The benefits of being president of The Tax Institute

The 45th South Australian Convention was
held at the Novotel Barrossa Valley Resort.

One of the benefits of being president is that you get to go to extremely good Tax Institute conventions at marvellous venues. In May, I attended the Queensland Division’s Private Business Retreat, held on the Gold Coast, and then the South Australian State Convention in the Barossa Valley. Both had excellent programs with great presenters and were thoroughly enjoyed by all delegates.

The Queensland event was focused on changing businesses from trusts to company structures and featured very valuable workshops. The Palazzo Versace venue made just being there highly enjoyable notwithstanding the bucketing rain), but I blanched at the cost of the beautiful Versace cup and saucer desired by my wife.

The South Australian Convention had the wow factor which we can all try to emulate. Something good is going on when three-quarters of the 200-plus delegates attend the "super-Saturday" morning sessions after a fabulous dinner the night before (entertained by the Novacastrian fakir and his seemingly tame snake — thank you Paul Tanti for bearing the brunt of python-wrapped shoulders in my stead). The attendees included your bleary-eyed president. Congratulations to everyone involved in putting the SA Convention together. Now onwards to four more state conventions.

Turning to more prosaic topics, the Pt IVA saga continues, with The Tax Institute playing its part in the Assistant Treasurer’s roundtable discussions about how the new Pt IVA should look. The concern that the Institute has (that proposed amendments will indelibly disturb the sense and balance of the present anti-avoidance provision so that it becomes a matter of even greater uncertainty for taxpayers) is being ably ventilated by our member, Grant Wardell-Johnson, on our behalf. I hope that the trajectory of the proposed amendments can soon be made public so that our wider membership can have its say.

Looking backwards, we now have the retrospective transfer pricing law changes introduced into parliament and which are said, on the one hand, to do no more than confirm the law as it has always stood, but those same amendments are held out now in parliamentary debate as the panacea for failures of the past to combat alleged IT profit-shifting. Sometimes it is hard to know what to think.

Ken Schurgott

Ken Schurgott is President of the National Council at The Tax Institute.

The Tax Institute is Australia’s leading professional association in tax. Its 13,000 members include tax agents, accountants and lawyers as well as tax practitioners in corporations, government and academia.


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