Wednesday, 27 July 2016

Tax Governance for Corporations - The VIC 4th Annual Tax Forum

Robert Gallo is a Partner at PwC, where he helps tax functions transform their operations through the use of strategy, risk management and technology solutions. Here we speak to him about his session at the VIC 4th Annual Tax Forum.

Robert has more than 15 years’ experience in advising clients on optimising their tax reporting and compliance processes as well as transforming their tax functions to best balance their use of strategy, people, processes and technology. His experience expands across tax functions in various geographies and industries including banking and finance, retail, manufacturing, energy and mining. This experience includes tax function design and assessment, application of tax corporate governance and risk management frameworks, process improvement, tax software implementation combined with tax project assurance.

In his session at the VIC 4th Annual Tax Forum, Robert will take part in a panel discussion with Jeff Stevenson (Australian Taxation Office) and Stuart Cameron, CTA (Suncorp Group), facilitated by Sarah Blakelock, CTA (KPMG) looking at ‘Tax Governance for Corporations’.

In the backdrop of tax reform, increased media attention and tax transparency, Robert and his panel cohorts will discuss organisational risk management and governance and the interaction with tax, the ATO’s risk differentiation framework, the implications of the ATO’s tax risk management and governance review guide, as well as the impending release of ATO guidance to directors of their duties around tax.

Robert tells us “Attendees will learn about what others are doing in terms of tax governance and risk management from a practical perspective, and what it means for different roles across the organisation.”

The session looks at the continuing evolution of tax governance for corporations and what that means for a Chief Risk Officer, an adviser, and for the ATO.

Asked what the Tax Forum means to him, and more broadly, to the tax profession, Robert replied “The Forum is a good way of connecting and networking with the industry. It presents a good opportunity to understand the challenges as well as sharing solutions between peers in what I refer to as leading practices across tax governance and risk management.”

Join us for the VIC 4th Annual Tax Forum on 5-6 October 2016 at the Park Hyatt, Melbourne. Choose from 28 sessions over the two days, across three streams – Corporate, Private and Hot Topics. Includes 11.5 CPD hours. Find out more. 

Tuesday, 26 July 2016

Superannuation with an international flavour - Marsha–Laine Dungog JD, LLM, and Roy Berg JD, LLM

On day two of the 2016 National Superannuation Conference we are joined by two US based practitioners for the session ‘US Tax Issues Affecting Australian Superannuation Fund Members with a US Connection’, Marsha–Laine F Dungog JD, LLM, and Roy Berg JD, LLM. We spoke to them about what to expect from their session.

An international tax lawyer admitted to practice in California, Michigan, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, the US Tax Court and the U.S. Supreme Court, Marsha–Laine Dungog JD, LLM, is a senior US tax lawyer at Moodys Gartner Tax Law LLP. Marsha specialises in crossborder tax planning and tax compliance services for high net worth individuals and entrepreneurs. She has over 15 years of experience providing international tax consulting

Roy Berg JD, LLM, is an international tax lawyer and admitted to practice in Canada and the U.S. and Director, US Tax Law, and Barrister and Solicitor of Moodys Gartner Tax Law LLP. Roy has more than 23 years of experience in cross-border tax matters, IRS controversy, estate planning and finance.

Ending the conference with a strong international flavour, Marsha and Roy’s session will examine current trends in the US tax treatment of Australian superannuation funds and its implications for US citizens and Australian residents with US tax reporting obligations.

They will also discuss the various administrative remedies and legislative policy changes presented before the US Department of Treasury, the Internal Revenue Service, US Tax Court and tax-writing committees of the US Congress that could ameliorate these US tax liabilities.

Asked what attendees expect to learn from their session, Marsha said “Delegates will be able to appreciate helpful provisions in the Australia-US Totalization Agreements and Tax Treaty that would mitigate potential exposure of the Super and its members (with a US connection) to harmful US tax consequences, as well as incorporate the potential US tax consequences to the Super and its members that may arise from certain actions undertaken by or on behalf of the Super.”

Roy said “Delegates will learn how to identify U.S. citizen participants (the accent doesn’t always give it away) and the tax the consequences of not reporting properly” as well as “how the US classifies Supers, how it doesn’t classify them, where additional guidance is needed, and how FATCA reporting has increased the stakes for coming into tax compliance”.

