Could this federal court ruling put your family home at risk?

If your work sees you involved in the world of high-stakes business or puts you at risk of bankruptcy, you may be concerned with how you can best protect your assets. Particularly an asset as important as the family home. One method of protecting assets is to make sure that they are not held in the name of the at-risk person, rather someone trusted, such as a spouse. But a recent judgment heard by the Full Court of the Federal Court will have a profound impact on the way accountants approach spousal assets.

The judgment held that a $4.5 million property acquired in the name of one spouse was in fact owned by both, equally. Below we discuss the ruling, its repercussions, and our advice on how you can best protect yourself and your family.

 

The ruling.

Mr. and Ms. Bosanac purchased a home in Dalkeith, Australia in 2006. They paid a $250,000 deposit with funds from a joint loan account in both their names and borrowed the remainder. Although both contributed to the purchase price equally, the property was transferred to Ms. Bosanac as the sole registered proprietor. Both Mr. Bosanac and Ms. Bosanac lived in the property up until they separated in 2015, after which Ms. Bosanac inhabited the property alone.

The property was used as collateral to acquire other investment assets. Pertinently, Mr. Bosanac used borrowed money secured by the mortgage to conduct share trading.

As a means to recover an outstanding debt owed by Mr. Bosanac to the Australian Taxation Office, The Commissioner of Taxation sought a declaration from the court that Ms. Bosanac, as the sole registered proprietor of the family home, held 50% of the beneficial interest on trust for her husband. The matter primarily centered around the question of whether Mr. Bosanac had an equitable interest in the residential property for $4.5million which had been registered solely in the name of Ms. Bosanac.

Ultimately, the Federal Court judgement held that the property was jointly owned, enabling the Commissioner of Taxation to make a claim on the family home for Mr. Bosanac’s unpaid taxes.

 

Repercussions.

With the Commissioner of Taxation being successful in the second-highest court in Australia, this decision has significant repercussions in accounting. It overturns current asset protection methods used by accountants where an asset is held in a spouse’s name to protect against litigation and other claims against the at-risk spouse.

The case sets a new precedent for such matters. Based on the ruling, effectively this is the new law and the Commissioner of Taxation can be expected to enforce it in future cases. Clients in a similar position should immediately seek advice from their accountant on changes required to be made to their asset protection structures.

 

How you can protect your most important assets.

As accountants, we cannot give asset protection advice. Our expert legal team is on hand to help you ensure your assets are protected. But there are a few takeaways from this new Federal Court judgement for accounting. If your line of work puts your assets, including your family’s home, at risk, here are some things you may like to take into consideration.

  1. The property title should be solely in the name of the not-at-risk person.
  2. The bank account that loan repayments are taken from should also be solely in the name of the not-at-risk person.
  3. The at-risk person should not contribute directly to the loan.

Every situation is different, and there is no one size fits all approach to taxation planning and asset protection. Talk to our professional, approachable, and proactive Geelong Accountants to make sure you are best positioned to make the most out of taxation legislation, including investment-based tax-minimisation measures. If you want extra protection for your assets, seek advice from Hrkac Group Legal Services in Geelong, we have the experience to help you resolve any problems quickly, inexpensively, and with minimal stress.

Make an appointment today via contact us, or phone 03 5224 2366.

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Although speaking about mental health is becoming more accepted in society, unfortunately, the issue of mental health encompasses a complex and often ‘taboo’ subject within the workplace.

The trust clients hold in their accountants is a relationship unlike many others. With 9 out of 10 clients trusting their accountant beyond compliance and more than half of small business operators stating that running their own business has led to feelings of anxiety and depression, largely caused by financial and cash flow concerns, the accounting profession is evolving into a lot more than reconciliation, profit, and loss. Trusted advice does not always have to be all about the numbers, more so a realisation that sometimes it’s more about listening to the person sitting in front of you and what you can do to help them.

With the term ‘accidental counsellors’ being used around accounting firms more frequently, a typical day as an accountant can entail wearing a large array of hats. We may find ourselves dealing with a client-facing bankruptcy, someone going through a messy divorce, a small business owner struggling to support themselves and their family, or someone fighting to get on top of a mountain of debt.

As accountants, we are often working with people and businesses who are experiencing some level of stress about their finances, and we must be careful to ensure we don’t carry and absorb too much of the stress ourselves. This occupational hazard is a natural reaction as there is always a sense of genuine care toward our clients.

We must be conscious about how taking on other people’s stresses and issues can make an impact on our mental health. In Australia, nearly a third of accountants suffer from mental health issues, with more than half admitting depression and anxiety leaves them dreading going to work. We are all guilty of taking our work home with us during particularly busy and demanding times but, having a good work, life balance and feeling comfortable in the workplace is essential to maintaining positive mental health.

