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Christmas is an exciting time of year, one filled with love and laughter, but also quite a hectic time of year getting presents ready for family.

Finishing off jobs at work can cause emotions to rise and the stress that comes with it. So can you imagine what would happen in the event that your work involved not only ensuring that everything was done by the strict deadline of Christmas, but also fulfilling the wishes of billions of people around the world?

Recently we found out when we had our new client Mrs Claus come in to see us.

You see, Mr and Mrs Claus generally have a quiet and simple life during the year, but December is absolutely manic for them and finally, in 2018, something snapped for Mrs Claus and she’d decided she’d had enough!

Santa has been working triple-double overtime and Mrs Claus has not been able to see him. With Mrs Claus permission, we’ll talk you through the considerations that were taken into account when Mrs Claus sat down with us for family law advice.

Property Settlement

Whilst everyone knows Santa has a naughty and nice list, his behavior in relation to his family law settlement makes me want to consider whether he actually sits on the naughty list himself.

As is often the case with a property settlement, exact values are not known and parties need to estimate them. For example, when you have a property and one of you want to keep it, you are never going to sell it just to find out the exact value. Accordingly, you will need to agree on a value. This is where things came a bit unstuck with Santa and Mrs Claus. You see, Santa believes his vast property empire at the North Pole and small subsidiaries in each shopping Centre throughout the world that he holds and owns in December each year are worth nothing. Mrs Claus obviously begs to differ. He is one of the largest landholders in the world. Santa’s property portfolio is vast and substantial. Accordingly, we have had to ask a Valuer to value the landholdings in the North Pole and associated areas. Now whilst it may not be prime farming land, or for many people, even considered to be habitable, it is actually home to thousands of elves and a number of reindeer. As such, it does provide substantial value. The same thing applies to Santa’s Toy Operation. Now whilst kids do not pay for the toys they receive, Santa does not do everything of his own accord. Out of complete goodwill, Santa is actually paid a licensing fee to create the toys and makes a healthy profit. He normally takes off for six months each year and goes to a little known Caribbean Island to relax with Mrs Claus.

Santa’s Business

Again, as is often the case, Santa believes that his business is worth nothing without him and that it is not a transferable business and therefore, the value of the business should be considered to be zero. With profits in the hundreds of millions of dollars each year and turn over in the billions of dollars, this is obviously not the case. Santa is running quite a substantial business. It unfortunately looks as though we will be going to Court on this one, but we contend that the Easter Bunny or Mickey Mouse would easily be able to fulfill the role of Santa, if Santa was to no longer at work.

In accordance with the Family Law Act, it will be essential for us to do the following to properly advise as to an appropriate %-split in any property settlement to Mrs Claus:

  1. Identify each of the assets and attribute a value to them by exchanging financial information and obtaining valuations where necessary;
  2. Assess both Mr & Mrs Claus’ contributions to their relationship, both at the commencement and throughout;
  3. Assess both Mr and Mrs Claus’ future needs, such as, whether Mrs Claus will have to look after the reindeer after they separate; and
  4. Assess whether the proposed split is just and equitable in light of their circumstances.

Parental Arrangements

Rudolf

Often the financial aspects are difficult to resolve, but they get resolved at the end of the day and parties move on. What is a more pressing issue and one that needs to be managed and dealt with for a lot longer and continuously is who will look after the children of the relationship, where they live and how often each party gets to see them.

Now unfortunately Santa and Mrs Claus were unable to have children, but they do have their reindeer, which they treat as children. Those reindeer, named Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner, and Blitzen and Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, were vitally important to both Santa and Mrs Claus and this is where we hit a real stumbling block. You see Santa wanted them to be with him at all times, but realistically, he uses their services just once a year on Christmas Eve and whilst he had a rapport with them, did not spend a lot of time with them. Now, as you can appreciate, while Santa was so busy working, Mrs Claus had to find other things to do and she found comfort in the reindeers. Accordingly, she wanted them to spend all of their time with her. Now this argument could have gone on and on, however we suggested to both Mrs Claus and Santa that they were going to be parents not partners, in relation to the reindeer and that they would need to consider what is in the best interest of the reindeer. Now obviously the reindeer love both Santa and Mrs Claus and wanted a resolution to be reached where they could each see them. Fortunately, it looks like we will be able to arrange this and the reindeer might even be able to go on a trip to that Caribbean Island for a couple of months a year and relax.

