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24th National Convention 2009

Published on 11 Mar 2009 | Took place at Sydney Convention & Exhibition Centre and Doltone House, National

This event occurred 11-13 March 2009.

The 2009 National Convention, "Bright Lights Big City", included presentations by The Secretary of Treasury and the Commissioner of Taxation. Additionally, specialist streams covered:

  • trusts issues affecting SMEs
  • R&D
  • GST
  • not for profit and charity organisations
  • superannuation
  • transfer pricing.
The SME stream covered topics such as:
  • small business concessions and main residence exemptions
  • earn-out arrangements
  • buying and selling of intangible assets
  • managing intergenerational change
  • the latest developments in the SME domain.
The corporate stream covered topics such as:
  • advising on tax in a distressed market
  • the proposed emissions trading scheme
  • changes to Div 6C and its impact on property trusts
  • recent developments in international tax
  • consolidations
  • TOFA.
Note: You can download a copy of Ken Henry's speech Confidence in the operation of the tax system here

Get a 20% discount when you buy all the items from this event.

Individual sessions

Justice Hill Memorial Lecture - Statutory interpretation

Author(s):  Murray GLEESON This paper discusses statutory interpretation.

Materials from this session:

The Commissioner’s powers of general administration: How far can he go?

Author(s):  Bruce QUIGLEY

This paper covers:

  • the extent of the power
  • the Financial Management and Accountability Act 1997 and “the good management rule”
  • when the exercise of the power is appropriate and when is it not appropriate
  • Fleet Street Casuals and other relevant cases
  • when may a ruling be ultra vires
  • international comparisons.
Note: You can also download the Commissioner's paper here.
Materials from this session:

Tax treatment of liabilities – The unexplored parallel universe

Author(s):  Ken SPENCE,  Andrew DE WIJN,  Enzo COIA

To date, the focus of our tax system has been on transactions involving assets, with only limited attention being given to liabilities. Recent legislative developments are addressing this imbalance, albeit in a piecemeal fashion. This paper deals with:

  • ambiguities raised by the way in which the tax system has traditionally dealt with liabilities
  • how liabilities alter tax outcomes on asset and entity acquisition transactions
  • the proposed TOFA treatment of liabilities
  • options for a more consistent tax treatment of liabilities.
Materials from this session:

Foreign income review

Author(s):  Richard SHADDICK

The Board of Taxation’s review of Australia’s anti-tax deferral regimes began in October 2006. This paper provides an up-to-date report of progress and implications for future advice on the management of foreign operations and investments. It covers:

  • the Board’s progress
  • CFC, FIF and foreign trust rules – what the future holds
  • opportunities for quick compliance
  • foreign profits, foreign dividends and foreign capital gains.
Materials from this session:

Trust busting, tax and the Family Court - Current issues for SME tax advisers

Author(s):  Arlene MACDONALD This paper examines two very recent decisions which deal with the powers of the Family Court (and the Federal Magistrates Court) which are of great importance to SME tax advisers. This paper also considers some tax issues raised by these decisions and comments on the continuing usefulness of discretionary trusts for asset protection.

Materials from this session:

GST, CGT and stamp duty

Author(s):  Peter GREEN

This paper covers:

  • the creation and exercise of rights including:
    • timing and attribution rules
    • the impact of contingencies upon the characterisation of the transaction and the quantification of consideration
    • the distinction between consideration for the creation of the right and the exercise of the right
    • the potential for multiple taxation and the need for statutory relief or precise attribution of consideration.
  • the termination or extinguishment of rights including:
    • forfeiture of deposits: the High Court in Reliance Carpets and the Federal Court in Brooks
    • performance of contracts and the High Court in Orica
    • surrenders, releases and the operation of law.
  • earnouts including:
    • long-term leases, subdivision and issues arising from the interaction of the different taxes.
Materials from this session:

Tax consolidation – The finishing touches?

