The Tax Institute is the most respected and influential contributor to the development of tax policy and administration in Australia. As part of this contribution, we prepare top level submissions on tax policy, administration and technical matters at both Federal and State levels. Non-confidential submissions prepared from 1996 onwards and covering legislation, ATO and Treasury consultative documents and papers, as well as rulings, determinations and a range of other ATO opinion and guideline documents, are available here.
28 Feb 2019
The Tax Institute welcomes the opportunity to make a submission to the Treasurer in relation to the 2019-20 Federal Budget. We refer to the media release issued by the Assistant Minister for Treasury and Finance, Senator the Hon Zed Seselja, inviting submissions for the 2019-20 Federal Budget where the Government has expressed its intention ‘to keep the economy strong and guarantee the essential services on which Australians rely’.
The Tax Institute considers that a structurally sound Australian tax system is required to support the Government’s goal of keeping the economy strong and ensuring sufficient revenue is raised to support the provision of essential services relied upon by Australians.
To achieve a structurally sound Australian tax system, one must cast an honest and critical eye over the current system and decide whether all the features of the current system should remain or should be removed in favour of new or modern features that better support Australia’s economic needs. Such a pursuit requires a strong political will.
15 Feb 2019
Our submission addresses our main concerns in relation to the Consultation Paper. In particular, we have determined a ‘rule of thumb’ that could apply when determining which information should remain included in a Taxation Determination and which information could instead be published on the ATO website.
01 Feb 2019
The Tax Institute welcomes the opportunity to make a submission to the Australian Taxation Office in relation to the Draft Miscellaneous Taxation Ruling MT 2018/D1 Miscellaneous Tax: time limits for claiming an input tax or fuel tax credit (Draft Ruling).
The Tax Institute strongly recommends adopting the ‘Alternative view’, rather than the view adopted by the Commissioner in the Draft Ruling. The view adopted in the Draft Ruling leads to arbitrary and unfair outcomes, and perversely encourages taxpayers to adopt aggressive input tax credit claims in order to protect their entitlements.
23 Nov 2018
In our opinion, the Government’s approach in the Consultation Paper reflects an attempt to only selectively adopt some of the recommendations of the Board of Taxation Post-Implementation Review of Division 7A dated November 2014.
The Board’s Division 7A Report made wide ranging recommendations precisely because one of the criticisms of the evolution of Division 7A was the constant ‘band-aiding’ of the Division. The Board therefore specifically rejected this as an approach and recommended a package of measures that could be adopted as a replacement to Division 7A.
The Board of Taxation’s recommendations were made after extensive consultation and engagement with practitioners, the ATO, Treasury officials and taxpayers. In our opinion, the Consultation Paper should clearly outline why recommendations have not been adopted.
In our opinion, the measures in the Consultation Paper represent another band-aid fix to Division 7A. The Government needs to reconsider this approach and revisit the recommendations made by the Board of Taxation. We would strongly encourage the government not to continue the errors of the past by, once again, applying band-aid fixes to the Division.
20 Nov 2018
As Australian residence is one of the two foundation stones upon which Australia’s taxation jurisdictional claim rests, the importance and potential impact of this review of individual residence cannot be underestimated.
Our submission addresses each of the design principles in the Consultation Guide rather than focussing on each individual question. There are two overarching concerns, being:
• That the proposed changes ensure that the goals of certainty and simplicity are met and not frustrated by an integrity regime that seeks to deal with rare occurrences that arise not necessarily due to residence abuse but often due to the operation of other provisions of the Income Tax Assessment Acts; and
• That the reform proposals mooted in the Consultation Guide will expand the scope of persons caught by the rules. This is so notwithstanding the assertion that the stated intention (on page 26 of the Consultation Guide), is that the revenue impact of the measure will be ‘immaterial or negligible’.
Our view is based on the proposals which would include the development of a more adhesive residence rule, the creation of two clear bright-line tests (which may include the measurement of presence over any 12-month period) and a factor test coupled with revision of the superannuation test. Therefore, in light of these potential Page 2 impacts the Taxation Institute urges the Board to undertake the modelling and associated costings appropriate in the context of this major reform of Australia’s jurisdictional change.
02 Nov 2018
From 1 July 2019, the proposed legislation will limit deductions for expenses associated with holding vacant land. The measure does not apply to expenses associated with holding vacant land that is used by the owner or a related entity to carry on a business.
Members are concerned that the Government has significantly underestimated the scale and scope of arrangements that are going to be affected under the proposed legislation. Further, in our opinion, the proposed legislation creates significant uncertainties. As the law is currently drafted, if land is not genuinely held for the purpose of generating assessable income, the costs are not deductible. In our opinion, the integrity issues should be addressed through better enforcement rather than making the tax system more complex by introducing further legislation.
02 Nov 2018
The Tax Institute welcomes the invitation to make a submission to Treasury in relation to the Government’s work test exemption for recent retirees. The stated objective to the proposed legislation and regulations is to provide a one‑year exemption from the work test for superannuation contributions, to allow recent retirees to boost their superannuation balances.
01 Nov 2018
The Tax Institute is concerned with the approach the ATO is taking to earnout arrangements and interpreting earnout rights as if they create a ‘separate asset’ and, in particular, that this would create differing tax outcomes in respect of earnout arrangements. The Tax Institute does not agree with this position. Our submission addresses the questions in the Discussion Paper with this in mind.