Friday, May 06, 2016

Taxing Box and Dice: Headhunting in 21st Century

Start by doing what's necessary; then do what's possible; and suddenly you are doing the impossible.’ 
~ Francis of Assisi 

The room is dark. I lie flat on my bed. My breathing is deep, fast and measured, like I’m working my way through a panic attack. And while I can’t see it and it is totally silent, I know it’s there – judging me, taunting me, waiting for me. It knows I’ll see it again when I turn on the light and feel the gut-punch of failure, the heartbreak of an opportunity missed, an ocean liner sailing off into the horizon with my true love aboard it. My life is being made a misery, my sleep patterns destroyed, my bedroom a prison. And all because of a pile of books – I am being haunted by the ghosts of books I have yet to read.
~ Bathroom Barrowwoman Quote (The Soft Skills a Corporate Externship Program Teaches ...)

NEWS YOU CAN USE: What not to name your Wi-Fi hotspot: “Earlier this week, a female passenger boarded a Qantas flight in Melbourne, Australia, heading to Perth. Not long after she boarded the plane, she found something troubling on her phone’s Wi-Fi menu — a hotspot with the name ‘Mobile Detonation Device.’”

In what the government hopes will be a case of poacher turned gamekeeper, lawyers, accountants and economists will be recruited to a Tax Avoidance Taskforce.
Tax Office deputy commissioner Mark Konza conceded salaries offered by the ATO were not quite as good as in the private sector. But recruits could expect fulfilling work, he said.
"What we offer in the ATO is that people have access to decision-making about policy," he said.
"They will get to influence the system and have line of sight across an array of cases that they could only dream of in private enterprise.
"We also have a very collaborative working environment. I am often told by new recruits to the ATO that they simply enjoy life so much more when they are working in a collaborative work environment like the ATO provides." ATO assembles crack taskforce, tells recruits they will 'enjoy life'

Wall Street Journal, IRS to Hire Up to 700 Enforcement Workers:
The Internal Revenue Service is hiring up to 700 employees for tax enforcement in what Commissioner John Koskinen calls the agency’s “first significant enforcement hiring in more than five years.”
In a memo to employees Tuesday, Mr. Koskinen said the IRS found money for the hiring—despite budget constraints—because of retirements, other departures and unspecified “efficiencies.” The first wave of hiring will begin in a few weeks and will be concentrated in the IRS department that monitors small businesses and the self-employed.

Multinational tax crackdown in budget shows cuts to ATO cost millions, says Labor

Australian Federal Budget 2016-17: International

The Standing Committee on Tax and Revenue has recommended that the present arrangements of the external scrutiny of the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) should remain in place in its report tabled today. Chair the Committee, Bert van Manen MP, said its inquiry into the external scrutiny of the ATO examined the roles of its main scrutineers – the Australian National Audit Office (ANAO), the Inspector-General of Taxation and parliamentary committees. “The ATO has considerable resources and powers, which are necessary to administer the tax system, but their use also needs to be monitored,” said Mr van Manen.

Tax Office needs to be 'monitored' and will not face less scrutiny: inquiry

The ANAO has assessed the effectiveness of the Australian Taxation Office's (ATO) strategies and activities to address the cash and hidden economy. Strategies and Activities to Address the Cash and Hidden Economy

moose links
Cash audit finds ATO not on the money

The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) has been commended on its consultative and responsive, yet careful, approach to technology innovation, in a report tabled today by the Tax and Revenue Committee. However, the Committee notes that there is still concern among tax practitioners about the operation of the ATO’s IT systems and the move to new systems by the ATO. The first report for the inquiry into the 2015 ATO Annual Report deals with the ATO’s introduction of new technology, its relationships with tax professionals, its handling of disputes and debts, estimates of the tax gap and the cash economy, and draft public rulings.

Tax agents say ATO 'slowly' fixing IT problems

The Senate Economics References Committee on 22 April 2016 tabled Part 2 of its tax avoidance Report - Part 2: Gaming the system [Click here to open this document] . The Committee's inquiry into corporate tax avoidance began in October 2014.
In its second report on corporate tax avoidance, the Committee continued its consideration of the importance of transparency with particular emphasis on transfer pricing and the secrecy surrounding this activity. The Committee briefly touched on exemptions from general purpose accounting. It also looked at tax minimisation strategies including excessive debt loading and avoiding permanent establishment (PE) in Australia.
In light of information coming out of the Panama Papers and the ATO's investigations, the Committee said it will defer further consideration on the use of tax havens as a means of avoiding and, in some cases, evading tax in Australia, until there has been sufficient time to evaluate the data. It noted however, that at first glance, the papers seemed predominantly to involve individuals not multinationals. The Committee's one recommendation was that its inquiry be extended until 30 September 2016 to explore the implications arising from the Panama Papers
Occasionally, reality catches up with hyperbole. Witness the case of enterprise disagreement ... ATO staff reject revised enterprise agreement, again 

Forbes:  Members Of Congress Push To Shut Down IRS Forever, by Kelly Phillips Erb:
Shut down the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).
That’s the recommendation from the Republican Study Committee (RSC) to House Republicans. The proposal to shutter the IRS, together with other policy initiatives, were submitted by RSC Chairman Bill Flores (R-TX) to House Republican task forces for consideration.
As part of its proposal on tax reform, the RSC slammed the IRS, writing:
In its current form, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is at best an inefficient behemoth weighing down our economy. At its worst, the IRS has shown a capacity for outright corruption and political targeting.

Steven J. Harper (Adjunct Professor, Northwestern), About That Lawyer Shortage …:
Facts are stubborn things — almost as stubborn as persistent academic predictions that boom times for attorneys are just around the corner.
Back in 2013, Professor Ted Seto at Loyola Law School-Los Angeles observed, “Unless something truly extraordinary has happened to non-cyclical demand, a degrees-awarded-per-capita analysis suggests that beginning in fall 2015 and intensifying into 2016 employers are likely to experience an undersupply of law grads, provided that the economic recovery continues.”