Commercial | Tax

This large category spans such areas as general corporate and contractual advice, large mergers and acquisitions, tax advice, non-litigious employment law advice and sales of businesses, both large and small. Claims arising out the commercial/corporate area typically account for 20-30 per cent of LPLC’s total claims cost in a given year.

Legal work in this area often relates to high value transactions, meaning that claims can be large. Retainers are frequently complex and subject to change.

Tax issues can arise in nearly all areas of practice. We often see claims where a practitioner without sufficient experience or expertise has given incorrect advice on a tax issue. In a number of other cases, the practitioner simply failed to realise there was a tax issue that needed to be addressed. Claims relating to GST are dealt with under a separate GST section.

LPLC have many resources intended to help practitioners understand the risks attaching to the different types of work that fall under this broad category. Please choose a resource from the menu.


1 March 2017

When tax needs to be raised

Do you help your clients make informed choices about tax issues? Every year the Legal Practitioners’ Liability Committee receives notice of claims where one of the issues was the alleged failure by a practitioner to raise tax issues with the client. Family law In one claim a practitioner acted for a husband in a matrimonial […]

7 December 2016

In Check Issue 73 | December 2016

Table of contentsCyber risk awareness for lawyers and clientsPPS – Raising awareness – how accurate is your registration?Termination of contract noticesA new GST checklistA new risk managerCommon GST questionBook now for our 2017 Risk Management SeminarsLaw Institute Journal articlesOffice closure over Christmas and New Year Cyber risk awareness for lawyers and clients We regularly hear […]

28 September 2016

In Check Issue 72 | September 2016

Table of contentsClarifying some CGT withholding issuesPriority notices to commence in December 2016Unfair contract terms protection extended to small businessCommon GST question2016 Risk Management SeminarsLaw Institute Journal articles Clarifying some CGT withholding issues If you missed LPLC’s three recent bulletins about the new CGT withholding regime you can read them here. As our bulletins explain, the new regime […]

27 June 2016

In Check Issue 71 | June 2016

Table of contentsUrgent bulletin for conveyancing practitioners: 1 July new CGT withholding payments for real property sale of $2M or moreA further stamp duty increase for foreign purchasersChanges to lodging fees from 1 July 2016Changes to the Power of Attorney Act 2014Badenach v Calvert – the final chapterNew page for new firms on LPLC websiteCommon […]

31 March 2016

In Check Issue 70 | March 2016

Table of contentsCyber-crime – how alert are you?Common GST questionImportance of good working relationships within the professionReminder for RedCrest2016 Risk Management SeminarsCheck your contracts for deemed serviceNew look websiteLaw Institute Journal articles Cyber-crime – how alert are you? Lawyers and the legal profession are increasingly becoming targets of cyber-crime and while many law firms may not […]

6 November 2016

1 July 2016 new CGT withholding payments – practical examples

August 2016 (revised November 2016) Table of contentsIntroductionTaxable Australian real property acquired directly from registered proprietor(s)LeasesIndirect Australian real property interestsOther issuesFurther information on the ATO website Introduction This bulletin contains practical examples of how the new withholding requirements which commenced 1 July 2016 work. 1 July new CGT withholding payments for real property sales of […]

6 July 2016

New CGT withholding payments for options, company title interests and indirect Australian real property transactions

Introduction This bulletin contains more information on the new withholding requirements which commenced on 1 July 2016. It focuses on: options and rights to acquire company title interests indirect Australian real property interests. For information about other aspects of the new regime please refer to the LPLC bulletin 1 July new CGT withholding payments for real […]

2 June 2016

1 July new CGT withholding payments for real property sales of $2M or more

Table of contentsKey pointsATO forms and information Key points New requirements for contracts of sale of real estate worth $2M or more entered into from 1 July 2016. All purchasers of such real estate must withhold 10 percent of the purchase price unless they are given a clearance certificate by the vendor. Vendors of such […]

11 September 2013

Land Leases and the PPS Act

Table of contents1.  Introduction2.  Personal PropertyBeware!3.  Acting for the landlordBeware!Beware!4.  Lease document5.  Acting for the tenant6.  The retainer 1.  Introduction Practitioners for both landlords and tenants need to understand that the Personal Property Securities Act 2009 (Cth) (PPS Act) may apply to the lease of premises because: Sometimes a landlord of premises also leases goods […]

