It’s been 2 years since the last National Resources Tax Conference. With the resources sector in an ongoing state of flux, there has never been a more important time to attend this conference. In keeping with the times, the 2020 National Resources Tax Conference - Online will be presented virtually over three jam-packed weeks.
With this year’s conference kicking off on 11 November, we spoke to Faith Harako, Australian Tax Office and Amelia Teng, Deloitte in the lead up to their sessions.
Faith Harako is Assistant Commissioner in the Public Groups and International business line at the ATO and has responsibility for the large market Energy and Resources Strategy.
Faith will be presenting on 11 November with fellow panellists Glen Gaspar, CTA, Country Tax Lead for Shell and Premila Roe, CTA, Global Head of tax at BHP in the Justified Trust Panel session. Four years into the ATO’s Justified Trust project, this session will examine the journey so far, and the way forward.
Faith will be discussing the key features of the new combined assurance program and the issues that the ATO are concerned with. The session will address what we have learnt from the previous program, the extent it relates to E&R taxpayers & what we intend to focus on with the new program.
“It is exciting to talk about the top up approach which is very much leveraging off what we have learnt from a particular taxpayer in the first half of the program,” said Faith.
“I hope to see improvements in the engagement to help work towards a better product & better client experience.”
Transparency to the market
Faith said that, from an administrator’s point of view, the ATO is doing everything it can to be more transparent to the market, in particular with cross-border dealings.
“The way that taxpayers lodge and engage in compliance involves lots of information requests and questions, balancing that with limited resources is hard," she explained.
“The difficulty of the law when it comes to public groups is complex and grey which is a challenge for taxpayers. The provisions they have to navigate are lengthy and complex.”
She said that a preventative approach is of utmost importance, and that the ATO has been working on providing more transparency to the market about what concerns the administrator. Being proactive with tax practitioners and taxpayers is a big part of the strategy towards sustainably reducing the tax gap.
“Taxpayers can avoid accidental disputes with the ATO by ensuring they are across various public advice and guidance that the ATO issue, as well as being proactive around documentation," Faith said.
“Think about commerciality. When you enter into a restructure with multiple steps, the administrator will be asking questions. Can this be achieved in a more simplistic way? Taxpayers should think about the commerciality of their arrangement."
“The best way to be prepared is to think about your tax governance framework, the type of questions that the ATO will be asking, use the Effective Tax Borne and the GST Analytical Tool to understand how the ATO may view your tax profile, and have documentation to support your lodgment position.”
Filling the gaps with targeted guidance
For Faith, the 2020 National Resources Tax Conference - Online is an opportunity to gain insight into what guidance the ATO can provide and the gaps in understanding that need to be remedied.
“Coming from the administration side of things, it is really helpful to see the key issues that businesses are grappling with and identify tension points within a particular area that taxpayers and businesses are dealing with," she said.
“Understanding practically what the gaps are helps me to ensure the ATO can provide more targeted guidance in the future.”
Faith shared that she was particularly looking forward to Amelia Teng’s session, Australia’s anti-hybrid rules for the sector as there had been a lot of activity in this area.
Australia’s anti-hybrid rules for the sector with Amelia Teng
We were lucky enough to catch up with Amelia, who is International Tax Partner at Deloitte and specialises in cross-border tax structuring issues, tax policy initiatives and BEPS reforms. Amelia's session looks at Australia’s Anti-hybrid Rules, many aspects of which first came into force in December 2019.
The common view has been that these rules only apply to large global companies with complex tax planning structures, however in reality, the rules apply to all entities with no de minimus and to some unexpected and fairly simple arrangements. This session will look at case studies and outline the practical issues with compliance that have been associated with applying the rules.
“The main challenges in International Tax Advisory are balancing all the new laws that have come into play over the last 5-7 years. There has been a lot of changes at a global and National level,” said Amelia.
“Practitioners now need to know a very broad range of complex new laws and make sense of them in a practical way, to pass onto clients.”
Amelia said the session would be as practical as possible.
“I hope delegates leave the session knowing how each rule applies to them and with ways to improve and streamline their approach.”
Looking forward to an insightful online conference experience
In 2020, we've moved the 2020 National Resources Tax Conference online, but delegates can expect the same high level of technical insight and opportunity to connect with the most important ideas in this space - along with the tax professionals behind them.
“The conference offers a range of very interesting topics, that are practical and relevant to the industry today. The program includes highly topical sessions presented by field experts that provide not only the principles, but also practical side of things and how to mitigate and address issues or address issues,” said Faith.
“It’s easy – it’s online, no excuse!”
Amelia said she is looking forward to presenting at the National Resources Tax Conference – Online as this conference has always been, and remains, a means of staying connected in the industry.
“Whilst I was looking forward to heading west in person, the online event still provides a great opportunity to stay connected to the industry and profession, as well as speak to clients in WA,” she said.
“The program is very interesting and provides the chance to hear directly from people that are living through the issues in their day to day.”
Come one, come all: bringing your team to the National Resources Tax Conference – Online
If you're leading up a team of professionals in the resources space, Amelia stressed the importance of making this learning opportunity open to all.
“It’s great for teams to all hear the same message at once. Seniors need to understand why their team is being asked for certain information. Understanding this will help you understand how best to resource your team," she said.
Faith agreed, saying, “It’s always best to hear it from the horse’s mouth.”
“It's great for heads of department to bring their teams to attend and hear content and speakers first-hand, instead of just relying on their advisors to attend & get the information,” she said.
“Everyone in this space should see and hear first-hand what the concerns are and how taxpayers are approaching issues.”
About the speakers
Faith Harako is an Assistant Commissioner in the Public Groups and International business line in the ATO. She leads the engagement and assurance teams to deliver targeted programs of work with respect to income tax, GST and the petroleum resource rent tax. She also heads up the large market Energy and Resources Strategy.
Amelia Teng is an international tax partner with over 15 years experience and specialises in advising on tax structuring issues relating to Australian inbound and outbound investments. Amelia has a focus on the practical challenges arising for multinational companies from the OECDs BEPS initiatives particularly in relation to the Australian hybrid mismatch rules.