Showing posts from February, 2013

Free highlights from 2012 Australian Tax Forum

In this specially produced e-journal, you’ll find a selection of some of the most popular articles we published in the Australian Tax Forum journal in 2012. Take a look, and feel free to share it with your colleagues and peers.

You’ll also find a complete list of all articles from all four issues from 2012 and links to our website where each is available for individual download.

Download your free copy, which includes:

Effective tax rates and the political cost hypothesis: A re-evaluation of Australian evidence, Authors: Sinclair Davidson and Richard HeaneySME "life cycle" imperative, Author: Biagio Pizzacalla, CTATax reform and 'rough justice': Is it time for simplicity to shine?, Authors: Jason Kerr and Professor Christopher Evans, CTAStamp duties, land tax and housing affordability, Authors: Gavin Wood, Ian Winter and Rachel OngThe rise and rise of tax compliance costs for the small business sector in Australia, Author: Dr Philip Lignier
A prestigious quarterly jour…

2013-14 Federal Budget priorities

The Tax Institute recently submitted its 2013-14 Federal Budget priorities to the Treasurer.

We note that the growing stockpile of announced yet unenacted tax measures is fuelling uncertainty in the business community and hampering investment.

The Budget submission also outlines a number of priority areas of the tax law that are in need of urgent and significant reform.

Given the election date has been announced, it is critical for the Government to ensure the raft of announced but unenacted tax measures is dealt with as a priority. Whilst we welcome moves by the Assistant Treasurer to start discussions on prioritising announced but unenacted measures, it is imperative that the Government continues to address the announcement backlog in order to stem the uncertainty and free up businesses to make informed investment decisions.

Overall there are at least 25 significant tax measures that have been announced yet have an uncertain finishing date, including key areas of tax law such as the …

2013 in tax

Having abandoned thoughts of walking in Ken’s shoes, I turned my mind to the year to come. As president, what would the year hold?

First, it’s a federal election year, which will see a flurry of legislation to complete promises and a new set of announcements to establish agendas for the election by all parties.

We already have consultation happening in respect of Pt IVA reforms, the Div 6 trust rewrite, transfer pricing, and further tranches of legislation as expected.

In addition, the issues relating to the regulation of taxation advice provided by financial advisers, their tax agent registration and educational requirements are still to be finalised.

Robert Jeremenko and I met with Assistant Treasurer the Hon. David Bradbury, MP, to discuss priorities in legislation releases. The Assistant Treasurer was willing to listen and will be active in progressing our concerns about announced, but unenacted, measures. These meetings will continue on a scheduled basis to provide the Assistant …

National Convention Speaker Profile: Peter Bobbin, CTA

Peter Bobbin, CTA, is presenting the Tax Issues on Intergenerational Change session at the 28th National Convention.

Peter discusses what the National Convention means to him, and
more broadly the tax industry, as well information on
the Tax Issues on Intergenerational Change session he will be presenting.
How long have you been affiliated with The Tax Institute?

I have been a member of The Tax Institute the whole of my career, and in fact now I can proudly say that I am a chartered member – which is something that I am personally quite proud of. With The Tax Institute I have given many presentations at a local, state and national level. But, importantly I have been attending many because it is one of the preeminent education providers to the tax industry in Australia.

What does the National Convention mean to you, and more importantly, the tax industry?

What the national convention does is it pulls together the hot topics of the time, into one place, into one setting, and you have the opp…

Part IVA and Transfer Pricing

Last week saw the introduction into Parliament of legislation implementing the Government's announced changes to Part IVA and the second phase of the Transfer Pricing reforms.

Part IVA

An effective general anti-avoidance rule is an essential back-stop to ensure the integrity of our tax laws. However, the Government's proposed changes to Part IVA are an unnecessary overreaction to recent court cases.

The existing general anti-avoidance rule appropriately prevents blatant, artificial and contrived tax avoidance behaviour.

The Government's changes are likely to take years of costly court proceedings to fully realise. Worse still, these changes may open a Pandora's box by allowing the Tax Commissioner to levy tax on the basis of a 'maximum tax' alternative. This results from the unrealistic requirement to disregard tax when constructing the alternative postulate.

While not suggesting that the Tax Commissioner would seek to abuse such a broad power, the potential imp…

Changes to tax agent education requirements from 1 March 2013

The Tax Institute is facilitating members’ access to commercial law education requirements with new course developments.

The Tax Institute has commenced development of a commercial law course for those preparing to register as tax agents (see Table 1¹). In the proposed Tax Practitioner Board (TPB) guidelines of 14 April 2010 (which were updated on 13 September 2012), the features of the course were set out in TPB(PG) 02/2010 being: prescribed content; duration equivalent to three semesters; assessment strategies to be a combination of different types of assessment but to have 40% assessed via an independently supervised exam; and the level of the course to be at Australian qualification framework level 5 (AQF 5) (

Who needs to study these units?

Those people intending to register as a tax agent (or already registered under the transitional arrangements of the Tax Agent Services Act 2009 (Cth) under items 201, 202, 203 and 205) will require this course.

