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Showing posts from 2017

Our partnership with LexisNexis is an investment in your future

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The tax profession is always evolving. Likewise, the tools you need to do your job are continuously changing.

You, our members, have told us that something you value is the opportunity to contribute to the design and development of the tools you use daily in your work, so that the finished product closely matches your needs.

Our business alliance program is all about delivering value to you, through our relationships with other providers and through special offers, so the Institute and its members can help shape the development and delivery of products and services.

Institute membership gives tax practitioners the ability to give back to the profession: to offer time, share experiences and provide unique, relevant insights into how members work today, and how they anticipate they’ll work in the future.

Our relationship with LexisNexis demonstrates the benefits of this unique approach.


A quick look back

In 2014 LexisNexis and The Tax Institute ran a workshop to explore the content needs of t…

Navigating the digital landscape: a plan for today's tax professional – 2017 SME Symposium

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“The past is a foreign country: they do things differently there." 

But what about the future? 

Just as your role today has changed markedly from what it was ten years ago, the tax professional of the future undoubtedly will be even more different. And preparing for this eventuality is no longer something that SME firms can put off.

Simply being a subject matter expert may not be enough in the practice and professional landscape of the increasingly-near future. The successful practitioner will be someone who can navigate and capitalise on the ever-changing technology landscape to benefit their clients and practice.
Alongside sessions that will deliver strong tax technical content, the program of this year’s SME Symposium has expanded to look at how the tax practice of the future will operate. 

Opening with a look at the role of a tax professional and asking if a new model is needed, Michael Cox (PwC) will then dive into how practitioners can navigate the new digital landscape they fi…

Succession planning for family trusts – the WA Tax Intensive

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With seemingly ever-increasing levels of wealth held in family trusts, advisers need to be aware of succession planning strategies for assets held in a trust environment.

Various options are available to ensure that the control of family trusts passes as your clients intend and desire. But they're not without complexity.

At the upcoming WA Tax Intensive, Matthew Burgess CTA will look at some of the common strategies practitioners can implement. He will take a deep dive into the fundamental issues that need to be considered whenever assisting with the hand over of control of a family trust. 

Matthew founded View Legal, a specialist national tax and estate planning firm, in 2014. Before this he was a lawyer and partner at a leading independent firm.

We spoke with Matthew about what to expect from his session in Perth – ‘Succession planning for family trusts’.

“I’m looking to present an interactive-style session," Matthew said. "The ‘deep dive’ that we’ll take looks at the key…

Reflections on the Australian tax system

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written by Matthew Pawson CTA*


I take the opportunity of the September President’s report to offer some reflections on the current state of the Australian tax system. To set the scene, however, I start with an adaptation of material recently penned by Canadian Tax Foundation Executive Director and CEO, Heather Evans (even though, obviously, her concern and audience is Canada): (1)

“The tax system is crucially important to economic growth in [Australia]. It supports the development of an equitable society and the redistribution of income to help provide for [Australians] who need assistance. It is entirely appropriate for our government to expect all taxpayers to be compliant with the law and to pay, on a timely basis, the amount of tax that they owe [or at least their fair share]. However, it is equally appropriate for all taxpayers to expect fair treatment under our tax laws, regardless of their income or level of wealth. Targeting certain segments of the taxpayer population on the ba…

Avoiding avoidance – restructuring away from Division 7A

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Practitioners and their clients continue to wade through the minefield that is Division 7A. Traps and complications can surprise even the wariest of advisers, with serious impacts for the client and their relationship with their adviser.

From the newly released PCG 2017/13 (covering how to deal with UPE’s under sub-trust arrangements maturing in the 2017 and 2018 income years) to the potential application of subdivision EA, the rules around Division 7A are complex and intersect with many other areas of tax legislation.

We recently spoke with Ken Schurgott CTA (Life), Director of Schurgott & Co Lawyers and past National President of The Tax Institute, about Division 7A and the restructuring of entity arrangements. This is the subject of his upcoming session at the Division 7A Day in Perth at the end of October. 

