Showing posts from 2015

Workshop lead profiles: 2016 SME Tax Intensive.

Taking place over two days in February at the Brisbane Marriott Hotel, 2016's SME Tax Intensive delivers strong technical content along with practical and real life case studies for delegates to work through in a qualified facilitator-led environment.
By the end of each workshop you will have an understanding of the advanced tax issues facing the SME market and be able to apply your learning. Here's a little more information about those leading the three workshops, along with who will be facilitating on the day.
Muhunthan Kanagaratnam, CTA, leads day one's workshop on 'The Best Tax Deal for Your Client'. Muhunthan is a Tax Partner with Deloitte specialising in mergers and acquisitions transactions. Helping clients identify and obtain tax value from their targets and manage their tax exposures, he works with clients through the life of a transaction, from due diligence and modelling to structuring, drafting and negotiating the tax aspects of transaction documents. Mu…

Feedback on submissions welcomed

It's been a busy year in tax policy but it's still not quite silly season at The Tax Institute. We are heading towards the holiday period with a late flurry of submissions and consultations.

We are currently working on the following submissions amongst others:

ATO review of private adviceInspector-General's review into the Taxpayers' Charter and taxpayer protectionsInspector-General's review into ATO's employer obligations compliance activitiesTreasury exposure draft on small business restructure rollover
And here are some upcoming consultations just to name a few:

National Tax Liaison GroupConsultation Steering GroupATO Tax Practitioner Advisory GroupFuture of the Tax Profession Working GroupLodgment Working GroupWorkshops on ATO review of private adviceBoard of Taxation consultation on foreign hybridsPrivate Groups Stakeholder Group
Your input on any of the above would be much appreciated. Please contact us at Tax Policy if you have any comments.

Thilini Wickram…

Senate report on multinational anti-avoidance law Bill

In case you missed it and are interested in catching it, ‘it' is an indication of timing as to when the Tax Reform Options Paper (the Green Paper) will be released. On Tuesday morning in a doorstop interview, the Federal Treasurer, the Hon Scott Morrison MP, advised that the Options Paper will be out ‘next year'.

Until then, we have the release of the Government's innovation statement to look forward to next month, which may well have some substantive tax-related content in it.

In other news, the Senate Economics Legislation Committee released its report into the multinational anti-avoidance law Bill. The Committee recommended that a post-implementation review of the measures occur within three years of enactment and that the Senate should pass the Bill. Do you agree? A copy of the report can be accessed here. If you are interested to read the Institute's views, a copy of our submission to the Committee is available on our website.

Stephanie Caredes CTA is a Tax Counsel…

A decision on tax reform

By the time you read this, the Prime Minister and Treasurer will have made an important announcement on tax reform. At the time of writing, we are all speculating as to what it might be - is it the launch of the all-important Options Paper in the Tax Reform White Paper process? Has a bargain been struck with the States on the GST? Scintillating stuff.

We welcome the current discussion on possible reform to the GST. This is in line with our view that the rate of GST should be considered together with the current exemptions and special rules in the GST. No doubt we will be busy engaging with the Government on addressing this and other options for reform of our tax system in the run up to Christmas.

In other more specific news, Treasury have just released an Exposure Draft into the 2015-16 Budget announcement of a roll-over to allow small businesses to change their legal structure without incurring a capital gains tax liability. This is now also expected to apply to transfer of trading s…

Upcoming National Events

Financial Services Taxation Conference

The 2016 Financial Services Taxation Conference has been released. Taking place on 17 to 19 February at the Surfers Paradise Marriott Resort & Spa on the Gold Coast, the conference will cover numerous tax issues of relevance to all taxation specialists working in the financial services profession, including tax transparency, local and domestic, infrastructure, leasing, source and transfer pricing.

Visit to find out more or to register.

31st National Convention

Recognised as Australia’s premier taxation conference, the National Convention is being held at the Grand Hyatt in Melbourne from 2 to 4 March. Developed by tax professionals, the technical program (pdf) includes three streams covering hot topics, SME and Corporate tax issues to ensure there is something for all practitioners at all stages of their career.

Why not come along and be part of the tax profession’s key annual event.

Visit to find out mo…

Innovation and tax, an unlikely pairing?