Given that three u…

Key dates for 2013

In addition to the more than 350 CPD events that The Tax Institute runs each year in major cities and online, we hold a number of flagship residential events. Register your interest early.

13–15 March: 28th National Convention, WA26–27 April: Private Business Tax Retreat, Qld2–4 May: 46th South Australian Convention, SA16–17 May: 6th Annual Tax Forum23–24 May: Tax through the Bottom of a Glass, Tas19–20 July: Queensland State Convention, Qld25–26 July: 13th Annual States’ Taxation Conference, SAAugust: Tax Specialist’s Workshop, TBC22–23 August: WA State Convention, WA5–6 September: National GST Intensive, Vic17–18 October: Queensland Corporate Tax Retreat, Qld17–18 October: SA Tax Intensive, SA7–8 November: 21st National Tax Intensive Retreat, Qld14 November: Corporate Tax Intensive, WA.
Can’t attend in person? Our series of webinars allows you to earn CPD points remotely.


We are gearing up in 2013 to deliver the industry’s choice for innovative tax education with The Charter…

Superannuation reform roadmap

Superannuation is our nest egg. It's the stashed away cash that we all trust will be safe and secure for years to come and will be there when we need it to fund our retirement. It is the ultimate long-term investment.

However, it is an investment made on the basis of a core compact between every Australian and Government: we agree to forgo part of our income now to save for our retirement, whilst in return the Government agrees to respect the sacrifice and the long-term nature of our investment.

The superannuation system depends heavily on the confidence that people have in it. When Governments tinker with the superannuation system it risks harming people's confidence in the system and their confidence in putting their hard-earned money aside to save for their retirement. It also affects superannuation funds and the capital markets.

Unfortunately, the political debate about superannuation has moved once more to the familiar battle ground of class warfare.

The Henry Tax Review …

A farewell and a welcome

Stepping into the role of national president is both exciting and daunting at the same time.

Over the Christmas break, I reflected on the last 12 months and what the next 12 months would hold.

I thought about the standards set in leadership and depth of tax knowledge set by our outgoing president, Ken Schurgott, and thought: “Can I fill his shoes and hold his passion for all things Tax Institute?”

I continued on this path, the presentations Ken delivered, the meetings and conferences he attended, and his always smiling face. I realised at this point that this journey of self-examination and comparison was wasted time. I cannot fill Ken’s shoes but, as the incoming president, I can acknowledge the outstanding contribution Ken made during his time as president.

I’m sure all members join me in thanking Ken for the immense amount of time and effort he contributed as president during 2012.

Stephen Westaway is President of the National Council at The Tax Institute.

The Tax Institute is Austra…

National Convention Speaker Profile: Bob Deutsch, CTA

Professor Bob Deutsch, CTA, is presenting the International Tax Hot Topics session at the 28th National Convention.

Bob discusses what the National Convention means to him, and
more broadly the tax industry, as well information on the
International Tax Hot Topics session he will be presenting.
How long have you been affiliated with The Tax Institute?

I’ve been involved in the tax profession for well over 30 years, and for most of that time I’ve been affiliated with The Tax Institute in one way or another. I’ve been a presenter for The Tax Institute in many different fora, and I’ve written for the Tax Institute both for The Tax Specialist and the Taxation in Australia journal. So it’s been a many and varied affiliation and one which I have very much enjoyed.

What does National Convention mean to you, and more broadly, the tax industry?

Without any doubt The Tax Institute National Convention is the leading professional conference that is held annually for tax professionals. As a result, it m…

Surprise election announcement brings uncertainty

The political year officially kicked-off last week, with both the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition delivering keynote speeches to the National Press Club in Canberra.

The content of the PM's speech was overshadowed by the surprise announcement of a 14 September 2013 election date. The PM claimed that announcing the date some seven months ahead of time would provide certainty and would separate the politics from the focus on policy. She denied this would be the start of the longest election campaign in Australia's history.

The reality is that this year was always going to be seen through the prism of an impending election. By announcing the election date so far in advance of the usual five to six weeks’ notice period, the effect will be to start the election campaign now. As noble an aim as it might be, separating the politics from the policy is never possible and certainly not during an election campaign.

Importantly, for the bureaucracy, it is business as usual…

Happy New Year to our valued members

As another year begins, I’d like to first wish our members a Happy New Year. I hope you had the opportunity to take a well-deserved break over the holiday period.

Here at The Tax Institute we are busy planning for the year ahead, aligning our activities with our key strategic priorities.

The focus areas for 2013 include:

the member experience — responding to members’ needs;products and services —providing leading-edge knowledge to all members;leadership —shaping improvements in, and the application of, tax law and its administrations and, as the champion of the tax profession, to raise professional and ethical standards ensuring that members are the sought-after tax experts; andpeople and infrastructure — to enable and strengthen our business operations.
The Institute has a number of major activities planned for the year, some of which I will update you on in the coming weeks.

Celebrating 70 years of supporting the tax profession

In July 2013, The Tax Institute will be celebrating the 7…