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Showing posts from 2017

Anna Bligh & Karen Payne to review changes in financial services – 2018 Financial Services Taxation Conference

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For the past 15 years, leaders from across the financial services sector have kicked off each new year at The Tax Institute’s Financial Services Taxation Conference. The 2018 event in February will prove to be no different, with prominent figures setting the agenda and grappling with the big issues.

The program will feature a keynote address from Anna Bligh AC, Chief Executive Officer of the Australian Bankers’ Association and former Premier of Queensland.
Anna will review the legislative and administrative changes proposed or enacted in 2017. From the diverted profits tax to hybrid mismatch rules, she will assess the impact these measures have had on the sector and more broadly. She will also look at the Turnbull government’s bank levy and proposals such as the Corporate Collective Investment Vehicle regime, the introduction of a mandatory disclosure regime, and issues related to transparency.
In addition, Anna will present her view on the effective taxation reforms that could grow …

Latest free technical paper - 'Transfer balance cap and CGT relief'

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Each month, members of The Tax Institute can access a complimentary, recently-published technical paper that provides up-to-date information on a relevant issue for tax professionals.

The most recent paper is Practical solutions to the new super regime – transfer balance cap and CGT relief by Jemma Sanderson CTA.

Jemma is a Director at Cooper Partners Financial Services, heading up their SMSF specialist services. She provides strategic advice on SMSFs, estate planning and wealth management to clients, as well as technical support to accounting, legal and financial planning groups.

Jemma has over 17 years’ experience in developing complex strategies for high net worth clients. She is a regular presenter on superannuation and SMSFs for The Tax Institute and other professional bodies across Australia. She is also the author of the popular SMSF Guide published by The Tax Institute, currently in its 8th edition, and is the author and convenor of The Tax Institute’s Graduate Diploma of App…

Trusts: ATO Tax Avoidance Taskforce perspective – 2017 SA Trusts Day

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Despite relative legislative stability in recent times, trusts practitioners are still often challenged by the complexities inherent in the application of rigid taxation laws against trusts.

The continued focus of the ATO and its Tax Avoidance Taskforce means advisers must be diligent, vigilant and aware of potentially risky areas that the ATO is looking at.

We spoke with Simon Haines FTI, a Senior Tax Counsel (Assistant Commissioner) in the ATO’s Tax Counsel Network, about the ATO’s approach and his upcoming session at the 2017 SA Trusts Day on 1 December 2017.

Simon told us that “the Taskforce continues to investigate risky arrangements involving the use of trusts for tax avoidance and evasion. This work started after the 2013–14 Budget with the Trusts Taskforce, and is now continuing under the operational umbrella of the Tax Avoidance Taskforce – Trusts.

"To support this work, we’re looking to provide the tax profession (and wider community) with up-to-date information about …

GST coming for your online cart – Australia’s proposed tax changes to low-value imports

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Written by Geoff Mann, Partner & Elke Bremner, Senior Associate – Ashurst*

Stock up on your Nike running shoes, your Kate Spade handbags and your Stephen King novels now as, come 1 July 2018, you may be paying an additional 10%.

As part of the 2016/17 Federal Budget the Treasurer, The Hon Scott Morrison, announced that the Goods and Services Tax (GST) will be extended to low-value goods imported by consumers. The announcement followed the Government's 2015/16 Federal Budget measure of broadening the GST base to impose GST on acquisitions of intangible supplies and digital products where the recipient of the supply is an Australian-based consumer.  
Under the current law, no GST is payable on the purchase of goods from a non-resident online retailer unless the value of those goods exceeds A$1,000. Where the value exceeds A$1,000, the customer will be required to pay the GST on the purchase to the Australian Border Force before the package will be released for delivery. Under th…

Member profile – Rosemary Campbell

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Rosemary Campbell CTA is Director of Taxation and Business Services with Merit Partners, Chartered Accountants, in Darwin. She has over 29 years’ experience providing advice on federal and state taxation, as well as financial and business matters.

We spoke with Rosemary about her career and her life.

Member’s name Rosemary Campbell CTA

Company Merit Partners Pty Ltd

State Northern Territory

Member since 1992

Areas of specialty Income tax advice to SMEs, CGT concessions and succession planning.

How did you end up in tax? My career started in Townsville with my first job as a graduate accountant.

A subsequent move to Darwin and employment with a 'Big 4' firm saw the need to specialise for career advancement.

I’ve never regretted the move to specialise in tax, as it is constantly changing and continues to provide challenges. It's satisfying to know that you have helped a client navigate the complexities of tax advice so they are able to make an informed decision as to the be…

The 2017 great debate

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written by Stephanie Caredes CTA *


On 16 August 2017, The Tax Institute held the 2017 great debate on the Australian tax system. This was a joint initiative of The Tax Institute and the Australian Tax Research Foundation.

The thought leader behind the debate was Senior Tax Counsel, Robert Deutsch. He selected key issues in our tax system and gathered tax professionals who are experts in their field to debate the merits of the following:
whether the current list of CGT events should be removed and replaced with a more coherent, conceptually based systemwhat the new rules could look like if all work-related deductions were abolished and provision was made for a one-off $1,000 annual deductionwhat a simplified set of residency rules could look like for individuals and companies if the current rules were removedwhat new rules could replace the CGT discount and negative gearingchanging the imputation system for a different modelwhether the tax advantages for stapled securities should be end…

Do your unconscious gender biases get in the way of decision-making?

