Showing posts from March, 2014

On the Commissioner’s address at National Convention

Last week the Board of Taxation released some significant papers, including the second Division 7A discussion paper. As practitioners know too well, the private company payments laws in Division 7A have been a bugbear since their inception 16 years ago. The actions by the ATO on unpaid present entitlements owed by trusts to private companies have created controversy and only exacerbated the problems faced in trying to navigate this complex area of law. It will come as no surprise that the Board has found that Division 7A fails in achieving its policy objectives and can be a significant source of compliance costs for businesses.

Is this the final nail in the coffin of Division 7A? With the Federal Government’s deregulation focus, will it see fit to overhaul the laws? The Board has proposed a new model known as the 'Transfer of Value Model' and it is certainly worthy of further examination. The consultation period is six weeks, so we look forward to member input into our analysi…

And the winners are...

Announcing the winners of the Tax Adviser of the Year Awards

During the Tax Awards dinner at the recent 29th National Convention in Hobart, Tasmania, we were proud to announce the winners of the inaugural Tax Adviser of the Year Awards.

The winners are...

Chartered Tax Adviser of the Year
David Russell, CTA AM RFD QC

Tax Adviser of the Year
Wayne Plummer, ATI, PwC Australia

Emerging Tax Star
Matthew Andruchowycz, CTA, Wallmans Lawyers

Reflecting on what the awards mean to the profession

The Tax Institute received a flood of high calibre nominations in all three categories, making the judges' decision an extremely difficult one. Every nomination represents the capability, dedication, commitment and talent clearly thriving in the Australian tax profession. The large pool of nominees highlights why Australian tax professionals are some of the best in the world.

I would like to take this opportunity to acknowledge all those who entered the awards or nominated someone, and commend you for in…

The Tax Institute’s role in the debate about high-level tax reform

Following on from last week, our constitution’s objects include the following:
“(a) [to] advance public knowledge and understanding of Taxation Laws, the practices of public authorities administering Taxation Laws and the attitude of Governments to Taxation Laws;

(d) encourage research into the reform of any Taxation Law …” These objects are sufficiently broad to allow the Institute to contribute to debate about tax reform, and indeed contemplate that the Institute will contribute in some form or other to reforming the tax system. In addition, The Tax Institute has a long history of contributing to debate about tax reform (see, for example, Ken Spence’s President’s Report in the April 1998 issue of this journal, in which he committed the Institute to playing an important role in the tax reform process). My predecessor Steve Westaway also voiced the Institute’s concerns that the government was not following through on reforms recommended by the Henry Review.

Because of our historical…

February's free member tax presentations

Here’s a selection of presentations from our leading events series.

Members of The Tax Institute can access these presentations for free by clicking the links below (make sure you’re logged in to our website first). Non-members can purchase the presentations for only $12 each.

Many presentations have a related technical paper, which can also be found on the presentation’s page. Don’t forget, a Tax Knowledge eXchange subscription gives you unlimited access to these papers, presentations, articles from our journals, and much more.

Gearing by SMSFs - Practical issues (Lisa Oddo, CTA)Income tax and the PPSA (David Wood, CTA)BEPS: Treaty aspects (Claudio Cimetta)Recent trends in demergers (Jason Barnes, CTA, and Nick Heggart, CTA)February bi-monthly tax update (Bills before Parliament, ATO’s dispute management plan, BEPS, stamp duty and recent cases) (David Cursaro and Mimi Ferguson)Tax deferred distributions (Antoinette Elias, CTA)Financial transaction taxes - Current state of play and pot…

Kick-starting the tax reform debate

Last week the Federal Government introduced the first tranche of red tape repeal bills.

This move to reduce duplication and complexity is a welcome step in reducing unnecessary red tape in the economy. However, whilst removing redundant laws is an important part of simplifying the country’s statute books, a crucial aspect of the deregulation equation is addressing the need for wholesale tax reform.

Tax reform is essential to reducing overlap and complexity and moving towards a simple, fair and efficient tax system, and the Federal Government’s much anticipated Tax Reform White Paper is key to kick-starting the tax reform debate.