Marsha mentioned “Delegates will gain an understanding of the various income tax and reporting obligations of Supers with US persons who are member-beneficiaries; how to utilize the US-Australia Totalization and Tax Treaty Agreements; and how tax amnesty programs/enforcement initiatives may be able to assist in the US treatment of Supers. Delegates will also walk away with a better understanding of the US tax implications of Super activities (contributions, accretions and distributions); and hear about potential US tax exposures and planning strategies with their clients and manage potential US tax reporting obligations arising therefrom.”

Asked about new or hot topics they will cover, Marsha pointed to “Potential US income and estate tax exposures for the Superannuation Fund and its members.”

Looking ahead, when asked about their predictions for the new financial year, Marsha responded “US and Australian legislative or treasury department advisors may take a closer look at the current state of Super taxation by the US and look for permanent solutions that may be addressed vie executive or legislative branches of government.” Roy said “With FATCA reporting currently underway and reporting under the common reporting standard soon to follow, I predict that the international tax aspects of government and private retirement schemes will become even more relevant to clients and practitioners alike.”

“The Conference exposes me to different stakeholder perspectives on Superannuation and identifies planning strategies and remedies that may be helpful for my clients. It also provides an opportunity to engage in meaningful dialogue with our peers and colleagues on Superannuation policy and taxation from different corners of the world to identify trends and coordinate advocacy initiatives.”, Marsha said.

Roy told us “The National Superannuation Conference is the premier venue to: a) learn about tax changes that affect my clients; b) network with peers; and c) obtain insight into administrative rules.”

The 2016 National Superannuation Conference takes place 25-26 August at the Crown Conference Hall, Melbourne. Featuring two streams – Large Fund and Self-Managed Superannuation Funds and including 12 CPD hours it has been accredited by the SMSF Association and the Financial Planners Association.

Meet the presenters: 2016 National GST Intensive

For a somewhat simple tax, GST continues to surprise many practitioners with its increasing complexity. The program of this year’s National GST Intensive recognises this complexity, and covers emerging and topical areas as well as looking at some of the basic building blocks of GST that continue to be controversial.

We spoke with two of the presenters from this year’s Intensive, which takes place 8–9 September 2016 at Four Points Darling Harbour, in Sydney.

David W Marks QC, CTA, of Inns of Court Chambers, Brisbane, is a commercial silk specialising in taxation. He co-presents ‘Correcting Mistakes Ratification’, along with Michael Patane, CTA, a consultant with more than 25 years’ experience, and Alex Affleck, Director of Technical Leadership within the Superannuation Business Line of the ATO.

David tells us his session is designed to help “people to feel more comfortable when asked about something that sounds very technical”. “I’m talking about something that we are expected to now, but rarely have to touch. I’ll be practical and try to demystify the area”, he said.

David, Michael and Alex's session examines the availability of the remedy of rectification in correcting mistakes in transactional documentation. Examples of where the remedy has been sought in the GST context include whether a contract is GST inclusive or GST exclusive and whether the parties intended the going concern provisions to apply. They will look at the required elements for rectification and evidentiary burden, a comparison to ratification and retrospective amendment, court ordered rectification compared to rectification by deed, and more.

Asked about his predictions for the new financial year, David said “More case law, as people become aware of the possibilities”.

David told us that to him, the Intensive represents “Practical sessions, and sharing knowledge” and that he is particularly looking forward to The Hon. Justice Tony Pagone’s Keynote Address ‘Interpretation of the GST Act and Influence of the Other Areas of Law’.

Kevin O’Rourke is an indirect tax partner at Deloitte Australia and has been advising on GST since its inception in Australia, and even earlier as a member of the Technical Sub-Committee of the GST Planning and Co-Ordination Committee established to advise the Hewson-led Coalition in the early 90s on the introduction of a GST.

Frequently named as a leading indirect tax adviser by the International Tax Review, Kevin is a solicitor of the Supreme Court of New South Wales and of the High Court of Australia, he is Co-Chair of the ATO’s GST Advisory Group, Chair of the Indirect Tax Committee for Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand, and is a member of the Taxation Committee of the Law Council of Australia.