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Gender equality in the tax profession has received a lot of attention lately. And rightly so. The percentage of women practising in tax increases each year, and more women aspire to be emerging thought leaders.

However, whilst many men and women advocate for women in the profession, why are there still so few women in leadership positions? The answer might lie in the fact that we all practise something called the unconscious gender bias.

Unconscious gender biases are the unwitting, implicit associations of men and women that we harbour in our subconscious minds that affect our everyday actions and decision-making. For example, when ‘Partner at a big firm’ is mentioned, do you picture a male or female leader? Your answer depends on your unconscious gender bias and becomes problematic when it negatively affects your ability to be inclusive and supportive of female leaders in the workplace.

“Current measures aimed at addressing gender bias in the tax and transfer system are arguably not…

2016 duces share their experience of learning with The Tax Institute

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Here at The Tax Institute, we’ve always been confident about the quality and value of our education programs. For additional feedback, we spoke with two of our highest-performing students from study period 3, 2016.


Kelly Venhuizen
Kelly Venhuizen is a Manager with the family and business advisory firm Chapman Eastway in Sydney. She was Dux in our CTA2B Advanced subject.

We asked Kelly about her career to date.

“I have spent most of my career on the south coast,” she said. “However, I moved to Sydney three years ago to further my career and education. During my time in Sydney, I worked at a ‘big four’ accounting firm, but I recently accepted a position at a boutique firm.”

“My focus has been on business services and providing relevant and practical advice to clients is at the forefront of my values.”

Kelly told us she enrolled in CTA2B Advanced because “an adviser’s education is never complete.”

“I have the attitude that we should always be extending and refining our knowledge to prov…

Transitioning a company for wind-down or exit – 2017 WA Tax Intensive

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Preparing a company for the exit of the current owners or a winding-down presents a unique set of challenges.

Transferring the company or its business assets to new ownership often means that financial relationships need to be unwound or cleared at either or both the company and shareholder level.
From forgiving debts and dealing with shareholder loan accounts to decisions on liquidation versus capital reduction or share buy backs, there are also complexities with ss 45A, 45B, and 177EA. In addition, advisers need to ensure they've considered the debt equity rules, pre and post CGT shareholdings and how any value will be extracted using the small business CGT concessions.
Chris Wookey CTA is a Principal in the tax consulting division of Deloitte Private in Melbourne. At the 2017 WA Tax Intensive in November this year he presented ‘Transitioning a company for wind-down or exit’, a two-part session covering the key tax issues arising when a company is wound down or when certain shareho…

Difficult structures made easy (or at least slightly less difficult) – 2017 WA Tax Intensive

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Advisers working with clients who are planning for the future usually begin with the end in mind, and with a focus on the 'planned end' such as a trade sale or family transfer.

Planning for the unplanned needs to be front of mind, incorporating a degree of flexibility and allowing for restructuring down the line as events arise or circumstances change.
“Clients may want or need to restructure for a range of reasons”, says Linda Tapiolas CTA, a Partner with Cooper Grace Ward Lawyers’ commercial team.

“There is also a range of different roll-overs and CGT concessions which may be available to them when they choose to do so, each of which has a number of potential particular traps associated with them.”
Linda will present the session, ‘Dealing with Difficult Structures’, at the upcoming WA Tax Intensive.

We spoke to her about her presentation.
Looking at how advisers can work with a difficult structure, and the care that needs to be taken during the lifetime of a structure, with the en…

Realising the potential of women in the tax profession – Women in Tax National Congress

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The influence of women is growing across the traditionally male-dominated professions of tax, accounting and law. Yet we still see too few women in leadership positions.
The inaugural Women in Tax National Congress will address this issue. Focused on the unique challenges facing professional women, this new event will feature high-profile presenters from the business world, media, academia and government.
Julie Abdalla FTI, from the National Congress organising committee, said: “It’s important to give a voice to women who are underrepresented in the tax profession. Everyone in the profession, regardless of gender, will benefit if we can realise the potential of female talent that exists in the profession.”
The congress will showcase some of Australia’s most influential leaders, who will offer insights and share their experiences of building a career in a male-dominated profession.
The day begins with a keynote address from one of Australia’s most high-profile female leaders, Emeritus Prof…

Taxing earnings – the great distortion

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written by Robert Deutsch CTA *


Is it just me or are there others out there who find the debate about lowering the corporate tax rate to 27.5% (ultimately to 25%) somewhat perverse in view of the fact that the top marginal tax rate is sitting at almost 50%?

Let’s look at the tax effect on the last $200,000 of taxable income of each of three fictitious taxpayers:

News Today Pty Ltd – the owner of an outer-Melbourne newsagencyBob Build – a respected architectAmy Land – a real estate investor.
News Today derives taxable income of $200,000. Assuming it is accepted that it carries on a business (1) and its turnover is less than $10m, it qualifies for the reduced corporate tax rate of 27.5%. This would give rise to tax of $55,000.

Bob Build earns $380,000 in 2016-17 in taxable income and will consequently pay tax on the top $200,000 of $94,000 (inclusive of the Medicare levy).

Amy Land purchased real estate in Sydney’s inner west for $1m in May 2014 and sells it in August 2016 for $1.2m. Tax …

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 …