Innovation and tax. Do these two things go together or are they a little like oil and water?
Sometime in the next few weeks, the Government will be releasing its statement on innovation. There are clear indications circling that the tax system will have a role to play in influencing, or perhaps even encouraging, innovation in Australia. As we await this statement, no doubt the tax-related content will permeate the broader tax reform discussion.

On Monday this week, Deloitte Access Economics released its second ‘myth busting' report entitled Myth busting tax reform #2: Superannuation, negative gearing and the discount on capital gains, providing insights on the tax issues associated with ‘savings'. For members who are interested, Chris Richardson from Deloitte Access Economics will be speaking at our 2016 Financial Services Taxation Conference on why the Australian economy needs tax reform. You may wish to join us there.

In other news, the Australian Taxation Office has release…

2015 Corporate Tax Adviser of the Year winner: Minh Dao CTA

I am a tax adviser specialising in infrastructure projects (eg PPP, privatisations and M&A). I have worked with KPMG for over 15 years on some of Australia’s largest infrastructure projects and have undertaken secondments locally and to the UK.

I strive to create a working environment where my staff can perform to the best of their abilities and can be proud to say they work in my team.

How long have you been affiliated with The Tax Institute?

Over 14 years (includes two maternity leave of absence).

What does the Tax Awards mean to you, and more broadly, to the tax profession?

The Tax Award has meant a lot to me. To be publically recognised for the contribution I make to the profession was an honour. Being recognised by the Tax Institute has also broadened by personal profile within the tax community.

What are 5 main tips/tricks that you used for preparing your application?
Communicate with senior leaders in your organisation to ensure they support your nomination.Obtain client refere…

Mulitnational anti-avoidance Bill progresses

On 19 October, the multinational anti-avoidance ‘law' (the MAAL) passed the House of Representatives. The MAAL is ‘law' because, given the political pressure applied, it is difficult to see any substantive changes being made to the measure.

The Bill containing the MAAL, country-by-country reporting and stronger penalties for significant global entities, is now being considered by the Senate Economics Legislation Committee and our recent submission to that Committee can be found here. Despite the Senate inquiry being on foot, the major political parties appear to have agreed to the passage of the Bill.

The Institute has long called for a multilateral approach on international tax issues. Others have argued that a multilateral approach is too slow. This ‘slowness' is due to the painstaking negotiations between sovereign states that underlie our treaty network. Such discussions are essential to tackling multinational tax avoidance without alienating our major trading partners…

2015 Emerging Tax Star of the Year finalist: Jack Wang

I am a senior consultant in the Indirect Taxes Team at Pitcher Partners Melbourne. I am a Chartered Accountant and a graduate of the University of Melbourne, where I received my Masters degree in Accounting.

After graduating from the University of Melbourne, I started my career with Pitcher Partners where I gained an in depth understanding of GST, Stamp Duty and Fuel Tax Credits.

I specialise in providing high quality tax compliance and advisory services that meet the needs of my clients. Examples of the services I provide include preparation and review of Business Activity Statements, GST reviews and preparation of advices and objections in areas such as GST, Land Tax, Stamp Duty and Fuel Tax Credits. I also deal with the Australian Taxation Office and State Revenue Offices in relation to various client matters on a regular basis.

How long have you been affiliated with The Tax Institute?

I have been an affiliate with The Tax Institute since I joined Pitcher Partners Melbourne in 2008.

How to build your resume while you study

These days, achieving a high-distinction average or mastering your taxation law units aren’t enough to land the job of your dreams. Recruiters and hiring managers are increasingly looking for candidates who combine academic rigour and industry passion with focus, drive and initiative. If you’re still studying for your degree, there are countless ways to prove to your potential employer that your contribution to their business will go well beyond balancing the books.

Here are four strategies for building your resume while you study – because it's never too early to start making a mark on your career.

Volunteer at a not-for-profit

If you’re a third-year accounting student, you could be a valuable asset to a business that couldn’t otherwise pay for your skills. From under-resourced charities that grapple with financial administration to not-for-profits that could benefit from simple bookkeeping, offering pro-bono services can seriously bolster your resume. It can also show employers t…

OECD releases final BEPS report

There is nothing like coming back to work after a long weekend and being hit with reams of OECD analysis on BEPS. Released right on schedule in the early hours of Tuesday morning, the BEPS package is comprehensive and historic. This body of work will make a significant contribution to the equity and coherence of our international tax rules and it is important that Australia remains in step with these measures.

