This sample ensured we secured interviews with advisers from all the then Big

This sample ensured we secured interviews with

This preview shows page 256 - 258 out of 311 pages.

This sample ensured we secured interviews with advisers from all the (then) Big Five accounting firms, some non-charter firms, some distinctive boutique firms and certain prominent lawyer-advisers. In addition to the advisers I also conducted interviews at the Taxation Institute of Australia, the Australian Society of Certified Practicing Accountants, the Institute of Chartered Accountants in Australia, and the Law Council of Australia. Each of these bodies had informally canvassed their members to elicit specific concerns and suggestions. To secure interviews, initial contact was made by letter offering prospective participants the opportunity to speak with either myself as the author of this chapter, or to both Alice Dobes from the ATO and myself. Confidentiality was guaranteed and respondents were informed that while what was said would be used, it would not be attributed to them as individuals or to their firm. They were also assured that they were not required to divulge the names or details of their clients. While one adviser was overseas for the period of the study, no advisers refused to be interviewed, and in only one case did an adviser opt for a complete absence of the ATO during the interview.
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Through the Eyes of the Advisers 247 The High Wealth Individuals Taskforce The HWI Taskforce was established in 1996 with an objective to enhance compliance management strategy for HWIs. In the first year of operation, 180 HWIs received a questionnaire about the groups of entities they control or from which they receive income. These were formalised in subsequent years into expanded returns, called Current Year Data Collection (CYDC) returns or expanded returns. In 1997 and 1998, 142 and 143 HWIs respectively completed expanded returns for 2371 and 2599 associated companies, trusts, partnerships, or individuals respectively. The taskforce has also provided advice to government on options for legislative reform to address minimisation techniques used by some HWIs, as well as evidence to the Ralph Review of business taxation on the exploitation by some HWIs of structural deficiencies in the tax system (Ralph Report, 1999). Since the taskforce was established, the Australian Government has introduced several legislative measures that may impact on HWIs including: (a) abolition of research and development syndication arrangements; (b) trust losses; (c) private company dividends disguised as loans; (d) misuse of charitable trusts; (e) franking credit trading and dividend streaming; (f) taxation of foreign source income; and (g) denial of artificially created capital losses. Findings Cost of Compliance All but one adviser we interviewed found the cost of compliance to be high, and higher than they believed it needed to be. The cost estimate for the professional fees associated with completing the expanded tax return required by the program was in most cases in the range $20 000 to $40 000 per HWI. At least this was the estimate for the first expanded returns: views varied on how much costs fell with subsequent returns. Adviser fees to assist with HWI audits were also reported to be
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  • Fall '16
  • tax authority, Australian Taxation Office, Tax Office, Compliance Model

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