33rd National Convention – what to look out for in the 2018 program

The Tax Institute's National Convention in Cairns next year will be all about reinvention.

Technology has caused an upheaval across the globe, with local tax practitioners reinventing and realigning their businesses to meet shifting client expectations. Keeping this in mind, the Convention’s organisers have developed a program that hones in on supporting practitioners and highlights issues that may not yet be on their radars.

Kirsten Fish CTA (Australian Taxation Office)
Here we highlight a few key sessions and some of our presenters.

The Convention program includes strong representation from senior members of the Australian Taxation Office, with the Commissioner, Chris Jordan AO CTA to deliver his keynote address to delegates about the ATO’s plans for the year. The popular ATO Roundtable will return – a Q&A-style session which will cover a wide array of current technical issues that tax professionals are grappling with. You can also hear direct from the ATO’s Second Commissioner Andrew Mills CTA (Life) and Chief Tax Counsel Kirsten Fish CTA, who will be joined by the Institute’s Robert Deutsch CTA and Deloitte Private Tax Partner Vanessa Priest CTA. 

Simplify. Modernise. Digitise. These three words always seem to pop up in any discussion around the administration of our tax system. Accordingly, Mark Leibler AC CTA will present ‘Perspectives on tax administration’. Mark is Senior Partner at Arnold Bloch Leibler and head of the firm’s taxation practice. He also serves as Chairman of the Law Council of Australia's Taxation Committee. Mark’s session will draw on his experience as a member of the National Taxation Liaison Group, the Commissioner of Taxation’s Advisory Panel, and the ATO’s High Wealth Individuals Taskforce consultancy group.

Mark Leibler AC CTA (Arnold Bloch Leibler)
As always, the Convention will feature the Justice Graham Hill Memorial Lecture, this time delivered by Ken Schurgott, CTA (Life), who will ask: ‘Where has the taxation of trusts been, and where is it going?’ – something that many trusts practitioners have been asking recently.

Diving deeper into some of the key themes addressed in Ken’s keynote, Ian Fullerton CTA and Daniel Smedley CTA will present a session on trusts in the Convention’s dedicated SME/Private clients stream.  Looking at structures and establishment issues, the roles of settlor, beneficiaries and appointor/guardians, as well as trustee roles and issues, Ian and Daniel will review developments around trust income, distributions, variations and resettlement. 

Tony Slater QC
In the session ‘Harnessing the revolution: what does this mean?’, Bond University's Dr Baden U’Ren will look at the strategies and tactics tax professionals can explore to capitalise on the period of change in which we find ourselves. Baden is Assistant Professor of Entrepreneurship at Bond Business School and Director of the Bond Business Commercialisation Centre. He has previously run a wholesale business in the US, managed a pooled investment fund, worked at the inception of QIC’s Private Equity program, and co-founded a technology start-up. In his session, he will present a framework to guide strategic decision-making, illustrated by domestic and international exemplars.

The Convention will close with a keynote from Tony Slater QC, who will consider the future of tax and will ask: ‘What’s in it for you?’ 

Tony’s session will highlight just how different the answer now might be to what it might have been 30, 20 or even just 10 years ago. Tony has practised in tax and has been a member of the Institute for more than 40 years. His experience gives him a special insight into how much has changed in that time – and what has remained the same. In his session, he will draw on this experience to postulate where we might go from here.

The 33rd National Convention took place on 14-16 March 2018 in Cairns. The papers from the event are available on our website.


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