Showing posts from May, 2014

Volunteering: How to get involved in our committees

One thing that sets The Tax Institute apart from other professional associations is that we rely very heavily on volunteers to organise our professional education programs and for speakers. To outsiders, it might seem strange that individuals would volunteer to provide their time and efforts for free, but volunteering — whether it be to assist in organising a conference or seminar, to deliver a paper, or to join one of The Tax Institute’s standing committees — is very rewarding.

I thought it might be worth explaining how you could become involved in one of the standing committees, if you think it might interest you. The starting point for most volunteers is to join one of the state education committees or technical committees. The education committees are responsible for organising CPD events in each state. If you contact your local state manager, she can put your name forward to the local education committee. The technical committees are being revamped but there are a number of techn…

April’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.

Property transactions: Think about GST or else (Michael Evans, CTA)Difficult practical property tax issues or 25 things I hate about property tax! (Michael BUTLER, CTA, and Grantley Stevens, CTA)Promoter penalties: Staying on the right side of the line (Eleni Petinos and Annalie Mitchelson)Director's penalties and liabilities (Chris Wilkinson, ATI)Commissioner’s access and information gathering powers (Sarah Blakelock, CTA)Taxation of closely held trusts (Jo-Anne Hotston, CTA)The ATO role in the administration of superannuation (Stuart Forsyth, CTA)Compliance and audit issues facing SMSFs (Belinda Aisbett)Insurance in the context of superannuation (Jeffrey Scott)Practical implications of the new regulatory fr…

What now for the Tax Reform White Paper?

Given the negative public reaction to Treasury Joe Hockey’s first Budget, are there implications for the proposed Tax Reform White Paper?

The Government sees itself as being strong and responsible and prepared to take tough decisions now to get the country back on track. A noble cause, no doubt, but the key to public acceptance of the Budget and its measures is a clear narrative and a well-argued and relentless sales pitch.

The previous Coalition Government learnt this with the A New Tax System reform package that included the GST. John Howard and Peter Costello were able to convince voters of the overall merit of the ANTS package by being across every detail and being relentless in constantly communicating the need for the changes, whilst acknowledging the effect on the voters.

So with the promise of a Tax Reform White Paper, is the current Government starting to rethink the merits of embarking on the journey of this much needed public debate about reforming our tax system?

Whilst th…

Last chance for earning CPD hours

Not sure how many structured CPD hours you've completed this year? Check your Tax Institute CPD record online. Simply login to our website, click on your name in the purple box in the top right-hand corner, and select “My CPD record” from the drop-down menu.

Remember — with membership renewals due by 30 June 2014, now is your last chance to make sure you've earned enough structured CPD hours to retain your current membership level for another year.

Study period 2 open for enrolments

The Course in Australian Taxation Law program (including CTA1 Foundations and CTA2 Advanced courses) is ideal for anyone who is looking to meet the Australian taxation law component of the education requirements of the Tax Practitioners Board.

Need to meet the commercial law education requirements? We can help you with that too with our Course in Commercial Law program.

Save 20% on our online books.

Our membership renewals period is the ideal time to subscribe to our online books. You’ll not only ens…

Meet a member: Vita Gustafson, CTA

“Always remember when dealing with clients — never be complacent with your smaller clients.”


Vita Gustafson, CTA


Vita Gustafson & Associates


Northern Territory

Member since 


Areas of specialty 

General taxation and SMSF advice to individuals, small and medium enterprises.

Why are you a member of The Tax Institute? 

I am a member of The Tax Institute to keep abreast of the latest ATO developments and legislation. We also get an enormous amount of support in Darwin, particularly from Institute staff in South Australia, who regularly provide seminars and offer incentives for us to travel interstate to attend conferences etc.

How is your membership beneficial to your practice and clients? 

Being aligned with such a premier institution instils confidence in our clients. We can demonstrate to our client base that we are part of a dynamic and proactive association, and they in turn feel confident when they know that we have access to the highest level of taxation reso…

Reforming the excess superannuation contribution

As members may have read in my special Budget Night post earlier this week, we describe the Federal Budget as leaving Australia waiting for a long-term tax reform plan that is vital to ensure that the country is well positioned for the challenges of the decades ahead. The Government has attempted to tackle half of our Budget problem: expenditure, without committing to a timeline in which to address the other crucial half of the equation: revenue.

The Budget did, however, contain a positive announcement with regards to excess superannuation contributions tax. For any excess superannuation contributions made after 1 July 2013 that breach the non-concessional cap, the Government will now allow people to withdraw those excess contributions and associated earnings. This will mean no excess contributions tax will be payable and any related earnings will be taxed at the individual's marginal tax rate.