There are a great number of recommendations in the package, some of which can now be considered at a domestic level. For example, the OECD's recommendations on Controlled Foreign Company rules have now been released, meaning that reform of these rules at home, which has been on the cards for some time, may now warrant further attention.

The OECD's recommendation on the definition of permanent establishment is not entirely consistent with the approach taken in the Bill that is currently before our parliament. In our view it is vital that this domestic measure is consisten…

23rd National Tax Intensive Retreat speaker profile: Stephanie Caredes

Stephanie Caredes is Tax Counsel at The Tax Institute. Prior to joining The Tax Institute, Stephanie gained extensive experience in private practice advising on a wide range of federal and state taxation issues. Stephanie holds a Masters level degree in Law from the University of Sydney and is admitted as a Solicitor and Barrister in both the Supreme Court of New South Wales and High Court of Australia. She has also published a variety of articles and commentary in relation to taxation issues.

What is the topic you are presenting at the 23rd Annual Tax Intensive Retreat?

Tax Counsel Update with my colleague Thilini Wickramasuriya, FTI

What can attendees expect to learn from your session?

Attendees will hear all about the policy and advocacy the work gets involved in.

How will attending your sessions help delegates help their clients?

Delegates will be able to get an appreciation of all the tax changes constantly happening in tax law.

What do you like to do when you're not knee deep …

2015 Tax Adviser of the Year Award judge: Arlene Macdonald CTA (Life)

I started my legal career in a small general legal practice in Adelaide’s CBD and then worked at the ATO in Adelaide for about 2 years including the old Appeals section.  I was promoted to Sydney as a Senior Investigation Officer at the Commonwealth Ombudsman’s Office (dealing with complaints against the ATO) and 8 years at the Australian Government Solicitor’s Office in the tax section, finally as Principal Solicitor.  I went to the Independent Bar in South Australia in 1996 specialising in tax and acting for both Commissioner and taxpayers in tax disputes and dealing with a wide range of other tax issues. I retired in 2013.

How long have you been affiliated with The Tax Institute?

I joined the Tax Institute in 1994

What does the Tax Awards mean to you, and more broadly, to the tax profession?

Tax law is often very difficult to understand and apply.  It is important to be committed to achieving and maintaining excellence in both knowledge and application and in being able to apply the …

OECD's package to reform international tax system

By the time you read this, we will have heard at least some of the outcomes from the snap ‘reform summit' the Prime Minister hosted yesterday in Canberra, from which we hope there is a clear indication of where the tax reform debate may next head.

For the latest, we have Roger Brake from the Treasury delivering the ‘inside perspective' on the Tax White Paper at our VIC 3rd Annual Tax Forum on 8 and 9 October. The Forum will be rounded out by a panel featuring the new Assistant Treasurer and Minister for Small Business, the Hon Kelly O'Dwyer MP, together with the Shadow Assistant Treasurer, the Hon Dr Andrew Leigh MP. We encourage members interested in the tax reform debate and a broad range of CPD options to come along – just register here.

This coming Monday, the OECD will release the ‘BEPS package' to reform the international tax system to tackle tax avoidance. What is key here is how Australia responds to the package of recommendations, that is, which recommendation…

2015 Tasmanian State Convention speaker profile: Thilini Wickramasuriya

Thilini is a Tax Counsel with the Tax Institute.

What does 2015 Tasmanian State Convention mean to you, and more broadly, to the tax industry?

I attended the Tasmanian State Convention last year for the first time and it is a wonderful event not just because it brings together the tax practitioner community in Tasmania but also gives the opportunity for speakers from around Australia to visit Tasmania and contribute to the tax expertise of those practitioners.

What can attendees expect to take away from your session?

An update of the key tax reform issues on the horizon and what TTI is doing about them.

Which other sessions at the 2015 Tasmanian State Convention are you most interested in attending?

Panel discussion on the changing nature of the tax profession.

What do you like to do when you’re not knee-deep in tax?

Watch arty films and eat yummy food.