To ensure that Australia is well positioned for the challenges of the decades ahead, we must work on a tax reform plan now for implementation in the coming years when our budgetary position improves. The benefits of tax reform will flow to all Australians in the form of a stronger economy.

We look forward to the Government setting a clear timetable for the Tax…

New ways to get your structured and unstructured CPD hours

Taxation in Australia – now in eBook format

Following the success of our iPad app and digital editions, we’re pleased to announce that Taxation in Australia is now also available in eBook edition for Kindle and other eReader device users. Find out more and download your eBook copy from our website.

New title: The Tax Adviser’s Guide to Part IVA

We’re very excited to announce the publication of our brand new title: The Tax Adviser’s Guide to Part IVA. A practical guide to the application of the general anti-avoidance rule, this new title from Greg Travers, CTA, helps you navigate the rules to determine whether Pt IVA may apply to an arrangement that your client has entered into, or is considering entering into. Visit our website to find out more, and if you’re heading to Hobart for our National Convention, don’t miss a special Q&A session with Greg.

Now enrolling for all education programs

We have received a great response regarding the first intake for our Chartered Tax Adviser Prog…

Meet a member: Mark King, CTA and SMSF specialist

“Keep on top of the tax law, think about your clients and how they might benefit from changes or new ideas and attain your formal education goals.”

Name: Mark C King, CTA
Company: Financial Index Wealth Accountants
State: ACT
Member since: 2009

Areas of specialty

Broadly, SMSFs, small business advisory and individual taxation. I have developed a subspecialty for tracking investments for SMSF or investment portfolios. This involves maintaining cost-base records, and income and valuation tracking. We do this electronically and are always looking at updating the e capabilities of our information-gathering systems. This specialty grew from watching my own investments and needing to be on top of the tax issues associated with corporate restructures, deferred income distributions etc.

Why are you a member of The Tax Institute?

The Tax Institute has provided me with the framework to gain a deeper depth of understanding of tax law and tax practice. This was demonstrated to me when I was a member of …

Update on the National Tax Liaison Group

On Wednesday 5 March 2014, our President Michael Flynn CTA, Vice-President Stephen Healey CTA and Senior Tax Counsel Robert Jeremenko CTA attended the ATO’s National Tax Liaison Group meeting.

Being the peak consultative forum of the ATO involving senior representation from both the ATO and Treasury, it is the forum where matters of strategic importance to the taxation system are considered.

At this meeting, a variety of strategic and policy-related issues were discussed, including:

Progress of Treasury’s work program resulting from the un-enacted measures list that was issued late last year;Treasury and ATO activities in relation to G20/OECD/BEPS matters;Strategic matters including an update on the Tax White Paper process and the Government’s deregulation initiative;Recent internal reorganisation of business lines within the ATO;The new Business and Industry Expertise register; andATO practices following the decision in Macquarie Bank Limited v Commissioner of Taxation [2013] FCAFC 11…

Terms of engagement

This month, our president Michael Flynn discusses the Institute’s engagement with stakeholders, including the government and, more importantly, our members.

The Tax Institute regularly provides submissions to the ATO and to the government about tax laws and the tax system. Our main strength lies in our members’ practical experience of the implementation of tax laws. But we are also invited to make submissions to the government in relation to high-level reforms of the tax system.

One issue that has been raised with me recently by two of our members is whether the Institute should make submissions on tax reform issues that lie outside our primary areas of expertise. The argument against making such submissions is that, to be meaningful, the submissions need to consider the benefits of the proposed law changes for particular groups of taxpayers, the cost to the Budget of giving up tax revenue, and other macroeconomic consequences that lie beyond The Tax Institute’s field of expertise. If …

Announcing the finalists of the Tax Adviser of the Year Awards

For 70 years, The Tax Institute has been committed to showwcasing the tax profession's leading experts and rising stars.

Continuing this commitment are the inaugural Tax Adviser of the Year Awards, designed to showcase the individual achievements of the best and brightest tax practitioners, and help to strengthen and support the tax profession in Australia through the sharing of success stories and lessons learned from our finalists and winners.

