Whenever there is a discussion of upcoming legislative or policy changes, you will probably hear the Board of Taxation being mentioned.
Board of Taxation
But most of us actually know very little about the board itself. What it does and why. Mark Pizzacalla has been a board member of the Board of Taxation since January 2015. So in this episode Mark will walk you through the set up and purpose of the Board of Taxation. Here are 12 things we learned.
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# 1 Established in September 2000
The Board of Taxation was established in September 2000 in response to the Review of Business Taxation . This review is usually referred to as the Ralph Review after its Chairman John Ralph AO.
# 2 Community Perspective
The Ralph review had identified a need to better connect with Australia’s community and consider their perspective when improving taxation laws and their operation. So the Board is to contribute this community perspective.
# 3 Advisory
The board is an advisory body. It is to advise government on the design and operation of Australia’s tax laws. This includes issues of integrity and functioning of the tax system.
# 4 Non-Statutory Body
The Board of Taxation is a non-statutory body. Non-statutory means that it wasn’t created by an act of law. In contrast, the TPB for example is a statutory body since came into existence through TASA 2009.
# 5 Board Members
The Board of Taxation currently has 11 members. The Minister of Treasury appoints the members for a period of three years. Most of the members – eight to be exact – are appointed in their personal capacity.
They are appointed from the business and community sector for their knowledge, expertise and professional experience. And come from a diverse range of sectors including mining, technology, tax advisory, academia and legal.
Eight members joined in 2015. So 2015 was a big year for the Board of Taxation. The new members joining in 2015 listed here were: Michael Andrew – Mark Pizzacalla – John Emerson – Karen Payne – Peggy Lau Flux – Neville Mitchell – Ann-Maree Wolff – Craig Yaxley
# 6 Ex-Officio Members
The other three Board members are ex officio members. These are the Commissioner of Taxation, the secretary to the Australian Treasury and the First Parliamentary Counsel.
Ex-officio means that the office holds the role, not the person as such. So whoever holds the office holds the role.
Let’s take the Commissioner of Taxation as an example. Chris Jordan is currently the Commissioner of Taxation and hence he is also a Board member But the moment Chris Jordan stops being the Commissioner, he will also no longer be an ex officio member.
# 7 Monthly Meetings
The full Board meets monthly, with meetings rotating across different capital cities. In 2018 the Board met in Sydney, Melbourne, Canberra, Brisbane and Adelaide, in some of these more than once.
# 8 Just in Time
The Board went through a big transition in 2015. Seven members including Michael Andrew as the Chair and Mark Pizzacalla himself commenced their appointment in that year.
As part of this transition the Board changed its focus from the past to the future. Rather than conducting post-implementation reviews the Board started providing policy advice in ‘real-time’ and focusing on long-term reform.
# 9 Online Sounding Board
Whenever you see an opportunity to reduce red-tape or achieve compliance savings, you can share these on the Board’s online Sounding Board. Here is the link. You can list your own ideas or comment and vote on the ideas of others.
Just one tip on the side: When you register, don’t try to find Australia as your timezone. You won’t find Australia in that list.
# 10 Secretary
The Secretary and the staff seconded to the Board from the ATO, Treasury and professional organisations are the ones who work the hard yards. They are the ones who process and analyse the data, review comments and draft findings.
# 11 Stakeholders
The Board’s stakeholders are many and varied and include Treasury, ATO, Treasury, the business community and of course the general tax population. The Board is the funnel by which the different groups can voice their concerns and opinions. The Board distills that and reports back to government.
Some reviews are self-initiated, either where the Board sees an issue or due to comments from the public. Some reviews the government initiates.
But wherever the initiative for the review comes from, the decision to start a review usually happens in collaboration between the Board and the Ministry of Treasury.
Reviews tend to start and finish in the same year, but sometimes things change.
The Board’ currently works on a review of the small business tax concessions and the individual tax residency rules as well as a range of other projects. But these two are the two largest ones on the table at the moment (November 2018).
So these are the 12 things we learned. But please don’t take our word for it. Mark explains all this much better and in more detail. You can listen to the episode at the start of this page.
Disclaimer: Tax Talks does not provide financial or tax advice. This applies to these show notes as well as the actual podcast interview. All information on Tax Talks is provided for entertainment purposes only and might no longer be up to date or correct. You should seek professional accredited tax and financial advice when considering whether the information is suitable to your or your client’s circumstances.
Last Updated on 27 January 2020