistance. We spoke to Tom Delany, CTA, Tax Partner Pty Ltd, one of the members of the organising committee, about the upcoming ‘2016 Agribusiness – Rising to the Challenge’ event, and some of the key issues facing advisers and their clients.

‘Besides being a growth industry for both Queensland and Australia, agribusiness is critical to Queensland’s transition away from a resources led economy’, Tom says. ‘The increased interest in the industry means that many practitioners are dealing with agribusiness clients where they may not have done so previously. Similarly, experienced practitioners who have been dealing with the industry for years are seeing new types of investors (e.g. institutional investors) and new types of transactions (e.g. the prevalence of CSG compensation), and are seeing that up-skilling is now necessary’.

Tom sees a number of key issues facing professionals and the wider industry; ‘From changes in the investor base and a greater interest from institutional and cross-border investors, to financing issues and new commercial and tax considerations, we’re also seeing a greater focus on generational change and succession planning. Topical issues, be they income related - including deriving, deferring, smoothing and distributing income, or deduction related - capital allowances, special deductions, non-commercial losses, etc, are also weighing on practitioners, as are indirect taxes, including GST, land tax, payroll tax and stamp duty’.

The ‘2016 Agribusiness’ program has been developed in response to these issues, and looks at the significant asset values and the number of related issues to consider which add further complexity to business structuring issues, including succession planning. Within this context agribusinesses also has to contend with factors such as isolation, erratic weather patterns, natural disasters, currency fluctuations, ‘lumpy’ cash flows and shifting global demands.

When asked about significant issues covered by the event impacting the industry, Tom highlighted the ongoing uncertainty around tax reform, and proposed tax and other changes that could impact the sector, as well as the application of Part IVA to an agribusiness restructuring, citing the Channel Pastoral Holdings case.

The dedicated full day program of ‘2016 Agribusiness’ will provide attendees with the opportunity to engage with specialists in the area, and is especially relevant to any tax professional with an exposure to, or interest in the agribusiness sector.

When asked about the type of professionals the event should appeal to, Tom told us he saw the audience as ‘Professionals, particularly from regional and small to medium firms, with deep industry expertise looking forward to refreshing and enhancing their technical skills, as well as those advisers working for large firms or in legal practice with potentially less direct prior experience, or with clients looking to make investments in the sector. Finally tax managers or accounting and finance professionals that work within the sector who are looking forward to developing their tax technical knowledge would benefit from attending’.

The program will appraise participants of the key taxation issues and provide them with the tools to assist their clients embrace the commercial opportunities and challenges in delivering the best Australian produce to the dining tables of the world.

Tom describes the event as the “first and only tax technical event focussing on the agribusiness industry in Queensland” and with its mix of broad industry perspectives, updates and knowledge transfer on topical technical issues and sessions designed to impart practical skills for both day to day tax issues and more complicated structuring and re-structuring matters, it is one not to be missed.

‘2016 Agribusiness – Rising to the Challenge’ takes place 20 April 2016 at Tattersall’s Club, Brisbane. Find out more about the event here