Ken told us that “Division 7A is a boon for advisers, but the detail is treacherous when it comes to structuring around the provisions. That is where we will be going in the …

Rewarding SME employees: alternatives and considerations – 2017 SA Tax Intensive

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Private companies are increasingly turning to equity incentive plans in lieu of cash remuneration to attract and retain key employees.

These incentive plans can often be complex to implement and operate, with legal, accounting and administrative implications that need to be considered.

Ranging from the ‘vanilla’ to premium-priced and purchased-option schemes, each comes with a unique set of benefits and potential traps.

Division 7A continues to cause headaches for advisers, and fringe benefits tax consequences are always lurking in the background. There are also a number of recent start-up concessions to be aware of.

At the upcoming South Australian Tax Intensive, EY will facilitate a workshop on ‘Rewarding your employees: what are the alternatives and considerations from an SME perspective?' It will deep-dive into some of the common and not-so-common issues that SME businesses and their advisers may face.

Led by Ben Turner FTI, a Senior Manager in EY’s People Advisory Services t…

How to succeed in the tax profession

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written by Adam Woodward *


It takes a special type of person, with specific skills and attributes, to thrive as a tax professional in today’s dynamic business environment.
A career in tax can be challenging, yet ultimately fulfilling.
An effective tax adviser listens to clients, digests their facts and opinions, and then provides technically accurate, commercially prudent advice.
In this context, developing expertise in analysis and communication is critical. In fact, a career in tax involves a lifetime of learning vital skills that can be used in all aspects of life.

The skills you’ll need The primary skills required to succeed in tax include the ability to identify pragmatic solutions to complex problems, and to clearly articulate these solutions to clients.
Working in tax is a process. First, you have to understand the problem. You then research and analyse relevant tax laws. Finally, you develop and present accurate solutions.
Strong technical skills and a process-driven mindset a…

Member profile - Peter Madden

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Peter Madden is a partner and national leader, international tax, with KPMG in Sydney and is The Tax Institute’s 2017 Chartered Tax Adviser of the Year.

We asked Peter about his career and life.

Member’s name Peter Madden CTA

Company KPMG

State New South Wales

Member since 1983

What initially led you to a career in tax? I studied commerce and law at the University of New South Wales and it was fortuitous that Peat Marwick at the time offered careers in specialist tax. This required both my legal training and my accounting training, so I thought it was a good combination.

I joined the tax division of Peat Marwick in 1983. It was probably the leading tax practice at a time when the accounting firms were just beginning to do more tax work. That’s where I’ve stayed, with Peat Marwick evolving into KPMG, although tax has changed since then, as have the roles.

The basics are the same, but the focus areas have changed quite dramatically over 34 years.

What do you enjoy most about your work …

Residency for companies and trusts post-Bywater – 5th Victorian Annual Tax Forum

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Since the High Court handed down its decision in Bywater in late 2016, there has been much debate about the residency status of the offshore entities of Australian residents.
Dr Julianne Jaques CTA was counsel for the Commissioner in the Bywater matter from the seven-week trial at first instance through to the High Court appeal. She notes that “there are mixed views about the impact of Bywater – whether it changes the test of corporate residency forever, or whether it is an unsurprising decision peculiar to its facts.”
Julianne will be one of the presenters at the upcoming 5th Victorian Annual Tax Forum. Here she tells us a little more about the case and her session at the Forum: ‘Residency for companies and trusts post-Bywater.
As one of nine sessions in the Forum’s dedicated Hot Topics stream, Julianne’s presentation will outline the High Court’s decision in Bywater, as well as covering the status of Esquire Nominees Ltd v FCT (1973) 129 CLR 177 after Bywater; Taxation Ruling 2017/D2…

Investing in the future

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written by Matthew Pawson CTA *


Last month, I had the privilege of attending, with most of my National Council colleagues, the funeral of the late Gordon Cooper AM CTA (Life). I was heartened to hear of the love and commitment Gordon had for his family, and also for wine, cheese and classic cars!