Affiliated with the Institute for many years, he has been attending and presenting at our GST conferences ever since it was introduced. Asked what the National GST Intensive mean to him, and more broadly, to the tax profession, Kevin told us “The National GST Intensive is, as the name might suggest, a peak conference on GST technical issues”

Presenting ‘Taking the Purpose Out of Creditable Purpose’ on day two of the Intensive, Kevin’s session looks at this foundational concept of GST. His session will cover Rio Tinto and earlier cases, relevance of purpose and motive and asymmetry in the way that acquisitions relating to input taxed supplies and acquisitions relating to other supplies are treated.

Kevin told us “My session ultimately provides an analytical framework for the concept of ‘creditable purpose’ which is a gateway to claiming those important input tax credits. The analytical framework for assessing creditable purpose will be of most assistance in helping delegates help their clients”. He also predicted “The ATO will issue something more formal on this topic at some point during this financial year”.

Looking at the Intensive more broadly, Kevin mentioned “Somewhat dauntingly, my session is sandwiched between two eminent senior counsel, both of whom I am looking forward to listening to [David W Marks QC of Inns of Court Chambers, Brisbane with Michael Patane, CTA, and Alex Affleck on ‘Correcting Mistakes Ratification’ and Tony Slater, QC, FTI, of Ground Floor Wentworth Chambers’ session on ‘Supply’].

Join us and bring your knowledge on key GST issues up to date, discover the latest thinking and take advantage of this great opportunity to network with colleagues and fellow GST experts. The 2016 National GST Intensive takes place 8–9 September 2016 at Four Points Darling Harbour, in Sydney.

Monday, 25 July 2016

Emerging Issues in Superannuation: The 2016 National Superannuation Conference

Brad Ivens is an Executive Director at Ernst & Young. Working with clients ranging from some of Australia’s largest industry and employer sponsored funds, through to public sector and self-managed funds, he has over 18 years’ experience in providing tax compliance and advisory services for the superannuation industry.

We spoke to Brad about the session he’ll be presenting at the 2016 National Superannuation Conference with Phil Witherow, CTA, from Cbus, “Emerging Issues in Superannuation”.

Asked what attendees can expect to learn from their session, Brad replied “We are covering the new Attribution Managed Investment Trust rules, looking at how the global Base Erosion and Profit Shifting phenomenon is impacting large super funds, providing updates as to where the ATO are at with Tax Risk Management, Foreign Income Tax Offsets, and the re-write of Taxation Ruling 93/17. We'll also be discussing some key of the key superannuation reforms coming out of the recent Budget and election. And somehow we are going to fit this all in within an hour!”

Designed to provide an overview on various legislative, ATO and other tax-related developments affecting the superannuation industry, Brad noted “As we are not doing a deep dive on one issue in particular, what we hope to do is provide the 'need to know' information, and also some practical perspectives on what it means and how to address each item.”

Asked about his predictions for the new financial year, Brad said “Get ready for lots of changes. The superannuation industry should really get on the front foot with what has been proposed.”

“We hope to provoke discussion on these issues, where delegates can bring their thoughts and perspectives to the table. We can all learn a lot from each other, and the tax professionals within the superannuation industry in particular are very good at collaborating for the greater good.” Brad said.

Looking at the conference more broadly, Brad said “It really is the showcase event for superannuation tax professionals to connect with each other and to discuss current technical issues and broader tax policies. No other conference has same level of in-depth analysis. At the same time, I know that folk in the superannuation industry who are not necessarily tax experts can also attend to expand their learning, and it is credit to the Institute and the presenters that such a cross-section can be catered to.” 

Personally, Brad tells us “I returned to EY in January this year after a 2 year hiatus. Previously I had been at EY for 16 years from 1998 to 2014 so it was a bit of a “homecoming”. Speaking of home, I am married with 4 children aged from 1 to 8. Yes, it’s a lot of work (especially for my dear wife who is a star). And as we live in Geelong, we are all Cats fans.”

The 2016 National Superannuation Conference takes place 25-26 August 2016 at Crown Conference Hall, Melbourne. The premier event for tax specialists within the superannuation industry, it uniquely deals with the tax issues affecting both the large fund and self-managed superannuation fund (SMSF) sectors. Find out more

2016 National GST Intensive

For a somewhat ‘simple’ tax, GST continues to surprise many practitioners with its increasing complexity. Now in its 16th year, GST has grown up – and perhaps grown out – of its initial mandate to provide states with a stable source of revenue. 

