Showing posts from August, 2011

What did we learn at the Noosa Tax Intensive?

Last week I had the pleasure of being in Noosa for the National Tax Intensive Retreat. Noosa failed to turn on the sunshine, but that didn’t worry the delegates who realise that tax is strictly an indoor sport! The focus of the retreat was “Trusts: A Brave New World” and 143 delegates gathered to nut out the issues over the course of 7 plenary sessions and 3 workshops. The plenary presentations were excellent. Tony Slater QC FTIA’s opening address on “Why we draft trust deeds the way we do” was a highlight for me – the hour passes very quickly when you are listening to one of the finest orators in the tax field. We all laughed when he gave the advice along the lines of “if you trust deed precedent is older than you are, then perhaps you shouldn’t be using it” but the message was very clear.You need to understand your clients’ circumstances and how they can be addressed in the deed. Don’t assume that the off-the-shelf product will suffice. Reading the trust deed is essential when giving…

Will GST kill the internet star?

If your online purchases of up to $1,000 suddenly had the 10% GST added to them, would that make you shop at a traditional 'bricks and mortar' retail store?

The Productivity Commission this week released its draft inquiry report titled Economic Structure and Performance of the Australian Retail Industry. It examines the implications of globalisation for the retail industry and the appropriateness of current policy settings and finds that regulatory reforms are required for the industry to adapt to the global market.

With regards to tax, the current exemption from GST and duty for imports valued below $1,000 has been found to be only a minor contributing factor to online offshore purchases. However, for reasons of tax neutrality, the Commission recommends that the $1,000 threshold should be reduced, but only when this can be done cost-effectively. This is because where the costs of collecting a tax exceed the benefits of the revenue, that tax should not be collected. Without…