We are excited to reveal to you below the finalists, chosen by a panel of highly respected expert judges:

Emerging Tax Star finalists are:

Matthew Andruchowycz, CTA, Wallmans LawyersElissa Romanin, Minter Ellison LawyersReuben Bramanathan, CTA, McCullough Robertson
Tax Adviser of the Year finalists are:

Wayne Plummer, ATI, PwC AustraliaLynn Kelly, CTA, Commonwealth Bank of Australia Greg Travers, CTA, William Buck Sydney
Chartered Tax Adviser finalists are:

David Russell, CTA (Life), Wentworth ChambersAndrew Mills, CTA (Life), Australian Tax Off…

The Tax Institute’s priorities for the Federal Budget

The Tax Institute’s priorities for the Federal Budget of 2014-15 include priority areas of the tax law that are in need of urgent and significant reform.

We continue to advocate for a sustained commitment to tax reform for the benefit of all Australians. This requires a measured and structured approach to reform, including a timeline and a process for advancing priority issues.

Australia’s tax and transfer system must strive to be efficient, equitable and simple. The system should encourage savings and investment as well as greater workforce participation. The revenues generated by the system should be sufficient to meet public and social needs, in turn supporting economic growth. In addition, it is important that the superannuation system provides Australians with access to a minimum standard of living in retirement.

The Tax Institute has formulated a set of Tax Policy Principles that serve to guide thinking about Australia’s tax system and possible reforms.

Our priorities for the 201…

Honouring the best minds in tax

This month, we celebrate the inaugural Tax Adviser of the Year Awards in Hobart at the 29th National Convention.

Tax Adviser of the Year Awards

For 70 years, The Tax Institute has been committed to honouring and showcasing the tax profession’s leading experts and rising stars. Later this month, we are proud to award our inaugural Tax Adviser of the Year Awards recipients at the 29th National Convention in Hobart.

Representing the best of the best, from rising stars to industry leaders, the recipients have been chosen from a pool of well-deserved tax professionals by our judging panel, including:

Arlene Macdonald, CTA (Life) the Honourable Ian V Gzell, QC, FTI (Life)Ian Langford-Brown, FTI (Life) Jonathan Ilbery, CTA (Life) Peter McKnoulty, CTA Syd Jenkins, CTA.
We're sure you'll agree that these industry luminaries are well-equipped to select the cream of the crop.
The judges will be presenting awards for:

Emerging Tax Star Tax Adviser of the YearChartered Tax Adviser of the Year

Speaker Profile: Recent Cases

In the latest speaker profile in our series, we sit down with Melanie Baker CTA from the Victorian Bar who is presenting the Recent Cases session at the upcoming 29th National Convention in Hobart.

Tell us about yourself

I am a barrister at the Victorian Bar with over 14 years of experience in the field of taxation. I appear in, and advise in relation to, taxation matters for both taxpayers and the Commissioner of Taxation.

How long have you been affiliated with The Tax Institute?

I have been affiliated with The Tax Institute since 2003.

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

The National Convention is a fantastic conference, which brings together tax professionals from all over Australia. The conference program invariably covers topical tax issues in a practical way, without compromising technical accuracy.

What is the topic that you are presenting at the 29th National Convention?

The Recent cases session on day two.

What can attendees expect to …

Inspector-General of Taxation review update

Late last Friday week, the Assistant Treasurer released three reports prepared by the Inspector-General of Taxation in relation to the reviews into the income tax refund integrity program, use of data matching by the ATO and the ATO’s use of compliance risk assessment tools. The Tax Institute prepared submissions for each of these reviews conducted by the Inspector-General. The submissions can be accessed: Refund Integrity, Data Matching, and Risk Assessment Tools.

Members were greatly concerned in particular by the income tax refund integrity program that impacted on Tax Time 2011 where 109,000 Individual Income Tax Returns were selected for review before the refund would be issued rather than the 33,000 the ATO estimated would be selected.

Members detailed their experiences to us of the delays experiences in having their clients’ refunds processed, including many experiencing delays longer than the 12 weeks estimated it would take the ATO to clear the backlog. This information was p…