Two key objectives in structuring the ownership of an asset are tax effectiveness and the protection of the asset against an economic downturn or financial claim.
A suitable form of trust will often be the effective means of achieving these objectives.
As the Principal of Steps Law is dual qualified as a Chartered Accountant, we are uniquely positioned to advise on the establishment, amendment and operation of all forms of trusts, including advice on trust deeds and trustee resolutions.
We have expertise in establishing various forms of trusts which include:
- Discretionary/family trusts
- Fixed Unit Trusts
- Hybrid Unit Trusts
- Protective trusts (safe haven) to protect the underlying value assets of the trust and restrict the distribution of capital/assets of the trust
- Child Maintenance Trusts
- Estate Proceeds Trusts
- Super Proceeds Trusts
- Other forms of trust for particular purposes
One of the certainties in life is taxes.
Most people who think of tax, think of income tax and the ATO, and possibly also capital gains tax. When considering your optimal structure, other forms of tax also have an impact such as stamp duty, payroll tax, land tax, GST. Superannuation is also usually considered.
Quite often it is necessary to make changes to your structure to achieve your present commercial objectives. Taxation is usually an impediment to achieving those commercial objectives. What is often not appreciated is there are usually alternative means of achieving your commercial objectives each with differing taxation ramifications.
Our expertise is not limited to income tax, but covers a broad spectrum of taxes:
- Income tax;
- Capital gains tax;
- Stamp duty;
- Superannuation taxes;
- Payroll tax;
- Land tax.
Taxation is dynamic, continually changing. Our taxation team keeps abreast of all the changes with a particular focus on how it affects client structuring.
We focus on issues of particular relevance to private businesses and investors.
Our team can assist in the following areas:
- structuring and restructuring client businesses in a manner that is CGT and stamp duty effective;
- assessing the impact of capital gains tax on a particular transaction;
- assistance with access to the small business CGT concessions, and in particular difficult applications of those concessions;
- alternatives for addressing Division 7A;
- Assistance in dealing with contrary ATO positions, including preparing objections and responses to position papers;
- Various alternatives for achieving Asset Protection;
- Tax issues generally.
One of the unsavoury aspects of our tax system is that the revenue authorities periodically reviews the tax return lodged by taxpayers. The revenue authorities disagree with the return as lodged and issue an amended assessment to increase the taxpayer’s liability. Sometimes a revenue authority gets it right. On other occasions they push the borders to maximise revenue collections.
When the revenue authority challenges the taxpayer’s return, the usual process is:
- Revenue authority issues a position paper
- Revenue authority issues an amended assessment that increases the taxpayer’s liability
- If the taxpayer disagrees with the ATO position, they must lodge an objection against the amended assessment
- If the taxpayer is not satisfied with the objection decision, refer the matter to a court or tribunal
- As you travel down that chain, you have different revenue officers looking into the matter with the greater prospect of a positive result
We can assist with:
- reviewing your tax position
- responding to inquiries from the revenue authority
- responding to the use of the access and information gathering powers
- responding to position papers
- objections to assessments
- avoiding uncertainty by obtaining a private ruling