Tax and Structuring
Taxation law is complex and dynamic, impacting all business and personal financial decisions.
McCullough Robertson’s specialist tax team is one of the largest in Australia, and is renowned for helping clients to efficiently navigate complex tax disputes with the ATO and State Revenue authorities. We adopt a commercial approach in assisting our clients to resolve matters quickly and inexpensively, but also have a proven track record assisting clients to successfully litigate disputes where necessary.
Our experience extends to advising clients on a wide range of taxation matters, with a focus on providing strategic advice which is both aligned with their business needs and focused on ensuring the arrangement will withstand ATO scrutiny and that of State Revenue authorities.
Our team acts for a range of clients from listed company groups, privately owned Australian businesses, and family groups as well as providing expert assistance to a large number of accountants, lawyers and financial planners.
Our expertise also includes assistance with the design and implementation of tax effective restructures and group reorganisations, transactional assistance in the context of mergers and acquisitions, and other debt and equity fundraisings, asset protection and business succession advice.
In all cases, we combine our tax knowledge with our legal skills to ensure seamless integration of tax advice and legal documentation. Our solutions-driven approach and depth of experience ensures our clients are provided with innovative and commercially focused outcomes.
Our team assists clients across the federal tax space to navigate all stages of ATO compliance activity including reviews and audits, objections, and appeals before the Administrative Appeals Tribunal and the courts. We also have extensive experience in objections and appeals with the State Revenue authorities.
We take a very practical approach to any dispute, and will not only put forward our client’s position and argue technical matters, but also take a commercial approach to finalising disputes swiftly and favourably.
The complexity of Australia’s taxation system is heightened when dealing with foreign tax jurisdictions, and the ATO has recently focused on arrangements with foreign jurisdictions. Inbound investors and new residents are often surprised by apparent inconsistencies in tax treatment here, as are expats and outbound investors.
Our team has had decades of experience advising on international tax matters and litigating against the ATO in all courts, including the High Court of Australia. We are able to assist in navigating the maze of Australian tax laws when dealing offshore, as well as provide practical suggestions and structuring advice.
Mergers and acquisitions
Effectively managing the taxation consequences of income tax, capital gains tax, tax consolidation and duties is a critical part of any business acquisition or divestment decision.
Our tax team’s experience with respect to M&A transactions (both domestic and cross border) ensures clients receive taxation advice that is targeted, practical and precise when considering merger, acquisition and divestment transactions.
For further information regarding the firm’s broader M&A capabilities, click here.
Our team assists clients in navigating complex corporate taxation regimes and regularly advises on a full range of corporate and group taxation issues, including initial public offerings, capital raisings, joint ventures, corporate reorganisations, income tax consolidation and other corporate transactions.
Our tax team works closely with our corporate team to ensure a seamless integration of tax advice and other legal documentation and processes.
We have extensive experience assisting clients with indirect taxes, particularly in relation to the GST impact of property and commercial transactions and litigation settlements.
The team also has experience advising clients on their obligations and compliance regarding excise duty (including excise equivalent goods), customs duty (alcohol, tobacco and fuel products), and navigating the onerous liabilities which may arise in response to a statutory demand for an amount equivalent to the unpaid liability.
Financial services and managed funds
Our team provides tax and duty advice on the structuring, establishment and ongoing management of managed funds, securitisation and other financing arrangements.
In this field, our team works closely with our financial services regulatory, finance and corporate teams to provide a multi-disciplinary approach to advising clients in the financial services and funds management industries.
Our team has developed expertise advising clients on both compliance with superannuation laws and the taxation of superannuation funds. Our experience includes advising clients on structuring with SMSFs, and compliance with superannuation requirements such as NALI and NALE with the ATO.
We also work closely with other teams within the firm, including the wills, estates & trusts team with respect to estate planning and the treatment of superannuation, and binding death benefit nominations.
Employment taxes and incentives
Our team is experienced in the design, implementation and drafting of share and option, performance rights and share appreciation plans, as well as other executive remuneration structures – with a view to ensuring that such arrangements are tailored to meet our clients’ objectives in attracting and remunerating staff, comply with Corporations Act requirements and efficiently navigate any complex taxation issues which arise.
We also regularly advise clients on employment and remuneration matters relating to employee and executive remuneration such as fringe benefits tax, PAYG-withholding, superannuation guarantee, payroll tax and employment termination payments.
Our team offers specialist duty, payroll tax and land tax assistance to a range of clients – from smaller enterprises, to sophisticated and established businesses including managed funds, large corporate groups, government and not-for-profit businesses.
Our team is experienced in providing transaction and structuring advice in relation to state taxes Australia-wide, including advising on exemptions for restructuring or intergenerational transfers. We also assist clients to finalise or review documentation such as contracts involving the transfer of dutiable property or employment contracts, and complete lodgements with State Revenue authorities.
Australia’s framework for the regulation of inbound foreign investment has become increasingly complex to navigate, with the Federal Government’s sweeping reforms to the Foreign Acquisitions and Takeovers Act 1975 (Cth) and associated rules. Our foreign investment law specialists are experienced and technically proficient in handling each step of the foreign investment process, from ascertaining whether approval from the Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB) is required through to utilising existing working relationships with FIRB and other government agencies to assist clients to pursue investment opportunities in Australia.
For further information regarding the firm’s broader foreign investment capabilities, click here.
Private clients, SMEs and structuring
For many private clients, SMEs and their advisers, obtaining the best business or family group structure can be confusing as the ATO and State Revenue authorities apply different rules and often change their position on interpretation (including positions that had been entrenched for decades).
Private clients and small business are a particular area of focus for the ATO, which has specific concerns about the use of family trusts and private companies.
We have assisted many family groups, including groups of significant wealth and complexity, to restructure their affairs safely, including with ATO sign-off.
Our experience can help provide the best structure, and the best way to get there.
In addition to working with advisers to tailor quality solutions for each client’s individual circumstances, we also offer an entity establishment service.
We provide simple, easy to use instruction sheets and work with our clients to establish discretionary trusts, company incorporations, self managed super funds, super borrowing instalment funds, unit trusts, and prepare deeds of variation where required as part of our clients’ overall structuring needs.
To find out more, contact a member of our team.