Scholarship

Tax Policy Scholarship showcases the next generation of talent

Tax Policy Scholarship showcases the next generation of talent 2048 1365 Taxpolicy

Four bright young industry minds have emerged as finalists in this year’s Tax Policy Scholarship Competition, an annual prize hosted by the Tax Policy Charitable Trust. 

The biannual competition, which supports the continuation of leading tax policy research and thinking in New Zealand, enters its fourth round in 2022. The first competition was run in 2015. 

The scholarship is designed to inspire the next generation of tax industry leaders. This year, entrants under the age of 35 were invited to propose significant reforms to our current tax system or analyse potential weaknesses and unintended consequences from existing laws, and propose changes to address them.

Entrants were asked to tackle one of three topics: environmental taxation, tax administration, or the powers granted to the Commissioner of Inland Revenue to collect information for tax policy purposes. Participants were invited to address the topics with creative ideas backed up by reasoned research and analysis.

We are delighted to announce the four finalists for this year’s competition, selected by our panel of leading tax industry professionals.

Daniel Doughty

Daniel is a Senior Consultant with EY in Wellington. He has proposed the introduction of a small business consolidated reporting regime to simplify tax reporting for small companies.

The regime would consolidate pre-existing tax obligations into a single report to be filed every second month. Inland Revenue would send an automated income summary out at the end of the year, similar to those currently prepared for individuals.

Mitchell Fraser

Mitchell is a Tax Solicitor with Mayne Wetherell in Auckland. Mitchell is concerned that the recently-expanded powers granted to Inland Revenue to collect information for tax policy purposes could create unintended consequences.

He believes the new powers risk political interference, conflicting with the IR’s need to be politically neutral. Mitchell proposes identifying alternative means to collect this information, including through Statistics New Zealand.

Vivien Lei

Vivien is Group Tax Advisor with Fisher & Paykel Healthcare, and finance lead with the Fisher & Paykel Healthcare Foundation.

Vivien proposes to change New Zealand’s environmental practices through the introduction of an impact-weighted tax regime. Under this model, organisations would be taxed on their net positive or negative impact on the environment.

Jordan Yates

Jordan is a Senior Tax Consultant with ASB in Auckland.

Jordan believes the tax policy landscape is fractured, and suffocated by political roadblocks. His proposal is to establish an independent statutory authority that would be responsible for the independent management of fiscal policy, as it relates to the tax base.

Selecting a winner

The finalists were announced on 2 June, and each will go on to develop a 4,000-word submission on their proposal.

The four will be invited to present their final proposals and answer questions at a function in October 2022. The winner will be announced that evening.

Our Tax Policy Scholarship Competition celebrates creative thinking from young professionals and also provides a springboard for the brightest industry minds to develop their careers.

Nigel Jemson, the winner of the 2019 competition, says: “Entering the competition was a terrific opportunity for me to grow and develop my tax policy thinking and connect with leading minds in the tax community.  Winning the competition has given my career a boost and since, I have enjoyed a range of great roles in tax for leading businesses, Spark and PwC, and continued my involvement in and passion for New Zealand tax policy.”

Chris Cunniffe, Tax Policy Charitable Trust Committee Member and TMNZ Chief Executive, says this year’s entries underline the strength of the next generation.

“We’re consistently delighted with the breadth and the freshness of thinking young people bring to this competition. The competition provides a forum to share ideas, and secondly, ensures that creative tax policy is not the sole domain of people who have worked in the industry for a long time. As an industry, we are open to fresh thinking and new ideas.”

Tax Policy Charitable Trust Chair John Shewan says the entries prove the industry’s future is in good hands.

“New Zealand has been very fortunate to have so many competent tax leaders involved in developing policy for the betterment of our country. It’s very exciting to be around the next generation of future tax policy influencers, who are already, at a young age, focused on innovative opportunities to enhance the tax landscape.”

Michelle Redington, Chief Tax Counsel at Inland Revenue, who was the guest speaker at the event where the four finalists were announced, says it is fantastic to see the Tax Policy Charitable Trust create opportunities for the next wave of tax policy thinkers.

