Showing posts from June, 2015

The National Tax Liaison Group

Last Thursday 18 June 2015, Tax Institute President Stephen Healey CTA, National Councillor Tim Neilson CTA, Tax Counsel Thilini Wickramasuriya FTI and myself all attended the ATO's National Tax Liaison Group meeting. At the meeting, a number of issues were covered, including:

Treasury provided an update regarding emerging themes coming through from submissions received so far in response to the “Re:Think" Tax Discussion Paper, which included broad agreement that the tax system is too complex, and noted there were divided views around reform of certain areas of the system including corporate tax, small business tax and GST;An update from the ATO on its ‘Reinvention' program discussed with NTLG members;A progress report on the ‘Review of ATO Advice and Guidance' that has been running over the past few months, as well as the ‘Renovating ATO Rulings' project on which The Tax Institute is working closely with the ATO; andThe ATO provided an update on the progress of th…

State's Taxation Conference speaker profile: Amanda Spinks

Amanda is a Senior Manager and has been in the Employment Taxes practice in Sydney for just over nine years.  In addition to corporate clients, she does a lot of work with government entities and the not-for-profit sector. Amanda specialises in assisting her clients with their people strategies, focusing on taxation. Her key areas of speciality include advisory and compliance for payroll tax, superannuation, PAYG withholding and fringe benefits tax. Amanda also provides extensive advice regarding taxation and reporting obligations for employee share schemes and termination payments, including genuine redundancies.

How long have you been affiliated with The Tax Institute?

Ever since starting my Masters in Accounting ten years ago I have been using the Tax Institute as a resource tool. I also presented a Tax Institute FBT refresher webinar in March this year.

What does the States Taxation Conference mean to you, and more broadly, to the tax industry?

At the State Taxes Conference, I will…

Time-management tactics to try this EOFY

Nothing tests your ability to crunch deadlines quite like the end of financial year (EOFY). The weeks leading up to the last day of June are often ruled by mountains of paperwork and an endless series of tasks. However, employing a few clever strategies can preserve your sanity and help you optimise the hours you spend at your desk – especially if it’s your first as a full-time tax professional. Here are four top time-management tactics to apply this EOFY.

1. Embrace the Pomodoro technique

Conceived in the 1980s by the entrepreneur Francesco Cirillo, the Pomodoro technique is a foolproof trick for enhancing mental clarity and saving time. Using a timer, work solidly on a task for a 25-minute period before rewarding yourself with a five-minute break. Adhering to strict time increments can help you power through your to-do list. It also chases away the urge to procrastinate. And no need to place an egg timer on your desk – there's an app you can download straight to your smartphone.


Single Touch Payroll

As previously reported in TaxVine, on 10 June 2015 the Small Business Minister Bruce Billson MP committed to undertake further consultation on the Government's Single Touch Payroll initiative around the 1 July 2016 commencement date and conducting a targeted pilot. Last Friday I attended a consultation with ATO and Treasury to discuss the Institute's thoughts on the revamped approach.

Single Touch Payroll will now only be mandatory in relation to reporting and not in relation to payment obligations. This was one of the main concerns raised by members in relation to the initiative and it has now been addressed. It will be important to ensure that the expected compliance cost savings are maintained despite the separation of payment and reporting obligations.

The proposal to further test the initiative with a pilot program is welcome news, and shows that the Government has taken on board the feedback of smaller businesses and recognised their need for further support and assistan…

State's Taxation Conference speaker profile: Tony Ince

Tony has been involved in indirect tax since last century and is a self-described “tax tragic” with a particular interest in Commonwealth/state “vertical fiscal imbalance” and the states capacity to raise tax. With the release of the Tax Reform Discussion Paper, he has been involved with The Tax Institute in preparing a submission.

How long have you been affiliated with The Tax Institute?

More than 25 years (I joined young).

What does the State's Taxation Conference mean to you?

I have been a long time attendee at the Annual States Taxation Conference and see it as means to look at state tax issues. This conference was, I believe, largely responsible for the move to harmonisation of the payroll tax legislation Australia-wide.

What is the topic you are presenting? And, what can attendees expect to learn from your session?

Payroll Tax: Inter-Jurisdictional Issues.

Good question. How much the various state and territory payroll tax legislation have come together in recent years but also …

The Tax Institute’s tips to maximise your end-of-financial-year return

Media Release: As the tax year draws to a close The Tax Institute reveals how to maximise your tax return and avoid being targeted by the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) ‘hit list’.

Work-related deductions are an excellent way to maximise your tax return, particularly for those who work from home and incur business expenses associated with running a home office.

“If you’ve been spending money to make money, be savvy about claiming the right deductions and maximise your return come June 30,” said Thilini Wickramasuriya, Tax Counsel for The Tax Institute.

“Self-education expenses, mobile phone and internet usage, and travel costs are often deductible expenses, depending on your occupation. Individuals should speak with a professional tax agent to ensure they are across any industry-specific expenses they may be able to claim,” she said.

“Those who carry on a business from home may be able to claim additional deductions for a home office including a portion of rent, interest, repairs, h…

Top tricks for nabbing your dream tax internship

There’s nothing like being able to refer to real-world experience on your CV when looking to kick-start your career. Here’s some advice about competing for – and nabbing – that dream work-placement position.

Try to score with the Big Four

When it comes to internships and graduate tax programs, a good place to start is Australia's Big Four: Deloitte, PwC, KPMG and Ernst & Young.

