Showing posts from April, 2017

Paving the way for Australia’s infrastructure sector - The 2017 National Infrastructure Conference

by Cheryl Goh, FTI *

The first ATO Taxpayer Alert for the year has packed a punch for Australia’s infrastructure sector. Following the controversial release of Taxpayer Alert TA 2017/1 and the hotly anticipated draft of the Australian Tax Framework, stapled structures are now, more than ever, on the ATO watch list. How will TA 2017/1 impact stapled groups and their investors? Amidst the uncertainty, advisers are left to fill in the blanks once more.  Industry leaders and senior members of the ATO will converge in May at The Tax Institute’s National Infrastructure Conference 2017 to shed some light on the tax treatment of stapled structures.
ATO’s approach to stapled structures
Investment in infrastructure is critical for the Australian economy and governments are increasingly looking to the private sector to develop essential infrastructure assets to attract sufficient capital investment and boost economic growth. Stapled structures play an important part in this.
Stapled structures have…

10th Annual NSW Tax Forum - A closer look at Australia's largest tax program

The NSW Tax Forum is the largest tax program in Australia, making it a must attend event for the profession. With the event now only weeks away, here’s a closer look at some of the Forum’s key sessions and presenters, from the corporate, SME and ‘hot topic’ streams.
Setting the scene in the corporate stream, Savanth Sebastian of CommSec looks at the ever-changing state of the business environment. This session, 'A snapshot of the current economic climate' will deliver a pacey and dynamic examination of the economic changes and demographic shifts that are currently shaping the business world.
In his session 'What is Happening with BEPS and Other Elements of International Taxation?' Professor Richard Vann will explore a number of topics linked to this always-moving area of tax including a multilateral instrument to implement treaty-related BEPS measures; BEPS follow-up work in 2016–17; international dispute resolution; BEPS peer review mechanisms and the "inclusive…

A new initiative: tax debt reporting

by Robert Deutsch, CTA *

It’s now more important than ever that your clients get their tax debts under control so as to avoid an adverse credit report being made.

As from 1 July 2017, the government proposes to have legislation in place to allow the Australian Taxation Office to disclose to credit reporting bureaus (CRBs) tax debt information of businesses where those debts have been outstanding for more than a designated period of time and the taxpayer is not effectively engaging with the ATO in managing those debts.

Currently, the ATO does not provide such information to credit reporting agencies.

The rationale for allowing the ATO to disclose such debt information to CRBs is to:
reduce any unfair advantage which may currently exist for businesses that do not pay their tax on time, and may have artificially established greater competitiveness against operators who do comply with their obligationsprovide valuable information to credit providers and other businesses when determining th…

How can we simplify the tax system?

by Matthew Pawson, CTA *

At the time of posting, we approach the 2017-18 federal Budget. As in many years past, The Tax Institute has been invited to make a formal submission to the Budget process. During February, I worked with our Tax Policy & Advocacy team and many Institute members to formalise our annual submission. I thank all those involved and I refer members to the Institute’s website for a full copy of that submission.

Our position on the tax system
The Tax Institute’s position is that government, and the administration generally, should use every possible opportunity to simplify Australia’s tax system. One important opportunity is the annual federal Budget process, an important part of Australia’s political, economic and social landscape.

In an ideal world, the tax system should be simple, efficient and transparent. It should promote willing compliance, although, as stated recently at the 2017 Financial Services Conference, the ATO doesn’t expect that compliance by taxp…

The past, present and future of tax advocacy

by Noel Rowland *

When Harold R Irving and Clarence Montague Orr met at 11c Castlereagh Street, Sydney, on 16 July 1943 to establish the entity now known as The Tax Institute, their intention was to create a specialist organisation that would represent the interests of registered tax agents.

This organisation, first known as the Institute of Registered Tax Agents, became The Taxation Institute of Australia in 1946. For more than 70 years, it has supported tax professionals and has advocated on their behalf for improvements to tax policy and administration.

Over the decades, we have drawn on our members’ practical views and experiences to generate, articulate and promote strategies that will enhance the development and administration of tax law for the benefit of the system, the community and the national economy.

The Tax Institute has contributed to the debate on every major item of tax reform since 1943. The Institute’s president participated in the Tax Summit during the years of the…

‘Superannuation and wealth management for private business: dealing with current structures' – the 2017 Private Business Tax Retreat

Laura Hanrahan of HopgoodGanim Lawyers practises exclusively in the areas of superannuation, estate planning and administration. At the 2017 Private Business Tax Retreat, she will present ‘Superannuation and wealth management for private business: dealing with currentstructures’, one of the nine plenary sessions of this two-day event.
Over the years, successive governments have introduced hundreds of rule changes but until now, no previous reforms have so dramatically affected wealth already in the superannuation environment. In her session, Laura argues that the superannuation reforms to be fully implemented from 1 July 2017 have killed the sacred cow. We spoke to her about what about what to expect from her session.
Laura told us that “Attendees can expect to hear about the ‘options’ under the new superannuation legislation”. The session will use case studies to demonstrate how family groups may address structures and plans that were implemented prior to these reforms.

Member profile - Wendy Maloney CTA

Wendy Maloney CTA is Business Advisory Director at Moore Stephens in Geelong, Victoria. She has been a member of The Tax Institute since 2000.We asked Wendy about her career and life. How did you end up in tax? I started my career at a mid-tier chartered firm in Melbourne, where I rotated through the various divisions as part of my graduate program. During this time, I was lucky enough to be mentored through challenging tax consulting assignments, and I discovered that it was an area in which I had an interest and skill.

Given the technical nature of taxation in Australia, having expertise in this area has enabled me to solve a number of significant challenges for my clients.

Blowing the whistle on tax avoidance

by Stephanie Caredes CTA *

The Australian Government is looking to review the protections afforded to ‘whistleblowers’ who blow the whistle on misconduct.

The Government identified that there are no provisions in the tax law to effectively protect those who ‘blow the whistle’ on tax-related misconduct, namely tax avoidance and evasion and other potential breaches of the tax law. Hence, it has determined the need to ‘plug the hole’.

While undertaking a review of the existing corporate whistleblower protections, the Government is also considering how to design whistleblower protections for tax whistleblowers.

Of course, a number of questions arise:

Who should be protected?To what extent should their identity be protected? Or disclosed?How can the whistleblower be protected from retaliation by the tax payer being exposed by the whistlelower?Should whistleblowers be compensated for reporting this information?Should whistleblowers be rewarded for reporting this information?Do we need to est…