NSW Government’s Housing Affordability Package

The NSW Government recently announced a number of measures in an attempt to improve housing affordability for first home buyers across the state.  At present, first home buyers receive a stamp duty exemption on new homes valued up to $550,000 and vacant land up to $350,000 and concessions for new properties valued between $550,000 and $650,000 and vacant land costing between $350,000 and $450,000. 

UPDATE!!! Withholding tax on property

Esplins Law Report in July 2016 contained an article by Stephen Rush regarding the new non-resident withholding tax regime.  The regime, in short, provided that whenever a purchaser buys property in Australia for a price of $2 million or more the purchaser must withhold 10% of the purchase price on settlement and immediately pay it to the Australian Taxation Office unless the vendor produces a clearance certificate.  The amount of $2 million was set in place by the Australian Government so that the majority of transactions would be excluded from the regime (i.e. everyday Australians buying property in Australia).  However, from 1 July 2017 the amount of $2 million will reduce to $750,000 which means that the majority transactions, especially in New South Wales, will be subject to the regime.  Additionally, the percentage to be withheld by a purchaser has increased from 10% to 12.5%.

Don’t underestimate your director’s duties

The Corporations Act 2001 (Cth) (“the Act”) imposes strict statutory and fiduciary duties on directors and officers of companies.  The majority of the director’s duties create civil obligations and when breached a civil penalty is imposed.  It is often overlooked that section 184 of the Act creates a criminal offence id a director recklessly or intentionally fails to exercise their directorial powers in good faith or for a proper purpose.  The maximum penalty for contravening section 184 of the Act is 5 years imprisonment or a fine of $360,000 or both.  Criminal proceedings against directors are not as uncommon as people believe, the ASIC’s six-monthly report covering July to December 2016 discloses that as at 1 January 2017 there are 9 criminal actions (and 22 civil actions) against directors and officers which are pending before the court.

Personal Property Security Act Amendments Reduce Administrative Burden

Under new Personal Property Security Act (PPSA) amendments hirers or bailors are only required to register a security interest if the initial period, or the equipment is held, for two years or more.

The Personal Property Securities Amendment (PPS Lease) Act 2017 came into effect on 20 May 2017 and is aimed at reducing technicalities associated with short-term and indefinite period loans.