Voices from history: Bruce Pascoe

Over the years, The Tax Institute and its members have played a pivotal role in shaping tax policy and the tax profession at large. Each month, we will be sharing some of these stories of advocacy and networks from the Institute’s history with you.

Bruce Pascoe, Institute president 1976-78

Bruce Pascoe, Institute president 1976-78
Bruce Pascoe

“I was involved in the Institute for a very long time, and saw significant changes in its direction and profile. I was first aware of the Institute in those early days when Harold Irving established it as The Institute of Registered Tax Agents to provide a body for the many tax agents who had no other qualification.

Much of my earlier involvement was with an aim to change the Institute from an association representing tax agents to a professional body of accountants and lawyers experienced and involved in taxation.

Effecting change

In the mid to late 70s, the bulk of tax returns were paper returns and were manually assessed. Tax agents were always looking for longer extensions of time to lodge returns but the ATO had to collect them in time to assess and collect the tax by the following 30 June. At one of our annual meetings with the Commissioner, then Sir Edward Cain, I acknowledged that it was somewhat a case of irresistible force against an immovable object. I suggested that we should concentrate on matters which could allow both to be more efficient.

One suggestion was to establish a working committee to meet with the second Commissioner, then Pat Lanigan, on a regular basis to deal with many administrative areas which could change for the benefit of both sides. This proposal was adopted and we commenced regular meetings including sub-committee meetings on matters such as the new and growing computer systems for returns. I have no doubt that this developed in the NTLG which has been a significant factor in policy.

Developing status and recognition

I enjoyed my long and close involvement with the Institute, including my two years as president and the years on National Council, and acknowledge that the Institute has been good for me, particularly in elevating my profile through that involvement and the presentation of many papers at various state and national conventions.”

70 years supporting the tax profession

In 2013, The Tax Institute is celebrating 70 years of supporting the tax profession.

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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