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The Queensland Budget handed down in June will make it cost many thousands more to buy an existing home, if you are not a first home buyer. There is a big incentive to buy or sell now, before the changes come into effect. If you are planning to build a home you can receive a grant for $10,000 if you get your timing right. There are winners and losers in this Queensland Budget and if you are thinking of selling or buying you must pay careful attention, because, everything will change on 1 August 2010. Queenslanders do not pay duty on FIRST HOME purchases up to the value of $500,000.00 and this is not changing. The rest of us are in a different situation. Existing home owners hoping to upgrade or downsize to another property face stamp duty hikes of up to $7175.00. These changes come into effect on 1 August 2011 so there is an incentive if you are looking to buy at the moment. If possible sign the contract before 1 August 2011! Sellers should also take notice as they may find that buyers are more motivated to purchase before 1 August, before they get hit with the additional duty! 

Look at any shopping centre in Australia and you will notice that many of the shops across many different shopping centres are the same. We see from this, the huge popularity of franchising in Australia. The need for retail premises with each of these Franchised retail stores means that decisions need to be made about who controls the premises. Should the owner of the business (Franchisee) take a lease of the premises? This means taking the direct benefit and risk associated with the lease. If the Landlord has a complaint or needs to sue for performance of the lease the first point of contact would be the lessee. If the business owner or Franchisee signs the lease then they are personally and directly responsible to the landlord. Alternatively, should the Franchisor take the lease, and then give a licence to the franchisee? This means that the Franchisor is in control of the premises. The benefit for the Franchisor is that, if there is a falling out with the Franchisee or, the Franchisee leaves the business, there is no direct impact on the lease, provided that, the Franchisor continues to honour the Franchisors obligations under the lease. I should point out that generally a Franchisor will ask for an indemnity from the Franchisee in respect of all the obligations of the Franchisor written in the lease. This is done so that the franchisee shares the same risk as the franchisor, regardless of how the premises agreement is structured.

Riba Business LawyersThe Land Tax Act 2010 was introduced last year. It will potentially increase the land tax that some owners have to pay even if valuations have decreased! Anyone who has more than one investment property should take care to examine the manner in which their investments are held.The section of the Act to look out for is Section 20.

Accountants and advisors will sometimes recommend to property investors that they consider holding each investment property in a different trust. One reason for having more than one trust is so that land tax is reduced. Until 30 June 2011 this was all that was needed in order to reduce land tax.  Land Tax law has changed.

We are fielding an increasing number of calls from business people who are anxious to know what they can do to ensure, that their assets and in particular their homes, are protected from creditors. There are simple steps that can be taken that greatly improve your chances of avoiding the loss of your home. In recent times this has  become more difficult, but it remains possible. The aim of asset protection strategies is to remove creditor access to certain assets entirely. When this is not possible then the aim instead should be to put significant obstacles in the way of creditors. Although some determined creditor may still suspect a way to penetrate your defences the cost of the taking these steps and the risk of failure may prevent a creditor from even trying.

In order to be successful, asset protection strategies need to be put in place before you are in financial trouble. Creditors should not be aware of the existence of the assets or they should know, from the time of their first dealing with you, that these assets are off limits. There are only limited things that can be done, once it becomes clear, that the risk of a financial failure is real. Yet there are still steps that can be taken to improve your situation. Although these steps may not defeat a trustee in bankruptcy they may improve your risk position and discourage creditors.

Before a buyer can enter into a contract to purchase a business it is important to seek advice in relation to the most effective structure to use as the purchasing entity. There can be significant tax savings and other advantages if the correct structure is chosen before a contract is finalised.
Here is the most important piece of advice that your lawyer or accountant may not tell you in time. Are you ready? If you are investing money in the business as you almost always will, then you should make sure that this loan is treated as a loan and not a gift. You can lend this money to the business and secure it with a charge. If you register the charge then your initial investment will be protected forever. If things go bad, then you may be able to get your investment back even before the tax man gets paid.
So our first piece of advice is - "Begin with the end in mind". This will be the cheapest and best insurance against losing your home that you may ever buy so when setting up a business get some good advice and set up this asset protection structure from the start.

Business owners must take care to ensure that they do not destroy value in their business by allowing things to go wrong at the very start of the sale transaction. There are some simple steps that can be taken by a seller to ensure that risks associated with a business sale contract are minimised.
Have you noticed that when the day starts badly it can be difficult to turn things around? You might not be surprised to hear that when things go wrong early in a business transaction it can be difficult to get the process back on track. It is wise therefore to invest some time, early on, making sure that you understand the process, on which you are embarking. Like first impressions, you don’t get a second chance.