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Tax Law

Tax law is the complicated area of law concerning taxation. The Australian Tax System is based on a mix of income, corporate, and sales taxes. These taxes are collected by the Federal (and sometimes, State) Governments and distributed to provide public services. Almost every business and person will have to pay tax, and there are serious penalties for those who avoid or evade paying their share.

Income tax requires that a portion of the income of those who earn above the nominated threshold (currently $18,200 per annum) be withheld by their employer. Corporate tax is the tax applicable to businesses. Finally, the Goods and Services Tax (GST) is a 10% fee on the majority of goods and services.

Although these are the three fundamental elements of the Australian Tax System, there are many other taxes (such as Capital Gains Tax or Payroll Tax) that apply in different circumstances.

Business Structures

It is important to understand that different tax obligations apply to different business structures. Sole traders are taxed as part of their individual income and individual rates. Partnerships are also taxed this way, with each partner paying tax separately. A company pays corporate tax rates and has its own Tax File Number (TFN) for business.

In addition to business taxes, businesses may also have to pay payroll tax, superannuation, HECS and GST.

Legislation

The ATO oversee all tax administration and enforcement in Australia. Both individuals and businesses have to lodge their tax returns and other tax-related documents with the ATO. If these requirements are not complied with, or if you are found to have avoided or evaded paying tax, harsh penalties will apply.

The ATO administers the tax incentive of individuals as well as businesses under two key legislations: Division 355 of the Income Tax Assessment Act 1976 (Cth) and Part III of the Industry Research and Development Act 1986 (Cth). The Fringe Benefits taxes are regulated by the Fringe Benefits Tax Assessment Act 1986 (Cth).

What is a business tax lawyer?

Tax lawyers provide expert advisory work and advice on tax audits, tax disputes against the Australian Taxation Office (ATO), taxation concessions, taxation planning, international tax and tax debts. These lawyers can assist business owners with drafting and reviewing legal documents that deal with tax issues. These lawyers will commit to ensuring you comply with Australia’s taxation system and are well-informed of your rights and obligations.

If an issue can only be resolved in a legal proceeding at court, taxation lawyers will represent you or your business in litigation.

Why do I need a business tax lawyer?

A business taxation lawyer is an expert in navigating their clients through the complexities of various tax codes and regulations. It allows them to recognise, minimise and allocate the risks faced by their clients, while ensuring that you comply with Australian as well as international taxation system.

What can a business tax lawyer provide?

A taxation lawyer will do transactional, financial and business work for an individual or business. They are experts at interpreting and applying taxation laws to your situation in pursuit of attaining a personalised outcome that suits your needs. There are numerous risks involved if you do not consult with taxation lawyers, such as severe fines.
Taxation lawyers are proactive and will take the necessary steps to prevent you or your business from suffering detrimental legal consequences.

How much will a Business Taxation lawyer charge?

Taxation lawyers will charge varying rates. For most taxation work, it is normal for business taxation lawyers to charge by the hour. With LawPath we can connect you with the media lawyer best suited to your legal needs.

We work with Taxation lawyers in our network who specialise in tax law and can provide assistance on a fixed-price basis. We make sure the price is transparent and affordable. There are no hidden costs and you have the option of choosing who you want to be your lawyer.

Hourly rates and Court fees

Fees charged by a tax lawyer can be on a fixed-fee or hourly basis. Hourly rates differ amongst lawyers, but there are lawyers who provide their fees ‘on-spec’ or on a ‘no win no fee’ basis. This can be an attractive alternative if you want piece of mind at the conclusion of your matter.

What can a lawyer legally charge?

Costs can rise very quickly in litigation. However, this is sometimes hard to avoid when work is being done by a lawyer on an hourly basis. Where fixed-fees are not offered by the lawyer, you should expect to be invoiced on a monthly basis. Lawyers are required to adhere to the rules outlined in the relevant acts. For example, in NSW and Victoria, this is the Legal Profession Uniform Law 2014. Lawyers who do not comply with these rules can face disciplinary action from the law society of their State.

Lawyers are required to provide to their clients a document called a ‘costs disclosure’ if your costs will be higher than $750.00. This document will outline how costs will be calculated in relation to your case. Also be mindful that costs are divided into ‘professional costs’ and ‘disbursements’, and you will be expected to pay for both. Professional costs are the costs of the actual work done by the lawyer, whilst disbursements cover incidentals such as court filing fees, telephone calls, photocopying charges – amongst other things.

What if I don’t agree with the costs?

You have the right to request an itemised bill that will outline how much time was spent on each task in relation to your matter, and how this adds up to the fee you’re requested to pay. If you wish to dispute the cost, you can make a complaint to the The Office of the Legal Services Commissioner (OLSC) and they will investigate the matter and may allocate a costs assessor. You can also take further legal action in the Courts if you feel you have been unfairly charged.

Further information

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