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For many members it's already a case of welcome back to work, but to all members: happy New Year and welcome to the first TaxVine of 2011.

Our thoughts and prayers are with those who have been affected by the floods in Queensland and Victoria.  Some members will face unique challenges in running their practice over the coming days and we will continue to work with the ATO and other government bodies to ensure appropriate assistance is provided to those affected.

On tax policy matters, since the last edition of TaxVine in December, the Tax Institute has publicly called on the Government for more details of the proposed Tax Summit to be held by June 2011.  The Summit was part of the agreement that the Prime Minister struck with the Independents to form government in September last year.  To date, no details of the Summit have emerged: when it will happen, who is invited, what will be addressed and in what format. It's a little disappointing that we are six months out from the Summit and we have nothing more than a one sentence commitment to what it's all about.

Tax reform is something that is too important to leave to the last minute.  It must also include discussion about the GST. Given the volume of material to be discussed at the Tax Summit, the Government must establish technical working groups of tax professionals to examine options for specific areas of reform.  Dealing with all parts of the whole is the only way to approach reforming complicated tax policy areas.

We have also spoken about tax reform and our priority areas of focus for the coming year in an opinion article published this week in The Australian.  You can read the article here.

As always, please feel free to contact the Tax Policy team: me, Tamera Lang ATIA, Deepti Paton ATIA and Karen Touma via our email Tax Policy.  We look forward to a productive and satisfying year ahead.

Please see below for other activities this week.

Kind regards
Robert Jeremenko FTIA

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