Testimonial - Ross Ludwig

Ross Ludwig
has been a TSA member for 45 years. He talks to Steve Burnham about how tax has changed from when he first joined up, to now.

Ross Ludwig remembers when the annual Tax Summary was a “compact paperback” with its pages secured by staples — and not the 1.5 kilogram 1,700 page tome it is today.

But this was back in 1974 when Ross first joined the organisation. Then, it was known as the Australian Taxpayers’ Association, with the name since then evolving into Taxpayers Australia and finally Tax & Super Australia (TSA).

“Tax was not as complex then as it is now,” Ross says. “However the Tax Summary was highly regarded as a comprehensive and understandable reference source, particularly by small to medium sized practices.”
The growth of the Tax Summary book from those times is hardly surprising. Past decades have been heavy with significant tax system reforms. Major initiatives include the introduction of CGT, FBT, introducing the imputation system (franking dividends) and the goods and services tax.

 Then there was the transition from ITAA36 to ITAA97 — a government initiative to “improve” the understanding and administration of the tax system. “Unfortunately, my experience indicates that attempts to simplify a complex system often results in the converse,” Ross says. Not long after joining TSA, Ross branched out from his employment with an accounting firm in Perth and started his own practice as a sole practitioner. He soon had to lease office space in nearby Mt Lawley when the business grew and required extra staff.

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