Foreign Property Investors: 5 years of tax and duty changes

Property investment in Australia has boomed in recent years. One driver behind the boom is investment by ‘foreigners’. Over the past five years, Federal and State governments have introduced a series of measures to impose greater amounts of tax on ‘foreigners’.
With the 2017-18 Federal Budget to be handed down on 9 May 2017 (potentially including more changes), this article looks at some of tax changes made over the past five years that target ‘foreigners’.

Getting the Small Business CGT Concessions: When is a liability, a liability?

In the SME space, the small business CGT concessions are some of the most significant tax concessions available within the Australian tax system. If a taxpayer can use the small business CGT concessions, they can:
  • save tax (hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars);
  • internally restructure (e.g. for asset protection or estate planning reasons), without a massive tax impediment;
  • make special contributions to superannuation (up to $1.415M), which are not affected by the new superannuation limits that start on 1 July 2017.

Asset Protection: the Gift and Loan Back

Over your lifetime, you may have accumulated significant assets in your personal name. This could be your main residence, an investment property, a share portfolio or equity in a family business. Unfortunately, valuable assets in your name can be exposed in a number of ways.
Andrew Henshaw (Director at Velocity Legal) discusses gift and loan back strategies as a method of asset protection.

Co-Owned Businesses: How to Avoid Legal Traps

Scott McKenzie (Director at Velocity Legal) discusses some of the key legal issues faced in co-owned businesses.
He discusses the importance of proactively dealing with matters such as: decision making deadlocks, financial contributions, death / incapacity of a co-owner, conflicts of interest, dispute resolution processes and restraints to protect the value of the business.

Business Restructures from a Tax Perspective

Rajan Verma (Director at Velocity Legal), discusses business restructures from a tax perspective.
Rajan talks about the need to ensure that your structure is adapted to cater for any evolution in your business.

Tax Tips - Buying or Selling a Business

John Storey (Managing Director at Velocity Legal) discusses business sale transactions from a tax perspective.
Buying or selling a business is an exciting time, however it is important that you give careful consideration to potential tax consequences of these transactions.

Key Legal Risks in the Fitness Industry

Scott McKenzie (fitness industry expert and Director at Velocity Legal), discusses some of the key legal issues facing business owners. Some of the matters discussed include:
  • Business sale transactions, and how a poorly drafted contract of sale can be dangerous for buyers and sellers
  • Independent contract arrangements (including both documentation and implementation)
  • Co-ownership arrangements and the importance of  securing appropriate protections

Small Business Owners: Five Tax Issues to Watch Out for in 2017

Five tax issues that small businesses and their owners should pay close attention to during 2017. These include:
  • Small Business Tax Rates
  • Dividend Imputation
  • Small Business Restructure Rollover and Small Business Concessions
  • Division 7A
  • Trusts Income

Born in the USA

Inspired by his American travel, Andrew Henshaw takes a look at one big difference between the Australian and US tax systems. He looks at what it means to be ‘Born in the USA’ (from a tax perspective of course), and how it compares to Australia.

"Plus" GST - how one word costs $290,000

In a recent case regarding a sale of land contract, the lack of the word PLUS ended up costing $290,000. The case highlights the importance of completing contracts correctly and getting proper tax advice well before signing material contracts.

Tax Disputes: The Onus of Proof

The recent AAT decision of Carr and Commissioner of Taxation [2016] AATA 638 is a timely reminder of the evidentiary hurdle that taxpayers face when trying to overturn an Assessment. When it comes to tax disputes, the proof is in the pudding (the end result is the mark of the success or failure of one’s efforts or planning).

Superannuation: $500K Cap is Axed!

The Coalition Government announced further changes to superannuation. The Coalition government announced that they would be scrapping their proposed $500,000 cap on non-concessional contributions (which was announced on 3 May 2016, and had ‘retrospective’ effect from 1 July 2007). The $500,000 cap was an “iron-clad” promise, which had come under heavy criticism from the superannuation industry and members of the Coalition Government backbench.

Buyer v Seller for Martial Arts Businesses

Buying or selling a martial arts business is an exciting process; however, even the most savvy operators can fall into some dangerous legal traps if due care is not taken. Long story short, all of your hard work in negotiating a good sale price can be completely undone if you enter into a sub-optimal contract of sale.

The Top 3 Legal Traps for Gym Owners

Scott McKenzie’s guest post for the Healthy People fitness blog. He explains the three legal issues which are among the most common for club owners to fall into, despite being among the easiest to avoid.

Proposed Penalty Changes for Small Business: A Step in the Right Direction

The ATO has recently released a consultation paper regarding penalties for small business and individuals (link: The paper proposes penalty concessions which could provide some relief for individuals and certain small businesses. The most interesting aspect of the paper is that the ATO proposes not impose penalties for first time offences where the taxpayer has made a false or misleading statement in their income tax return or business activity statement, even though the taxpayer has failed to take reasonable care.

Tax Residency: Every Fact Matters

Whether or not a person is tax resident of Australia is critical issue.
  • if a person is a tax resident, their worldwide income and worldwide assets are subject to Australian tax (subject to any double tax agreements).
  • if a person is NOT a tax resident, only their Australian income and certain assets (direct and indirect holdings of Australian real property) are subject to Australian tax.

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