Mention that you are an accountant at a dinner party and most people are unsure how to respond. Typically, people want advice on reducing their income taxes or how to open an off-shore bank account where they can secretly squirrel away their savings. It can also be a total conversation killer.
After all, I can’t think of many action/adventure film where the main character is an accountant. However in a world where there are two certainties – death and taxes – it really isn’t such a strange career choice. Somebody has to count the beans!
The truth of the matter is, most people don’t like the thought of having to keep accurate records and who has the time to read through complicated tax laws written in a language that vaguely resembles English? Enter: Your friendly local accountant.
When Governor Phillip came to NSW in 1788, he brought with him a Royal instruction granting him authority to impose taxes as a means of raising money to the benefit of the colony. Well, it seems that it was a success because we’ve been paying taxes in one form or another ever since. Taxes were levied to help build the first jail in Sydney. Then, as now, accountants worked on both sides of the fence. (Cont’d) They were there to help the government assess and collect taxes and to help the people understand the laws in order to fulfill their tax obligations and stay out of that jail.
Tax laws have changed many times over the years. We pay taxes to the city, the shire, the state and federal governments. We pay income, superannuation, property, and excise duties and taxes. And if your wealthy Uncle has recently passed and left you a small fortune, you can rest easy knowing that the death duties (inheritance tax) was abolished in 1979.
So when you pull that shoebox full of receipts out from under your bed at tax time, remember that you don’t need to be wealthy to seek advice from a professional accountant. They will help you put it in order and make sense of it all. And after all, an ATO audit of your tax return is a lot less frightening with your friendly local accountant at your side!