This month Finance Monthly explores the taxation system in Australia, speaking to the Team leader of Commerce, Tax & Investment Law – Harry Rigney LL.M. He is an Australian legal practitioner, admitted to the Supreme Court of the Australian Capital Territory as barrister and solicitor, also solicitor admitted to the Supreme Court Queensland, member of the Queensland Law Society and associate member of the Law Society of Tasmania.
Harry Rigney is a Chartered Tax Advisor (CTA), accredited in Australia by The Taxation Institute under Royal Charter arrangements with the Chartered Institute of Taxation. He is a tax agent registered with The Board of Taxation in Australia and a full member of the Society of Trusts and Estates Practitioners, in the Queensland branch of the UK host organisation.
His background reflects the ‘revolving door’ ethos acquired and cultivated during his Harvard studies; to deliver excellence in professional service by building and sharing skills and expertise within and across commerce and academic forums. His work and standing continues to be recognised and acknowledged by international accreditation agencies.
As a specialist within the tax arena, what would you say are the challenges of providing effective tax advice in Australia?
The pace of development in new ways of contemporary commerce keeps us very active! Our business model assumes commerce is the engine room of client wealth creation, generating base revenues, whether directly by client participation in ownership and management or indirectly by investment in the business base.
The fluidity of contemporary commerce, driven by online models of engagement, presents the need to develop and evolve the environments for transactional engagement. The shift in value from traditional forms of property under-pinning commerce to new property, from tangible to intangible, requires deep and applied knowledge in the law of equity.
The unprecedented imposition of regulation on contemporary commerce across jurisdictions requires that transactions, to the greatest extent possible, self-report. Audit trails should be generated from the legal framework of commercial transactions.
These and manifold other facets of contemporary commerce translate into requirements for the competent contemporary legal advisory to deliver services within new timeframes, meeting new standards.
Australia is regarded as a great place to do business – what are the specific tax incentives in place that help attract inward investment? What are the particular advantages for companies wanting to invest in Australia, in terms of tax structures?
Tax is the price we pay for our ordered environment, for peaceable business. Where our clients locate their commerce is the main determinant of the form, manner and quantum of taxes payable. Current measures across the major jurisdictions for commerce and investment have distorted traditional tax models. Significant compliance costs and the threat of substantial penalties for lack of attention to detail have raised the stakes. Intelligent management of tax profiles for clients in commerce requires delicate and precise tailoring and delivery of strategy for the costs and opportunities in global taxation.
What brings current inbound investment to Australia?
Our focus in 2016-17 is to the clean and green environment of Tasmania, the island state of Australia, lying in latitudes 41 South to 43 South. It is world renowned for its produce in agriculture, horticulture and viticulture. International clients are now seeing Tasmania as a frontier offering attractive reward for capital investment with lifestyle benefits for visitors. The ownership of resources is characterised by small local holdings, in the main family-controlled. Tasmania has traditionally sent more people out of its jurisdiction that it has borne, but the flow is ebbing. International tourism, mainly from East Asia, has broached all benchmarks. International recognition for the arts, environment and produce of Tasmania is now framing the Island State for timely acquisition of key resources. Our team is well acquainted with the customs and culture of the Island State, and we have established strategic presence to facilitate international investor interest with appropriate introductions and array of investor services.