find the latest legal job
Corporate Counsel and Company Secretary
Category: Generalists - In House | Location: Newcastle, Maitland & Hunter NSW
· Highly-respected, innovative and entrepreneurial Not-for-Profit · Competency based Board
View details
Chief Counsel and Company Secretary
Category: Generalists - In House | Location: Newcastle, Maitland & Hunter NSW
· Dynamic, high growth organisation · ASX listed market leader
View details
In-house Projects Lawyer | Renewables / Solar | 2-5 Years PQE
Category: Generalists - In House | Location: All Australia
· Help design the future · NASDAQ Listed
View details
Insurance Lawyer (1-3 PAE)
Category: Insurance and Superannuation Law | Location: Sydney NSW 2000
· Join a dynamic Firm · Excellent career growth opportunity
View details
In-house lawyer 1-4 PAE
Category: Generalists - In House | Location: Adelaide SA 5000
· Leading Brand · Report to a Dynamic Legal Counsel
View details
Impact of 'passive' Budget on lawyers revealed

Impact of 'passive' Budget on lawyers revealed

Chris Lovell Holding Redlich

While the Federal Budget delivered few surprises, lawyers are likely to be affected by several changes.

Holding Redlich national managing partner Chris Lovell (pictured) described the Budget as “passive”, with no major or shocking consequences for the legal profession or Australians generally.

However, he noted tax lawyers may experience higher workflows from a proposed crackdown on tax avoidance.

During the Budget announcement, treasurer Joe Hockey said the government would target severe new penalties at 30 multinational corporations that may have “diverted profits away from Australia to avoid paying their fair share of tax”.

Mr Lovell predicted tax lawyers working with large corporations could see their workload jump under this initiative.

“If you're a tax lawyer, the changes to the Part IVA legislation [of the Income Tax Assessment Act] to deal with what they've described as 30 profit-exporting companies would be quite interesting,” he said. “There'll certainly be plenty of work in there for whoever is involved in that.”

In addition, the government signalled its plan to introduce new powers for the Tax Commissioner, Baker & McKenzie's head of tax John Walker said. Under the changes, the commissioner would have discretion to interpret the law in a legislatively binding manner.

“That is a concern,” Mr Walker said. “The reality is that the best way to enforce a tax law is to have clear and concise legislation.”

He also warned proposed tax breaks may not provide the economic boon promised by Mr Hockey.

“Some of the tax initiatives that have been proposed, especially in the context of small business, may be helpful, but they do seem to be focused on attracting votes as opposed to being based on strong economic policy.”

Northern exposure

Firms acting for clients with interests in Northern Australia may profit from a $5 billion infrastructure facility introduced for the region.

“We will partner with the private sector and governments of Western Australia, the Northern Territory and Queensland, to provide large concessional loans for the construction of ports, pipelines, electricity and water infrastructure,” Mr Hockey said.

Mr Lovell predicted this change could increase demand for legal services, but cautioned that the long-term effects could be limited.

“It will increase workflows for lawyers but it's not a huge investment fund – $5 billion sounds like a lot, but it won't go that far. It's basically making finance available to people for projects, but the question is, what projects are there?”

Small business, big gains

Boutique or sole operator law firms could benefit from the government’s tax concessions for small businesses, including a $20,000 deduction for business expenses, according to Law Council of Australia president Duncan McConnel.

“These measures will be welcomed by small firms, and for small firms looking to consolidate, merge, or undergo succession planning,” Mr McConnel said. “This will enable small law firms and barristers to invest in technology innovation to become more efficient.”

However, Mr McConnel joined other legal groups in criticising the government for failing to address the Legal Aid funding shortfall.

“These court systems have already suffered deep cuts and we must consider the nature and extent of further ‘savings’ which may impact properly funding a critical resource.”

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

Impact of 'passive' Budget on lawyers revealed
lawyersweekly logo
Promoted content
Recommended by Spike Native Network
more from lawyers weekly
Unite
Aug 22 2017
Professionals unite in support of marriage equality
The presidents of representative bodies for solicitors, barristers and doctors in NSW have come toge...
Aug 21 2017
Is your firm on the right track for gig economy gains?
Promoted by Crowd & Co. The way we do business, where we work, how we engage with workers, ev...
Scales of Justice, Victorian County Court, retiring judges
Aug 21 2017
Replacements named for retired Vic judges
Two new judicial officers have been appointed in the Victorian County Court, following the retire...
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 & ...