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22 August 2016

A new Bill was introduced into the Tasmanian House of Assembly on 17 August 2016. It proposes to, in respect of indirect acquisitions of land, change from a 'land-rich' model to a 'landholder' model; and provide a statutory regime for stamp duty exemptions for corporate reconstruction and consolidation.

Updated August 2016

On 1 July 2016, the Australian Competition Tribunal granted authorisation to Sea Swift's proposed acquisition of certain shares and assets relating to Toll Marine Logistics' (TML) business in the Northern Territory and Far North Queensland

24 June 2016

The Referendum has run and the votes are in. The people of the United Kingdom (UK) have voted to leave the European Union (EU). This decision will have an enormous and reverberating impact on the UK, Europe and the global business environment. There is simply no precedent for a member state leaving the EU, with the exception of Greenland in 1985.

22 June 2016

The 2016-17 NSW Budget was handed down yesterday. The key stamp duty outcomes are the confirmed abolition of certain business duties, mortgage duty and marketable securities duty, and the introduction of the 'surcharge purchaser duty' on foreign purchasers like those in Victoria and Queensland.

19 May 2016

The Australian Government enacted a Multinational Anti-Avoidance Law in December 2015, and the recent Federal Budget on 3 May 2016 proposed that a Diverted Profits Tax also be enacted. Both provisions impact upon large multinationals and their potential impact should be risk assessed by Boards.

13 May 2016

On 12 May 2016, ASX issued a consultation paper which sets out the proposed changes to admission requirements to ensure that the ASX market continues to be a market of quality and integrity and remains internationally competitive. Simultaneously, ASIC has issued its own consultation paper aimed at improving the disclosure of historical financial information in prospectuses.

10 May 2016

Shareholder intention statements are an established but complex feature of public M&A transactions. They are typically sought by a bidder and/or target to provide a public indication of support for a 'friendly' control transaction (whether by takeover bid or scheme of arrangement).

9 May 2016

On 20 April 2016, the first judgment in Australia to accept what is known as the 'indirect market based theory of causation' was handed down by a single judge of the NSW Supreme Court. The case has important implications for numerous ASX-listed companies, particularly those involved in shareholder class actions, where the issue of how to prove causation has been the subject of significant debate.

5 May 2016

On 3 May 2016, the Treasurer Scott Morrison delivered the 2016/17 Federal Budget. On 3 May 2016, the Treasurer Scott Morrison delivered the 2016/17 Federal Budget. The tax announcements in the Budget reflect a continuation of the major themes on taxation from the 2015/16 Budget, focussing on small business as a way to grow the economy, and on multinational tax avoidance.

5 May 2016

The Government has announced the introduction of two new types of collective investment vehicles (CIVs) as a tax-effective alternative to current Australian pooled investment trusts. The availability of these new CIVs is expected to significantly enhance the ability of Australian fund managers to offer their products to international investors.

5 May 2016

The Senate Economics References Committee has released 'Bitter Harvest', a comprehensive report on agribusiness managed investment schemes (Agribusiness Schemes). The report has been prepared in response to the recent collapse of a number of major Agribusiness Schemes and is primarily concerned with the significant and widespread financial losses incurred by the retail investors of those schemes.

29 April 2016

The recent Western Australian State Administrative Tribunal decision in the Alacer stamp duty case marks a departure from the generally accepted valuation methodologies of land and chattels (including mining tenements) for landholder duty purposes.

28 April 2016

The Supreme Court of Victoria has handed down its first decision relating to the recently introduced 'economic entitlement' provisions of the landholder duty rules contained in the Victorian Duties Act.  The case, BPG Caulfield Village Pty Ltd v Commissioner of State Revenue provides important judicial guidance for investors and property developers dealing with Victorian land holding companies and trusts.

27 April 2016

The Victorian 2016-17 Budget handed down on 27 April has confirmed the pre-announced significant increases to stamp duty and land tax surcharges for 'foreign purchasers' and 'absentee owners' of Victorian property. These are some of the changes that have been introduced into the Victorian Parliament under the State Taxation and Other Acts Amendment Bill 2016 (Vic).

26 April 2016

On 22 April, the Senate Economics References Inquiry released Part II of its report on Corporate Tax Avoidance, ‘Gaming the System’. The report highlights increasing concern with the conduct of multinational companies ‘gaming the system’ through lack of transparency of their corporate tax structures and their unwillingness to be forthcoming with information about those structures not only to the Inquiry but also to the Commissioner of Taxation.

5 April 2016

Yesterday, a number of news outlets reported on the investigation by the Australian Taxation Office of over 800 Australian clients of Mossack Fonseca, a Panamanian law firm. Given the ATO's previous offshore voluntary disclosure initiatives, taxpayers who have now come to the ATO's attention will likely face an investigation of amplified intensity.

1 April 2016

Broker handling fees are a well established tool that takeover bidders sometimes use to encourage acceptances and achieve all important acceptance momentum. However, recent 'future of financial advice' reforms have significantly curtailed their use. While there is still scope for these fees to continue to be used by bidders and received by brokers, understanding the permissible boundaries is critical.

Updated 22 April 2016

The new 10% foreign resident capital gains tax withholding regime applies more broadly than many will expect, and both vendors and purchasers, whether Australian resident or not, will need to consider whether or not their transactions are affected.

18 March 2016

The Treasurer today announced that on and from 31 March 2016, the foreign investment rules will be amended so that all foreign investors need to seek and obtain prior Foreign Investment Review Board clearance before acquiring critical state-owned infrastructure.

22 February 2016

Today, the Treasurer announced the implementation of a 'standard' set of tax-related conditions that will apply to foreign investment clearances. This announcement is significant from a foreign direct investment perspective as it likely requires additional or more detailed upfront tax structuring advice prior to submission of a FIRB application, as well as a higher level of engagement with the ATO on FIRB applications.