Showing posts from March, 2015

Tax Reform White Paper to be released on Monday

In the summer of 1979, The Boomtown Rats famously sang “I don’t like Mondays”.
Monday is not usually our favourite day of the week either, but next Monday will be no ordinary day. It could be the genesis of significant changes in our tax system. We welcome the announcement of Monday, 30 March as the date for the release of the Federal Tax Reform White Paper discussion paper.

The Federal Treasurer, Joe Hockey, announced the release date at The Tax Institute’s 30th National Convention on the Gold Coast last week. The Tax Institute is primed and ready to be a sound voice in this pivotal debate on reforming Australia’s tax system.

The time for tinkering around the edges of our tax system has now passed. We hope that the discussion paper provides a basis for a holistic debate. It is time to step back and ask the difficult questions: Is our tax system simple, equitable and efficient? How do we balance these goals? What changes are necessary to strike the right balance?

One thing is clear, we…

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Discover our growing range of apps

Hopefully by now you’ve downloaded The Tax Institute app and are enjoying this issue of Taxation in Australia on your iPad or Android tablet. In February, we launched The Tax Institute CPD app, helping you to get the most fr…

March's presentations from our leading events (Free for members).

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

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). Non-members can purchase the presentations for only $15 each.

Many of these presentations have an accompanying technical paper available to purchase. Alternatively, subscribe to the Tax Knowledge eXchange for unlimited access to papers, journal articles, daily tax news and more.

Members, don't forget you also receive a free technical paper each month as one of your membership benefits. During March you can download 'ATO reinvention & managing disputes post independent review', from Deborah Hastings. How will the BEPS action plan impact on financial services - Michael O'NeillStructuring professional practices - Andrew Noolan, CTAThe ATO’s changing approach to resolution of banking and finance industry issues - James Campbell and Judy Morris, CTAThe …

30th National Convention

At The Tax Institute’s30th National Convention this week, Commissioner of Taxation, Chris Jordan AO, unveiled the “Reinventing the ATO” blueprint. The blueprint contains the ATO’s program of change and describes the kind of experience that taxpayers and tax professionals can look forward to having when they deal with the ATO. There is emphasis on ease-of-use, efficiency and removing unnecessary and burdensome reporting and regulations.

We welcome the release of the ATO’s official plan to improve its operations and processes.  The introduction of new initiatives, such as issuing ‘OK Letters’ to eligible taxpayers for their 2015 income tax returns to confirm they will not be subject to any future compliance activity, is a welcome move. The initiatives contained in the blueprint show the ATO is taking a proactive approach to alleviating the compliance burden on taxpayers, though there is still a long way to go.

A link to our media release is here.

Members who are interested in finding ou…

Highlights from day 1 of the National Convention

The day kicked off with a golf tournament, which was virtually washed out as torrential rain hit the Gold Coast. Many of the groups only lasted 6 holes but one committed group battled through the horrible conditions and finished the round, which was quite impressive! Rose Thompsett won the tournament with 36 points.
Autopia, one of the events sponsors has brought along two Audi’s, including an Audi R8, worth an impressive $450,000! Unfortunately the winner of the passport draw doesn’t get to take the car home.

Highlights from some of the afternoon sessions:

Jeremy Hirschhorn, Chief Tax Counsel, Australian Taxation Office and Greg Travers, Director, William Buck discussed a practical, advisory approach to the new Part IVA.

Jeremy explained his ‘snip test’ approach to Part IVA. “If you can snip off part the transaction and the commercial outcome doesn’t change much but the tax outcome is vastly different, you may be in trouble.” Another take out was "Imagine sitting in a witness bo…

Announcing the judges and finalists of the Tax Adviser of the Year Awards

For more than 70 years, we have been committed to honouring and showcasing the tax profession’s leading experts and rising stars. Later this month, we are proud to award the recipients of our Tax Adviser of the Year Awards at the 30th National Convention on the Gold Coast.
Representing the best and brightest in tax, from rising stars to industry leaders, the recipients have been chosen from a pool of well-deserved tax professionals by our judging panel.
The judges

The judges for the 2015 Tax Adviser of the Year Awards are: Arlene Macdonald, CTA (Life);the Hon. Ian V Gzell, QC, FTI (Life);Ian Langford-Brown, FTI (Life);Michael Evans, CTA;Peter McKnoulty, CTA; andSyd Jenkins, CTA. You can find the full profiles of each of the judges on our website at We’re sure you’ll agree that these industry luminaries are well-equipped to select the cream of the crop.