“Throughout my career, I have been very lucky to be supported by some of New Zealand’s preeminent tax leaders, who have been fantastic teachers and mentors,” she says. “I’ve enjoyed a diverse career in tax, spurred on by a need to solve complex problems, and I’m proud to be able to give back to the next generation of talented tax enthusiasts.”

Find out more about the Tax Policy Scholarship Competition, here.

Robin Oliver Tax Policy Scholarship launched

Robin Oliver Tax Policy Scholarship launched 2560 1707 Lee Stace

A scholarship aimed at encouraging university students to think critically about tax policy has been launched by the Tax Policy Charitable Trust.

The Robin Oliver Tax Policy Scholarship is worth $5000 and available to support one year of study for those majoring in taxation at Victoria University of Wellington or tax law at the University of Auckland.

It will be awarded annually to a student at each university.

University of Auckland (Auckland) – Eligibility

University of Auckland students undertaking postgraduate study in tax law can apply if they are a New Zealand citizen or permanent resident and meet certain academic criteria.

Applications close 20 February. Read more about the University of Auckland eligibility.

Victoria University (Wellington) – Eligibility

Those at Victoria University must be undergraduates in at least their third year of studying taxation and a New Zealand citizen or permanent resident to be eligible.

As part of the application process, they will also have to write an essay on the challenges facing the New Zealand tax system and supply a personal statement outlining how they meet the scholarship criteria and the impact is could have on their studies.

Selection will be based on academic merit as well as the quality of their essay.

Applications close 31 July. Read more about the Victoria eligibility.

About the scholarship

The Robin Oliver Scholarship recognises tax expert and former IRD Deputy Commissioner Robin Oliver for his continued contributions to New Zealand tax policy.

The Tax Policy Charitable Trust hopes it will support and encourage university students to strive for excellence in tax policy and discover solutions to the concerns of today and the future.

The trust was established in 2012 by generous support from Ian Kuperus and Tax Management NZ.

Trusted taxpayer regime just the beginning

Trusted taxpayer regime just the beginning 2315 1545 Lloyd

Winning this year’s Tax Policy Scholarship Competition has given Spark’s Nigel Jemson huge encouragement to keep sharing his tax reform ideas.

Jemson will receive $10,000 after wowing a heavyweight judging panel while presenting his trusted taxpayer regime idea at Wellington’s Victoria University.

The winning entry

Under his proposal, businesses would receive a 10 percent discounted tax rate if they opt to regularly report financial information to IRD.

Taxpayers part of the trusted taxpayer regime for three years or more will also have their annual tax return requirement removed.

A small business would be eligible for the scheme if they are using the accounting income method to pay provisions tax and operating a “predominantly cash-free” business.

Jemson was thankful for the opportunity to enter the Tax Policy Scholarship Competition.

“It’s great that young professionals get the chance to bring some new ideas to the table and get feedback on them,” he says.

“Winning the competition has given me huge encouragement to continue contributing my ideas in the tax policy sphere.”

Minister of Revenue Stuart Nash and 2019 Tax Policy Scholarship Winner Nigel Jemson

The other proposals

Jemson’s idea was among four proposals the judging panel listened to during the Tax Policy Scholarship Competition final.

Deloitte’s John Lohrentz was runner up, taking away $4000, while Shay Webster (also Deloitte) and Michael Hansby (PwC) each pocketed $1000.

Lohrentz supported a progressive tax on biogenic methane emissions in the agriculture sector.

Revenue from the tax would go back into agriculture. That would be in the form of:

  • A refundable tax credit to support sustainable farmers in implementing more efficient practices and technology, changing land use or planting trees.
  • A new 40% R&D tax credit exclusively for agricultural R&D – targeting core R&D activities that foster innovation and ‘natural capital’ in New Zealand’s agriculture sector.

Webster favoured using tax to create a broad, universal welfare system to tackle inequality, reduce the cost of welfare and stimulate the economy.

He proposes doing this by implementing a negative income tax combined with a flat rate of 33 percent for individuals.

Under this, those earning less than $31,500 will receive a tax credit or a weekly or fortnightly cash payment from the Government.

