Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand (CA ANZ) is delighted to see Anthony Albanese and Jacinda Ardern meeting so soon after the Australian Labor Party’s election victory.
“The leaders have much to talk about, but from a business perspective, continuously improving Trans-Tasman economic cooperation should always be high on the agenda,” CA ANZ CEO Ainslie van Onselen said.
“Labour mobility is a key current issue, with skill shortages in the accounting profession and many other industries.”
Ms van Onselen noted that Australia and New Zealand have a long history of sharing each other’s good ideas.
“Australian Treasurer Jim Chalmers and his New Zealand counterpart Minister of Finance Grant Robertson are both grappling with inflation and cost of living headwinds threatening economic recovery after COVID-19.
“Dr Chalmers has already expressed interest in borrowing ideas from the Wellbeing Budget, a concept which New Zealand embraced in 2019, and he should look closely at the following four budgets and their impacts, good, bad, or otherwise.”
The tax regulators in both countries are highly collaborative, as are CA ANZ’s two tax teams led by Michael Croker FCA (Australia) and John Cuthbertson FCA (New Zealand).
Ms van Onselen said Officials from both countries should convene a round table to share insights on a range of tax issues. For example:
- Chartered Accountants in Australia are interested to learn whether Dr Chalmers will proceed with the former Coalition government proposal to allow Australian businesses to choose to have their PAYG instalments calculated based on current financial performance, extracted from business accounting software (with some tax adjustments). This idea has some similarities with the accounting income method already embraced in New Zealand.
- Both countries have expressed interest in improving the tracing of beneficial ownership to counter tax avoidance and money laundering, and an integrated, co-designed model would be welcome.
- New Zealand has recently implemented bright line rules to determine whether a transaction is of a capital or revenue nature – a topic which has bedevilled the ATO and Australian tax professionals for decades.
- New Zealand has a relatively simplified Fringe Benefits Tax regime, whereas successive Australian governments have shied away from reform in this area.
Ms van Onselen also noted accountants have a vital role to play in the development and implementation of climate disclosure standards in both Australia and New Zealand, and it is well worth each country discussing their approach, to ensure alignment and that the respective Governments are harnessing the high standards of ethics and assurance that chartered accountants can provide.
Ms van Onselen concluded by wishing both PMs well for their important meeting.
“With both countries now led by parties from the same side of politics, and at a time of increasing economic uncertainty, it is more important than ever for Australia and New Zealand to further strengthen the trans-Tasman relationship.”