Author(s):  Tony STOLAREK

This paper covers:

  • the impact for corporate groups of the long list of tax consolidation amendments announced between 2003 and 2008 reconfirmed in the 2008–09 Federal Budget
  • retrospective changes that may involve reopening prior year returns and recalculating allocable cost amounts, resetting asset values, changing transitional choices and amendment of returns
  • new tax consolidation issues to be resolved by the Government.
Materials from this session:

Getting your practice and clients ready for the new tax agents services regime

Author(s):  Sue WILLIAMSON

All tax agents will need to review their structures and procedures to ensure they are not in breach of any of the requirements of the new regime. This paper focuses on the things you need to do to ensure that the new regime will not adversely affect the ongoing operation of your practice including:

  • registration requirements
  • adequate supervision and control of employees
  • outsourcing to related entities, Australian entities and offshore entities
  • structures that can be used including partnerships and trusts
  • the Code of Professional Conduct
  • updating engagement letters and ensuring instructions are adequate
  • penalties for taxpayers relying on tax agents versus sanctions on tax agents for breach of the Code.
Materials from this session:

Property trusts – What’s in store for the future

Author(s):  Daryl CHOO

This paper covers a number of topical key taxation issues that have particular relevance for Australian property trusts including:

  • the new final withholding regime for managed investment trusts
  • interim amendments to Div 6C
  • the Board of Taxation’s review of the tax regime for managed investment trusts
  • REIT regimes – the international experience.
Materials from this session:

Administration of SME trusts

Author(s):  Ron JORGENSEN

With an increasing number of cases on trust law matters now coming before the courts, it is more important than ever for tax practitioners to ensure that they can identify and understand the relevant issues.

This paper addresses some practical matters facing SME clients in administering the modern discretionary trust including:

  • the trust income, taxable income and distributable income debate
  • care required if relying on PS LA 2005/1 (GA)
  • streaming income with different characteristics to different beneficiaries
  • creating a present entitlement in light of recent case law
  • distributions of income versus appointments of income.
Materials from this session:

The new R&D tax concession

Author(s):  David GELB,  Paul VAN BERGEN

Australia’s R&D tax concession system is undergoing its most profound changes since its introduction in 1985. The Review of the National Innovation System proposes a tax credit system with additional incentives for companies with turnover under $50 million. New rules and definitions will impact all companies involved in product development, process improvement and innovation generally. This paper explains the changes and identifies strategies for companies to manage this transition and participate in the new R&D tax credit system including:

  • key changes by the new Government
  • practical implications of those changes to business
  • R&D compliance issues
  • recent R&D developments (ATO and AusIndustry rulings)
  • transitional arrangements and planning issues.
Materials from this session:

Building, buying, holding, selling and valuing intangible business assets

Author(s):  Andrew O'BRYAN

Today, intangibles lurk below the surface of the basic financial statements of a business but often hold the real value. The tax treatment for owners, buyers and sellers can vary widely. You may think you’re selling “goodwill”, which will be completely free of tax because of the CGT concessions. What if the valuable asset is in fact copyright, which is not in the CGT regime? So it pays to explore and identify the true legal nature of intangibles and their commercial value, particularly in related party transactions or internal restructures.This paper covers:

  • distinguishing intellectual property from other intangibles
  • which intangibles hold the real value?
  • intangibles covered by the CGT regime
  • intangibles covered by the Div 40 UCA regime
  • commercialising or selling: what should the contracts say?
Materials from this session:

TOFA 3 & 4: Practical implications for non-financial institution taxpayers

Author(s):  Neil WARD

You have heard the theory of this long awaited tax reform. Now consider what it really means to taxpayers outside of the financial institutions. This paper practically analyses the provisions, covering issues such as:

  • the potential benefits of the various accounting elections
  • timing impacts/characterisation impacts
  • unexpected complexity
  • how to prepare
  • when you need to decide and what you need to do.
Materials from this session:

AMLCTF – An acronym or a possible jail sentence?

Author(s):  David J WILLIAMS

The Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism Financing Act 2006 has already had a significant impact on financial institutions, requiring significant changes to procedures and software systems. The second tranche of designated services will affect everyday services provided by accountants, lawyers and other professional advisers and as a result draw them into the operation of the Act. Complying with the obligations relating to the provision of designated services will result in significant additional obligations which need to be addressed early to minimise the impact. This paper covers:

  • the gateway – what are designated services?
  • the obligations: client identification; adoption of an appropriate system by the professional adviser; ongoing client due diligence; ongoing record keeping; and reporting obligations
  • the sanctions
  • the practical impact on your practice.
Materials from this session:

GST and property - Finding paths to certainty or is it an irremediable mess?