In any event, I’ve told Mrs. Claus that before running off to Court about her time with the Reindeer, she’ll need to head off to mediation with Santa to try and reach an agreement.

With all this resolved by Southern Waters Legal in the great Christmas rush that exists around family law and Christmas, Christmas can continue for 2018. Whist at this stage it is only a trial separation and we are hopeful that Santa can obtain a healthier work/life balance and Mrs Claus can recognise the need and desire for Santa at that particular month of the year. The resolution we have reached means that everyone can have a very merry, Merry Christmas.

Santa Claus - Divorce & Separation

It’s in our nature to look out for our loved ones and one of the most valuable assets you will ever ‘own’ is your education.

So it’s not surprising that we receive a number of calls from people wishing to somehow pay for the future expenses of their child or grandchild’s education, in the event of their passing.

Unlike cash, cars or material ‘things’, the gift of education is one that could make a profound difference in your grandchild’s life.

So how can you ensure they’ll have their costs covered – rain, hail or shine?

The answer is rather simple – you set up an education fund for your grandchildren in your Will, through the vehicle of a Testamentary Trust.

Testamentary Trusts created by a Will not only facilitate the provision of your grandchildren’s education fund; they also offer significant tax savings on your inheritance. A win all round!

What is Testamentary Trust?

A Testamentary Trust is a Trust established by a Will. It only comes into effect after the death of the Will-maker.

Can I ensure that the funds can only be used for education or the benefit of my grandkids?

Yes – You tell us how you would like the funds in the education fund paid and we can accommodate this when drafting your Will.

What are the benefits?

There are lots of benefits having a Testamentary Trust Will:

  • Significant tax benefits and savings – at time tens of thousands of dollars can be saved!
  • Flexibility for beneficiaries – each grandchild is different!
  • Asset protection – Protect your inheritance from unwanted beneficiaries or claims.

It is complicated?

We will assist you to understand and draft your Testamentary Trust Will. That is what we are here for! Many of our clients who complete their Testamentary Trust Will are surprised by the simplicity of the process and delighted with the resulting peace-of-mind.

How do I start?

Contact our Estate Planning solicitors, who will be more than happy to clarify your situation and the next steps.

With school holidays coming up, it can be a difficult time for separated families to agree upon and juggle arrangements in relation to their children and what time they will spend with each parent.

Unfortunately for those families the tension and stress associated with making this decision can add to making the process more difficult.

This stress can be eliminated if parents enter into an agreement in relation to the time each party will have. Many of our clients like the idea of having certainty in relation to the care of the children so that they do not have to renegotiate with their partner each year or at the beginning of each holiday break the time they will have.

There are two options to formalise an arrangement for families in this situation:

  1. Parenting Orders made by a Court; and
  2. A Parenting Plan

Parenting Orders

The majority of our clients will agree upon an arrangement in relation to the children and formalise this arrangement by way of parenting Orders. If agreement is reached between the parties, that agreement can be forwarded to the Court without either party having to attend court.

Parenting Orders address many issues, including the decision making for the children, the time the children will have with each parent on a week-to-week basis and also (if drafted properly) such Orders will address the “special” days including:

  • Birthdays (the parents’ and children’s)
  • Father’s Day,
  • Mother’s Day
  • Easter
  • Christmas
  • New Years Eve
  • Public holidays
  • School holidays

When drafting Orders insofar as they relate to school holidays, a normal practice may be for one party to have the children in the first week of the term school holiday break with the second parent having the children in the second week of the school holiday break. (This is dependent on parents ability to care for the children and accommodate such time).

