For a somewhat ‘simple’ tax, GST continues to surprise many practitioners with its increasing complexity. Now in its 16th year, GST has grown up – and perhaps grown out – of its initial mandate to provide states with a stable source of revenue.
The introduction of GST in July 2000 is arguably one of the most significant tax reforms that Australia has seen. Based on the European Union’s VAT system, the broad-based consumption tax not only removed state reliance on grants from the government, it also broadened the tax base of Australia whilst collecting billions of dollars for the economy.
Sixteen years on, the state of GST is again under the political microscope. Australia has one of the world’s lowest GST rates in the world, with the OECD average GST standard rate at 19.1%. Earlier this year, the Turnbull government entertained a possible increase to GST but backed out due to Treasury’s findings that an increase to 15% would only deliver ‘negligible’ economic growth gains.
GST hike takes one
Lower income earners breathed a sigh of relief as plans to raise the GST fell through. However, the reach of GST extends past households to state, federal and the international arena, affecting case law, legislation and rulings.
Keynote speaker The Hon Justice Tony Pagone sets the scene for this year’s GST Intensive, looking at the interpretation of the GST Act and the influence of other areas of law such as property law, trust law and company law.
This year’s program covers the fundamentals – supply and entitlement to input tax credits and creditable purpose – the building blocks of the GST regime. David Marks QC (Inns of Court Chambers, Brisbane), Kevin O’Rourke (Deloitte) and Tony Slater QC will cover those issues against legislation and landmark case law. Other experts from government, industry and tax professions will also touch on the basic building blocks of GST as well as dive into the tricky GST issues that arise from the financial services and property industries.
In addition, Rod Dunn, CTA (ATO), Craig Klapdor, CTA (CBA) and Nick Kallinikios, CTA (KPMG) will explore current topical issues impacting the financial services industry. Questions relating to bitcoin, ACAs and the input taxed treatment of ATM services will be discussed. And on a tax administration front, Gina Lazanas, CTA (Balazs Lazanas Welch), John Gleeson (ATO) and Rebecca Smith (ATO) will highlight changes to the ATO’s public advice and guidance product, emerging issues with the Commissioner’s private rulings regime and safe harbours.
The program will finish off with a moderated, interactive session involving two competing panels of speakers addressing tough questions from attendees and the moderator, Geoff Mann, CTA (Ashurst).
GST goes cross-border
With the ongoing changes around the globe on cross-border transactions both in the B2B and B2C space, other complexities and international developments arise. How are other jurisdictions taxing cross-border transactions? What is Australia doing and how do our changes compare to other jurisdictions? What exactly is the GST reform in relation to the cross-border sale of goods to consumers? Suzanne Kneen, CTA (PwC) and Josephine Drum (ATO) will address those burning issues.
A GST for the future…
How well placed is the GST law to deal with disruptive technologies? As Australia moves into the future, the advancement of technology will only bring more challenges to GST. Jeremy Geale, CTA (ATO) and Andrew Sommer, CTA (Clayton Utz) will discuss the challenges in making the existing law work for technological innovation, the administrative and policy responses and how technology affects the practical operation of the law.
Join us at The Tax Institute’s 2016 National GST Intensive to learn more and dig deeper into the complexities of this inevitable tax and economic reform just waiting to happen.