On Wednesday last week, Tax Institute President Stephen Healey CTA, National Councillor Tim Neilson CTA and Senior Tax Counsel Robert Jeremenko CTA attended the first quarterly meeting of the ATO's National Tax Liaison Group for 2015. Many issues were discussed at the meeting, including a number of which The Tax Institute has a leading role. These include:
- Exploring changes in environmental factors that may have a direct or indirect impact on tax law and administration - The Tax Institute gave the first presentation on this topic to NTLG members;
- Update from Treasury on the legislative program and the Tax Reform White Paper process;
- Corporate Tax Avoidance - policy developments related to base erosion and profit shifting and progress on the Senate Inquiry into Corporate Tax Avoidance;
- Post-implementation review of the ATO's consultation framework that has been in place for the past 18 months or so;
- Discussion of the "Reinventing the ATO" blueprint;
- Discussion of the "ATO Guidance and Advice" review the ATO is running - The Tax Institute presented an update on the "Renovating ATO Rulings" project it is leading, and which also forms a significant part of the ATO review;
- Discussion of the "Revising the Test Case Litigation" blueprint; and
- 'Red-tape' reduction - including the NTLG members' work on safe harbours through a new network of safe harbour working groups focused on specific topic areas.
Release of the Intergenerational Report
Last week, the Government released the 2015 Intergenerational Report. The Government prepares an Intergenerational Report every 5 years. The Report contains economic projections over the next forty years and assesses the long-term sustainability of the current policy setting and how population changes may impact on economic growth, the workforce and the public purse. It assumes no change to the current policy setting.
There are 3 key drivers of economic growth: population, participation and productivity. A key part of the Report is the recognition of both the demands on and impact on revenue streams that may flow from future changes to the population and the economy.
Australia's current tax system was designed for a different time and the Report notes the very different environment our tax system must now operate in. Without structural tax reform, Australia will continue to rely on its mid-20th Century designed tax system to carry it well into the 21st Century. We look forward to the opportunities the Tax Reform White Paper process will afford us for structural reform and modernisation to the tax system when it begins.
The Report can be accessed here.
Please get in touch with us via Tax Policy should you wish to discuss any of the matters discussed at this or any of the other many consultations The Tax Institute participates in on behalf of members.
Stephanie Caredes CTA is a 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.