Author(s):  Gina LAZANAS,  Andrew SOMMER

GST and property matters are always contentious, often complicated, and increasingly litigated. Gina Lazanas and Andrew Sommer have been at the forefront of these issues for a number of years. This paper covers:

  • the (ongoing) margin scheme debacle
  • the residential/commercial residential premises divide
  • retirement villages and aged care
  • partitions and in-specie distributions
  • Division 129 adjustments on change in use.
Materials from this session:

Tax-exempt charities and Prescribed Private Funds and other private charitable foundations

Author(s):  John EMERSON This paper covers tax-exempt charities and Prescribed Private Funds and other private charitable foundations.

Materials from this session:

Small business CGT concessions – Some things that may surprise you!

Author(s):  Stephen HOLMES

The new and improved small business concessions continue to provide practitioners with incredible opportunities to save tax for clients but their application is far from straightforward. This paper helps you chart a course through specific pitfalls of the concessions as well as examining some of the new opportunities that continue to emerge. Topics covered include:

  • the small business entity rules – upsides and downsides
  • the benefits of carrying on a business
  • new definitions of “affiliate” and “connected with”
  • how spouses can be useful
  • issues with selling shares or units
  • issues with the active asset test
  • interest-free loans from the Government using the rollover concession
  • Part IVA and the SBC.
Materials from this session:

Corporate restructuring: The toolbox and the combinations

Author(s):  Joshua CARDWELL

This paper considers common issues and techniques arising in relation to the reorganisation and sale of private companies and private groups. It covers:

  • mergers/demergers/buy-backs/dividends and their use as restructuring techniques
  • takeovers and scrip-for-scrip rollovers
  • splitting up companies using demergers
  • Section 45B and franking issues
  • protecting assets using holding companies and rollover
  • transfer duty relief under corporate reorganisation provisions
  • reorganising corporate groups using consolidation.
Materials from this session:

Credit crunch and distressed markets

Author(s):  Duncan R C BAXTER

This paper provides an analysis of the main tax issues affecting your clients in a distressed market including:

  • tax losses of companies in administration or liquidation
  • sales by lenders enforcing security interests
  • commercial debt forgiveness
  • interest payments after the business has ceased
  • other issues for the borrowers
  • capitalised interest, suspended interest and non-accrual loans
  • doubtful and bad debts
  • restructures and the market value substitution rules
  • other issues for the lender.
Materials from this session:

Superannuation: The hot issues

Author(s):  Daniel BUTLER,  Bryce FIGOT

This paper covers the hot topics and uses case studies to explain the tips and traps including:

  • SMSF borrowing – the current state of play on the regulatory and the taxation (both Federal and State) treatment including CGT, GST and regulatory issues
  • managing contributions and the contribution caps, and how reserving interplays with these. Excess contributions can result in 93% tax! What to do if an excess arises and how to ensure appropriate strategies are adopted
  • pension planning – getting the most out of your pension is what it’s all about. What strategies now work, when to do and not do pensions, and is there still CGT on cashing out a pension on death?
  • succession to super especially SMSFs is going to be big business in the years ahead. Many SMSFs and their members are hopelessly exposed to their super ending up in the wrong hands at the wrong time.
Materials from this session:

Transfer Pricing: Applying the arm’s length principle in a world without comparables

Author(s):  Marc SIMPSON This presentation by the ATO covers transfer pricing.

Materials from this session:

Dealing with blended families as part of succession planning

Author(s):  Daniel FRY,  Reagan GRUENTHAL

With approximately one in five families in Australia being a blended family, this paper focuses on the succession planning issues that arise including:

  • the different approaches
  • mutual wills
  • passing control of family trusts
  • avoiding family trust distribution tax
  • dealing with superannuation death benefits.
Materials from this session:

Long live the goose - Recent cases dealing with tax concession charities

Author(s):  Jennifer BATROUNEY

This paper covers:

  • the legislation
  • Commissioner of Taxation v Word Investments limited
  • Victorian Women Lawyers' Association Inc v FCT (2008) 170 FCR 318
  • TACT v FCT [2008] ATC 2254.
Materials from this session: