A closer look at the VIC 4th Annual Tax Forum program with Jason Barnes, CTA

Jason Barnes, CTA, is a member of the Organising Committee for the VIC 4th Annual Tax Forum. At King & Wood Mallesons he is a Special Counsel, and has over 15 years' tax experience. His experience includes roles as a Special Counsel at a specialist tax advisory firm, and two secondments to major banks in Hong Kong and Melbourne.

Primarily practising in the area of income tax (including tax audits and litigation), his practice also extends to goods and services tax, stamp duty and resource taxes, but he tells us “My current favourite tax topic of interest is the new foreign resident capital gains withholding regime!”

We spoke to Jason about the upcoming VIC 4th Annual Tax Forum, and some of the sessions he’s looking forward to.

Asked what the Forum means to him, and more broadly, to the tax profession, Jason said “It’s an opportunity to hear and learn from some of the best tax minds in the country and to catch up and network with colleagues - existing and former - and clients”.

Looking at the wide-ranging program, featuring 28 sessions and more than 40 presenters, Jason told us “I’m really looking forward to PwC’s Greg Weickhardt and Peter Collins, FTI, on ‘Coping with Cross-Border Attack’. They’ll be digging into the issues around the multinational anti-avoidance law (MAAL), and why it has affected more taxpayers than originally intimated by the government, and which industries and operating models have been most impacted. They’ll also be discussing what’s next for multinationals dealing with transfer pricing, MAAL and OECD and other law changes”.

“David White, from Victoria University of Wellington, is sharing his experience with New Zealand’s experiments with different tax reform structures and institutions in a couple of case studies on GST and CGT reform in his session ‘Tax Reform – What Can We Learn From New Zealand’ which should prove very interesting too”, he continued.

“The panel session ‘Tax Governance for Corporations’ that Sarah Blakelock, CTA (KPMG) is facilitating is also high on my agenda. Governance is an evolving beast, and the panel of Jeff Stevenson (Australian Taxation Office), Robert Gallo (PwC) and Stuart Cameron, CTA (Suncorp Group) will have interesting takes on what it means for the ATO, an adviser and a Chief risk officer respectively”.

“Last but not least I think every practitioner will find something of interest in the ‘Battle of the Think Tanks’ session on day two of the Forum. Michael Potter of the Centre for Independent Studies, John Daley from the Grattan Institute and Peter Davidson of the Australian Council of Social Service are some of the country’s pre-eminent tax policy thinkers and will be discussing and debating the future of tax reform following the federal election. Paul Abbey from PwC is facilitating and may well have his work cut out for him”.

Asked what he enjoys doing when he’s not knee-deep in tax, Jason said “I’m an avid North Melbourne supporter, but have recently rediscovered my passion for basketball and can’t wait to watch some NBA games live when I’m in the US later this year. I also like to get involved in the sporting pursuits of my children (including perfecting my boundary throw-ins as a football boundary umpire), to keep fit, to spend time in the garden (weeding, pruning hedges and raking up leaves can be very therapeutic) and to watch ‘House of Cards’ with my wife”.

The VIC 4th Annual Tax Forum takes place 5-6 October 2016 at the Park Hyatt, Melbourne. Featuring three 3 streams (Corporate, Private Clients and Hot Topics), 28 technical sessions, more than 40 expert speakers, and 11.5 CPD hours, this is Victoria’s premier tax program. Find out more.


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