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Tax reform in two days? Tell ‘em they’re dreaming

Publication date: 28 Jul 11 | Source: THE TAX INSTITUTE

The Tax Institute is calling for clarity around goals and more detail about the format of the Federal Government’s Tax Forum in October following today’s release of a discussion paper.

Senior Tax Counsel Robert Jeremenko said the Institute was pleased to see the forum would be broken down into sessions around key areas of the taxation system.

“Tax reform is too important to be rushed over a two-day discussion,” Mr Jeremenko said.

“The Tax Institute has long called for a measured and structured approach to tax reform.

“It is important to ensure a timeline for reform and a process for taking the debate forward beyond the October forum.

“What’s missing in the Government’s discussion paper is detail about the format of the forum and the ultimate objectives of the whole exercise.

“How are 150 different people with at least 300 different points of view on varying aspects of the tax system going to produce a strategic tax reform roadmap for the future?” Mr Jeremenko said.

“The discussion paper is a blueprint of some of the key issues already widely canvassed in the Henry Tax Review, which was billed as a ‘once in a generation opportunity for reform’ ”

“The biggest fear for tax professionals is that once the two days of discussions are over, the only tangible output will be a warm glow and a communiqué calling for more discussion.”

The Tax Institute is holding its own tax reform event in Sydney on 31 August called ‘The Great Tax Debate’. 

“The Great Tax Debate is not in competition with the Government’s tax forum, but will provide a platform for real tax reform discussion and undertake some preparatory work that is crucial ahead of the October forum,” Mr Jeremenko said.

The Tax Institute is the country’s leading professional association in tax. Its 13,000 members include tax agents, accountants and lawyers as well as tax practitioners in corporations, government and academia. The Tax Institute supports the tax profession and its members by holding more than 350 tax events each year. It conducts educational courses, develops publications, maintains an online information resource and provides a comprehensive tax library and research service. It works to continually improve tax law and its administration.

For more information contact: Robert Jeremenko, Senior Tax Counsel, The Tax Institute, T: 02 8223 0011, 0468 987 300, or Craig Regan, Lighthouse Communications, T: 02 9692 8811, M: 0408 448 527.