As Australia’s income tax revenue base declines, it is no surprise the government is turning to indirect taxes to save the day. More than ever, talks of GST reform are high on the cards. Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull might have pushed back on a GST hike for now, but who knows what the future will bring. Join us at the 2016 National GST Intensive to explore this deceptively simple tax with not-so-simple problems…

The introduction of GST in July 2000 is arguably one of the most significant tax reforms that Australia has seen. Based on the European Union’s VAT system, the broad-based consumption tax not only removed state reliance on grants from the government, it also broadened the tax base of Australia whilst collecting billions of dollars for the economy.

Sixteen years on, the state of GST is again under the political microscope. Australia has one of the world’s lowest GST rates in the world, with the OECD average GST standard rate at 19.1%. Earlier this year, the Turnbull government entertained a possible increase to GST but backed out due to Treasury’s findings that an increase to 15% would only deliver ‘negligible’ economic growth gains.

GST hike takes one

Lower income earners breathed a sigh of relief as plans to raise the GST fell through. However, the reach of GST extends past households to state, federal and the international arena, affecting case law, legislation and rulings.

Keynote speaker The Hon Justice Tony Pagone sets the scene for this year’s GST Intensive, looking at the interpretation of the GST Act and the influence of other areas of law such as property law, trust law and company law.

This year’s program covers the fundamentals – supply and entitlement to input tax credits and creditable purpose – the building blocks of the GST regime. David Marks QC (Inns of Court Chambers, Brisbane), Kevin O’Rourke (Deloitte) and Tony Slater QC will cover those issues against legislation and landmark case law. Other experts from government, industry and tax professions will also touch on the basic building blocks of GST as well as dive into the tricky GST issues that arise from the financial services and property industries.

In addition, Rod Dunn, CTA (ATO), Craig Klapdor, CTA (CBA) and Nick Kallinikios, CTA (KPMG) will explore current topical issues impacting the financial services industry. Questions relating to bitcoin, ACAs and the input taxed treatment of ATM services will be discussed. And on a tax administration front, Gina Lazanas, CTA (Balazs Lazanas Welch), John Gleeson (ATO) and Rebecca Smith (ATO) will highlight changes to the ATO’s public advice and guidance product, emerging issues with the Commissioner’s private rulings regime and safe harbours.

The program will finish off with a moderated, interactive session involving two competing panels of speakers addressing tough questions from attendees and the moderator, Geoff Mann, CTA (Ashurst).

GST goes cross-border

With the ongoing changes around the globe on cross-border transactions both in the B2B and B2C space, other complexities and international developments arise. How are other jurisdictions taxing cross-border transactions? What is Australia doing and how do our changes compare to other jurisdictions? What exactly is the GST reform in relation to the cross-border sale of goods to consumers? Suzanne Kneen, CTA (PwC) and Josephine Drum (ATO) will address those burning issues.

A GST for the future…

How well placed is the GST law to deal with disruptive technologies? As Australia moves into the future, the advancement of technology will only bring more challenges to GST. Jeremy Geale, CTA (ATO) and Andrew Sommer, CTA (Clayton Utz) will discuss the challenges in making the existing law work for technological innovation, the administrative and policy responses and how technology affects the practical operation of the law.

Join us at The Tax Institute’s 2016 National GST Intensive to learn more and dig deeper into the complexities of this inevitable tax and economic reform just waiting to happen.

The Intensive takes place 8-9 September 2016, at Four Points by Sheraton Sydney, Darling Harbour. 12.5 CPD hours and 22 fantastic speakers across 11 sessions and a workshop over two days. Find out more

Tuesday, 12 July 2016

Life Insurance, Estate and Succession Planning – Feast or famine for the tax man

Jeffrey Scott is the Senior Manager, Product Development, Life Insurance at BT Financial Group. With 25 years’ experience in the financial services industry, he is a regular media commentator on the topics of taxation, insurance, superannuation and finance. He also created the first terminal illness benefit for life insurance products in Australia, helped develop lump sum income protection benefits and introduced full replacement (100%) cover for loss of income. He is currently completing his PhD in Taxation and Business Law at UNSW.

