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17 Dec 10 Preamble - Friday 17 December 2010

This week the Taxation Institute met with the Assistant Treasurer and Minister for Financial Services, the Hon Bill Shorten MP, to further discuss the need for tax advice given by financial planners to be appropriately regulated so that consumers are protected. The Government's discussion paper has set out some options to crystallise the discussion and we will be participating in this formal consultation process as well.
The Taxation Institute has been strongly arguing the case on this issue throughout the year and the meeting this week with Minister Shorten was another opportunity to focus the Government on the key elements required to ensure appropriate consumer protection.  Everyone (including planners) giving tax advice must be registered to ensure coverage by the Tax Agent Services Regime code of conduct and active supervision.  They must also have appropriate education and experience, which includes appropriate CPD requirements and will require professional indemnity insurance.  Discussions will continue into the new year and as always we welcome members' thoughts and comments.  Please email us at Tax Policy.
Also this week the Government committed to update Australia's trust taxation laws.  This is a very positive outcome as a result of sustained arguments by the Taxation Institute over many months.  Last week we met with Minister Shorten on this issue specifically and this week's announcement of a public consultation process as the first step towards updating the trust tax provisions in the law is extremely welcome.  The Taxation Institute will be active participants in the consultation with the Government, ensuring that net taxable income of a trust is assessed primarily to beneficiaries, with trustees being assessed only to the extent the income is not otherwise assessable to beneficiaries.
The need for reform in this area has been amplified by the High Court's Bamford decision, the Henry Tax review recommendation, the Treasury 'Red Book' advice to the Government, and the continuing difficulties experienced by tax professionals who have long called for reform.

Please see below for other activities this week.

Kind regards
Robert Jeremenko FTIA

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