However, as we all know, there was so much more than that to celebrate from the life of Gordon Cooper. One of his greatest passions, and his greatest contributions to the tax profession, was his exceeding generosity as a teacher and mentor to many young tax professionals coming through the system over the course of many years.

In my own work as a lawyer, I am responsible for training and mentoring the graduate lawyers in our firm who are commencing their careers in the law. So I share that vision and passion from first-hand experience. In my view, it is very much incumbent on those of us who are able to provide opportunities for employment, training and mentoring for the next generation of pr…

Fixing women's super – some small steps forward!

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written by Robert Deutsch CTA *


The average superannuation balance of a woman at retirement is estimated to be around a surprisingly low amount of $80,000. This is about half that applicable to a man who, on average, has a balance in the region of $160,000 to $180,000.

The gap is driven by a number of factors which include, in particular:

the lower workforce participation rate of women as compared to mena disproportionate representation of women in part-time and casual employmentthe gender pay gap itselfinterrupted working lives due to, among other matters, having childrenthe disproportionate amount of unpaid caring work undertaken by women.
The problem is most acute for single women who are way behind the superannuation required for a decent retirement and who are currently in their early 50s with no realistic prospect of improving their superannuation balance in the near term. For these women, the prospect in the near future for a reasonable retirement looks bleak indeed.

To add insu…

Trusts & international tax issues – 25th Noosa Tax Intensive

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With more and more SME businesses operating globally and more of us spending periods of our lives living and working abroad, trusts are increasingly impacted by international issues.
The Noosa Tax Intensive, now in its 25th year, this year features a number of sessions that address the issues surrounding trusts and the international issues that arise when they are part of a cross-border structure.

Here we take closer look at three of these sessions and speak with Deloitte's Hannah Soh CTA, who will coordinate the ‘Trusts and international tax issues’ workshop on day one of the Intensive, and William Buck's Craig Barry CTA, one of the workshop’s leaders, about what to expect at the event. 

Following the opening keynote address from Clayton Utz's Allan Blaikie CTA, titled ‘Looking back over 25 years of the Noosa Tax Intensive’, Finlaysons' Michael Butler CTA will presents the session called ‘Trusts – vesting, splitting, cloning and other matters’.

With a number of historical…

Impacts of our ageing population on business succession – SA Estate & Business Succession Planning Day

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Australian’s life expectancy has increased significantly in recent years. While a person in their mid-50s today can expect to live well into their 80s, this has considerable implications for business succession.
Many business owners simply intend to postpone retirement. As a result, business succession often involves structuring a means by which the next generation of leaders (family or otherwise) can work with a leader who wants to ‘cut back’ rather than retire.
The planning issues involved are complex, and having these conversations can be awkward, giving rise as they do to both pre- and post-death considerations.
At the upcoming Estate & Business Succession Planning Day, some of South Australia’s leading advisers and tax specialists will address real-world issues and opportunities, including business sales, valuations, due diligence, superannuation, documenting succession arrangements and more.
Here we speak with Julie Van der Velde CTA (VdV Legal) about her session that opens t…

Uncertainties in our changing tax system – 5th Victorian Annual Tax Forum

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With tax law (both domestic and global) as complex and uncertain as it's ever been, 2017 has also seen tax system administration changing. And what taxpayers and their advisers look for from tax administrators is evolving.

Against this backdrop of constant change, the Annual Tax Forum returns to Victoria in 2017. Now in its 5th year, this event brings together a host of high-profile speakers to present on a broad range of topical issues.

Here we preview some  key sessions and speakers from this year’s program.

The Forum kicks off with a session from Andrew Mills CTA (Life) (ATO), facilitated by Tim Neilson CTA, (Greenwoods & Herbert Smith Freehills), titled ‘The tax administration continuum – “The law was made for man, not man for the law.”'

In this session, Andrew will examine the changing face of tax administration. The inherent risk to a jurisdiction’s tax base has increased dramatically in recent years as the economy becomes more globalised and market reach and suppl…