They say, “You don’t know what you don’t know.” It’s a sentiment that can be applied to many corners of modern life. But surely it’s applicable nowhere as much as the mysterious and constantly shifting sands of taxation law.
For most small to medium business owners, the term ‘tax’ typically conjures up notions of an all-powerful ATO, laborious tax returns, Business Activity Statements and GST collection. While these are all parts of Australia’s taxation landscape, prudent tax management can – and should – run far, far deeper. The great news is when you identify the full scope of the opportunities available and implement effective strategies to seize them, you can deliver significant benefits to your bottom line.
Every day, the Tax Team at Hill Rogers provides expert taxation advice to clients across many industries, effectively helping to deliver the same tax planning function larger corporations get from an in-house Tax Department. Far beyond merely helping with basic compliance tasks such as the lodging of tax returns and Business Activity Statements, we actively assist in formulating the most effective tax strategies and financial structures for our clients. We also help to review any changes in their business requirements and keep abreast of changes to the tax laws – a frequent occurrence in Australia – to ensure the ideal structures are maintained from quarter to quarter and year to year.
Review at least annually
The taxation landscape in Australia can be notoriously complex to navigate. Accordingly, your tax planning should never be seen as ‘set and forget.’ We recommend businesses conduct a detailed taxation review at least once a year to ensure they’re not missing out on opportunities or being unnecessarily exposed to financial risk. Of course beyond this there are several key ‘trigger’ events that demand immediate expert taxation advice. These include any significant changes to your business operations including major new investments, sales or acquisitions, capital gains events, cross border transactions, diversification programs or expansion.
In such cases, even a seemingly simple enquiry to the ATO or a subtle structural change to your transaction could deliver far-reaching financial advantages. Take the following situation, for example.
Recently we had a client who was contemplating the sale of their business. They’d already received advice the sale would qualify them for generous tax concessions, but given the large amounts of money involved they sought a second opinion from the Tax Team at Hill Rogers. Contrary to their original advice, our expert review of current Australian tax law identified a technical issue in the constituent documents which meant they, in fact, didn’t satisfy one of the necessary conditions to access the concessions. Had they proceeded it could have been a financial disaster. Fortunately, the issue was able to be rectified pre-transaction, enabling the client to still qualify for the concessions. Without the rectification the client could have been exposed to a significant shortfall in tax and penalties – a highly expensive yet, ultimately, entirely avoidable situation.
Their story had a happy ending. But as we said right at the start – you don’t know what you don’t know. The good news is Hill Rogers does know. Which is why we invite you to get in touch.
We’ll be exploring more detailed taxation issues in future articles. For now, if you’d like to discuss how Hill Rogers might be able to help your business with expert tax advice and solutions, please contact us here.