This month, we continue to look at the history of the Institute throughout past decades.
As the 1970s began, the boom period of the previous decades was coming to an end. Unemployment and inflation began to rise, and Australia’s first Labor government in years was elected but lost public support by 1975. The shadow of the Vietnam War loomed, and Cyclone Tracy devastated Darwin in 1974.
Despite this, the Institute went from strength to strength during this period, particularly in terms of education and convention activity. By 1970, membership numbers had reached 3,068 and doubled by the end of the decade. Conventions were held annually in each state, and the second national convention was held in Adelaide in 1972, in Hobart in 1975, and in Surfers Paradise in 1977.
In 1974, an international tax conference was held in Singapore, and members of The Tax Institute made up half of the delegates, prompting the Institute to hold its own international conference in Hong Kong in 1979.
The Commonwealth Taxation Review Committee (Asprey Committee) was formed in 1972, and developing submissions to the committee made up much of the Institute’s activities in the first half of the decade.
The work involved in producing the submissions highlighted the need for dedicated tax research. In August 1976, the Taxation Institute of Australia Research and Education Trust was launched, with a part-time librarian employed by the Institute in 1979.
Complex anti-avoidance legislation was introduced during this period, and Harold Irving noted that: “It was very pleasing to note that the government had in fact acted on some of the submissions on amending legislation, and that the Treasurer had acknowledged the role of the Institute in persuading the government that some further amendments to the proposed legislation were desirable.”
Moving into the 1980s, continuing professional development continued to be a strong focus for the Institute, with the state, international and national conferences experiencing record numbers of attendees. Research continued to be an issue and together the Law Council of Australia, the Institute of Chartered Accountants and the Australian Society of Accountants established the Australian Tax Research Foundation.
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.