The Tax Institute has been a strong advocate for reforming the excess superannuation con…

“Hot off the press” from National Convention

In March, I had the pleasure of presenting the inaugural Tax Adviser of the Year Awards at the National Convention. There were three categories of award: the Emerging Tax Star, the Tax Adviser of the Year, and the Chartered Tax Adviser of the year. The winners, Matthew Andruchowycz, Wayne Plummer and David Russell, were visibly moved by the ceremony. Following on from their successful launch, I can see these awards growing in stature in the years to come.

National Convention 

The National Convention was well attended and, judging from the formal and informal feedback, it was a great success. I congratulate the volunteers on the program committee for assembling a program that was relevant to a diverse range of practitioners. Although virtually all attendees were tax practitioners, they came from very different practices and geographical locations. I can think of no other event that sees sole practitioners from country and regional Australia rubbing shoulders with partners from large law…

Federal Budget 2014-15

The Federal Budget leaves Australia waiting for a long-term tax reform plan that is vital to ensure that the country is well positioned for the challenges of the decades ahead.

The Government has attempted to tackle half of our Budget problem: expenditure, without committing to a timeline in which to address the other crucial half of the equation: revenue.

The 2% income tax ‘levy’ is the wrong direction to be taking Australia’s tax system. It would place an even greater reliance on income tax revenue, when the Government should be relying less on income tax revenue and instead moving more towards relying on revenue from consumption taxes like the GST.

This highlights the need for structural reform of our tax system, because it shows that the current system is not raising sufficient revenue to meet the spending decisions of Government.

The promised Tax Reform White Paper process is the appropriate way to address the tax system's shortcomings rather than relying on the quick 'su…

Getting ready for budget lock-up

This week brings the release of the Federal Budget, which is the first for Treasurer Joe Hockey. The Deputy Chair of The Tax Institute’s National Technical Committee, Tim Neilson CTA, will join me in the Budget 'lock-up' commencing Tuesday afternoon. This allows The Tax Institute access to all of the Budget papers and announcements ahead of their public release on Tuesday evening.

Members will receive our initial comments on the Budget and a summary of the key measures by way of a special Budget edition of TaxVine that will be sent shortly after the Treasurer delivers his Budget speech at 7.30pm.

The Government will detail its response to the Commission of Audit report in the Budget, which is widely reported to contain new revenue raising measures to assist in addressing the deficit. Will we see an income tax levy and an increase in fuel excise? All will be revealed on Tuesday.

The Tax Institute’s priorities for the Budget are contained in our submission to the Treasurer earlie…

Last chance for earning CPD hours

AGM notice

In April, you will have received notification of The Tax Institute’s Annual General Meeting taking place later this month. The Seventy-first Annual General Meeting of The Tax Institute will be held at 4.00pm on Wednesday 21 May 2014 at the offices of The Tax Institute situated on Level 10, 175 Pitt Street, Sydney, NSW 2000. You can download notice of meeting documents and a proxy form online.

Annual Report

The 2013 Annual Report is now available to download online.

Renew your 2014/15 membership online and win

Membership renewals are now due. All online renewals made before 13 June 2014 go into the draw to win one of five iPad minis preloaded with Tax Institute eBooks (valued at $1,000!), including the new The Tax Adviser’s Guide to Part IVA.

TaxWise News federal Budget edition

Following months of media speculation, we’re finally about to see what the 2014/15 federal Budget features. TaxWise News subscribers, make sure to keep an eye on your inbox for our special Budget edition …

A look at the Commission of Audit report

Last week the Federal Government released the five volumes of its Commission of Audit report.

The Commission was established by the Government as an independent body to review and report on the Government’s performance, functions and roles.

The report contains more than 80 recommendations for wide-ranging and substantial reductions in government spending, including suggested changes to the size and operations of government departments and agencies.

There are also some radical recommendations, including that the States be encouraged to levy income tax and that the Commonwealth reduce the income tax rates by an equivalent amount.

This would be accompanied by the States assuming more responsibility for areas of spending. The Government’s response to the Audit report will be detailed in the May Budget, which is widely reported to contain new revenue raising measures to assist in addressing the deficit.

The mooted income tax 'debt levy' would place an even greater reliance on incom…

Q&A The Tax Adviser's Guide to Part IVA [Video]

In this Q&A author Greg Travers, CTA and Robert Jeremenko, CTA, discuss The Tax Institute's new title, The Tax Adviser's Guide to Part IVA and look at:

the lack of consensus on whether 2013's amendments will serve their intended purpose or merely create even greater uncertaintythe key concepts in Part IVA causing practitioners the most headachesthe fact that SMEs are targeted far more often than large corporates by the ATO, some key SME cases and some of the takeaways what led to the writing of The Tax Adviser's Guide to Part IVA and the process in its development, and how the book fits into a practitioners workday.
All tax advisers should have an understanding of Pt IVA. In this practical and readable guide, author Greg Travers, CTA, helps you navigate these rules to determine whether Pt IVA may apply to an arrangement that your client has entered into, or is considering entering into.

Find out more about The Tax Adviser's Guide to Part IVA.