We spoke to Jeffrey about the upcoming 13th Annual Estate & Business Succession Planning day, and his session ‘Life Insurance, Estate and Succession Planning – Feast or famine for the tax man’.

Affiliated with The Tax Institute since 2006, Jeffrey told us the Annual Estate & Business Succession Planning day “is an opportunity to learn from the best taxation practitioners in Australia in the areas of estate planning and business succession planning. More broadly to the taxation profession, the conference is an opportunity to explore the latest case studies, legislation, and court decisions that will assist taxation practitioners in providing the best solutions for their customers/clients”.

Jeffrey’s session examines using life insurance as an estate planning and succession planning funding mechanism. It looks at the potential tax implications of various funding structures and the implications on beneficiaries, using insurance to fund buy sell agreements, how buy sell agreements can be structured, as well as key person insurance and tax implications.

He said, delegates “will take away some key tips and tricks, namely; document EVERYTHING. Lack of appropriate documentation can have adverse taxation implications for any SME. Also, life insurance is the most cost effective and appropriate business succession funding mechanism if the worst happens and someone tragically suffers a permanent disablement or death.”

“As most SME clients are too busy working in their respective businesses, my session will assist the delegates in raising awareness with their clients of the importance of planning for their inevitable exit from their business, either via retirement, buy-out, death or disablement” he said.

Jeffrey told us he will also cover “Whether or not using a SMSF to fund business succession arrangements is an appropriate strategy", hinting that "It’s not”.

Aside from being a regular presenter at conferences and seminars, Jeffrey mentioned he spends what spare time has “Completing my PhD thesis in Taxation and Business Law, and refereeing the odd ice hockey match - something that’s still in my blood as a Canadian".

The 13th Annual Estate & Business Succession Planning takes place 4 August 2016 at the Sofitel Sydney Wentworth. Find out more.

Super-sized issues: 2016 National Superannuation Conference

It has been a supercharged year for superannuation. And we’re only just past the halfway mark. Post-Budget, post-election and a post-mortem of Turnbull's lifetime $500,000 limit on post-tax super contributions later; superannuation is still the talk of town. Join us at The Tax Institute’s 2016 National Superannuation Conference in August to hear about all the changes. By that stage, our (super) slim majority government might have even begun to guide us through reform… 

Superannuation has been a bit of a regular on the political red carpet recently. Stepping out in its $2 trillion outfit, it has been labelled by many as the culprit of the Turnbull government’s election misfortune. Superannuation changes announced on Budget night – in particular, the lifetime $500,000 limit on post-tax super contributions – have managed to rock the confidence of Australians and cause a civil war within the Coalition.

Just over a week out from the election, it seems the government is still hung up on super. Bad joke aside, this $2 trillion industry is anything but a laughing matter. Malcolm Turnbull might have claimed victory after Opposition Leader Bill Shorten conceded defeat but his mandate to tighten tax concessions and cap the total amount that people can have in their retirement accounts faces a hostile future. Who knows what the government will decide, but one thing’s for sure – superannuation will continue to figure prominently in almost every government consultation in relation to the economy, the financial system and tax reform.

Invested in super

It’s clear from this year’s knife-edge election that superannuation dominates Australia’s financial services industry. Large funds and self-managed super funds (SMSFs) contribute to billions of dollars in assets. The size of the industry is forecasted to grow, affecting the strategies and day-to-day operations of regulators and practitioners from the tax, legal, accounting and financial services fields. SMSFs alone continue to be the fastest growing segment of the superannuation industry and with the rise of technology, the sky really is the limit for the future.

With a raft of new proposals and the Australian economy deeply invested in super, it’s no surprise that these measures are the cause of divisive debates. How does this confused state of play affect Australians?

For investors and superannuants, the political and legislative limbo hinders confidence. For advisers, it makes it difficult to provide advice to their clients. It is likely that even with a majority government, implementation of superannuation measures will likely be delayed in the absence of legislation.

Super-sized issues

Super-sized super issues will continue to plague the Coalition. The government’s mandate is likely now to be centred on Budget repair rather than Budget implementation.

The main pain points from the Budget that advisers should look out for include (amongst other measures) the $1.6 million cap on the total amount of super that can be transferred into a tax-free retirement account, the reduction of the annual cap on concessional contributions to $25,000 for everyone and the Div 293 tax income threshold reduction from $300,000 to $250,000.

