Preparing for a future that is already here - The VIC 4th Annual Tax Forum

Almost all practitioners would agree that tax reform, technology, and globalisation will change the way the tax profession operates in the future. The problem is – the future is already here – and it has begun to affect the tax profession as a whole. How will you, as a tax adviser, prepare for these future changes at the same time that you’re grappling with current ones? Join us and a long list of thought leaders at the VIC 4th Annual Tax Forum to prepare for this brave new world.

With Parliament finally resuming after what has been a year marked with political instability and would-be tax reform, the proposed close-but-no-cigar tax measures will be right back on the Government’s agenda. Hot topics relating to tax reform, corporate tax, superannuation, and small business will resurface. These also tie in with ongoing conversations about mergers and acquisitions (M&A), diverted profits tax, base erosion and profit shifting (BEPS), country by country reporting (CbC), and multinational anti-avoidance law (MAAL).

In true “domino effect” style, these issues cause a chain reaction in the economy, with key developments trickling down to both SME and corporate practitioners. This year’s technical program hones in on how key changes affect the private and corporate streams, with a focus on taking an outward-looking, prospective approach to plan for the changing world of tax.

The changing world of tax

Technological developments, disruptors, and globalisation have changed the tax game for advisers and their clients. Businesses are being structured differently than they were only a few years ago and future developments will come much sooner than expected. Globalisation has also enabled the erosion of tax bases of many countries and the implementation of BEPS, CbC reporting, and MAAL now dominate the work of corporates as over 100 countries collaborate to combat tax avoidance strategies.

Against this backdrop, keynote speaker Karen Payne, CTA (CEO, Board of Taxation) will open the technical program with her discussion on the Board’s current role, priorities and work program, including tax reform and the Board’s contribution to addressing BEPS, improving policy development processes and reducing tax red tape.

Peter Williams (Deloitte), Ken Spence, CTA (Greenwoods & Herbert Smith Freehills) and Catherine Willis (ATO) will also address the changing face of tax in their session, with a focus on the ATO’s part in all of this. Coming from different perspectives, they will discuss their experiences and speak on:

  • How the roles of advisers and the ATO have changed since they started working in tax
  • The practical impact of digitisation
  • How they see the role of the adviser and the focus of the ATO evolving in the future.

Battle of the Think Tanks

This session provides a unique opportunity to hear from some of Australia’s pre-eminent tax policy thinkers on the future of tax reform following the Federal Election. Facilitated by Paul Abbey (PwC), expect some lively debating from panellists Michael Potter (The Centre for Independent Studies), John Daley (Grattan Institute) and Peter Davidson (Australian Council of Social Service), who will reflect on a range of competing economic and social views on tax policy.

What can we learn from others? 

Tax reform is a mandate for all countries but how has one country in particular dealt with the broad-brush of reform? David White (Victoria University of Wellington) will reflect on New Zealand’s experiments with different tax reform structures and institutions over the last 30 years through two case studies – one on GST and the other on CGT. The session will consider the tension between the short and medium term for all stakeholders, and how to foster more positive participation in tax reform by different disciplines, genders, and generations.

Risky business: tax governance

Tax reform, increased media attention, and tax transparency have all opened up key issues for tax governance and risk management. At this year’s forum, Sarah Blakelock, CTA (KPMG) will facilitate a discussion between panellists Jeff Stevenson (ATO), Robert Gallo (PwC) and Stuart Cameron, CTA (Suncorp Group) on what the continuing evolution of tax governance for corporations will mean for advisers, risk officers and the ATO.

The panel will also address the ATO’s risk differentiation framework, the implications of the ATO’s tax risk management and governance review guide, and the impending release of ATO guidance to directors of their duties around tax.

It’s a deal! The M&A boom…

Joint ventures and M&A are seeing plenty of action of late. Company acquisitions are on the rise with appetite for M&A activity growing. The resurgence of M&A has affected not just corporate advisers but also those practitioners advising in the SME space.

Each year, the M&A market throws up new and novel transactions and new twists to old problems. In his session, Aldrin De Zilva, CTA (Greenwoods & Herbert Smith Freehills) will go through a summary of the most interesting corporate mergers, acquisitions and divestments in the public arena over the past 12 months, novel funding techniques and their consequences, and associated rulings and advice provided by the ATO.

Similarly, Simon Aitken, CTA (RSM Australia) will focus on topical issues arising over the past 12 months in the SME sector, including utilising small business restructure rollovers in M&A transactions, identifying the traps and opportunities in small business CGT concessions, early-stage innovation companies, and the Foreign Investment Review Board obligations.

Start planning for change

Tax reform will continue to impact both corporate and SME sectors. Come join us at this premier forum to hear experts highlight the key changes and how you can stay informed and prepared. 

The VIC 4th Annual Tax Forum takes place 5 - 6 October 2016 at the Park Hyatt, Melbourne. Featuring three streams (Corporate, Private and Hot Topics), 28 technical sessions, more than 40 expert speakers and flexible ticketing it includes up to 11.5 CPD hours. Find out more.


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