Showing posts from June, 2014

Failure to abolish the mining tax has implications for taxpayers

The Federal Government continues to pursue its commitment to abolish the mining tax in the face of opposition from the current Senate with the Bill having been reintroduced into the House of Representatives on Monday this week. However, the Senate makeup will change next week when the newly elected Senators from the 2013 election take their positions; this may well allow previously blocked legislation to be passed into law.  

In the interim, the failure to abolish the mining tax has implications for the proposed wind-back of certain other measures that have not been passed into law.  These include: The instant asset write-off amount of $6,500 for small businesses – from 1 January 2014, the instant asset write-off will be reduced back to $1,000; The accelerated deprecation for motor vehicles for small businesses – from 1 January 2014, this will no longer be available; and The loss carry-back measure –will only apply for the 2013 income year.
The ATO has offered the following guidance for ta…

Broader focus of the committees

The Federal Budget for 2014-15 is heavily focused on cutting government expenditure, and leaves us waiting for the tax reform white paper process to achieve any real progress on revenue. The temporary Budget Repair Levy is just that — a temporary fix which attempts to address the government’s immediate budgetary concern without considering the design of the tax system as a whole.

The Institute’s contribution to the white paper process will be the first real test for our new technical committee structure. The renewed structure will have more of a focus on broad tax reform, and encourages committee members to be proactive in raising and addressing fundamental issues in our tax system. While we will have a committee dedicated to this particular focus, I would encourage all committee members and indeed the wider membership to contribute with suggestions for broad tax reform. Federal Budget

While I am on the topic of the Federal Budget, one measure that has received little attention in the…

Innovation and the role of technology in tax

Technology has revolutionised many sectors, and tax is no stranger to its disruption. What are the most innovative tax accountants doing to take advantage of technology?

The advance of technology – from new software programs to the use of the web for business – has changed the way clients perform tax-related activities and, in turn, has shifted the way tax accountants do business. Here are three trends to watch.

1. Cloud accounting
Cloud computing is where data is stored off-site and accessed via the internet. Cloud accounting enables end users to transact and share information while mobile. Not only can clients undertake accounting activities while out of office, it also gives them access to real-time financial-status reports.
What this means: Cloud accounting means mobility, so clients will soon expect tax professionals to be more widely available to help them. To offer extended hours and more flexibility, progressive organisations currently structure their employees’ time in two or mor…

Upcoming events and program intakes

Following on from one of our most successful NSW Annual Tax Forums ever, we’re very excited about our program of events for the latter half of 2014. We’ve still got a very full schedule of events coming up in the latter half of 2014, including the following.

47th WA State Convention Returning to picturesque Bunker Bay on 28 to 29 August, this year’s program has a distinct SME focus, with a strong emphasis on trusts and estate planning, and sessions on CGT small business concessions, the objection process, Pt IVA and consolidation for SMEs. It will provide you with 11.75 hours of structured CPD, with our gala dinner capping off two days of technical toil.

Click here to learn more about this event.

2014 National GST Intensive

This year’s intensive, in Sydney on 4 to 5 September, will update you on the latest GST issues and build on your knowledge in key areas. We are fortunate to have the Hon. Garry Downes, AM, QC, former judge of the Federal Court of Australia and former president of the …

ATO's National Tax Liaison Group meeting

On 19 June our President, Michael Flynn CTA, and National Council member, Prof Graeme Cooper CTA, joined me at the ATO's National Tax Liaison Group meeting. 
The NTLG is the ATO's peak consultative group on tax matters.  Recognising the importance of an efficient, well-designed and administered tax system to Australia's economic and social well-being, the NTLG drives improvements to: tax law interpretation, administration, design and policy; confidence in and compliance with the tax system; and ATO service delivery.  At this meeting, numerous matters were discussed, including:
Progress of Treasury's tax and superannuation measures work program, including 2014-15 Budget announcements; Recent Treasury and ATO activities in relation to Australia's 2014 Presidency of the G20;The ATO's plan to ‘reinvent', including focus on the strategic intent, vision and mission statement; Project DO-IT (the current offshore voluntary disclosure initiative);Tax System ‘Systemic Dr…

Meet a member: Bill Keays, Hales Keays Chartered Accountants

“With knowledge comes confidence. If you get a reputation for knowing what you are talking about, you are on your way.”

Name: Bill Keays, CTA
Company: Hales Keays Chartered Accountants
State: WA
Member since: 2004 Areas of specialty

We work in SME taxation so I tend to focus on SME-related issues such as business structures, trusts, Div 7A and small business CGT concessions. I have also done quite a bit of work over the past few years supporting legal practitioners in disputes, including unravelling complex structures to assist in determining asset pools for family law purposes.

Why are you a member of The Tax Institute? Initially, I joined because I felt the education offered was the best available. I joined the Western Australia Education Committee in 2008, and since then have met and dealt with some of the pre-eminent people in tax in WA. It has been a great way to make a contribution while keeping up with the latest developments in tax. I have always liked that the training is large…

Membership renewals and product offers

Save on all of our books, subscriptions and DVDs.