Hansby recommended giving regional councils the power to impose tax on extracted freshwater to moderate consumption.

Additionally, they would retain 50 percent of the revenue the tax generates as part of this proposal.

While each council will be able to determine the tax rate, he suggested a base tax rate of two cents per thousand litres.

Jemson and Lohrentz will now present their proposals at Young IFA.

The thoughts of the judges

Overall, competition judge Robin Oliver says the finalists’ proposals reflect the changing nature of tax policy and how it interreacts with social concerns such as the environment, welfare reform and how to better manage taxpayer behaviour.

“Tax used to be much more about black letter tax law – the rules about measuring income and expenditure.

“The role of tax in building a sustainable and working society is being increasingly recognised, as is evident from this year’s [finalists].”

The former deputy commissioner of IRD was joined on the judging panel by Tax Policy Charitable Trust chair John Shewan, former Reserve Bank of New Zealand governor Alan Bollard, tax barrister David McLay, former Bell Gully tax partner Joanne Hodge and former IRD deputy commissioner Robin Oliver.

Tax Policy Scholarship Competition background

Every two years the Tax Policy Charitable Trust invites tax professionals under the age of 35 with an interest in tax policy to make a submission that outlines a significant form to the tax system.

Those in the private and public sectors and academia working (or eligible to work) in New Zealand are eligible to enter.

Matt Woolley, who was co-winner of the 2017 competition with Talia Smart, says it provided him with the opportunity to advocate for tax law reform in an area of interest and present to members of the Tax Working Group and government officials.

Caleb McConnell was the winner of the first Tax Policy Scholarship Competition in 2015.

About the Tax Policy Charitable Trust

Tax Management NZ founder Ian Kuperus is responsible for creating the Tax Policy Charitable Trust.

His aim is to support the continuation of leading tax policy research and thinking and inspire future tax policy leaders.

In addition to the Tax Policy Scholarship Competition, the trust also sponsors the visit of a leading tax expert to New Zealand.

This is to ensure New Zealand benefits from the best tax thinking from overseas.

 

Matt Woolley and Talia Smart named joint winners of tax comp.

Matt Woolley and Talia Smart named joint winners of tax comp. 510 307 Lee Stace

Treasury’s Matt Woolley and Talia Smart from Inland Revenue (IRD) are the co-winners of tax policy competition run by the Tax Policy Scholarship Charitable Trust (TPSCT).

The pair impressed the heavyweight judging panel while presenting their respective proposals at Wellington’s Victoria University, receiving $7000 each for their efforts.

Woolley discussed a fully integrated tax system that attributes all company income to shareholders. Under that approach, businesses would pay tax on behalf of shareholders based on their marginal rates.

Smart’s proposal looked at removing the business income exemption for charities.

The other finalists were Chris Park (KPMG) and Nicholas Coyle (IRD).

Park’s proposal revisited the idea of a land tax, while Coyle’s presentation reconsidered the claw back of interest deductions. Both received $1000.

Presentations were judged by a panel comprising TPSCT chair and former PwC chair John Shewan, ex-Bell Gully tax partner Joanne Hodge, former IRD deputy commissioner Robin Oliver, Victoria University Business School dean Bob Buckle and ex-secretary of Treasury John Whitehead.

Competition background

Tax professionals under the age of 35 were invited by the TPSCT to submit proposals that outlined a significant reform of the tax system. Twenty-five entries were received.

The TPSCT was established in 2012 by Tax Management NZ and its founder Ian Kuperus to inspire the next generation of leaders in New Zealand tax policy and administration.

Minister of Revenue announces tax policy competition finalists

Minister of Revenue announces tax policy competition finalists 510 300 Taxpolicy

Minister of Revenue Judith Collins was on hand to announce the finalists for this year’s Tax Policy Competition.

They are Talia Smart and Nicholas Coyle (both from Inland Revenue), Treasury’s Matt Woolley, and PwC’s Chris Park.

The finalists for the competition, which has been organised by the Tax Policy Scholarship Charitable Trust (TPSCT), were announced during a live stream of events simultaneously held in Wellington and Auckland.