It is not uncommon for the time to commence immediately following the end of term through until 12noon on the midpoint Saturday in the school holiday period, and provides for time to conclude at 5pm on the Sunday before school reconvenes.

Each Order can be different and drafted accordingly to suit the needs of the party and the children, for example, where children in private schools have longer holidays than children in catholic and public schools.

The benefit of a Court Order is that it is legally enforceable and your ex partner is bound by the arrangement once it is made an Order of the Court.

Parenting Plans

Parenting Plans are usually voluntarily written agreements made between the parties with the help of mediators or lawyers that are signed and dated. They are more flexible than parenting Orders and can be changed regularly allowing a new agreement to be negotiated at different points in time.

Parenting plans can outline the same issues as Orders, however the important difference between plans and parenting Orders is that a parenting plan is not legally binding. The court will consider a parenting plan in addressing any subsequent parenting application but it is not a legally enforceable agreement.

One of the tips and traps that we recommend to each client that comes to see us when planning for the year ahead, is to try and have a line of communication with your ex-partner via email or otherwise, whereby you acknowledge and agree upon the proposed dates at the commencement of each year.

One step that a very successful client takes, is to buy a calendar at the outset of the year and highlight each parent’s respective time with the children, for the year ahead.

When this is planned from the outset, it reduces potential conflict between the parties and assists them in minimising any conflict so far as the children are concerned. This also helps the children know in advance what arrangements are in place for the upcoming holidays.

Each matter is different, so it is our practice at Southern Waters Legal to deal with each parties individual circumstances when they arise and address which option suits them better in their circumstances.

If you would like any further information or assistance with your family’s situation, please contact our family law team on 9523 5535

There’s good news for investors nervous about purchasing property ‘off-the-plan’. Recent changes to NSW property laws will make it harder for unscrupulous developers to back out of off-the-plan contracts for residential property.

What are off-the-plan contracts?

An off-the-plan contract is a contract to buy a property which has not yet been created.  That property may be vacant land to be created on registration of a plan of subdivision (e.g., the Shearwater Landing development at Greenhills Beach), an apartment to be constructed and created on registration of a strata plan (eg. the Woolooware Bay apartments) or anything in between.

For the ordinary purchaser, entering into an off-the-plan contract will mean handing over and tying up a significant wad of cash for the promise, but not guarantee, of something wonderful a couple of years down the track.

Usually, a developer will enter into contracts to sell these yet-to-be created properties a year or two in advance of them being ready to hand over to the purchaser and will require the deposits paid under those contracts and the “pre-sales” in order to secure funding to proceed with the development.

What are the main issues with off-the-plan contracts?

There are many unknowns at this stage of the project.  The developer may not have development consent to undertake the development, they may not have secured a builder and one can never predict the weather!

Accordingly, an off-the-plan contract will usually include rights for the parties to pull out of the contract, or “rescind”, if certain milestones haven’t occurred by a specified date known as the “sunset date”.  For example, if development approval has not been obtained by 31 July 2016 or if the plan of subdivision isn’t registered by the date 12 months after the contract date.

Apart from the uncertainty as to whether a development will be allowed to proceed or proceeds on time, there is also uncertainty as to where the property market will be sitting at the time of settlement.  If the market has dropped significantly between the time that the contract was entered into and the time of settlement, the purchaser may have overpaid.  In a booming property market, like that we’ve seen in recent years, a developer may be left wondering if perhaps a better price could be obtained for the property.

What are these changes in the law?

Unfortunately, over the past couple of years, there have been reports of certain developers deliberately holding off completing developments by the sunset date and then rescinding contracts to obtain a better price.  As a result, the NSW Government was prompted to do something about this problem.

