Legal Writers Wrap Up – June 2018

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This month in the law – June 2018

A new financial year is upon us, and with it a number of legal updates to be aware of. As befits the time of year, this edition of Wrap Up is all about money: tax, stamp duty, financial oversight and even more tax!

If you think any of these developments might pique your clients’ interests, get in touch and we can help you get the word out.

Real Estate

All the State Budgets (save South Australia) have been handed down. There are no changes to stamp duty rates or threshold.

The rate of Foreign Buyer/Investor/Acquirer Surcharges have been increased in:

– Western Australia from 1 January 2019 from 4% to 7%

– Tasmania from 0% to 3% for residential property and from 0% to 0.5% for primary production land

– Queensland from 3% to 7%

Relevant to: foreign investors who want to purchase property in Australia

Land tax changes include:

– The land tax rate in Queensland has increased to 2.25% for individuals and 2.5% for companies, trustees and absentee landholders who have aggregate holdings over $10 million.

– In Tasmania, new houses available for long term rental between 8 February 2018 and 7 February 2021 will receive a three year land tax exemption. In addition, between 15 March 2018 and 14 March 2019 rental properties in Greater Hobart that were previously available for short term accommodation and are made available for long term rental will be exempt from land tax.

Relevant to: anyone who holds property in Queensland and rental property in Tasmania

Taxation

The Federal Government’s personal income tax changes announced in the May Budget have now come into effect for low to middle income earners.

Relevant to: anyone who pays income tax

The government has also announced a Superannuation Guarantee Amnesty. For 12 months, employers can catch up on superannuation contributions without facing the risk of penalty.

Relevant to: any employer who has outstanding superannuation payments

Employment

Payroll tax changes have been made across the country and include:

– The threshold in NSW has increased from $750,000 to $850,000. This will increase each year by $50,000 until it reaches $1 million.

– The payroll tax rate has been reduced for regional businesses in Victoria to 2.425%. A business is regional if at least 85% of its payroll is for regional employees.

– The 50% rebate in Queensland for wages paid to apprentices and trainees has been extended to 30 June 2019

– The payroll tax rate for wages between $1.25 and $2 million will be reduced to 4% in Tasmania. Tasmania has also extended its rebate for wages paid to apprentices and trainees in industries with skill shortages until 30 June 2021. The industries include building and construction, tourism and hospitality and manufacturing.

– Employers will receive a two year payroll tax rebate if they employ a new employee who lives and works in the Northern Territory or replaces an existing employee from another state or territory with one who lives and works in the Northern Territory.

Relevant to: any business employing people in NSW, Queensland, Victoria, Tasmania and the Northern Territory.

Financial Services

As the fallout from the Financial Services Royal Commission continues, ASIC has announced the creation of the Australian Financial Complaints Authority (AFCA) to commence 1 November 2018. Financial firms required to be members must sign up by 21 September and ASIC has released new Guidelines in advance of the critical dates.

Relevant to: financial companies required to be members of AFCA.

Tanya was admitted to the South Australian Bar in 2006 and practiced for several years in large and boutique firms before starting her own business in legal content writing and editing. Her areas of expertise include contract law, property law, personal finance and personal injury. She relishes the challenge of taking even the most intricate judgement and making it accessible to the interested reader.

Tanya is based in Adelaide. You can contact her by email at tanya@legalwriters.com.au or by telephone at +61 400 972 354.