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Tax Professionals say Tax Treatment of Trusts and Superannuation are Key Swan-Hockey Debate Issues

Publication date: 27 Jul 10 | Source: THE TAX INSTITUTE

Ongoing uncertainty over the tax treatment of trusts has emerged as the top election issue for Australia's taxation professionals.

The Taxation Institute of Australia, which represents tax agents, accountants and lawyers working in tax, has asked its 13,000-strong membership to name their top three election policy issues.

Taxing of trusts was nominated by 50% of respondents as a top tax issue for the election.
Implementing a long term policy for the taxing of superannuation (47%), tax incentives for small business (46%) and reducing the number of state and local government taxes (44%) are the other main concerns.

The Institute has invited Treasurer Wayne Swan and Shadow Treasurer Joe Hockey to meet in a debate about tax policy.

Tax Institute Senior Tax Counsel Robert Jeremenko said the feedback about trusts reflected members' concerns and was unsurprising given the outcome of recent tax cases and ATO views in relation to trusts.

"The High Court of Australia recently noted that it has been more than 20 years since the courts first identified the need for legislative clarification in this area of tax law," Mr Jeremenko said.

"Members' feedback confirms that legislative change is well overdue.

"The tax treatment of trusts has the potential to affect all taxpayers including individuals, small businesses, superannuation funds, managed funds and large businesses."

"Our membership clearly believes it's time for both sides of politics to commit to a legislative solution to provide clarity."

Mr Jeremenko said the Institute's proposal for a debate on tax was sent to the Government and Opposition well before the start of the election campaign. Both major parties are yet to respond.

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For more information:
Robert Jeremenko, Senior Tax Counsel, Taxation Institute of Australia, T: 02 8223 0011, M 0468 987 300
Craig Regan, Lighthouse Communications, 02 9692 8811, 0408 448 527;
John Hanrahan, 02 9692 8811, 0411 212 965