In late 2015, the NSW Government introduced new laws that will apply to all off-the-plan contracts, including those that have already been entered into.  Under the new laws, if a developer wants to rescind an off-the-plan contract under a sunset clause, it must first give 28 days notice to the purchaser setting out why it is rescinding and the reason for the delay.  It must then obtain either the permission of the purchaser or an order from the Supreme Court to proceed to rescind the contract.  The Supreme Court can only make an order permitting rescission of the contract if it is satisfied that rescission is just and equitable in all of the circumstances.

How will these new laws affect you?

  • If you are a purchaser under an off-the-plan contract for residential property and the developer attempted after 2 November 2015 to rescind that contract relying on a sunset clause, please seek legal advice.  If the developer has not provided you with the required notice and does not have legitimate reasons for the delay, you may be entitled to claim.
  • If you are a purchaser under an off-the-plan contract for residential property and you’re worried about the developer leaving you high and dry after holding your hard earned deposit for two years, you can sleep a little easier!
  • If you are a developer intending to rescind off-the-plan contracts in reliance on a sunset clause (obviously, for very legitimate delays in the development), please seek legal advice.  In particular, it is important to ensure that you comply with the new notice requirements and that you have regard in your notice to the circumstances that the Supreme Court will consider when deciding whether rescission of the contract is “just and equitable.”

If you have any questions concerning these changes, contact Southern Waters Legal’s dedicated Property Law team on 9523 5535

Christmas is that wonderful time of the year when we shower our loved ones in gifts to celebrate the festive season. While it’s a joyous time for both those who are giving and receiving its important to forward think and know the ramifications associated with gifts in a Family Law and Estate Planning context, particularly substantial monetary gifts.

Let’s imagine Mr and Mrs Claus want to give one of their elves $100,000 to help he and his new elf girlfriend buy a new pad in the North Pole. It’d be important that Mr and Mrs Claus to be wary of whether they are giving the $100,000 to their elf or to both he and his girlfriend and also whether it is it in fact a gift or a loan?

Mr and Mrs Claus should consider the following things:

  1. Is the money going to be a “gift” or a “loan”?
  2. Will the money be given exclusively to Elf or to both Elf and his girlfriend?
  3. Is the transfer of funds documented in an agreement?

Family Law considerations

Generally, where money is given as a gift to one or both parties and money is directly applied to an asset in the pool, for example by purchasing their new home in the North Pole, the money would be thrown in the bowl of assets if the parties separated and divided in a property settlement. If Mr and Mrs Claus gave the money only to their Elf then it may be argued that Elf is entitled to a greater share of the gift because it was a contribution made by him to the pool of assets through Mr and Mrs Claus. If however, the $100,000 was a loan and there are supporting documents to support such, then it would be treated as a liability of the parties and the full $100,000 would need to be repaid to Mr and Mrs Claus from the pool of assets in any property settlement.

Estate Planning considerations

What happens to the $100,000 if Mr or Mrs Claus died?

  • Would Elf be required to pay back the $100,000?
  • Would Elf be required to reduced his inheritance by $100,000 in comparison to his sibling Elfs?
  • Does Elf keep the $100,000 and receive the exact same inheritance amount as his Elf siblings who have not received anything from Mr and Mrs Claus in the past?

The answer depends on whether the $100,000 was a gift or a loan. Loans usually have to be repaid or accounted for before an inheritance is distributed.

Some top tips for gift giving this year is to ensure that substantial monetary gifts are well documented to prevent one party later claiming the funds given were a gift not a loan, or visa versa.

People often talk about going through a “messy divorce”, when in fact, obtaining a divorce is the easiest part of separation. Are you considering getting a divorce and wondering what the process will be like?

Married couples in Australia can apply for divorce if their marriage has broken down irretrievably. To apply for an Application for Divorce the parties need to be separated for a period of at least 12 months; and

• One of the parties must regard Australia as their home and intend to live in Australia indefinitely or

• be an Australian citizen by birth, descent or grant of Australian Citizenship, or

• have lived in Australia and have done so for 12 months immediately before filing the divorce.