Cultivating an environment in which both employees and colleagues feel safe to talk about their mental health and the issues their clients or themselves are facing is vital to maintaining a supportive and collaborative working environment. To tackle the stigma, The Hrkac Group, along with some other leading accountancy firms, are increasingly adopting new measures and initiatives within the workplace.

From basic mental health awareness programs, maintaining open communication within the workplace, senior leaders endorsing mental health as being important, boosting mental health awareness and knowledge within the workplace is continuing to improve.

For further mental health resources, please visit the World Mental Health Day website.

If you or someone you know is suffering from mental health issues, please contact Lifeline on 13 11 14.

As we’re gearing up for our busy period, we want to make sure your preparation for this year’s Tax Return appointment is easy and hassle free. From experience, providing the right paperwork, receipts and statement information is the key to ensuring you get the best out of your Tax Return appointment. With this in mind, our Accounting specialists have gathered together an informative checklist you can use as a guide.

Anyone can use our business or personal tax return checklists to prepare for their appointment – flag it in your inbox, bookmark it or even print it out. You can keep coming back to these guides, so you know what to bring to make your appointment run smoothly.

Personal Tax Return Checklist

Some important items to remember:

  • A copy of last year’s Tax Return
  • PAYG/Group Certificates
  • Receipts for claims/deductions
  • Self-Education costs
  • Private Health Insurance Annual Taxation Statement

Business Tax Return Checklist

Some important items to remember:

  • Back up or invite your Hrkac Accounting specialists to your accounting program
  • Capital purchase documentation
  • Payroll records

Not all items on these checklists may apply to your return and you don’t have to bring these to your appointment, but they can be handy to keep on file for next year. If you are unsure about any of the items on the checklist, bring as much information as you can to your appointment, and we can help you know what is relevant to your tax return.


This year, The Hrkac Group is taking online bookings for Tax Return appointments. You can use the link below to book your appointment online or use the top right button on our website whenever you’re ready.

Top Tip 2019:

Although technology is helping us improve our taxation processes, we don’t always have online access to the most up to date information available.

It’s important to bring your Group Certificate to this year’s appointment so that we can work with the correct and most recent information (we can’t always access your certificates online.)

If you have any questions or would like to book your Tax Return appointment, please contact The Hrkac Group here.

 

Liability limited by a scheme approved under Professional Standards Legislation.

With the New Financial Year just around the corner, it is important to get your Tax Planning organised in order to maximise your time and money.

Some things considered when Tax Planning are Tax deferral strategies, Superannuation obligations, GST and Fringe Benefits Tax (FBT) advice, PAYG Withholding obligations, Salary Packaging, maximising refunds and minimising liabilities… and that’s just the start!

Our dedicated team of Geelong Taxation Services at The Hrkac Group Accounting division is eager to work with you for a smooth transition into the 2014 Financial Year! Please Contact Us now at The Hrkac Group.

Accountants Geelong – why you have found the right one

Are you looking for an accountant? If so, we believe you need a qualified professional who not only has all the financial nous necessary to provide financial services but someone who will listen. The HRKAC group provides clients with professional and empathetic accountants Geelong who are trained to deal with either domestic or commercial financial decisions.

A recent accounting article in The Age highlighted the main points to look out for when looking for an accountant. Your accountant should be able to provide for your current needs whether this is tax compliance, account and financials as well as your future needs. This is where your accountant needs to implement both a short-term and long-term plan. Your accountant should be qualified, professional, and have positive referrals either on a website or by word of mouth.

This is why we believe you have found the right Geelong accountant for you. We listen, we plan we work with individuals or businesses, we are proven professionals.

Geelong’s Financial Planning Specialists

The problem with most accountants is… they’re just accountants. And by that we don’t mean JUST accountants – we mean they only provide accounting services – nothing else.

Everyone, no matter whether you’re in business or an individual, should not see accounting as their only form of financial management.

Most of us have an accountant because most of us pay taxes and need to submit our tax returns to the ATO. But unfortunately, not everyone has a good Geelong accountant AND a financial planner, whose role is to help you achieve your future financial goals, not just go over what’s happened in the past year.

That’s the major strength of our organisation. The HRKAC Group can assist you with accounting services such as financial recording, taxation returns, and tax planning – and we can also assist you in thinking about your financial future with the help of our qualified, professional financial planners.

There are many investment strategies available for our clients regardless of their level of income because financial planning isn’t just for those with a lot of money sitting in the bank, it’s also about giving people on modest incomes strategies to get financially ahead for a brighter future.

So instead of just looking at your financial past, why not look at your financial future with the Geelong financial planners at the HRKAC Group.