All four have programs for graduates of taxation courses, as well as student programs you can tackle while you’re completing your undergraduate tax training. Check out each company's website for more details.

But don’t overly narrow your options

Cast your net wider to include places like government organisations and big businesses that have large finance departments. If there’s a particular industry you’d like to go into after completing your taxation education, grab the chance to gather industry-specific work experience.

Have your elevator pitch ready

It’s a competitive world out there, so you won’t g…

Budget changes introduced to parliament

In the last two issues of TaxVine, we notified members that two Bills introducing some of the small business concessions from this year's Budget were introduced into Parliament. They are Tax Laws Amendment (Small Business Measures No 1) Bill 2015 which captures the cut to the company tax rate to 28.5% for small business companies and Tax Laws Amendment (Small Business Measures No 2) Bill 2015 which makes changes to the accelerated depreciation provisions.

The Bills passed relatively seamlessly through the House of Representatives and are due to be introduced into the Senate when Parliament resumes sitting next week. The big question is whether they will pass the Senate unscathed before Parliament rises at the end of the Winter sitting on 25 June. Hot on their heels are likely to be Bills introducing the rest of the measures due to start soon – mainly the tax offset (the 5% discount capped at $1,000) for business income from unincorporated entities, the change to FBT for work-relat…

Press Release: Marking 10 years in providing education, The Tax Institute expands professional tax education modules

Australia’s leading association of tax professionals, The Tax Institute, has released a suite of new education modules for tax professionals to coincide with its 10th anniversary as an education provider this month.

Initially launched in 2005 to combat skills shortages within the taxation profession, The Tax Institute is today the premier professional education provider in Australia with more than eight industry-specific courses, including the Graduate Diploma of Applied Tax Law.

Chief Executive Officer for The Tax Institute, Noel Rowland, said the Institute’s most recent educational offering recognised the evolving nature of taxation practice in Australia and internationally.

“The Graduate Diploma of Applied Tax Law is designed specifically to equip its graduates with the necessary skills to meet the challenges of the future,” Mr Rowland said.

“As Australia’s leading professional tax association, The Tax Institute is one of the only professional bodies to offer its students relevant …

State's Taxation Conference speaker profile: Peter Cain

Following a career as a teacher, Peter was admitted as a legal practitioner in the ACT in 2002, followed soon after by entry to the practitioners’ register of the High Court. That year he began working with ACT Treasury in the Revenue Management Division. As Manager of Objection and Appeals, he is responsible with internal reviews of, and subsequent appeals regarding, tax assessments, first home owner grant decisions and unimproved values of land for rates purposes. He is regularly engaged in policy and legislative reviews of ACT revenue laws. Peter is also the Chair of the ACT Law Society’s Government Law Committee.

How long have you been affiliated with The Tax Institute?

I am an occasional attendee The Tax Institute's Annual Conventions.

What is the topic that you are presenting? And what can attendees expect to learn from your session?

State Taxes Legislative Update. attendees can expect to gain an insight into the reasons for legislative change as well as the repercussions of s…

10 Year Education Milestone

This year marks 10 years of The Tax Institute providing quality tax education. Find out more about our education journey.

The key to acing group assignment

A simple Google image search for “group assignment meme” reveals a deep-seated cynicism about the value of group work.

Indeed, an Australian study found that more than half of students had reservations about group assignments, citing “inequality in the contribution of members” as the top reason for frustration. Further, awarding marks without recognition of individual effort merely rubbed salt into a wound opened by weeks of conflict and broken promises.

But with many advanced postgraduate tax courses, such as The Tax Institute's Graduate Diploma of Applied Law, featuring group work as part of their assessment, how can you approach the task in a more relaxed manner – especially when it is perceived that a colleague or fellow student is not pulling their weight? Below are a few simple planning rules to make the path to group work smoother.

Appoint a leader

If the purpose of group work is to simulate real life, then start off on the right foot by appointing a leader. The leader should h…

Your essential TPB registration checklist

To evolve your career as a registered tax agent, you must be registered with the Tax Practitioners Board (TPB). That means you’ll need to meet certain education and experience requirements, and a university degree alone isn’t enough to tick all the boxes. Be on the look-out for tax-training packages that match the TPB requirements and offer a bridge from university study to registration as a registered tax agent.

Here’s what you need to do to get your TPB registration sorted.

Review the following table at

Complete a primary qualification

To qualify for TPB registration, you must complete a degree or diploma in finance, commerce or accounting from an Australian tertiary institution or TPB-approved registered training organisation.

Complete a course in Australian taxation and commercial law

After successfully earning your primary qualification, your next step is to complete TPB-approved courses in Australian taxation and commercial law. The Tax Institute’s Graduate Diploma …

Preparing for a career in corporate tax

To borrow a phrase from Zoolander, corporate tax is “so hot right now”. With the tax minimisation arrangements of the big end of town in the spotlight and change in the wind, there's never been a better time to conquer this area of the taxation industry. Here are some tips for those interested in doing so.

Get the right qualifications

Needless to say, an organisation facing a tax bill in the tens or hundreds of millions of dollars isn’t going to hire any old suburban accountant to take care of their books. The right tax-training course can set you up with the know-how you'll need and ensure you stand out from the graduate crowd. Aside from all the other facets it covers, the Graduate Diploma of Applied Tax Law at The Tax Institute includes a Corporate Tax subject that provides students with a comprehensive understanding of how public companies, private companies and corporate groups are taxed in Australia.

Line up an internship

Getting your foot in the door is often half the bat…