But perhaps the most controversial of the changes is the lifetime $500,000 cap on non-concessional super contributions (NCC), which took effect on Budget night itself. Backdated to 1 July 2007, some argue the measures are prospective, some argue that they are retrospective. More divisiveness and more uncertainty…

Advisers advising… what exactly?

So what’s next? How will the superannuation concessions announced on Budget night play out? Which policies will actually see light of day? How will changes affect investors, retirees and tax specialists?

This year’s National Superannuation Conference really has come at a pivotal time. Sessions are designed to cover issues related to large super funds as well as to SMSFs. Experts from both sides will tie in existing superannuation issues with new considerations arising out of proposed tax changes. Delegates practising in large funds as well as SMSFs can expect to hear the latest on how the outcome of the election will impact their practice.

Tax reform: are we there yet?

With all the political uncertainty going on, tax reform continues to be high on all major parties’ agendas to ensure the superannuation system is sustainable by reducing the extent it can be used for tax minimisation and estate planning. Chris Richardson (Deloitte Access Economics) will kick this year’s program off with the golden question about tax reform: are we there yet?

Drilling down to large funds, James O’Halloran, Deputy Commissioner, Superannuation (ATO) will shed light on the ATO’s perspective on present issues for large superannuation funds in both member taxes and reporting obligations and income tax. As a contrast, Kasey Macfarlane, Assistant Commissioner, SMSFs (ATO) will provide an update on present issues for SMSFs, including ATO insights and perspectives about key aspects of SMSF regulation and tax administration.

Current tax issues relating to defined benefit funds will be presented by Shayne Carter, CTA (Deloitte) and Phil Broderick, CTA (Sladen Legal) will speak on SMSFs, dividend stripping and dividend washing arrangements – issues that have been on the ATO’s radar in recent years.

The current state of play for both concessional and non-concessional contributions will also be discussed by Jemma Sanderson, CTA (Cooper Partners), who will address the issue of excess contributions. Brad Ivens (EY) and Philip Witherow, CTA (CBus) will also draw from the current climate and state of affairs to discuss emerging issues in superannuation due to other tax-related developments, such as the new AMIT regime and BEPs.

Stephen Callahan (KPMG) and John Edstein (REST) will also host a trustee/director workshop in light of ATO guidance on tax risk management roles and responsibilities of directors versus management.

This year’s conference will also showcase sessions with an international flavour. Roy Berg (Moodys Gartner Tax Law LLP) and Marsha-Laine Dungog (Moodys Gartner Tax Law LLP) will speak on current trends in the US tax treatment of Australian superannuation funds and its implications for US citizens and Australian residents with US tax reporting obligations will be explored. 


All up, a supercharged program! (Pun completely intended)

Like it or not, super big changes are on the way for superannuation. It has certainly been a volatile year. Tax and financial advisers are left with more questions than answers as everything hangs in limbo whilst policies are shelved as quickly as they were made. Join us and all the high calibre speakers at The Tax Institute’s 2016 National Superannuation Conference to find out more.

The 2016 National Superannuation Conference takes place 25-26 August at Crown Conference Hall, Melbourne. Including 12 CPD hours, choose from 12 sessions over two days and two streams (Large Fund and Self-Managed Superannuation Funds). The conference has been accredited by the SMSF Association and the Financial Planners Association. Find out more.

Monday, 4 July 2016

Trusts and Trust Losses – Everything You Need to Know – The 2016 Queensland Tax Forum

Damian O'Connor, CTA, is the Managing Principal of the specialist taxation firm Tax + Law. Here he tells us a little more about himself, and the session he is co-presenting with Paul Banister, CTA at the 2016 Queensland Tax Forum; 'Trusts and Trust Losses – Everything You Need to Know'.

“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”, Damian told us.

Asked what attendees can expect to learn from his session with Paul, he said "Often the tax consequences arising from discretionary trust dealings can depend on trust law considerations. This session will explore some of those trust law issues, with a focus on some major cases over the last 10 years".

Common SME structures, too often trusts are used incorrectly or are assumed to be something they are not. Co-presented with Paul Banister, CTA (Grant Thornton), the session will be delivered from two perspectives, looking at what should be included in a trust deed, as well as important trust tax law cases, and what they mean in practice. Damian and Paul will also discuss resettlements, variations and vesting, tax accounting for trusts and what should be considered in family trust and interposed entity elections.

