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07 Oct 2021 Advocacy Tracker

Key issues on the radar

Our Tax Policy and Advocacy team is always working for our members. Our Advocacy Tracker sets out the key issues that we are advocating for on your behalf, including additional resources via the hyperlinks. Should members have any queries or wish to discuss matters with the Tax Policy and Advocacy team, please contact us at Tax Policy.

Members can also track updated ATO advice under development and matters under consultation.


Tax Policy and Advocacy activity





Expanding Australia’s Tax Treaty Network

Treasury is consulting on the Government expanding Australia’s tax treaty network with a plan to enter into 10 new and updated tax treaties by 2023. Negotiations with India, Luxembourg and Iceland are occurring this year as part of the first phase of the program. Negotiations with Greece, Portugal and Slovenia are scheduled to occur next year as part of the second phase.

The Tax Institute is preparing a submission which will consider the key tax policy outcomes the expanded treaty network should aim to achieve, while also raising potential concerns and existing issues with Australia’s tax treaties.


Legal Professional Privilege Protocol Consultation

The ATO is preparing a Legal Professional Privilege (LPP) Protocol which attempts to assist taxpayers and advisers by recommending an approach to take when claiming LPP. The LPP Protocol also broadly describes how the ATO may challenge LPP claims, along with the information that may be requested under such a challenge.

As part of this, The ATO is publicly consulting on a draft protocol that has been released. The Tax Institute will be participating in this consultation through the NTLG, and preparing a submission to highlight concerns and workable alternatives where feasible.

As part of this approach, the ATO is consulting publicly on a draft protocol that has been released. The Tax Institute will be participating in this consultation through the NTLG, and preparing a submission to highlight concerns and workable alternatives where feasible.





Working with vulnerable clients – focus group

The ATO has commenced a targeted consultation with a focus group on working with vulnerable clients, to understand the ATO’s approaches to working with vulnerable clients to identify opportunities to improve the client experience.

The consultation, which is expected to conclude in October 2021, will explore the definition of, and approach to, vulnerability. Recent events such as the 2019–20 bushfires and the COVID-19 pandemic have drawn focus to the ATO’s need for an empathetic approach to clients experiencing vulnerability.

Vulnerability includes those who are affected by homelessness, drugs and/or alcohol abuse (either their own, or vicariously), gambling, domestic and family violence, sexual and financial abuse, and mental illness. It also includes those for whom English is a second language, those in remote communities and those who are technologically challenged and may not have reliable or ready access to digital resources.

The ATO is consulting with organisations that support or interact with vulnerable clients, including government agencies, welfare groups, financial counsellors and The Tax Institute (represented by our Senior Advocate, Robyn Jacobson, CTA).


Non-arm’s length income of superannuation funds

Following the recent release of LCR 2021/2, and PCG 2020/5 in 2020 on how the ATO will apply the non-arm’s length income (NALI) provisions to non-arm’s length expenditure’ to complying superannuation entities, we continue to work with the other professional bodies to raise the practical implications of s 295-550 of the Income Tax Assessment Act 1997 with the government.



Gathering empirical data on review of TPB

We continue to support the work being undertaken by Associate Professor Ken Devos of Swinburne University and Dr Elizabeth Morton of RMIT University, on the tax profession’s response to the Final Report of the Review of the Tax Practitioners Board led by Keith James and Neil Earle (Report).

We encourage our members to complete the 10-minute survey.

The tax profession

Digital activity statements

Following a number of members raising the issue of the removal of paper activity statements with us, The Tax Institute escalated the matter to the ATO late last year.

This has resulted in a series of regular meetings to discuss the impact of the ATO’s decision to remove paper quarterly PAYG and GST instalment notices and the design of an interim solution which involves the reinstatement of paper activity statements from the March 2021 quarter.

We continue to work with the ATO in the design of a permanent solution.



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