The finalists

We are proud to announce that the judges have selected the finalists for the awards. These individuals…

The Federal Budget submission

This week The Tax Institute lodged a submission to Treasury outlining our priorities for the Federal Budget for 2015-16. The Federal Budget submission is one of the key submissions we lodge each year and sets out the Tax Institute's tax policy agenda in broad terms.

This year the landscape has changed and there are separate Tax and Federation White Paper processes on the horizon. Accordingly, this Budget Submission focussed only on those matters that The Tax Institute believes should be considered in the context of the 2015?16 Budget, rather than in longer-term tax reform proposals, which will be the subject of separate submissions.

Our 2015-16 Federal Budget discussed the following priorities:

Company tax reform

The Tax Institute reiterated the case for reducing the company tax rate in the medium term from its current 30% to the 25% recommended by the Henry Review. The Tax Institute encouraged the Government to pursue cutting the company tax rate for all companies, not just small …

Time to renovate

Last year, the ATO embarked on the daunting task of undertaking a review of its public advice and guidance. This includes rulings (income tax, GST, superannuation etc) and other types of guidance (determinations, interpretive decisions, fact sheets, and so on). An initial review of public advice and guidance was conducted by the ATO late last year. This is a priority issue for Second Commissioner Andrew Mills and Chief Tax Counsel Jeremy Hirschhorn, and is a key part of the “reinventing the ATO” project.

As part of the ATO’s greater review on public advice and guidance, The Tax Institute is leading a project to assist the ATO to “triage” its published rulings and guidance and help ensure that the most useful and up-to-date guidance is available to tax advisers and taxpayers. Our involvement forms a significant part of this important ATO initiative. With The Institute in the driving seat, this presents a great opportunity for members to have direct input early on in this review and pu…

Gearing up for the 30th National Convention

The year is well and truly underway and I am sure the holidays are a distant memory for all of us. 2015 promises to deliver much in the tax arena, with the government’s long awaited tax issues paper now only weeks away from release. Additionally, we will continue to see the ATO pursuing its strategy to reinvent itself as it embarks on an ambitious program of reform under the leadership of the Commissioner and his team. The “reinventing the ATO” project will no doubt have a wide-ranging impact on our profession and we will continue to monitor and actively participate in it to ensure that our members are well-informed and well-placed for the future.

As we wait patiently for the long-anticipated government tax white paper and the first formal step in that process (being the release of the issues paper), The Tax Institute is already hard at work delivering its structured education program, CPD events and conferences and, of course, its all-important policy and advocacy work.

Suffice to sa…

Release of the Intergenerational Report

On Wednesday last week, Tax Institute President Stephen Healey CTA, National Councillor Tim Neilson CTA and Senior Tax Counsel Robert Jeremenko CTA attended the first quarterly meeting of the ATO's National Tax Liaison Group for 2015. Many issues were discussed at the meeting, including a number of which The Tax Institute has a leading role. These include:

Exploring changes in environmental factors that may have a direct or indirect impact on tax law and administration - The Tax Institute gave the first presentation on this topic to NTLG members;Update from Treasury on the legislative program and the Tax Reform White Paper process;Corporate Tax Avoidance - policy developments related to base erosion and profit shifting and progress on the Senate Inquiry into Corporate Tax Avoidance;Post-implementation review of the ATO's consultation framework that has been in place for the past 18 months or so;Discussion of the "Reinventing the ATO" blueprint;Discussion of the "…