Member profile - Sylvia Villios

Dr Sylvia Villios CTA

Dr Sylvia Villios is a Senior Lecturer in the Law School at the University of Adelaide, where she researches and teaches in taxation law.

We asked Sylvia about her career and life.

Member’s name

Sylvia Villios CTA

Company

Law School, University of Adelaide

State

South Australia

Member since

2005

What led you to a career in tax?

While I was completing my studies in law, I did some work experience at PwC in the tax area, which I really enjoyed. A year later, I was admitted to practice and continued down that path, working in the tax law area for six years, before entering into academia.

What are your current areas of specialty?

My areas of specialty are researching and teaching in taxation law. The thematic strand uniting my research agenda is a keen interest in law reform aimed at making Australia’s tax system more efficient, equitable and simple. This is explored through my research, which is focused on examining the operation of the Australian tax system, taxation policy, corporate taxation, and the role, powers and accountability of the Commissioner of Taxation.

What is your most memorable career moment to date?

After three years of working on one ‘matter’, I was awarded my PhD for which I received a Dean’s Commendation for Doctoral Thesis Excellence and the University of Adelaide Bonython Prize.

What are the biggest challenges for tax practitioners this year?

It is hard to look beyond the challenges that will confront tax practitioners, possibly as early as in 2018, resulting from the introduction of new technologies and artificial intelligence.

I believe that, as this trend accelerates, efficiencies will be created which will allow tax practitioners to focus on the more enjoyable side of practice, working on non-automated tasks to solve those tax problems that require the exercise of judgment.

Why are you a member of The Tax Institute?

There are a number of reasons I am a member of The Tax Institute.

Personally, through my 12-year membership with The Tax Institute, I have been able to grow many friendships with like-minded individuals.

Professionally, I really enjoy attending The Tax Institute’s CPD events. The quality of the presenters is consistently outstanding — the National Convention in 2017 is the perfect example.

Finally, I enjoy being part of The Tax Institute’s advocacy function. My involvement on a number of committees, at both national and state level, places me in a position where I am able to participate and influence the development of the Institute’s policy positions by contributing to its submissions to the ATO and government and by representing the Institute in consultations with key stakeholders.

How does your membership benefit your career?

In addition to my comments above, I utilise the university’s subscription to the Tax Knowledge eXchange database on a daily basis. The resources available through this database, including the three tax journals and seminar papers, make tax law research easier.

My students also utilise this database as an integral part of their learning at both undergraduate and postgraduate level.

Do you have advice for someone entering the tax profession?

Tax is not a discipline that you should enter into light-heartedly. It is a technical, dynamic area which requires a lifetime of learning, but as you grow as a tax professional (and you must give yourself time), it is extremely enriching.

How do you relax?

Relax?! I have two young children that keep me very busy and fill my life with joy, but I am not sure whether this is relaxation. I love weekend time with my family and friends, and taking time out to go to the gym when I can.


This article was first published in the December 2017 issue of The Tax Institute’s member-only journal, Taxation in Australia.

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