June 2024 Issue No. 31

The Monthly Brief


Special Issue - Webinar - 19 June 2024

“To aggregate or not to aggregate”

AKA

“To aggravate or not to aggravate”

A cartoon about the QRO's disastrous webinar in June 2024

To recap, on 7 June 2024, TTR received an email from the Queensland Revenue Office on the next webinar to be presented by the QRO on 19 June 2024. It promised a lot. It read in part:

“The focus of our next webinar is – To aggregate or not to aggregate? At this session, we will work through when and how to aggregate transactions, discuss examples and improve your overall knowledge. You will also have the opportunity to ask questions.”

Hungry to get as much from the QRO on this topic, TTR dutifully joined the webinar on the appointed day and time, 19 June 2024 at 11:00 am to 11:45 am. TTR was quite excited in anticipation of listening to the QRO on the items which the agenda promised to discuss for 45 minutes. [TTR has got to be a Duties nerd!? “Guilty, Your Honour”.]

TTR’s excitement was short lived! A glaze of disappointment came over TTR as the webinar unfolded and at some speed. “This is not going to be the webinar the QRO advertised”, thought TTR. The webinar mailout promised a wonderfully wide area of discussion for attendees with insights lacked in the QRO material on the QRO website on Aggregation. It was hard enough to keep up with the presentation, let alone write down notes.

TTR assumed that TTR would be able to download copies of the material shown on TTR’s computer screen as is usually the case. But, no! Subsequent emails and phone calls to the QRO have failed to get them, only a promise that “[QRO is] working towards our e-Alerts and webinars being accessible on our Transfer Duty Self Assessor web page.

“We will inform all members on our distribution list when this is available.”

What? Surely they can be sent out now??!!

One can only speculate why that can’t be. The promises in the email of 7 June were left largely unaddressed. Looking at what was promised and what was delivered, TTR notes (amongst other things):

  • There was no (or not sufficient) discussion of possible fact circumstances.
  • There was no working through when and how to aggregate transactions.
  • One can only guess if any of the attendees had their overall knowledge improved.
  • TTR tried to ask some questions but was not able to do so; the webinar simply pulled down the shutters and that was it!

But the most egregious fault was that the fundamental and opening issue in aggregation – “To aggregate or not to aggregate” – was largely not addressed! One does not have to worry about the arithmetic if there are no grounds to aggregate.

The fundamental material referred to in the email telling us of this webinar is not up to date. Public Ruling DA030.1.2 is current but does not refer to recent Queensland cases. Refer to Duties Legislation Queensland, JG Mann (Thomson Reuters), generally, paragraph 2.30.10, item 7 but in particular paragraphs 2.30.50 et seq. Whether the QRO agrees with those cases or not, QRO has to identify them and discuss them in a new Public Ruling DA030.1.3 which would need to be given wide, meaningful consultation.

This is an important area of discussion and one fraught with problems in trying to work out whether one should aggregate or not. Selfassessors know the risks of getting it wrong.

Oh, well. Perhaps the QRO will get its act together some day!

P.S. With respect, the presenter did well with an impossible topic for one webinar. This is a vast and difficult subject. If it is to meet the challenge, then QRO would need to break up the topic into separate sections and present them over some weeks. Even the courts have grappled with section 30 several times.


Welcome to the thirty-first issue of The Tax Reformer.

TTR is delighted at the support received to date. Its correspondents across Australia attest to the value of its establishment. Now taxpayers and advisers have an avenue by which they can bring poorly drafted legislation and poor tax administration to open public attention without going through professional bodies. That is not to say the professional bodies don’t try hard. It’s simply a recognition that they are “commercially” limited in what they can say!


Latest Gossip

“Oh, dear!! Have a look at the Google website for the QRO.

There are admittedly some compliments, but Complaints should never arise for such an important part of government…


Publications & Articles

The Life and Death of a Self-Assessor.

The duty self-assessment regime in Queensland provides significant benefits to law firms, the Government and its revenue authority the Office of State Revenue (OSR).


Administrative Arrangements

Not a good option to fix a policy and drafting flaw!!

In Issue No. 1 September 2021, The Tax Reformer (TTR) headlined the inadequacies of “Administrative Arrangement” Public Rulings…


Legislation

Announcements about recent noteworthy tax legislation…


Recent Rulings

Public and private rulings relating to tax legislation and reform in a critical but constructive tone…


Ex Gratia

Disclosure of ex gratia payments relating to tax legislation and reform…


Appeals

Appeals cases of importance relating to tax legislation and reform…


Correspondence

All letters to Commissioners or a synopsis and any replies…


Cartoons

Enjoy all of the cartoons published in TTR!