Join us in Hobart for The Tax Institute's 2015 Tasmanian State Convention. It is Tasmania's premier annual taxation event with a…

2014 Emerging Tax Star of the Year winner: Matthew Andruchowycz, CTA

I am a Principal at DMAW Lawyers in the Business Transactions and Advice team. I am a taxation and superannuation specialist. I work primarily with accountants, financial planners, business owners and high net wealth individuals on business transactions, wealth generation strategies and tax disputes.

What does the Tax Adviser of the Year Awards mean to you, and more broadly, to the tax profession?

Recognition for hard work, high energy and a passion for tax.

What are 5 main tips/tricks that you used for preparing your application?
no wafflepeer reviewattached letter from boss to The Tax Instituteattached examples of work and business development initiativesattached feedback from The Tax Institute presentations.
What was it like to be named a finalists/winner in your category?

Very proud. I tried to hide it in the lead up (as a finalist) and on the night (as a winner) but I was absolutely stoked. It was an amazing night/moment. It will be hard to beat.

What are 4 main reasons for applying f…

The AFR Tax Reform Summit

On Tuesday and Wednesday this week, the Tax Institute participated in the AFR Tax Reform Summit in Sydney. The Summit involved a star-studded line-up of speakers who discussed tax reform while they stood on shifting sands. In their commentary, there was a strange mix of optimism and scepticism about what the new leadership team in Canberra would be able do on tax reform by the next election.

The reason for optimism is in the fresh brand of leadership on tax at the State and Federal levels of government. The Hon. Jay Weatherill MP in South Australia and Andrew Barr in the ACT (both speakers at the Summit), together with the Hon. Michael Baird MP in New South Wales, are leading the charge on tax reform at the State level. Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull's early mantra has been that tax reform is at the centre of his efforts to make Australia a more innovative, productive and prosperous economy.

There are reasons for scepticism in the comments of Shadow Treasurer the Hon. Chris Bowen…

2015 SME Tax Adviser of the Year Award winner: Peter Bobbin CTA

As a solicitor I pursue excellence in law; both thought and application, to me it is highly satisfying to make a difference. But having fun at the same time is important. Fun? I am a tax lawyer, a superannuation lawyer, a trust lawyer and an estate planning lawyer. I am also a senior principal of law firm Argyle Lawyers.

I am proud of what Argyle Lawyers has achieved, my charity trustee role is my way of giving back and cycling is what allows me to switch off.

I am the person who created modern estate planning in Australia, no other person can trace their embrace of this earlier than myself. In my early career I was usually introduced in my public speaking as the Tax Doctor of Death!

I also trace my superannuation fund skills and services to 1985, only few (still working) can match this.
But tax law is my basis, including tax advice, tax litigation and business succession, whether personal or corporate. How long have you been affiliated with The Tax Institute? I have been a member of t…

What a difference a week can make!

This week, we have a new Prime Minister. Next week, we might see further changes to our country's leadership.

One thing remains the same though - our need for tax reform.

First up this week, on Monday Deloitte Access Economics released its report entitled Shedding light on the debate: Myth-busting tax reform, putting the issues of bracket creep, the GST and company tax cuts front and centre of the tax reform debate.

This was followed on Wednesday by the Assistant Treasurer Josh Frydenberg's speech entitled “An efficient and resilient GST"  that shone the spotlight on GST.

Also on Wednesday, the Government introduced into Parliament legislation to combat multinational tax avoidance. The same Bill also implements Action 13 of the G20 and OECD's Action Plan on Base Erosion and Profit Shifting, concerning transfer pricing documentation and Country-by-Country reporting. There is more to come on both these fronts as the work of the G20 and OECD on multinational tax avoidanc…

23rd National Tax Intensive Retreat speaker profile: Terry Murphy

Terry Murphy is a QC practicing predominantly at the Victorian and Western Australian Bars. He is a member of the Tax Committee of the Business Section of the Law Council of Australia and a member of the Melbourne Law Masters Tax Advisory Board at the University of Melbourne (where he lectures in the LLM program).

How long have you been affiliated with The Tax Institute?

I have been affiliated with The Tax Institute for more than 25 years.

What is the topic your are presenting at the 23rd National Tax Retreat and what can attendees expect to learn from your session?

I'm presenting on vesting trusts and attendees will walk away with a practical insight into the issues involved in vesting trusts and the steps that may be taken to deal with them.

How will attending your session help delegates help their clients?

By identifying  the potential issues and devising and potential strategies to deal with them.