11 September 2013

Sale of Land and the PPS Act

Table of contents1.  Introduction2.  Personal Property3.  Acting for the vendorBeware!Beware!4.  Contract of sale of real estate5.  Acting for the purchaser6.  Retainer 1.  Introduction Practitioners for both vendors and purchasers need to understand that the Personal Property Securities Act 2009 (Cth) (PPS Act) may apply to a contract of sale of land because: Sometimes a vendor […]

3 February 2017

It’s just a transfer of land

Some clients might think preparing a transfer of land from a trustee to a beneficiary, between spouses and/or between related corporate entities should be a simple and cheap job. Experienced practitioners know these sorts of transfers are anything but simple and should be treated no differently to an arm’s length conveyance. One practitioner recently told […]

16 December 2016

Trusts and family farm transfers

LPLC has recently received claims from practitioners who acted in the transfer of family farms to trustees where the transactions were not exempt from stamp duty. Section 56 of the Duties Act 2000 (Vic) (the Act) sets out the conditions to be met for a transfer of a family farm to be exempt from stamp […]

25 November 2016

GST – a little bit simpler

A new GST checklist was launched at the recent LPLC Metro series. You can find the checklist here. The checklist contains: 10 questions about GST that need to be addressed when advising in the sale or purchase of land or businesses links to numerous rulings and websites where you can find more information including the […]

7 October 2016

Saving superannuation claims – new practice risk guide

LPLC regularly receives notice of claims involving superannuation funds. To assist practitioners to avoid these types of claims LPLC has published a new practice risk guide Saving superannuation claims which addresses claims in wills and estates, conveyancing and family law. You can find the guide here. Family law is the highest risk area for claims […]

3 June 2016

When a task falls between the cracks

We often receive claims arising out of matters with limited retainers where the practitioner thought the client was undertaking some of the work. An example is where a contract is conditional on some approval or consent from a relevant authority or other third party and the client is responsible for obtaining the approval or consent. […]

3 February 2017

Key Risk Checklist: Tax issues

This checklist contains the most common taxes and related charges and is not intended to be exhaustive. Ticking a box indicates who is responsible for considering the selected item. Both practitioner and client may be selected. A column has been included for initial comments. It is recommended that a memorandum be sent to the client […]

23 November 2016

Key Risk Checklist: GST

GST is not simple but there are some simple steps you can take to help protect you and your clients. References to divisions and sections can be found in A New Tax System (Goods and Services Tax) Act 1999 (Cwlth) Input taxed supplies ☐  Is the supply wholly input taxed? No GST payable where the […]

14 October 2013

Key Risk Checklist: Small Business – Purchaser

Table of contentsWhen acting for the purchaserGenerally When acting for the purchaser When asked to advise just on the contract documentation before the purchaser signs the contract, recommend that all relevant searches be done before the contract is signed. Check that your client has a Section 52 Statement and has had the figures reviewed by […]

14 October 2013

Key Risk Checklist: Small Business – Vendor

Table of contentsWhen acting for the vendorGenerally When acting for the vendor Advise your client that the failure to give the purchaser a Section 52 Statement may allow the purchaser to avoid the contract. Confirm this advice in writing (see Appendix A for suggested letter: Initial letter before contract is signed). Explain that the business operating […]

11 May 2017

Know your limits

Table of contentsIntroductionLessons from the claimsTime limits most commonly missedClaims examples Introduction With the proliferation of time limits in legislation today missing limitation dates is a mistake that occurs in many areas of the law. The reasons for missing time limits are varied as are the potential repercussions. Sometimes it is a lack of knowledge […]

13 September 2016

Saving superannuation claims

Table of contentsIntroductionCommon themesSuperannuation related claims from 1 July 2011 to 30 June 2015Areas of lawSuperannuation ChecklistAppendix One Introduction LPLC has seen numerous claims against practitioners involving superannuation funds. Claims sometimes arise because the practitioner does not have sufficient knowledge or experience with superannuation matters. Practitioners who regularly act in this area will agree that […]

20 January 2015

Commercial litigation – stay alert

Table of contentsIntroductionThe causes of claimsCommon problemsOther risksLPLC Commercial Litigation Checklist Introduction Managing the client’s expectations during litigation is the key to containing risks in this area. Commercial litigation – stay alert provides examples of how things can go wrong in commercial litigation and how practitioners can minimise the risk of a claim. The relationship […]

23 July 2014

Small business – big risks

Table of contentsIntroductionThe challengesThe most common mistakesPersonal Property SecurityLPLC Small Business ChecklistAppendix OneAppendix Two Introduction Since the publication of the previous edition of Small Business – Big Risks there have been some changes in the legal landscape which are of particular relevance to transactions for the sale of small businesses including: the introduction of the […]