Last week The Tax Institute responded to the Government’s request for advice on the remaining 64 unenacted tax measures.
In doing so, we focused on determining "whether there are any unintended consequences from not proceeding with the measures or whether there are compelling reasons why the measure should proceed". That is, whether there is good reason for keeping a measure other than to provide certainty and efficiency and prevent taxpayers from having to unwind transactions.
Further, the Government has committed to provide legislative protection to a taxpayer who has self-assessed and factored in an announced measure that will not proceed. There is also a promise of an entitlement to a refund where a taxpayer has complied with a previously announced measure and paid tax accordingly and the announced measure does not proceed.
With these conditions in mind, we identified only the priority measures that we strongly recommend be progressed through Parliament by 1 July 2014. In doing so, we have considered the harm that may be suffered by taxpayers should certain measures not be proceeded with and whether there is an appropriate administrative solution to the issue the measure is intended to address.
You may access our complete submission.
Thank you to those members, including of our expert technical committees, who provided invaluable assistance in poring over the measures with a view to providing advice to the Government in such a short period of time.
Tax professionals solidly support the Government’s efforts in rolling up its sleeves and getting into the mire of the tax law backlog. It’s a dirty job but thankfully the Coalition Government has put its hand up to be the one to do it.
By culling the majority of the tax announcements, the Government can focus its efforts on legislating the key tax priority issues and injecting much-needed certainty into the tax system.
We must never again allow such a build-up of unenacted tax laws. Tax professionals stand ready to assist the Government in this regard through ongoing, increased engagement on tax policy design. We both share the goals of a simpler, more equitable and more efficient tax system.
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.