What other sessions at the conference are you most interested in attending?


2015 Tasmanian State Convention speaker profile: Georgina Sertori

I have been working at Deloitte since 2007, and in that time I have worked on a variety of clients ranging from Mum and Dad small businesses to large multi-national companies. I was promoted to Client Manager in July 2014, and am enjoying the challenge. I currently work 4 days a week, and have two beautiful daughters. In October 2014 I ran the Melbourne Marathon (42.2km) so I am definitely always up for a challenge!

What does 2015 Tasmanian State Convention mean to you, and more broadly, to the tax industry?

The State Convention is a fantastic way for a large group of like-minded individuals to come together to discuss and learn about important issues in taxation. It is about networking and learning together.

What can attendees expect to take away from your session?

A general tax update – hopefully will give attendees some new knowledge and application.

Which other sessions at the 2015 Tasmanian State Convention are you most interested in attending?

I am looking forward to the GST and Pr…

Amendments to the Exposure Draft regarding Multinational Tax Avoidance

“Isn't it just at the Exposure Draft stage? It's not law yet. I'll worry about it later."

This is a common statement in practice. We live and breathe Exposure Draft legislation, so that you don't have to.

Last week, we lodged a submission to Treasury on a recent Exposure Draft titled Tax Laws Amendment (Tax Integrity Multinational Anti-avoidance Law) Bill 2015: Country by country reporting. This is the latest chapter in Australia's approach to Base Erosion and Profit Shifting but it is interesting for another reason as well.

If the heading of this particular Exposure Draft is excluded (which it would be, if inserted into the tax legislation), a reader would not know what the law is about on the face of the provisions.

It essentially stipulates that an entity above a specified threshold must give a statement to the Commissioner unless the Commissioner says the section does not apply to them. There is no substance in the Exposure Draft as to the content of the s…

23rd National Tax Intensive Retreat speaker profile: John Middleton

John Middleton, CTA, is a Special Counsel at Clayton Utz Brisbane and specialises in revenue and commercial law. He has provided legal advice in respect of the structuring, restructuring, purchase and sale of businesses and entities of all types. He has particular experience in CGT planning for the sale of businesses and also practises in stamp duty, GST and general tax.

How long have you been affiliated with The Tax Institute?

I have been going to the Institute's conferences for 20 years and have been a member since 1998.

What is the topic you are presenting at the 23rd National Tax Intensive Retreat?

Workshop 2: Cleaning Up/Winding Up Companies and Vesting Trusts.

What can attendees expect to learn from your session?

I expect we'll all learn a few things from each other. Every year someone asks a "what if" question that is a real game changer, and the answer sheet goes out the window!

How will attending your session help delegates help their clients?

Old structures …

2015 Tasmanian State Convention speaker profile: Damian O'Connor

I started work with the ATO in 1974 and moved into private legal practice in 1998. Along the way I have had exposure to just about every tax issue there is. The challenge of getting my head around complex tax rules and providing practical advice to clients still gets me out of bed in the morning.

What does 2015 Tasmanian State Convention mean to you, and more broadly, to the tax industry?

The Tassie State Convention is a great opportunity to network with like-minded tax professionals who are keen to develop their technical skills and to share their practical experience through the Tax Institute.

What can attendees expect to take away from your session?

Just as it says on the box, my session will provide some Practical Solutions for Real Life Problems with trusts – with a focus on practical and plain English.

Which other sessions at the 2015 Tasmanian State Convention are you most interested in attending?

It is a great program – two must attend sessions for me are the panel discussion on …

16th Global Conference on Environmental Taxation

With the current environmental policy debate taking place in Australia the 16th Global Conference on Environmental Taxation (GCET16), held 24 - 26 September 2015, is a rare chance to hear from global experts in the area of market-based instruments relevant for greening of the economy and progressing sustainable development.
GCET16 provides enlightened analysis of tax policy from around the world to promote informed sustainable environmental goals. Join delegates from up to 50 countries representing a variety of sectors (academic, government, the private sector, and NGOs) across law, economics, accounting, environmental management, and public administration to contribute your ideas and deepen your understanding of the legal, economic and behavioural issues surrounding environmental taxation.
With a theme of Green Fiscal Reform: Protecting our Natural Resources for a Sustainable Future, the conference’s keynote and plenary speakers include The Hon Bob Carr, Director of the UTS Australia –…

An update on our recent submissions

In amongst all the chatter about ‘tax reform', and reform in general, the Government is still pursuing the deregulation agenda – that is, its mission to cut ‘red tape'.

