Cairns and the Convention – a focus on our program for accountants


2017 was a year of significant upheaval for tax and accounting professionals.

2018 will be no different, with new rules, new ATO initiatives, and the always-accelerating rate of technological change creating new opportunities (and new headaches) for most of us.

Against this backdrop, The Tax Institute's 2018 National Convention will feature a wide-ranging program that will cover the latest technical matters, with a strong focus on the international issues shaping Australian business and a close look at the ways the ATO has been – and will be – interacting with organisations.

Designed to be broad in nature, the program will feature the technical tax content that our National Convention has become synonymous with. It will also cover the latest developments that accountants, lawyers and other advisers to business need to know about.

Angela Wood CTA (KPMG)

Helping set the scene for the Convention – which will take place this year in Cairns – we ask how, in a period of near-constant change, you can ensure you’re asking the right questions in your decision-making process?

In his session ‘Harnessing the revolution: what does this mean?’, Dr Baden U’Ren (Bond University) will look at the rapid rate of change across business and the profession, discussing the strategies and tactics that professionals can explore to not only keep pace with them but harness their potential. Dr U'Ren will offer a framework to guide strategic decision-making.

The program will then feature a number of sessions that will examine the realities of the modern business, ranging from practical issues to what-if scenarios, and those issues that may not be on your radar just yet but that are sure to make waves as 2018 progresses.

In the session ‘Corporate governance and directors duties’, Angela Wood CTA (KPMG) and Duncan McCarthy (ATO) will look at the ATO’s increasing focuses on governance processes as a touchstone for determining risk when selecting entities for audit. Examining how businesses can ensure their governance framework meets the ATO’s expectations, Angela and Duncan will cover the duties of public and company officers and the board in a tax context, including the definition of a 'director' in the tax context, what needs to be considered when briefing the board, and more.

Andrew Mills CTA-Life (ATO)

Adele Townsend, CTA (BDO) will present one of a number of sessions that will dig into recent rulings and guidance from the ATO, in ‘Deductibility of employee travel expenses – The ATO’s guidance’. Following the ruling released last year by the ATO which considers when such expenses will be tax deductible, Adele will look at the ruling’s detail, helping delegates to ensure their businesses’ obligations with regards to income tax, PAYG withholding and FBT are correctly managed.

With so much in flux, the potential for error or even disputes increases. The program will therefore feature ‘An hour with Deborah Hastings, Deputy Commissioner RDR, on audits and disputes’. Deborah leads the Review and Dispute Resolution (RDR) group within the ATO and will, alongside Pitcher Partners’ Scott Treatt, CTA, look at the group’s latest initiatives in resolving tax disputes, including innovations such as the 'fast intensive triage' program and how the ATO may seek to settle or compromise issues and/or debts, with particular focus on the individual and SME markets.

Day one of the three-day program will also feature the return of the ‘ATO Roundtable’, our popular Q&A-style session, with the ATO’s Andrew Mills CTA-Life and Kirsten Fish CTA offering the regulator’s views on an array of current technical issues.

Mardi Heinrich (KPMG)

With more and more Australian companies doing business overseas, three key sessions will look at the practicalities involved in doing so.

Professor Michael Dirkis CTA, (University of Sydney) will present ‘Recent developments in Australia’s international tax rules’, covering issues like transparency reporting for public and private groups, transfer pricing changes, double tax treaties and potential changes on the horizon.

In her session ‘Managing the Australian tax obligations of a globally mobile workforce’, Mardi Heinrich (KPMG) will discuss the key elements of the international tax and social security framework that employers need to consider when sending employees from Australia to work temporarily overseas or vice versa, including  residency, source of income, double tax agreements, bilateral social security agreements, PAYG withholding, and much more.

Finally, in his session on conducting business internationally, Mathew Chamberlain (EY) will ask: ‘Have you understood the practical Australian taxation consequence correctly?’ From structuring considerations to residency issues, Mathew will look at recent developments, the impact of tax treaties, and the issues involved in the two most common structures.

The program will also feature a wide range of highly practical, technical tax content covering the CGT small business concessions, trusts, the income tax consolidation regime, indirect taxes, issues affecting primary producers, superannuation, and much more.

This is your unique opportunity to hear from some of Australia’s leading experts, while enjoying the best of what North Queensland has to offer.

The 33rd National Convention took place on 14-16 March 2018. The materials from our event are available on our website.

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