Showing posts from February, 2015

Single Touch Payroll

The Government recently announced a red tape reduction initiative for employers in the form of simplifying tax and superannuation reporting obligations through Single Touch Payroll. An ATO consultation in relation to the initiative is under way:

Under Single Touch Payroll, employers will be required to electronically report payroll and super information to the ATO when employees are paid, using Standard Business Reporting-enabled software. It will be available from July 2016, but employers will be required to use appropriate payroll software to access it. The Government is yet to make final decisions on its implementation and hence is seeking stakeholder views.

The ATO is seeking views on various facets of this initiative, including the potential for employers to remit employee pay as you go withholding and the super guarantee at the same time employees are paid.

Should members have any comment…

Is your accounting firm making the most of its new grads?

The role of graduates is changing. As low-level work is increasingly outsourced, firms are contemplating how to make accounting graduates effective in the early part of their career lifecycle. Are your graduates gaining the skills they need to be effective now and in the future?

The changing role of graduates – bearing the brunt of industry changes

As more firms send basic tax work offshore to benefit from lower cost labour, two issues are created: low-level compliance work, on which graduates ¬previously cut their teeth, is less readily available, while outsourcing engagements require a different ¬partner-to-staff ratio that includes fewer graduates and more managers.

These trends, which are already affecting the number of graduates firms take on, have the potential to dramatically alter the career path of accounting graduates and flatten the hierarchical management structure of accounting firms.

With these changes, many firms are being forced to consider how to make their graduates e…

Submission to Treasury

This week we finalised our submission to Treasury in relation to the draft legislation relating to look-through treatment of instalment warrants and receipts.

This is a positive initiative by the Government albeit this is a long-awaited legislative clarification.

We are supportive of the Government's stated policy intent behind this measure, namely to: 'provide look-through income tax treatment for instalment warrants and instalment receipts to remove uncertainty about the taxation treatment of such arrangements and to prevent disruption of the significant market that existed for such arrangements at the time of announcement of this measure'.

In summary, our submission offers the following comments to ensure that the legislation gives effect to the policy intent:
Broaden the underlying assets covered;Include a saving rule for matters outside the investor's control;Remove (or amend) the limited recourse requirement;Allow charges over underlying assets;Clarify that it…

Website re-design

Free membership trial for your colleagues

Do you have friends or colleagues who would benefit from membership of The Tax Institute?
If so, let them know about our free membership trial running during March. Following the popular October trial, all registrants will get to experience a selection of the benefits and resources that members have daily access to.

Go to to find out more.

Have you downloaded our app?

The Tax Institute app brings you Taxation in Australia each month on your iPad or Android tablet alongside a range of great content from The Tax Institute. You’ll also find each week’s TaxVine in the app, together with your free paper of the month. Download the app from iTunes or Google Play and discover what’s new for yourself.

TaxWise News

If you’re looking to grow your business in 2015 or need a way to add value to existing client relationships, TaxWise News can help. Full of up-to-date, relevant and practical information, this is a simple, cost-…

Proposed changes to Employee Share Schemes

This week in Canberra I had the opportunity to represent members' views with regards to proposed changes to the law covering employee share schemes. I attended a roundtable meeting with the Small Business Minister, The Hon Bruce Billson MP, where I spoke to the Tax Institute's recent submission to the Government on this matter.

As members have advised, we support the changes proposed to the taxation of employee share schemes. The proposed changes go a long way to reversing the unfavourable amendments made to these rules in 2009 that, in particular, hindered start-ups from providing shares or rights to employees in a cost-effective manner.

In particular, we strongly support the following proposals:
reversing some of the changes made in 2009 to the taxing point of rights;extending the maximum tax deferral period from 7 years to 15 years;changing the refund rules so they can apply to lapsed rights;changing the option valuation tables; andintroducing employee share scheme concessio…

National Convention Speaker Profile: Damien Browne

Damien is an Assistant Commissioner in the Review and Dispute Resolution line of the Australian Taxation Office. His responsibilities include ATO dispute resolution policy, practice and capability and managing the ATO’s relationship with the legal profession. Prior to joining the ATO in 2007, Damien was Special Tax Advisor to the Commonwealth Ombudsman.

How long have you been affiliated with The Tax Institute?

From about 2004/5, when I joined the Tax Team at the Commonwealth Ombudsman’s office.

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

A great opportunity for bringing together different perspectives from across the tax industry and profession.

What is the topic that you are presenting and what can attendees expect to learn?

I will be covering the latest on the ATO’s management of Tax Audits and Disputes” (jointly with Ashley King from PwC).

They can expect to hear insights on recent developments in tax administration, particularly around early…

A Milestone for the National Convention

This year marks the 30th anniversary of the National Convention and it is set to be bigger and better than ever before.

Recognised as Australia’s premier taxation conference, the National Convention is being held at the RACV Royal Pines, Benowa, in Queensland on 18 to 20 March 2015.

As always, the convention has been developed by an expert team, with over 30 sessions addressing the latest tax issues and a program that is technically relevant and practical. It is designed to meet the needs of tax professionals in all industries, at all stages of their career.

Visit to find out more or to register.

Improve the quality of tax knowledge within your organisation To ensure the success of your organisation, it is imperative that your employees have sound, up-to-date tax knowledge. The Graduate Diploma of Applied Tax Law will equip them with the skills and knowledge required of tomorrow’s tax professional. The Graduate Diploma of Applied Tax Law will benefit your organisat…

A time of uncertainty

Uncertainty, instability and inaction: not the name of the latest trio to have taken the music scene by storm, but unfortunately these are becoming hallmarks of the current Federal Government.

All taxpayers require certainty in the identification and scope of tax laws that frame both their obligations and their liabilities.

Such certainty is essential to the proper functioning of our tax system for a variety of reasons, including the need to allow:
taxpayers to self-regulate behaviour in order to minimise tax risk;the fostering of voluntary and informed compliance with tax laws;taxpayers to make investment decisions and strike commercial bargains with certainty as to the tax cost resulting from the relevant transaction;corporate taxpayers to make informed dividend policy decisions; andlisted companies to produce timely financial statements that accurately reflect their tax expense.
The more our political leaders play politics, the less they are able to focus on the main game of governi…

The taxation of multinationals

With the Federal Parliamentary year kicking-off in coming weeks, we will see attention once again directed towards taxation of multinationals.

The Senate Economics Committee Inquiry will soon commence public hearings into 'potential tax avoidance and aggressive minimisation by corporations registered in Australia and multinational corporations operating in Australia'.

Australia is renowned for having one of the most complex and robust tax systems in the world. As members are well aware, this complexity creates great difficulty for taxpayers navigating their way through the system to determine their obligations under the law. However, the robustness of our tax system serves to markedly reduce the opportunity for a taxpayer to not comply with their obligations.

Our dividend imputation system incentivises corporations to pay company tax in Australia. In addition, Australia has recently seen a further tightening of laws to target tax avoidance directly and indirectly. This has inc…