Step 1: Separation

In Australia, you must be separated for at least twelve months prior to applying for your divorce. What some people aren’t aware is that you and your spouse can be separated but living under the same roof for a period of time. Often due to financial or emotional reasons parties are unable to formally separate and live in different residence, so they may initial separate and live in the same home until they resolve their property settlement.

Step 2: Preparing your Application

When filing an Application for Divorce you can do so by yourself, or jointly with your former spouse. Either way you need to complete an Application for Divorce form which is quite straight forward and can be downloaded from the Federal Circuit Court of Australia website. When you file the Application you are charged the Court filing fee, which is currently $1,200. When you file the application for divorce you are also required to file a copy of your marriage certificate.

When you prepare your application you need to answer some questions including where and when you married, when you separated and you are also required to provide some information about any children from the marriage who are under the age of 18. If you have not signed an application for divorce jointly you must ensure that your partner is served with the application. The court cannot hear the application or grant the divorce if your partner has not been formally served.

Step 3: Your Divorce Hearing

You do not always, depending on your circumstances, have to attend court when your divorce application is heard. You must attend your Divorce Hearing where:

  • You made the Application for Divorce yourself; and/or
  • You and your former spouse have children who are under the age of 18 years.

If you do not have children under 18, or if you or your former spouse made a joint Application for Divorce, you can both choose not to attend your divorce hearing and the matter will be dealt with in your absence.

What happens at the hearing?

Your matter will be one of many divorce applications listed before the Court on any given day. Many people get their lawyer to attend with them when their divorce hearing occurs. Divorce hearings are generally quite brief. During the hearing, the Registrar may ask you questions about the information in your application or about the service of your application if relevant. If young children are involved, the Registrar may also ask about the arrangements for the care of the children, such as which parent they live with, how often they spend time with the other parent and how they are financially supported.

Step 4: The Outcome

If a Registrar is satisfied that the grounds for divorce have been established, and the Application for divorce has been properly served, the Court will grant the Divorce. One month and one day following the day of the hearing a Divorce Order will be sent to you and your former spouse and this is the formal documentation that acknowledges that you are formally divorced.

Clients often obtain a divorce after the parties have resolved all other issues in dispute including the property division, the care arrangements of the children, the financial support of the children, and the financial support of either party. In some case if matters are taking some time to resolve clients may file the application after the 12 month period of separation has occurred.

Of great importance for any party filing an application for divorce is the need to remember that once a certificate of Divorce has been obtained the parties must, if they have not already, commence proceeding in respect of their property settlement within 12 months of the certificate being obtained.

If we can assist you in the preparation of an Application for Divorce or in finalising a property or parenting settlement please do not hesitate to contact us on (02) 9523 5535.

Australians are known to love property as an investment vehicle. Generally this has been achieved by borrowing from a bank to purchase property before paying it off over time. Since 2007 self managed superannuation funds (SMSF) have been allowed to borrow money to acquire property, which has seen a large increase in the amount of SMSFs and the amount of property owned by SMSFs.

What is a SMSF?

A SMSF is a superannuation fund that has four (4) or fewer members and is an alternative to retail and employer sponsored superannuation funds. In a SMSF, the members (who are subject to strict rules) have control over the superannuation fund, its investments and decisions.

What are the benefits of an SMSF?

  • Investment control and opportunities – members have flexibility and control over the SMSF’s investments
  • Favorable tax concessions – a SMSF is one of the most tax-effective ways to hold investments.
  • Estate Planning opportunities – Upon death a member’s superannuation benefit is not covered by their Will and a correctly structured SMSF Trust Deed can allow the member’s superannuation to be paid to the right person in a tax effective manner.
  • Borrowing opportunities – laws allowing SMSF’s to borrow provide an avenue for members to acquire property and/or other types of property (for example shares) in their SMSF.
  • Unlock cash in business premises – a SMSF can purchase commercial property that a member may own personally which in turn unlocks cash that can then be personally re-invested.

