Day 2 at The Tax Summit has finished, and we have had another invaluable day hearing from some of the best minds in tax. We had a number of very topical sessions focused on the impact of internationalisation and technology on the tax landscape, and these fuelled engaging debates and an electric atmosphere throughout the day.
Our top 5 highlights for today include:
1. Senior Tax Counsel Insights
Our very own Senior Tax Counsel, Professor Bob Deutsch, CTA, kicked proceedings off with his insights into a range of potential tax reform ideas.
Some of these ‘major’ ideas included:
- Significantly reducing personal marginal tax rates
- Abolishing FBT and the Medicare levy and accounting for those in the marginal rates
- Switching from a GST to a retail sales tax; and
- Abolishing the imputation system.
More ‘minor’ reform ideas included reducing the CGT discount and introducing restrictions on negative gearing.
Bob also talked about the achievements of the Institute’s Tax Policy and Advocacy Team in 2019. They lodged 50 submissions, attended 133 consultations, and obtained 191 media hits.
It was a very insightful presentation from our Senior Tax Counsel!
2. ATO Announcement
The Commissioner of Taxation, Chris Jordan AO, CTA, addressed delegates at The Tax Summit, and the broader community through a live broadcast about the importance of the relationship between tax professionals and the ATO.
In response, The Tax Institute's President Peter Godber said, “as the representative of over 12,000 tax professionals, we agree tax professionals play a vital role in protecting the health of the tax and super systems. It is crucial that the relationship between
tax professionals and the ATO works effectively now and into the future.”
The Commissioner also used the Summit as a platform to announce the High Wealth Tax Gap, noting Australia is the first jurisdiction internationally to do so. In response, Senior Tax Counsel Professor Bob Deutsch said, “We welcome the transparency that the release of the tax gap brings to the high net wealth market. With a broad range of tax gaps in the public domain now, this gives us more transparency in the tax system and insight into possible focus areas for ATO compliance into the future.”
The Institute’s media release is available here.
3. International Stream
Today we ran our International stream, which isn’t quite the ‘round-the-world’ trip we all imagine. However, given the significant amount of activity in international tax over recent years, two major OECD initiatives were in focus. These were ‘Taxing the Digital Economy’, where delegates discuss whether we’ll ever get a consensus on the measures used, and the OECD anti-hybrid mismatch rules, where the application of rules was also discussed at length. An old favourite, CFCs, were brought into the spotlight.
The last port of call for this stream was the session on practical tax issues for non-resident investors. We were reminded of the ‘fair share of tax’ reforms which include removing concessional MIT withholding for certain arrangements and expanding the thin cap ‘associate entity’ definition to prevent double gearing through trust structures.
4. Technology and Innovation Stream
A huge concern for the tax profession is the impact of technology on traditional tax practices. The extent of the disruption arising from new technology and innovation is a big unknown, but we do know that tax practitioners must ready themselves for this disruption.
They must find ways to harness new technology, not only to change, but to improve the way they run their tax practice, and the Technology and Innovation stream was designed to give professionals practical tips.
5. Tax Adviser of the Year Awards
Tonight, we celebrate the Tax Adviser of the Year awards at the Tax Summit’s Gala Dinner in the Grand Ballroom Darling Harbour. What an outstanding backdrop for our outstanding finalists!
The Tax Adviser of the Year awards will honour the best and brightest minds in the following four categories:
- Emerging Tax Star of the Year (finalists in the picture to the right)
- Corporate Tax Adviser of the Year
- SME Tax Adviser of the Year
- Chartered Tax Adviser of the Year
The list of finalists in each category is available here.
Our winners will be revealed tonight. On behalf of The Tax Institute, we wish all our finalists the best of luck!
We can't wait for the final day of The Tax Summit where Peter Costello, Chairman of Future Fund, will be delivering his highly anticipated VIP presentation. We'll then be finishing the day on a high as Stephen Scheeler, former Facebook CEO for Australia and New Zealand, delivers his thought-provoking session on 'The Digital Invasion - An Insider's Guide to the coming revolution'.