28/11/2011 12:06:05 AM
Yasser El-Ansary -
You’ve heard me discuss recently the problems with the federal government bringing in new tax policies with a retrospective commencement date. This issue came to a head last week when the government announced changes to income tax law affecting consolidated groups, with a commencement date as far back as 2002 for some taxpayers.
This is the latest announcement in a series of retrospective tax changes being made by the government over recent months, and there’s no doubt that it’s starting to cause real concern among the business community.
Businesses that have fulfilled their tax obligations and complied with the law as it existed are now being asked to go back and re-assess their positions in light of the new version of the old law. Needing to do this causes significant frustration, imposes considerable administrative costs, and in some cases may lead to an obligation to pay more tax than paid previously.
These problems are amplified by the impact on the perception of Australia in the international marketplace as a stable environment in which to do business.
Many of our members will know that the government has been examining the retrospective consolidations policy issue for some months now. Back in March 2011, the Assistant Treasurer flagged that there may be a shake-up of the 2010 laws. Since that time, the government has been consulting with key tax experts and industry bodies (including the Institute) in order to try to look at the problem from every conceivable angle.
Now that the announcement has been made, there is clearly an opportunity to do an in-depth post-analysis on how this problem arose and how similar issues can be avoided in the future. It’s obvious to me already that one of the lessons that will need to be learned relates to the consultative process around tax policy and law design.
What are your thoughts on how the consultation process could be improved?
Yasser El-Ansary (Member since: 12/05/2011 2:38:56 AM)
As General Manager of Leadership & Quality at the Institute, I'm responsible for leading the Institute’s public policy team across a wide variety of disciplines dealing with major issues that impact businesses and the broader economy. I work closely with the federal government and its agencies on policy and administration matters, as well as other regulatory bodies both within Australia and abroad. Prior to my current role I was the Institute's Tax Counsel. I've held previous positions with Australand Holdings Limited, PwC, the federal department of the Treasury and Rio Tinto Limited.
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