Tell me more about unlocking cash in my business premises.

If your SMSF buys the property from you using money contributed to the SMSF, then you can use the cash received from the sale for your personal circumstances now! The property moves into your SMSF and the money moves out. Cash in the SMSF is unlocked!

Are stamp duty concessions available?

Yes, commercial property in your own name which is transferred to your SMSF may receive substantial stamp duty concessions. This strategy could save you thousands of dollars in stamp duty!

Can I buy residential property in a SMSF?

Yes, but strict rules apply and failing to comply with the strict rules can have serious consequences.

There may be capital gains tax concessions too?

Yes, tax concessions may apply depending on when the property is sold and for how much. Obtain proper advice before you act.

How does borrowing in a SMSF work?

The loan must be a limited recourse borrowing arrangement, which simply means that in the event of default under the loan the lender only has recourse to the property, not other assets of the SMSF.

How to avoid problems when buying property in a SMSF?

Seek appropriate advice from qualified professionals. Consult with Southern Waters Legal and an accountant or financial planner who are familiar with SMSF borrowing.

Want to know more about borrowing in an SMSF or transferring property to your SMSF? Please contact Southern Waters Legal on (02) 9523 5535.

Homemade Wills are a curse” – This was the opening remark in a recent judgment of an Australian Will dispute case…

At Southern Waters Legal we agree! Unfortunately we see first hand the expensive mess left behind when people attempt a DIY Will. Homemade Wills often cause significant delays in beneficiaries receiving their inheritance, drawn out expensive litigation and family disputes.

The judgment continued:

  • “All of this could have been avoided if the testator had consulted a lawyer and signed off on a will which reflected his wishes; and
  • There is no question but that engaging the services of a properly qualified and experienced lawyer to draft a will is money well spent”

One of the most famous examples of this issue was the disaster that arose after racing car driver Peter Brock attempted his own DIY Wills.

Why should you seek proper Estate Planning advice?

  • Ensure that all your assets are distributed and protected as per your wishes. Did you know that your Will does not automatically covered your superannuation?
  • Strict formalities must be met to ensure a Will is validly executed. Did you know witnessing a Will as a beneficiary may exclude you from benefiting under the Will?
  • Have control over excluding certain people from inheriting from your estate. Did you know there are steps you can take to reduce a successful claim against your estate?
  • Make informed decisions about your Estate Plan. You will make informed decisions about your Estate Plan once you have received proper Estate Planning advice.
  • Avoid costly litigation and delay. A person could have several Wills professionally prepared for a fraction of the cost that could be imposed on their estate in the event their DIY Will is unclear, incomplete or challenged.

Seeking proper Estate Planning advice from an experienced Estate Planning solicitor together with a professionally drafted Will gives you peace of mind knowing that your family does not need to deal with the curse of the DIY Will.

If you do not have a current Estate Plan or would like to update your Estate Plan (Wills, Powers of Attorney etc), contact Southern Waters Legal today – we will guide you through the process.

Debt disputes arise in both personal and business relationships and can cause a great deal of stress. Here are some simple steps you can take to recover your money:

1. Check the details

The first step is to review all the information you need to start the debt recovery process.

You should confirm who the invoice is made out to, and who issued the invoice. This will allow you to determine who you need to chase for the debt (the debtor) and who the money is actually owed to (the creditor).

You should then establish exactly what goods or services you provided to the debtor and how much the debtor owes you for these goods and services.

2. Contact the debtor

You should to try and communicate with the debtor directly. This can be via email or telephone, however in our experience it is more effective to try and communicate via telephone as an email can simply be ignored.

You should try to get to the bottom of why they are not paying you. Is it because the goods you’ve supplied are wrong? Or perhaps they are unhappy with the services you have provided? If the debtor is having cash-flow problems, you could try suggesting a payment plan whereby the debt is broken down into smaller monthly payments.

