"It's not personal. It's strictly business" But is it? 2016's Private Business Tax Retreat

The issues that private businesses bring to the family dinner table are complex and unique. Matters of the heart and head are both at play, requiring a skilful tax adviser to understand the art of balancing vested interests and varying needs with commercial realities. This year's Private Business Tax Retreat has been designed to tackle this balance, as well as the issues that tax advisers face when managing the affairs of a family-owned business. Join us at the Palazzo Versace Hotel on the Gold Coast this May to learn more...

"Don’t mix business with pleasure", goes the age-old saying. "It’s not personal. It's strictly business", says the Godfather. According to these adages, marrying commercial goals with personal ones is apparently a big mistake.

But is it?

With all due respect to the great (and fictional) Michael Corleone, business is personal, at least in Australia. Recent statistics have shown that privately-owned family businesses make a huge contribution to the Australian economy. In fact, they represent approximately two-thirds of the business community*, with scope to grow.

Private business is big business

With these statistics in place, how do tax advisers of privately-owned family businesses manage the vast challenges that this hybrid mix of emotional needs and commercial objectives bring? One thing is clear – that there is a real need for tax advisers to stay on top of their game to better understand the evolving challenges that they will continue to face.

Private businesses owned and run by families draw out the distinctions between 'business owners', 'business operators' and 'family members'. Advisers to these businesses need to be aware of, design and implement strategies that take into account the individuals that are in one, two or all three of these positions. That adds up to an adviser being able to think strategically and implement a plan that 'speaks' to all three, while understanding that they have very different drivers and interests.

The heart of the matter…

Now in its sixth year, the Private Business Tax Retreat does just that. The sessions are designed to explore these interactions as well as the tax issues that arise as a result of them. Key issues are highlighted, along with practical workshops and interactive case studies. An impressive line-up of keynote speakers will be providing their insights into the art (and science) of dealing with the intricacies of the family dynamic, the key stages of growth and evolution, Div 7A requirements and governance issues.

And that’s just the tax technical aspect of the sessions. But as a tax advisers to privately-owned family businesses know, there is also a very important non-technical aspect that needs to be carefully managed.

'We are family. I got all my business partners with me.'

You love them, you hate them. Can’t live with them, can’t live without them.

These are the stark dichotomies that you face as a tax adviser of a family-run business. You’re a tax gun across tax technical issues. Tick. You probably have degrees to boot. Another tick. But are you across the non-technical challenges? Can you anticipate and mitigate the warning signals of internal conflict and divergence? Are you equipped to tackle the overlap of family and business dynamics?

Keynote speaker Emeritus Professor Ken Moores, AM (Moores Family Enterprise) will draw on his diverse and extensive experience in dealing with private family firms to present insights into these dichotomies. His insights are informed by both art and science and how, in this regard, psychology and tax need to intermingle.

Head of Family Office at the Myer Family Company Ltd, Maria Lui will also share her insights into what capabilities and skills a tax adviser needs. Taking a holistic approach, her session asks the question: ‘What is the approach to tax risk management for the client – is it the same or different if you are on the inside or outside?’

Value + values = success

What does success look like for privately-owned family businesses? How do they measure it?

Where other businesses focus on value, family businesses have an added factor that defines value: values. For these family businesses, value + values = success.

This equation capitalises on growth, strategy, governance, achieving long-term goals and leaving legacies for the future. It also hones in on building and maintaining healthy relationships and fostering open communication between family members.

With that equation in mind, other keynote speakers will take you through what success means for private businesses and unpack the issues that typically arise, arming you with the ability to skilfully advise a private business at every stage of a business’ evolution.

Key sessions will look into:
  • Expansion and attracting third party investors or preparing for an IPO: what are the various forms of financing?
  • How do you effectively restructure existing groups to remove non-core assets and ensure a structure that will attract tax-effective exits for existing investors?
  • Division 7A: private entity loans and unforeseen issues that can arise on UPE payout.
  • Family trust distributions: what is the best way about it?
  • Family business governance: what constituent documents does a family business need – and not need?
  • What are the debt/equity considerations?

What attracts the ATO’s attention in all of this?

Leading SME tax specialist - and winner of The Tax Institute's Tax Adviser of the Year (SME) - Paul Banister, CTA (Grant Thornton) will cover the ATO's engagement strategies and governance of Private Groups and the High Wealth market segment. Questions such as ‘How is the ATO moving from controversy to engagement-based interactions?’ and ‘What attracts the ATO’s attention?’ will be unpacked here.

Join us 

The issues that private businesses bring to the family dinner table are complex and unique. Join us and leading tax advisers at this year’s Private Business Tax Retreat to really drill down on the challenges that advisers face and how to better tackle them. These sessions have a bit of everything – just like a good family dinner.


26 – 27 May 2016 | The Palazzo Versace Hotel, Gold Coast.

12.5 structured CPD hours | Key note address | 7 plenaries | 2 workshops | Panel session.

Find out more about 2016's Private Business Tax Retreat here.

*KPMG and Family Business Australia ‘Family Business Survey 2015’ (in conjunction with The University of Adelaide)


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