This month, our mid-year sale opens with great discounts on our range of tax books and resources. Mid-year sale – on now

Our mid-year sale is on now and offers you the chance to take advantage of some great discounts across our wide range of books, online subscriptions and CPD on DVD titles. Leading the sale is the sixth edition of the SMSF Guide, available at 20% off. You’ll also find a wide range of CPD on DVD titles in our sale at 50% off. Take a look at the sale brochure enclosed with this month’s Taxation in Australia, or visit our website to find out more. Click here to see what products are on offer as part of our sale. SMSF Guide

Jemma Sanderson, CTA, has been putting the finishing touches on the new, sixth edition of the leading title for funds advisers. Place your order for the updated and revised SMSF Guidethis month and you’ll save 20%.
Visit our website to place your order.

Tax Knowledge eXchange online books package If you’re …

The 2% income tax ‘levy'

On Monday 16 June 2014, the Senate Economics Legislation Committee will report to the Senate on the Tax Laws Amendment (Temporary Budget Repair Levy) Bill 2014 and 14 related Bills. 

As we have previously noted in TaxVine, the 2% income tax ‘levy' is the wrong direction to be taking Australia's tax system and highlights the need for structural reform. It shows that the current tax system is not raising sufficient revenue to meet the spending decisions of Government.
On close inspection, the Bills introducing the ‘levy' also suffer from a range of technical deficiencies. The Bills, if passed by the Senate without amendment, will add complexity, inefficiency and inequity to the tax system. These deficiencies highlight the dangers of tinkering with the tax system without carefully considering the system as a whole.
The impact of the ‘levy' will be felt not just by taxpayers earning taxable income over $180,000 but by many below that threshold. This is due to the increases in…

Technical committees revamped

This month, the Institute’s President, Michael Flynn, discusses recent changes to the Institute’s committee structure and the impact of the federal Budget on tax advisers.

The Institute takes pride in the expertise of its members. Our technical committees have long been the mechanism by which we draw on the collective strength and depth of our membership base to advocate for tax reform. While our dedicated Tax Policy and Advocacy team, led by Senior Tax Counsel Robert Jeremenko, CTA, carries out the policy and advocacy activities of The Tax Institute, their work is greatly supported by our technical committees which are comprised of Tax Institute members, and the quality of our contributions to various consultations is largely due to this external member input. Their contributions also ensure that member concerns with tax law and administration resulting from day-to-day practice are represented at the highest levels.

Changes in the committee structure Last year, we decided to revamp ou…

May’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 $15 each.
Asset protection & family law (Clinton Jackson and Justine Woods)Year end issues for discretionary trusts (Brian J Richards, CTA)Trust stripping provisions (Mark West, CTA)Trusts in financial distress (John Whittle) Queensland duty on trust dealings (Duncan Bedford, ATI)Current ATO issues with trusts (David Hughes, CTA)Testamentary trusts & deceased estates (Martin van der Walt, CTA)Superannuation in estate planning (Chris Balalovski, CTA and Simon Conolly)GST developments (Wai Choong Chan) Paying pensions from super funds (Tim Sanderson) Division 7A (Gordon S Cooper, CTA-Life) Extracting wealth from private businesses presentation (Greg Travers, CTA)Small business CGT (Michelle Hartman, CTA) Property – Is…

Tax and Superannuation Laws Amendment

Last week saw the introduction into Parliament of the Tax and Superannuation Laws Amendment (2014 Measures No. 2) Bill 2014. The Bill contains two noteworthy measures, being the integrity measure targeted at arrangements where taxpayers obtain additional franking credits through ‘dividend washing’ arrangements and the ‘taxpayer protection’ measure promised by the Government to protect taxpayers who complied with certain announced un-enacted measures in anticipation of their enactment which the current Government has decided not to proceed with. The purpose of the integrity measure is to limit the ability of taxpayers to obtain a tax benefit, in the form of multiple franking credits, from arrangements involving ‘dividend washing’. We also remind members of the compliance action the ATO is taking in this space concurrently focused on these types of arrangements. Please refer to TaxVine No. 10 for further information.  The ‘taxpayer protection’ measure is a one-off measure and only cove…

Continuing our relationship with the Standing Committee on Tax

Last week I appeared before the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Tax and Revenue in Canberra.

The Committee may inquire into and report on any matter referred to it by either the House or a Minister, including any pre-legislation proposal, bill, motion, report or document. For this Parliament the Committee comprises ten Members of the House of Representatives, with six Members nominated by the Government and four nominated by the non-Government parties. It is Chaired by John Alexander OAM, MP.

The purpose of my appearance was to provide a private briefing to the Committee to further enhance the Tax Institute’s relationship with the Committee and its members and for me to provide Tax Institute members’ perspectives on the tax system and its administration.

The Committee will regularly hear public evidence from the Tax Commissioner and his senior management team on issues in the tax system and the ATO’s performance. In February 2014, the public hearing addressed issues inc…