find the latest legal job
Corporate/Commercial Lawyers (2-5 years PAE)
Category: Corporate and Commercial Law | Location: Adelaide SA 5000
· Specialist commercial law firm · Long-term career progression
View details
Graduate Lawyer / Up to 1.5 yr PAE Lawyer
Category: Personal Injury Law | Location: Brisbane CBD & Inner Suburbs Brisbane QLD
· Mentoring Opportunity in Regional QLD · Personal Injury Law
View details
Corporate and Commercial Partner
Category: Corporate and Commercial Law | Location: Adelaide SA 5000
· Full time · Join a leading Adelaide commercial law firm
View details
In-house Legal Counsel & Commercial Lawyers
Category: Corporate and Commercial Law | Location: All Sydney NSW
· Providing lawyers with flexibility and control over when they work, how they work and who they work for.
View details
In-house Legal Counsel & Commercial Lawyers
Category: Corporate and Commercial Law | Location: All Melbourne VIC
· Providing lawyers with flexibility and control over when they work, how they work and who they work for.
View details
Lawyers, employers, frustrated by legislative delays

Lawyers, employers, frustrated by legislative delays

Lawyers and their clients are being held ransom by delays over draft laws governing employee share schemes.


Like this story? Read more:

QLS condemns actions of disgraced lawyer as ‘stain on the profession’

NSW proposes big justice reforms to target risk of reoffending

The legal budget breakdown 2017

LAWYERS and their clients are being held ransom by delays over draft laws governing employee share schemes.  

A Senate committee report, released last Monday, recommended the government delay the passage of proposed employee share scheme laws until the Productivity Commission and Treasury Secretary Ken Henry have completed taxation reviews.

The government sparked an outcry in its May budget when it proposed taxing employee share schemes when employees are given discounts or options on shares, rather than when they vest. It has since softened the planned reforms, changing for example the income threshold where workers are eligible for certain exemptions.

Workers who invest in an employee share scheme have received a tax exemption of $1,000, since 1 July for taxable incomes of up to $180,000. The previous threshold was for people earning $60,000 or less.

The revised version was set to push ahead, with lawyers and their clients readying themselves for a confirmation of the changes.

"We were all assuming the revised version would press ahead," said Tresscox Lawyers partner Michael Bracken.

But a Senate economics references committee examining the planned changes - which is dominated by lawmakers from the Opposition - has issued a report recommending the government delay the introduction of the legislation. The delay has left companies, whose Annual General Meetings are approaching, up in the air, said Bracken.

"If [companies] want to issue shares to employees or make changes to the employee share plans, they are in a state of flux because they don't know whether the proposed legislative changes are going to be in place," he said.

“So the difficulty is to decide whether they are going to run on the basis that the changes will ultimately come through, or assume they won't come through until next financial year. It's not clear where it's heading at the moment," said Bracken.

"It's up to Treasury whether they adopt the Senate recommendations to delay it.”

Bracken advises some listed entities, who want to give rewards to their employees as incentives, on the pending legislation. "But they are not sure how to structure their plans because they will have different tax consequences under the new proposed regime," he said.

"One of the concerns now is whether the Senate Committee recommendations will delay the proposed legislation and whether the changes will apply this financial year or next financial year. The assumption of course was that it would apply this year.”

Bracken says the delay is frustrating for lawyers and clients alike, noting that "it would be beneficial if the issue is dealt with sooner rather than later".

“It’s difficult for lawyers because of the uncertainty caused by the Senate Committee recommendations and particularly as we had assumed that a solution had been lobbied and the draft legislation has been released.”

 
Lawyers, employers, frustrated by legislative delays
lawyersweekly logo
Promoted content
Recommended by Spike Native Network
more from lawyers weekly
Papua New Guinea flag
06:04
World-first mining case launched in PNG
Citizens of Papua New Guinea have launched landmark legal proceedings against the country’s govern...
06:03
Punishing offenders twice pointless, politicians warned
The president of the Law Society of NSW has warned legislators from other states about adopting cont...
Dec 13 2017
Young humanitarian lawyer California-bound
A young Australian lawyer will be travelling to the US next year for a prestigious nine-month study ...
APPOINTMENTS
Allens managing partner Richard Spurio, image courtesy Allens' website
Jun 21 2017
Promo season at Allens
A group of lawyers at Allens have received promotions across its PNG and Australian offices. ...
May 11 2017
Partner exits for in-house role
A Victorian lawyer has left the partnership of a national firm to start a new gig with state governm...
Esteban Gomez
May 11 2017
National firm recruits ‘major asset’
A national law firm has announced it has appointed a new corporate partner who brings over 15 years'...
opinion
Nicole Rich
May 16 2017
Access to justice for young transgender Australians
Reform is looming for the process that young transgender Australians and their families must current...
Geoff Roberson
May 11 2017
The lighter side of the law: when law and comedy collide
On the face of it, there doesn’t seem to be much that is amusing about the law, writes Geoff Rober...
Help
May 10 2017
Advocate’s immunity – without fear or without favour but not both
On 29 March 2017, the High Court handed down its decision in David Kendirjian v Eugene Lepore & ...