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22 Dec 10 Preamble - Friday 24 December 2010

A big final week before the Christmas break has seen some significant developments on the tax policy front.

The Government's Policy Transition Group on the resources tax has finalised its report and amongst the hundred or so recommendations it says that current and future State royalties - being inefficient taxes - should be fully refunded. The Tax Institute's view is that inefficient taxes should not be allowed to stand. The government should grasp the opportunity to continue the reform of inefficient and poorly designed State taxes and abolish royalties via the Council of Australian Governments process.

We also had the news of the retirement of Treasury Secretary Ken Henry; the Tax Institute wishes DrHenry well. History may well record his review of our tax system as his single biggest contribution to public life. His Tax Review was a well-reasoned, once-in-a-generation report that put a wealth of ideas on the table and put tax reform back on the public policy agenda. The history of tax reform shows that it is a slow, measured process requiring a lot of resolve. The review is an enabler for the forthcoming Tax Summit. We keenly await the terms of reference to see how many of Dr Henry's ideas for wide-ranging reform will have the chance to be properly debated.

With regards to ensuring consumer protection is the paramount consideration when financial planners are regulated in giving tax advice, this week we are submitting our response to the Government's discussion paper on the Tax Agent Services Regime. As I mentioned last week, we are also actively discussing this issues with the Assistant Treasurer and Minister for Financial Services.

Finally I would like to wish all members a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. The Tax Policy team will be back in the first week of 2011 and we can be contacted via Tax Policy.

Please see below for other activities this week.

Kind regards
Robert Jeremenko FTIA

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