Finding out the reasons for non-payment can assist you to reach a resolution or compromise.

3. Send a Letter of Demand

If the debtor is not responding or they have made promises that they will pay but have failed to do so, you can send a formal letter demanding payment of the debt.

It can help to have a lawyer write this for you, but if you decide to prepare a letter of demand yourself, remember to include the following details:

A.  The full amount of the debt
B.  Copies of any invoices or any agreement that you rely upon to prove the debt is owing
C.  A time limit for which they have to pay (i.e. 7 days, 14 days)
D.  Instructions as to how payment should be made (i.e. EFT, cheque)
E.  A warning that if payment is not made you will be referring the matter to your lawyers for debt recovery

4. Contact the debtor again

Depending on the debt amount, you may want to contact the debtor again via telephone to ensure they have received the letter of demand and find out if they are going to make payment.

5. Contact your lawyer

If you have not come to a resolution, have not been paid and are fed up with the situation, now would be the right time to engage a lawyer to start the debt recovery process for you.

In our experience, a debtor is more inclined to respond to a letter of demand that has been sent by a reputable law firm.

Before you engage a law firm, you should consider the following:

A. Make sure your invoices are correct

A correct invoice should include a proper ABN for the debtor, details of the goods and/or services provided, issue date of the invoice, as well as the date the invoice is due to be paid. If an invoice has been issued to an individual or business that is wrongly described/identified on the invoice (i.e. incorrect name or ABN), it is unlikely that you will be able to rely upon the invoice to enforce the debt. Please take care when creating your invoices to ensure you have the correct details.

B. Keep in mind the limitation periods to enforce a debt

You are only able to take action against a debt owed to you within a period of six years from the payment due date of the original invoice. For example, if your invoice is payable within 14 days after issuing to the debtor, the date is 6 years after the expiry of those 14 days.

If you leave a debt uncollected for more than six years it will then become what is known as “statute barred” and you will be unable to enforce the same.

C. Make sure your agreements have been signed correctly

If you are relying on an agreement that proves a debt is owed to you, you need to ensure that the agreement has been signed correctly. If the debtor is an individual, you should always have someone witness his or her signature. If the debtor is a corporation, you should make sure two directors or the sole director/sole secretary signs any agreement.

6. Next steps

If you have a questions regarding moneys owed to you, or if you would prefer an expert to handle your situation, please call us on  (02) 9523 5535.

The end of the financial year is upon us and it is a good time to consider these 5 handy tax tips…

1. Superannuation

Do you have any employees whom you are paying superannuation? Superannuation is not tax deductible until it has been paid, accordingly you must pay before 1 July 2015 to be able to claim your superannuation tax expenses and be able to reduce your income tax bill.

2. Bad Debts

For businesses that account on an accruals basis, now is the time to go through your debtor list and consider writing the bad debts off. Bad Debts are tax deductible and can therefore be used to reduce your taxable income.

3. Expenses

Need a new desk? Laptop nearly had it? As a result of this year’s federal budget, small businesses can receive $20,000 as an immediate tax deduction for assets. This applies to businesses which turnover no more than $2million per year.

This does not mean that you will receive a cheque from the ATO for $20,000; it means that this amount reduces your income and therefore reduces the tax you will need to pay at the end of the tax year.

If there is a capital purchase you are considering to buy, this incentive is a great way to help your cash flow.

4. Salary sacrificing your Bonus into superannuation

If you are due for a bonus before the end of the year, consider salary sacrificing some or all of it into Super. Superannuation contributions are taxed at 15% compared to the top marginal tax rate of 45%.

5. Plan for next year

Make an effort to review your cash management processes and review your business or investment structure. Consideration should be given as to whether your existing structures provide asset protection and are tax-effective.

If you would like any assistance getting your affairs in order, please contact Simon Bennett, our experienced tax lawyer. We also know a few great accountants and financial planners that we could recommend. Get it touch today on (02) 9523 5535 or e-mail us.