Just before Christmas, Karen released our initial Steering Committee work on the group strategy for your feedback through the blog comments, our Facebook Group or Private Message. Perhaps the timing was not the best given how frenetic things get for most of us over the holiday season?
Nevertheless, we want to thank those who took the time to provide support and feedback. We would also like to encourage those who may not yet have had the time, to please have a read of the draft part 1 of the Strategy Document and provide feedback – it is not too late! Getting our strategy right is extremely important to our success (you might want to refer to the blog Plan to Succeed) as this key document will inform our objectives, organisation and action plan for 2017 and beyond. Your involvement and feedback is important!
In return for your feedback, I want to broadly summarise the key feedback that we have received to-date and the outcomes:
|Greencard holders missed as important stakeholders (pg 4)||Agree; Corrected in updated revision (not yet published)|
|Addressing taxing of capital gains on the sale of the Primary Residence should be HIGH priority, not Medium (pg 10)||Agree; Corrected in updated revision (not yet published)|
|Include section on “what needs to change from the Australian government, such as remedy of inadequate Parliamentary review, addressing Australian Government tax treaty malpractice, the need for the Australian Government to recognise tax treaty shortcomings as an Australian sovereign issue, with Australian rights to demand priority for treaty revision”||Under review; focus will likely be on fixing the problem not the system issues that allowed this to occur.|
|Need to clearly define and document “double taxation” given many think current Tax Treaty prevents double taxation. Also should consider expanding definition to include compliance costs, fines & penalties||Agree in principle; considering supporting information requirements such as Informational Paper (so called White Paper), Wiki and other evidence base|
|How are you going to get action from the Australian Government? Need to push for Senate Inquiry||Tactics (vs Strategy) – will decide on this later but preparatory work underway|
|Considerable discussion across multiple forums on the impact of the Savings Clause in the Tax Treaty, how this impacts double taxation and remedies||Multi-part blog series being published on the Savings Clause seeking to educate and to develop a common understanding of this legal clause. Part 1 here.|
|Lack of Australian Government incentive to prioritise and remedy tax treaty gaps||Considering developing “business case” documenting costs to Australian economy to justify priority / resources for tax treaty renegotiations|
|FATCA must have mandated disclosure to those being reported on. Referenced EU legislation http://ec.europa.eu/justice/data-protection/||Agree; refer pg 12, Section 18.104.22.168|
|Strategy plan good on laying out double taxation issues but light on documenting injustices||Agree; Although outside the Strategy document, it will be important to document the human element – which is shocking. Plan to add “Our Stories” section to the website and hope that we can get proper supporting case studies (often difficult due to confidentiality issues) to document the very real damage being done.|
So what are the next steps? Your Steering Committee is currently working hard to finish off the strategy document, including 2017 objectives and an action plan. We found the feedback to-date helpful and we want to strongly encourage further comments. If you aren’t happy with the outcomes above or simply want to take more of an active role, we welcome you to apply to join the Steering Committee which still has a number of unfilled roles (more on how to do that here). This is a large issue that can have a material adverse impact on all of us. Positive change will take time and effort. Please get involved!