Date: 11 - 13 April 2012
Time: 5:30 pm
Venue: Outtriger Little hastings Street, Noosa, Queensland
This GST conference is one of the premier events on the national GST calendar every year. As it has done on previous occasions, it brought together a unique mix of GST practitioners from the corporate world and professional practice, and key decision makers from the tax administration, to exchange views.
The keynote speaker at the conference was Professor Greg Smith of the Henry Review (Australia’s Future Tax System Report). He shared with delegates his insights into the inadequacies of the current tax base and discussed the role that might be played by a cash flow tax to take up the slack. The cash flow tax would be similar in many respects to the GST – but more highly automated and efficient, concentrating less on individual transactions with a saving in compliance costs as a result. This paper was complemented by the presentation by Atax’s Professor Michael Walpole who reviewed the financial services tax that was mooted in the Henry Review.
The conference provided structured opportunities for representatives of the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) to respond to matters raised in the presentations. Papers and presentations covered the full spread of current GST issues ranging from an update on important changes and developments in the statute and in case law through to issues at the coal face of GST. There was also discussion of important GST issues at a policy level.
The program included new areas to which GST is applicable, with an excellent paper on the interaction between GST and environmental taxes by KPMG’s Mathew Cridland. Heydon Miller of Selborne Chambers introduced delegates to the new arrangements associated with self assessment in GST and the implications of these arrangements.
Delegates found the presentation by Australian Taxation Office staff on the ATO agenda in GST to be highly practical and relevant and all enjoyed the expert panel on recent GST cases which, as expected, highlighted some important areas of disagreement, as well as some common ground.