Special tax considerations needed if any of your beneficiaries are non-Australian residents

When making a Will you need to be aware of special rules that apply to gifts to non-resident beneficiaries. These rules can even apply to gifts to Australian citizens who have lived overseas for a long period.
The general rule is that the beneficiary is taken to have acquired the assets on the day the testator died, and any capital gain or loss relating to a Capital Gain Tax (CGT) asset owned by the deceased is disregarded. That means-
• no CGT is payable from the estate
• no CGT is potentially payable by the beneficiary until he or she actually sells it; and
• the beneficiary will usually have access to a range of CGT concessions when he or she actually sells.… Read More

You attended an auction – or did you?

As many of you would know, there is a 5 business day cooling off period which applies to the sale and purchase of residential real estate.
The intent of the legislation which created the cooling off period was to encourage potential purchasers to exchange quickly to avoid being gazumped whilst retaining the ability to pull out of the sale at minimal cost if anything untoward was discovered.
There are a number of situations in which the cooling off period does not apply. One of those situations is where the property is sold at auction or is sold on the same day after a failed auction.… Read More

What if a foreign person wants to buy your agricultural land?

Before answering this question, we should first understand what agricultural land is. Under the foreign investment framework, agricultural land means land in Australia that is used, or could reasonably be used, for a primary production business. The meaning and scope of a primary production business can be found in the Income Tax Assessment Act 1997. It includes, for example, cultivating or propagating plants, fungi or their products or parts, maintaining animals for the purpose of selling them or their bodily produce, or manufacturing dairy produce from raw material that you produced.
If your land falls into the category of agricultural land, then the foreign buyer must get approval for the proposed acquisition from the Treasurer if the threshold of $15 million is exceeded.… Read More

Businesses Need to Get Paid

Bad debts can cripple any business.

Some businesses are lucky enough to operate in industries where payment is made before goods or services are supplied but most don’t have that luxury. For most businesses, getting paid after goods or services have been supplied is a daily issue.

Self-evidently, people don’t pay their debts for 2 reasons –

  • They don’t have the money to do so; or
  • They choose not to.

The first category brings the “can’t get blood out of a stone” cliché to mind. Usually after spending quite a bit of money to get there, bankruptcy (if the debtor is a natural person) or liquidation (if the debtor is a company) is the end result.… Read More

Introducing Ya Zhang

Its my great pleasure to introduce Ya Zhang, who recently joined the team at Everingham Solomons with a most impressive and unique experience.

Ya completed her undergraduate qualifications in law in China.  She was then admitted to practice as a lawyer in 2007.

For many years she worked from the Beijing and Shanghai offices of one of world’s largest law firms, primarily in their corporate and commercial law teams.

Ya then moved to the US where she obtained a masters degree in law from the Cornell Law School and shortly thereafter fulfilled the rigorous requirements entitling her to practice at the prestigious New York Bar.… Read More

Insolvent trading

A company is its own legal entity. While it doesn’t have a pulse, just like a person, a company can enter into contracts, incur debts, sue and be sued in its own name.

The directors of a company however must be living, breathing people.  They are the people that control the company.  Although the company is able to do things in its own name, it does so at the will of the directors.

Because a company is a separate entity from the directors that guide it, normally a company’s debts are repaid only from the company’s assets. The company’s creditors do not have access to the directors’ personal assets to repay the company’s debts. … Read More

Defensive Debtor Control – Clint Coles

Undertaking work before being paid is a part of business.  If you’ve been in business for a while you’ll know the difficulties that can arise in getting paid after the fact.

This is a situation where prevention is much better than cure.  There are a number of steps that a business can take to greatly reduce the likelihood of payment problems arising.

Although it seems simple, the first is often overlooked.  It is important to properly identify who your business is dealing with and to make an assessment of the creditworthiness of the entity you are contracting with.  People and companies can enter into contracts, but nobody else. … Read More

We are still learning – Ken Sorrenson

The saying “the only constant is change” certainly applies to the law and legal practice generally. Laws and client needs are constantly changing.

To be an expert and effective solicitor, a lifetime of continuing legal education is required.  In that context Everingham Solomons is very pleased to announce that Clint Coles has been awarded a Master of Laws degree by Sydney University.

The Master of Laws course conducted by Sydney University is without doubt one of the most rigorous and prestigious in Australia.  Clint’s studies centered particularly upon commercial law subjects such as –

  • advanced rules for the drafting and interpretation of commercial contracts, the ability for terms to be implied into contract and the availability of juristic remedies in the case of ambiguity;
  • personal and corporate insolvency including the roles of directors, proprietors, creditors and secured parties in insolvency;
  • Australian business taxes particularly the major transaction taxes of capital gains tax, stamp duty, GST and the various carve outs and concessions;
  • advanced study of the establishment and use of the commercial trust as a vehicle for business and investment, the regulation of managed investment schemes and the potential liability of trustees and beneficiaries,
  • the rationale behind and implementation of the recently developed Personal Property Securities regime in Australia, its impact on borrowers and secured parties and its role in the leasing environment; and
  • structuring strategies for asset protection in the estate and business planning context.
Read More

Air Conditioning in Rented Premises

In our climate, effective air conditioning is usually very important to any lease of retail or office space. A recent Victorian Civil & Administrative Tribunal case highlighted the legal importance of properly documenting and then complying with air conditioning arrangements.

In this case the tenant operated a Pilates studio from a retail premises in Melbourne. When the lease commenced the parties agreed to insert a special condition to the effect that –

  • the landlord would install new air conditioning;
  • thereafter it would be the tenant’s responsibility to maintain the air conditioning; but
  • the landlord remained responsible for any capital repair costs.
Read More

Landlord and Tenant – What’s the best form of security? – Ken Sorrenson

KJSbwI’m often asked by Landlords what’s the best form of security to take from a tenant?

The usual forms of security are one or more of the following: –

  • Personal guarantee from directors or shareholders of a corporate tenant,
  • Cash bond; or
  • Bank guarantee

I generally recommend a bank guarantee.

A personal guarantee requires either a voluntary payment by the guarantors or for a landlord to sue the guarantors. Frequently, a personal guarantee proves to be ineffective because if the tenant can’t pay the rent there’s a good chance that the guarantor’s financial position may not be much better.

A cash bond involves the tenant actually paying an agreed amount of money as security for payment of the rent.… Read More