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Showing posts from May, 2017

Celebrating our volunteer members

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by Matthew Pawson CTA *


At our 32nd National Convention in Adelaide in March 2017, it was my privilege to deliver the opening address to members gathered from all around Australia. Of course, the majority of our members were not able to attend in person. Therefore, I would like to take this opportunity to revisit some of my thoughts from the convention to, hopefully, encourage and inspire all members to become more active by contributing where you can.

The Tax Institute enjoys a uniquely symbiotic relationship with its members. In the complex world of the tax professional, each member needs the Institute and the Institute needs each member. Our greatest assets are the minds, will and enthusiasm of our members. The intellectual property contributed to the Institute by members is second to none in this jurisdiction. Our knowledge value proposition is compelling and the consequential leveraging opportunity is unlimited.

Practical solutions for year-end trust issues

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As tax practitioners prepare for year end, it’s an important time to ensure their clients’ trusts are up to date.
Each year presents new challenges to practitioners advising on trusts, through legislative changes, decisions of the courts or new positions taken by the Australian Taxation Office in administering the law and published either through public rulings and determinations, practice statements as to how officers are to administer the law or, now, the new practical compliance guidelines.
Daniel Smedley CTA is a Principal of Sladen Legal and has commented: ‘There are so many complications in the interaction of tax law and trust law that we, as practitioners, are often drawn to those complex problems and make assumptions about some of the core issues. These core issues often present blind spots in advising clients.’

GST on low value goods

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by Robert Deutsch CTA *
At the time of writing, the Treasury Laws Amendment (GST Low Value Goods) Bill of 2017 currently sits before federal parliament and is likely to be passed at some stage soon.
The Tax Institute has made submissions on the Bill and I attended and gave evidence at the Senate Economics Legislation Committee hearing held on 21 April 2017.
At the hearing, I indicated that the Bill is intended to have the admirable objective of levelling the playing field between local bricks and mortar style retailers and e-traders who are essentially bringing products from overseas to local consumers.
The quite legitimate gripe of the local bricks and mortar retailers has been that there is an unfair competitive advantage in relation to goods of value of less than $1,000 which are imported into the country where no goods and services tax applies as compared to the provision of the same type of product by local retailers where clearly GST is applicable.
The Tax Institute broadly …

$1.6m super transfer balance cap

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by Ben Miller *

With the announcement of the federal Budget on 2 May 2016, superannuation laws regarding pensions were tipped to change. After the ensuing re-election of the Coalition, it can be easy to forget that we have had almost a year to get used to the idea of the transfer balance cap.

The questions surrounding this new legislation have been varied and expansive:

What specifically is the new law, and what are the opportunities for clients and practitioners?What are the issues when a member has more than $1.6m? What are the options when there is more than one member in the fund? How should we deal with succession or estate planning? 
The ability to articulate tax changes to your clients, with examples and practical guidance, is invaluable for any major new law coming into effect.

A different type of tax education

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by Noel Rowland *


Structured education from The Tax Institute fills a gap in the market – with a practical, applied approach that cannot be found elsewhere.
For many years, The Tax Institute provided specialised training and professional development for people who had attained their basic tertiary qualifications, usually in accounting or law, and who were already working in the tax profession. It was an offering that our members valued highly, particularly as its focus was on the practical application of tax knowledge. We eventually realised, however, that key constituents demanded more of us.

First, we were engaging too late with many tax professionals. We didn’t have a relevant, structured education program that could serve the specific needs of young, aspiring practitioners.

Second, tax employers told us that, while higher education in tax was available elsewhere, it didn’t always meet their needs in terms of training employment candidates who could immediately apply the theoretica…

Member profile - Mark Lowis CTA

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Mark Lowis CTA is Special Counsel in the Private Advisory division of Mills Oakley in Brisbane. His areas of specialty include income tax, stamp duty, trusts and succession. He has been a member of The Tax Institute since 2014.

We asked Mark about his life and career.


How did you start in tax?
I started my career as a chartered accountant in a regional North Queensland firm. I was inspired by a number of very ‘hands-on’ accountants who worked hard to ensure that their clients obtained practical outcomes. I got a sense quite early on that taxation was a critical issue for all private businesses, and that they relied heavily on their advisers.

Looking back, I was probably attracted to both the challenge of working in tax and the opportunity to guide private businesses through that complexity.

‘Relevance of tax issues to the FIRB process’ - the National Infrastructure Conference

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Day two of 2017’s National Infrastructure Conference will feature a panel discussion looking at the ‘Relevance of Tax Issues to the Foreign Investment Review Board Process’. 

Covering the process by which FIRB decisions are made, it looks at the interaction and engagement between the ATO and FIRB; key areas of focus from the ATO’s perspective; the impact of Taxpayer Alert TA 2017/1 on FIRB applications; tax conditions – general and special; as well as ATO/FIRB follow-up post-transaction follow-up by the ATO and FIRB.
Michael D’Ascenzo of the Foreign Investment Review Board will be joined on the panel by Vivian Chang, CTA, (Ashurst) who was involved in consultation with the Treasury after the release of the FIRB tax conditions and is a member of the ATO’s Foreign Investment Reforms Working Group, and Peter Maher (Australian Taxation Office), a Director in the ATO’s Public Groups & International area and a member of the ATO’s Infrastructure Team. The session will be facilitated by Wen…

Complimentary technical paper for April - 'I think (I'm a small business), therefore I am. Know your thresholds!'

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.

April’s paper was I think (I’m a small business), therefore I am. Know your thresholds!  by Ross Prosper CTA, Director at Bentleys.

Prosper suggests that business owners need to have a clear understanding of whether or not they can define their enterprise as a ‘small business’ for tax purposes.

Qualifying as a small business can make a significant difference to their tax affairs. It allows various tax rollovers, concessions and exemptions that would otherwise not apply. However, the definition of a small business is complex.

Ultimately, it’s important to review the rules in full, and to have a complete understanding of the business owner’s entire group structure and operations in order to ensure the business meets the definition of a small business.

The purpose of the paper is to ensure that the business…