Showing posts from June, 2013

Politicians and Tax Reform

I note, with appreciation, the Opposition’s announcement of a white paper on tax reform, from which any government proposals for change will be put to the Australian people for their approval at the 2016 election. The fact that someone is prepared to put tax reform on the table (including the GST) for an open and frank debate is to be applauded — we welcomed the Henry Review, and the promise of a white paper to build on this is encouraging.

With regard to the GST, our political leaders, both federal and state, have pussy-footed around this issue for too long. Recent history includes: let’s review the tax system but the GST cannot be part of this discussion; and let’s look at GST distributions but not the rate or base of the tax itself.

Goods and services tax revenue is estimated to provide $51b for our state and territory governments in 2013-14. It is our third largest tax revenue stream. We currently collect 90% of our tax revenue from only 10 taxes, with an additional 115 taxes gene…

Tax Institute staff battle it out in the Domain

A couple of weeks ago if you were out and about in the Sydney CBD (or following @TaxInstituteOz on Twitter) you might have noticed some colourfully dressed, over-excited Tax Institute staff parading through Martin Place to celebrate the Institute’s 70th anniversary.

Having taken a well-earned day off from advocating for tax reform, Institute staff split in to several teams to battle it out for the winners title, with the purple team crowned victors.

In 2013, The Tax Institute is celebrating 70 years of supporting the tax profession.

The Tax Institute is Australia’s leading professional association in tax. Its 13,000 members include tax agents, accountants and lawyers as well as tax practitioners in corporations, government and academia.

A mixed bag of tax announcements (edition 2)

The sun has set on Summer and Autumn has just begun. The sun has also set on some long-running tax issues which have culminated in the introduction of the amendments to Part IVA and transfer pricing in the beginning weeks of the Autumn Parliamentary sitting season. All of our consultation efforts on both of these issues have seen some positive changes to the legislation, but more needs to be done. We have further argued the case for change in a submission to the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Economics.

However, this period has also seen the rise of the sun on emerging issues, particularly the Assistant Treasurer’s pursuit of multinational organisations to pay (in his words) “their fair share” of tax by setting up a Specialist Reference Group to consider ways to create greater transparency in the business tax system. We will be hot on the heels of this issue as the Specialist Reference Group’s review gets under way and we will be reminding the Government that abiding b…

Legislative certainty for consumer protection around tax advice

Last week brought with it welcome agreement to legislate consumer protection certainty for people receiving tax advice from their financial adviser. The agreement between the Government and the Coalition will ensure that legislative certainty for consumer protection is achieved before the 43rd Parliament rises for the final time next week.

As members would be aware, The Tax Institute has worked tirelessly for legislation that will ensure consumers of tax advice received from financial advisers have appropriate protections in place.

The measures ensure that financial advisers meet appropriate professional and ethical standards. They also lay the foundation to ensure that financial advisers have the educational qualifications and experience to be able to advise people about their investments and tax consequences.

This follows the report of the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Corporations and Financial Services, at which The Tax Institute presented evidence last week. The Committee reco…

Speaker Profile: Stephanie Caredes, CTA

Stephanie Caredes, CTA, Tax Counsel at The Tax Institute is presenting the free Financial Planners and Tax Advice webinar on Certainty and Clarity.

Tell us about yourself

I am a member of The Tax Institute’s Tax Policy and Advocacy team. Prior to this, I spent many years advising on a broad range of tax matters (Federal and State) in private legal practice as well as publishing several articles and commentary on tax issues. I am also a registered tax agent.

How long have you been affiliated with The Tax Institute?

Prior to joining The Tax Institute as Tax Counsel in January 2012, I had been a member since 2004.

Why do financial planners need to know about this legislation now?

The extension of the regulatory regime under the Tax Agent Services Act 2009 to apply to financial planners has been in the works for a long time. Legislation has just been introduced into Parliament that is expected to pass and become law before 1 July 2013. Though the start date of the regime isn’t until 1 July 2…

Raising your profile: 15 x 15

Growing the recognition of CTA in Australia

In last month’s post, I mentioned our plans to raise the profile of members and The Tax Institute through the CTA and our new “T is for Tax” campaign.

Now I’d like to tell you about our “15 by 15 project”.

The 15 by 15 project recognises that, as more and more tax professionals become members and achieve CTA status in Australia, we will have greater capacity to increase the recognition of your “mark of expertise” in tax and for you to be sought out for your qualifications, experience and integrity.

It’s with that in mind that we set our sights on the ambitious goal of growing to 15,000 members by 2015.

We can achieve this one person at a time, but only with your help. If every member invites at least one colleague into The Tax Institute, we can reach this goal in no time.

With that in mind, can I ask you to help us achieve this? All you need to do is take two minutes to complete the online form at by nominating a colleague you know who is no…

Post-budget thoughts on reform

The half way mark of my term is fast approaching. So many things to do and so little time!

This last month brought many new issues to the fore that have been prominent in The Tax Institute’s thinking, stemming from both the Budget and the Opposition’s reply.

I joined with our Tax Counsel staff in the Budget lock up with some degree of excitement. Given the early leaks, I still held out hope that there may be something special left for the actual lock up release. I thought our time in the lock up may be used to analyse new initiatives and the pathway forward for Australia, a new vision for our country.