Damian said "Given the wealth held in discretionary trusts by clients, and the estate planning and business succession challenges we face as professional advisers, we need an understanding of some of the trust law issues that are being considered by the courts. This session will provide a practical framework for navigating some of these complexities when clients need practical advice about dealing with discretionary trusts".

Damian has been a Fellow member of The Tax Institute since 2003, progressing to Chartered Tax Adviser (CTA) status, attending his first Institute events “way back in the last century”. Asked which other sessions he was looking forward to at the Forum, he said “The session on Division 7A and UPEs should be very interesting, as Division 7A is an ongoing challenge for professional advisers”.

As for a life outside of tax, Damian replied "I enjoy getting to the football when I am in Melbourne, taking in some Queensland sunshine when I get the chance and to the great embarrassment of my wife Jackie, I have been learning to play the Ukulele”.

The 2016 Queensland Tax Forum takes place 18-19 August at the Brisbane Marriott Hotel. Choose from 28 sessions over two days and a range of flexible ticket options with up to 13.5 CPD hours on offer. 
Find out more.

Change is the only constant - The 2016 Queensland Tax Forum

The theme of this year’s Queensland Tax Forum reflects the fact that the economies, here in Queensland, Australia-wide and globally are in transition. While actual “tax reform” seems a long way off, we find ourselves in interesting times while the way our clients, be they SMEs or Corporate, do business is changing.

Here we speak to four presenters from 2016’s Forum on what to expect from their sessions, on career and team management, M&A transactions and interacting with the ATO, tax transparency, and state taxes.

Your career – Maximising potential in a changing environment
Stuart Cameron, CTA, has been with Suncorp since 1998, and affiliated with The Tax Institute since 1993. Stuart will take part in a panel discussion, facilitated by Praty Patel, CTA, and featuring Andrew Lowe, CTA (Aurizon Holdings), Janet McLeod (The WRAP Group), and Linda Tapiolas, CTA (Cooper Grace Ward Lawyers). The panel will discuss the need for businesses and tax professionals to adapt to survive, and how to do so in a way that maximises individual potential and that of our teams.

Stuart tells us that "After a 15 year period as a corporate tax specialist, I expanded my horizons to include capital markets, which lead to sufficient experience and recognition to move into broader finance and financial risk roles".

The session will look at investing in your career and those of your team for a seat at the table, and tips for managing teams for peak performance. It will also look at growing the business – understanding the business acumen and drivers, creating value and impacts on strategy. Here Stuart says "Having been a client of tax practices for 18 years, I bring the client’s perspective", and that the session will "provide insights into the benefits of a tax-based career, and a pragmatic, commercial approach".

M&A transactions: Managing the big issues and working with the ATO
Brendon Lamers, ATI, is a Partner at KPMG working in the Infrastructure and Property Tax team. He has over 15 years’ experience in providing taxation advice to a variety of financial institutions, foreign pension funds, infrastructure arrangers as well as to large domestic and multinational corporate clients.

Brendon will join Peter Maher of the ATO to present ‘How to Approach A Transaction – Interacting with the ATO’.

Every M&A transaction involves a balance of properly managing the big issues and working with the ATO to deliver appropriate outcomes. The increasing 'real time' involvement of the ATO in transactions means that engaging with them appropriately is even more crucial. Brendon and Peter will look at issues involved in doing so from both sides of the transaction, discussing corporate reorganisations as part of a transaction, specific issues arising out of the nature of investors, and the ATO’s views on topical transaction issues like MITs and approach to transaction management, including FIRB.

Brendon tells us his focus in the session will be around "how you can practically bring a transaction to a financial close in the volatile regulatory environment – whilst maintaining your, and your client’s, sanity".

Tax transparency is here to stay
Pressure on Australian corporates to respond to the demand for tax transparency is set to increase over the coming years. Co-presenting the session ‘Tax Transparency is Here to Stay’ with Ann-Maree Wolff, CTA, Board of Taxation, is Andrew Porter; current chair of the G100, the peak body for CFOs, and CFO of Australia’s largest listed investment company.