Last Friday, Treasury released for consultation the Treasury Legislation Amendment (Spring Repeal Day) Bill 2015. The exposure draft will repeal certain provisions relating to ‘business identifiers' and ‘lost members and unclaimed superannuation' among other things.

Spring offers the perfect opportunity for some spring cleaning of all kinds, and as such we encourage members to give some thought to the areas of the tax law and administration that could be cleaned up. If you have any areas of the tax law and administration that you believe are suitable for red tape reduction, please let us know via our Tax Policy inbox.

We also recently lodged several submissions. We wrote to the Federal Assistant Treasurer welcoming the income tax relief to be provided to facilitate the transition to MySuper products. We…

Dux interview: Jace Gawne-Buckland, Advanced Superannuation

Position: Senior Manager
Company: Grant Thornton Australia Ltd

What is your background?

I am a Chartered Accountant and have over 8 years experience with Grant Thornton in the Privately Held Business division. I work primarily with small to medium sized businesses and high net wealth individuals assisting them with business advisory, taxation matters and family office services.

Most valuable aspect of Advanced Superannuation that you have taken away?

Gaining a better understanding of the laws and regulations for self-managed superannuation funds so that I can assist my clients with their wealth management, investment strategies, retirement and estate planning.

What areas are you now more confident in?

I feel confident in assisting clients with contribution strategies to maximise their wealth held in superannuation and then access this wealth. In addition, I feel my clients will benefit from my increased knowledge regarding the treatment and taxation of superannuation benefits and the rule…

Nominations sought for Australia’s best tax professionals

The Tax Institute has announced the opening of nominations for the 3rd Annual Tax Adviser of the Year Awards (The Awards), which showcase the profession’s leading experts and rising stars.

The Awards recognise tax professionals across all levels of experience for their professionalism, leadership, high ethical standards and commitment to excellence.

Nominations for the four categories – Emerging Tax Star; SME Tax Adviser of the Year; Corporate Tax Adviser of the Year; and Chartered Tax Adviser of the Year – close on 5 November 2015, with winners announced in March at The Tax Institute’s National Convention.

The Tax Institute’s Chief Executive Officer Noel Rowland said the Awards were designed to celebrate and recognise the shining stars of the Australian tax profession.

“The Awards recognise the best and brightest professionals in the industry for their commitment to clients and the wider community,” said Mr Rowland.

“The calibre of applications across all categories continues to stre…

Discussing Tax Reform with the Treasurer

On Monday 24 August 2015, Federal Treasurer, the Hon. Joe Hockey MP discussed tax reform at 'Morning Tea with the Treasurer', a free event for members which we co-hosted with Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand.

The Treasurer's speech argued the case for personal income tax cuts mainly by reference to income tax rates in other OECD countries. Our President, Stephen Healey, tied the discussion back to the tax reform priorities of the Institute.

The key issue for us in this debate is Australia's tax mix and its dependency on income tax for the bulk of revenue collections, particularly given an ever increasing mobility of capital in the modern economy and our country's future revenue needs given the increasing dependency ratio as highlighted in the intergenerational report.

In our Tax Discussion Paper submission we have recommended that the Government consider shifting away from income tax and increasing reliance on simpler and more efficient consumption t…

3rd Annual Tax Forum speaker profile: Paul Abbey

Paul is a Partner in the International Tax and Transaction Services group of PwC in Melbourne. He has over 20 years’ experience advising local and international clients on income tax issues. Paul drives PwC's Tax Reform project, aimed at building momentum within the community around the need for comprehensive tax reform in Australia.

What is the topic that you are presenting at the Forum?

“The Need for Genuine Tax Reform in Australia”

What can attendees expect to take away from your session?

We need a balanced debate that keeps all issues on the table. The public and indeed participants need to better understand why tax reform is needed. All stakeholders have an obligation to sell that message.

Join us in Melbourne for The Tax Institute's 3rd Annual Tax Forum. It is Tasmania's premier annual taxation event with an outstanding line up of speakers that are sure to educate and stimulate.