Unfortunately, as I was advised and should have expected, it had all been prereleased. I then waited for the Opposition’s Budget reply; I thought maybe a new pathway forward, a new vision for our country. Again, as I was warned, in the main, nothing new was announced. As I reflect on the expected size of the deficit, arguments abound with respect to whether our fiscal position is a waste…

Speaker Profile: Philip Keir, CTA

Philip Keir, CTA, Whitehills Business Advisors is presenting at the Accounting for Common Tax Transactions Workshops for the Accounting for Trusts topic.

Tell us about yourself

I’m a partner in a small firm which focuses mainly on the SME market. I have been working in tax and business services since 1987. I completed a Masters of Taxation in 1999. I like to stay involved at the practical side of both accounting and tax.

How long have you been affiliated with The Tax Institute?

I’ve been a member since 1991. I have been part of the Queensland education committee, presented papers and also been a workshop leader at the Noosa Tax Intensive in 2011 which looked closely at the trust streaming measures.

What do the Accounting for Common Tax Transactions Workshops mean to you, and more broadly, to the tax industry?

This series targets practitioners like me who advise SME’s and need to keep abreast of the challenges for clients who have trusts as part of their business or investment structure.


The Institute presents evidence to parliamentary committee on TASR

Last week The Tax Institute presented evidence to the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Corporations and Financial Services during its inquiry into proposed legislative changes to bring financial advisers into the Tax Agent Services Regime.

This continues our extensive advocacy on this issue to ensure that these long sought after consumer protection measures are applied to financial advisers who operate in tax.

An extract from our evidence to the Committee follows:

“Mr Jeremenko : Tax is an inherently complex discipline. I think many of us would be aware of that. His Honour Justice Patrick Keane when he was Chief Justice of the Federal Court—he is now a High Court Justice—described the tax act as 'like opening the door to a parallel universe.' In the context of the legislation before as today, it is very important to realise that what we are talking about is ensuring that those people who are trying to navigate through that parallel universe have the appropriate professional an…

2013 Mid year sale now on

Mid-year sale

Our mid-year sale kicked off on 1 June and gives you the opportunity to take advantage of savings of up to 60% across our range of books, journals, CPD on DVD, and more. Take a look at the sale flyer inserted with this month’s Taxation in Australia or visit our website to see what’s on offer.

Renew your 2013-14 membership online before 14 June to win!

We would like to congratulate Ms Bee Lim, FTI, and Ms Lauren Moses, the first two winners of $1,000 cash prizes in Day to Day accounts with HSBC Bank Australia just for renewing their membership online.

With two more draws to go, will you be next? Renew your membership of The Tax Institute online before 14 June 2013 to make sure you are in with a chance.

Renew your 2013-14 membership on our website.

CTA Program – choose the level that meets your needs

Enrolments for all of our Chartered Tax Adviser Program courses close next month.

The program provides different levels of dedicated tax education to meet the needs of all tax p…

A closer look at the Tax Agent Services regime

As members will be aware, recently the Government introduced a Bill into the House of Representatives to finally subject financial advisers who provide tax advice to the Tax Agent Services Regime.

The Tax Institute has worked hard to ensure that these long sought after consumer protection measures are applied to financial advisers who operate in tax. In addition to our regular briefings of Members of Parliament, this week we issued a media statement and wrote to key independent MPs on the issue.

In yesterday’s second reading debate in Parliament, Rob Oakeshott MP, Federal Member for Lyne said the following:

And my good friends at The Tax Institute I think put it best of all—and The Tax Institute are hardly a friend of government. Arguably, they are the country's leading professional association in tax, with 13,000 members, including tax agents, accountants and lawyers. Fundamentally, they support the tax profession to work to continually improve tax law and administration. They are…

Gedenksschrift for Graham Hill

In a special tribute to the late Justice Graham Hill, Australian Tax Forum brings together many of the country's most respected tax writers and academics to offer their thoughts on Justice Hill's contribution to our tax system.

Taken from this issue, is Richard Giannone’s Gedenksschrift for Graham Hill, an abstract of which is below. You can download and read the full article for free.


Donald Graham Hill was a gifted tax practitioner, an eminent judge and an outstanding teacher. His death in 2005 saddened all who knew him, including the many students whom he had taught over 38 years as a lecturer at the University of Sydney in the Master of Laws Course in State Taxes and Commonwealth Sales Tax. This article records the reflections of one of those students, who has practised for 25 years in the specialist area of stamp duty law in which Graham was renowned as the leading expert. Graham’s talent for teaching is acknowledged as the foundation for the professional expertis…

Financial advisers now subject to the Tax Agent Services Regime

It has been a long time coming, but last week we saw a Bill introduced into the House of Representatives that will subject financial advisers who provide tax advice to the Tax Agent Services regime.

As members will be aware, The Tax Institute has worked hard to ensure that this strong regulatory framework enforced by the Tax Practitioners Board is applied to financial advisers who operate in tax.  Consumer protection is paramount, and this legislation will ultimately apply that protection to clients of financial advisers.

As the legislation is set to start on 1 July 2013, the Government is certainly cutting it fine to pass it into law. However, they are committed to doing so prior to Parliament rising in late June.

One of our key concerns - the education and experience requirements that will be required of financial advisers - still remains to be finalised via regulations. We will continue to work closely with the government and the TPB to ensure these standards are satisfactory.

If y…