Their session considers tax transparency in Australia and practical aspects related to strategy and compliance. Asked what attendees should expect to learn, Andrew said "A corporate approach to voluntary tax transparency, and an understanding of the key drivers for corporates in such an approach".

Andrew and Ann-Maree will look at how the debate around transparency in Australia has been shaped by global factors, as well as emerging tax transparency initiatives within the Australian framework. They will discuss the proposed Tax Transparency Code, and look at the practical issues when an organisation is building its response to the changing tax transparency environment.

Asked which other sessions he was looking forward to, Andrew mentioned “[Daryl Conroy, of Suncorp Bank’s] ‘Economic Insight’, as well as ‘Tax Issues For Distressed Times’ [with Deloitte’s Teresa Dyson, CTA and Evan Last, CTA]”

State Taxes
With an economy in transition, the fiscal outlook for Queensland requires a careful review of Queensland’s revenue law and tax administration policy including areas for state revenue law reform and what this means practically for taxpayers transacting in Queensland.

Harry Lakis, CTA, is a Barrister. After 22 years practising as a solicitor and partner in national law firms, he commenced at the Queensland Bar in 2005. His practice includes a particular focus on Australia-wide state taxes and duties, as well as direct and indirect federal taxes.

Now into his fourth decade as a tax practitioner, Harry brings his considerable experience to our panel discussion on State Taxes on day two of the Forum, joining Sarah Blakelock, CTA (KPMG), Andrew Cornish, CTA (BHP Billiton) and James Petterson, ATI (Deloitte).

The panel will review Queensland’s revenue law and tax administration policy, including areas for state revenue law reform, and what this means practically for taxpayers transacting in Queensland.

Harry tells us that attendees will "hear about current tax administration policy and experience, and discover how to identify administrative and legislative pitfalls, specifically looking at managing transactional tax risk in the context of state taxes, a taxpayer’s rights to challenge decisions made by the Commissioner of State Revenue, practical tools taxpayers can employ to navigate commercial challenges, as well as possible opportunities for state tax policy reform and how such reform could drive investment in a rapidly transitioning state economy."

The 2016 Queensland Tax Forum takes place 18-19 August at the Brisbane Marriott Hotel. Choose from 28 sessions over two days and a range of flexible ticket options with up to 13.5 CPD hours on offer. Find out more.

Friday, 1 July 2016

Alternate Dispute Resolution and Transfer Pricing - 49th Western Australian Convention

We spoke to Dr Niv Tadmore, CTA, a Tax Partner at Clayton Utz, who joins Andrew Orme of the Australian Taxation Office, about the session ‘Alternate Dispute Resolution and Transfer Pricing’, at the 49th Western Australian Convention in August.

Niv’s main areas of practice are in the public groups and international space, in particular large-scale projects, energy and resources, transfer pricing, alternative dispute resolution and ATO engagement.

In their session Niv and Andrew will look at the practical issues that arise when resolving transfer pricing disputes in the context of large-scale and complex transactions.

He pointed out “Some of the current issues facing practitioners include the funding and financing in transfer pricing arrangements. From the more ‘vanilla’ debt arrangements to the more complex finance and currency derivatives present new challenges in transfer pricing.”

Looking at how transfer pricing disputes interact with the Independent Review Function, Niv and Andrew’s session will also look at the role for ADR processes in working through issues.

Niv also pointed out that “The ATO have higher expectations of taxpayers - this manifests in the scope of the ATO's reviews which will often consider a taxpayer's Australian and global operations. It can also impact the timing and comprehensiveness of information requests by the ATO. Taxpayers and their advisors sometimes need to have good discussions with the ATO about scope and timing.”

The session will also provide an update on recent ATO consultation on transfer pricing dispute resolution options which both Andrew and Niv have both been involved in. Niv notes “The ATO seems increasingly confident in transfer pricing disputes, especially following the decision in Chevron and Orica, and in addition the ATO is of the view that Division 815B appears to give the ATO new and / or broader powers.” 1

Niv and Andrew will also present during the panel session ‘The Life Cycle of a Transaction in the Era of Constructive Engagement’, alongside Geofrey Fooks (Wesfarmers) and Jeremy Hirschhorn, CTA (ATO).

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.

1 Chevron Australia Holdings Pty Ltd v COT (No 4) [2015] FCA 1092. Orica Limited v Commissioner of Taxation [2015] FCA 1399.