Uncertain times ahead for tax reform

Welcome to the first blog post for 2013. I hope that all members had a restful time over the Christmas/New Year period.

Politically, this year carries with it the uncertainty of a Federal election. In terms of the Parliament and the timeframe for its legislative program, this means that there will likely be fewer sitting days in which to debate and pass many important tax measures.

This makes it all the more important for the Government to ensure that the plethora of announced but unenacted tax measures is dealt with as a priority.

The Tax Institute has led on this issue and we have ensured that the Assistant Treasurer has been made well aware of members' concerns. Our strong advocacy has resulted in a joint meeting between the Minister and the professional bodies to discuss prioritising some of the outstanding measures. The Minister's early response has been positive and we welcome his attempts to move some of the backlog.

Unfortunately, in the race to balance the Budget over recent years, the Government has rushed a number of new tax changes. As a result, other pre-existing priorities were pushed down the list. Many of these were announced by press release, creating uncertainty and hampering the ability of businesses to make informed investment decisions.

Treasury's latest forward work program details approximately 40 tax measures that they are working on. However, Treasury has told us that they have a list of more than 100 tax announcements that are yet to be legislated. The Australian Financial Review reported on this issue this week and we provided comments for the story.

We will continue to pursue the outstanding measures as another priority item this year.

We look forward to a successful and enjoyable year ahead.

Robert Jeremenko

Robert Jeremenko CTA is Senior Tax Counsel of 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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