Smart’s proposal looked at removing the business income exemption for charities, while Coyle’s reconsidered the claw back of interest deductions. Woolley discussed full corporate-personal tax integration and Park revisited the idea of a land tax.

As well as Minister Collins, other notable attendees were Inland Revenue Commissioner Naomi Ferguson and TPSCT Chair and former PwC Chair John Shewan, who delivered the opening address.

The finalists will present their full proposals in front of a heavyweight panel of judges during the awards dinner in Wellington on 17 October.

Joining Shewan on the panel are ex-Bell Gully Tax Partner Joanne Hodge, former IRD Deputy Commissioner Robin Oliver, Victoria University Business School Dean Bob Buckle and ex-Secretary of Treasury John Whitehead.

The winner will receive $10,000, the runner-up $4000 and the other finalists $1000 each.

Late last year, the TPSCT invited tax professionals under the age of 35 working in the public and private sector or academia to submit progressive and innovative reform ideas for the New Zealand tax system.

Given 2017 is an election year, proposals had to outline a significant reform of the New Zealand tax system in terms of its bases, method of collection, interface with taxpayers, legal framework or structural amendment.

Twenty-five applications were received by the judges.

The TPSCT was established in 2012 by Tax Management NZ and its Founder Director Ian Kuperus. Its aim is to inspire the next generation of leaders in New Zealand tax policy and administration.

Young tax guns to talk alternatives to CGT, GST on imports

Young tax guns to talk alternatives to CGT, GST on imports 453 300 Taxpolicy

Taxation of houses under a capital gains tax (CGT) and GST on imports are among the ideas four young tax professionals will showcase to respected tax leaders in Wellington in October.

Auckland trio Jeremy Beckham, Matthew Griffin and Peter North along with Wellington’s Caleb McConnell submitted proposals which outlined a significant reform of the New Zealand tax system as part of a competition run by the Tax Policy Scholarships Charitable Trust (TPSCT).

Each will present to, and field questions from, a heavyweight judging panel comprising the following:

  • Robin Oliver, former Inland Revenue Deputy Commissioner
  • John Shewan, TPSCT and former PricewaterhouseCoopers Chair
  • John Whitehead, former Secretary of Treasury
  • Oliver Hartwich, New Zealand Initiative Executive Director
  • Joanne Hodge, former Bell Gully Tax Partner.

As well as GST on imports and CGT, other ideas to be discussed at Victoria University on 8 October are a system where company tax losses can be purchased and sold, and a schedular tax base to promote savings and growth.

Shewan says judges were impressed with the calibre of the 14 proposals they received.

“It was great to see applicants thinking outside of the square and promoting policy ideas to tackle huge challenges such as the inability of traditional taxes to cope with the digital economy.

“Applications reflected a wide range of ideas, from growth-oriented and tax base protection initiatives to corrective taxes to deal with problems such as runaway Auckland house prices, environmental issues and disparities in regional economic and population growth.”

The winner will receive $10,000 and the other finalists $2000.

Tax professionals under the age of 35 working in the public and private sector or academia in New Zealand were eligible to enter the competition.

Proposals had to take into account future challenges facing the New Zealand tax system and detail how they could simplify tax and reduce compliance costs for taxpayers.

The TPSCT was established in 2012 by Tax Management New Zealand and its founder director Ian Kuperus to encourage future tax policy leaders and support leading tax policy thinking in New Zealand.

The finalists

Jeremy Beckham

Age: 27

Occupation: Senior tax consultant – Deloitte

Proposal: Schedular tax base to promote savings and growth

Matthew Griffin

Age: 28

Occupation: General manager – Hobby Co

Proposal: GST on imports using software and behavioural economics

Caleb McConnell

Age: 24

Occupation: Solicitor – Chapman Tripp

Proposal: Purchase and sale of company tax losses

Peter North

Age: 23*

Occupation: Tax consultant (transfer pricing) – Ernst & Young

Proposal: Different approach to the treatment of houses under a capital gains tax

*Turns 24 on 25 July.