A successful lawyer has to become an expert in negotiation. We thought it was unfair to keep this knowledge to ourselves, so we’ve compiled a handy list of negotiation techniques into SOAP. A good lawyer uses SOAP every day, which is why people think we’re slippery. ...
Looking to buy? It doesn’t matter if it’s your first home, an investment or if you have done it a dozen times, it’s a big deal.
Here are the top five things you can do to ensure your purchase runs as smoothly as possible: ...
IP Australia, the government agency responsible for administering intellectual property rights and legislation in Australia has released their new search engine for trademarks.
If you are familiar with their previous search engine (ATMOSS), you are in for a treat. The new interface is simpler, more user-friendly and is teeming with new features to help make searches quicker and easier.
What is new?
- The layout
The new Quick Search features (in the “I am interested in …” section) now offer helpful tips and descriptions, assisting non-legal people to navigate and understand what and how to conduct appropriate searches.
The search page has also received a facelift bringing it in-line with the rest of IP Australia’s site creating a clean and cohesive website.
- Administering searches
The previous search engine required text regardless if your search related to word marks or logos/images. Now, you can search by text or images or even portions of text or portions of images.
If you need to know if the circle in the left-hand corner of your proposed logo is similar to another logo, the new search engine can provide you with these results.
- Displaying results
Even before you select search, the new search engine will provide you with the expected number of results. This small feature can help you refine your search and reduce your search time by removing the need for unnecessary clicks.
For example, if you enter a term and you see IP Australia will return over 2000 results, this is a good indication that you should refine your search with additional text (if appropriate).
- Class and Status breakdown
Following the trends of big data, IP Australia will now provide a breakdown of information related to the class and status of your search.
For example, if you search for trademarks relating to the ...
For Franchisors: What Are My HR Responsibilities To Franchisee Employees In Australia?
The employee underpayment scandal and subsequent investigation by the Fair Work Ombudsman into retail convenience chain 7-Eleven has prompted the franchise industry to scrutinise the responsibilities franchisors owe to franchisee employees in Australia.
Are franchisors responsible for the actions of franchisees?
Under the Franchising Code of Conduct and under the typical franchise agreement, franchisors are not responsible for the actions of franchisees towards their employees. Franchisors and franchisees are legally and financially independent parties.
In essence, a franchise agreement is an agreement that allows a franchisee to carry on their own independent business in accordance with the franchisor’s model. Franchisees are obliged to run their own business, while at the same time abide by the principles of uniformity of the system regarding the products or services offered in their businesses.
Franchise agreements will commonly provide that franchisees are responsible for complying with industrial relations laws by paying employees the correct award, tax and superannuation.
The 7-Eleven payment scandal case study
In response to the employee underpayment allegations, the franchisor of 7-Eleven established an independent investigation panel, introduced changes to its business model and made commitments to provide compensation to underpaid franchisee employees. The franchisor’s response to the situation might be distinguished from how many other franchise systems might react because the 7-Eleven business model provides a profit share arrangement between the franchisor and its franchisees.
In most franchise systems there is no profit share, but the franchisor receives a regular franchise fee from franchisees, which may be a set royalty or an amount based on the franchisee’s performance. In the usual case, the franchisor is removed from the day-to-day running of the ...
Crooks, watch out! From 12 November 2016, there will be some important new amendments to the Australian Consumer Law and the ASIC Act.
These amendments will expand consumer protections to business owners. Starting in November, small businesses will be protected against ‘unfair’ provisions in contracts.
When Will the New Rules Apply?
There’s a few exceptions, but essentially, the amendments will apply where:
- the contract is for the supply of goods or services, or the sale or grant of an interest in land;
- at least one party to the contract is a small business at the time the contract is entered into;
- the upfront price of the contract is $300,000 or less - or $1 million or less if the length of the contract lasts for more than 12 months;
- the contract is a standard form contract; and
- the contract is entered into, renewed or varied after 12 November 2016.
The amendments will also apply to contracts for financial services, as well as financial products regulated under the ASIC Act (loans, finance contracts and other credit contracts). For these contract types, interest payable under the contract is not included in the calculation of the upfront price.
What's a Small Business?
A small business is defined as a business with fewer than 20 employees. This is measured by headcount including part-time and casual employees engaged on a 'regular and systemic basis'.
What's a Standard Contract?
A standard contract is an agreement where the terms and conditions are set by one party, with limited opportunities for the other to negotiate. A good example of this is your telephone contract. Normally, the contract is offered on a "take it or leave it" basis. (Actually, for phone ...
A growing business will often identify one or more key employees as instrumental in driving the business. These key employees will be a minority in number. In order to retain and provide incentives to these key employees, the founder may wish to provide an equity interest in the business. In doing so, a significant issue can be providing this equity in a tax effective manner.
Employee Share Scheme provisions - Current Law
When faced with this issue, the usual starting point is the specific Employee Share Scheme provisions, currently contained in Division 83A of the Income Tax Assessment Act 1997 (ESS). The main thrust of these provisions is to include in assessable income the discount to market value of the issue price of the interest (shares or options), as demonstrated in the following example.
Jim is the founder of Start-Up Pty Ltd, a company that has been in existence and trading for two years in the IT industry (the same principles apply for businesses in other industries - retail, manufacturing, distribution, professional services, biotechnology). The business has a current market value of $2 million. Jim has identified Peter as a key employee who has been instrumental in doubling the markets of the business in the last six months. Jim would like to issue a 10% equity interest in the business to Peter. His preference is to issue this equity for no consideration. He anticipates the business will be worth in excess of $6 million in five years’ time.
In this case, a 10% interest has a value of $200,000 with a preferred issue price of nil or $1. ESS operates to include the discount ($200,000) in Peter’s assessable income at the time of the interest's issue. This is the case regardless of whether the interest is issued directly to Peter or to an associate.
It might be considered that a means of overcoming this issue would be to consider options with an exercise price equal to the current market value. This ...
In April 2014, Queensland’s Department for Housing and Public Works released details of fundamental amendments to the Building and Construction Industry Payments Act 2004 (Qld) (BCIPA).
The Building and Construction Industry Payments Amendment Act 2014 (Qld) (Amending Act) was passed by parliament on 11 September 2014, and the amendments came into force on 15 December 2014.
Key amendments to BCIPA
There are four key areas impacted by the Amending Act:
- Division between complex claims and standard claims
- Change to timeframes
- New notice requirements before commencing court proceedings
- Respondents are not limited to payment schedule responses for Complex Claims at adjudication
- Claimants may withdraw adjudication proceedings
- Appointment of adjudicators is now regulated by the Queensland Building and Construction Commission (QBCC)
1. Standard Claims & Complex Claim
The Amending Act differentiates between standard claims and complex claims, depending on whether the claimed amount is more than $750,000 (excluding GST). Where a claim is a complex claim, the Amending Act now provides longer time frames and further opportunities for a respondent to respond to the claims.
The key amendments to timeframes relate to complex claims, which aim to achieve a fairer and more balanced approach to these types of claims. Depending on how complex the claim is, the amendments to timeframes include increasing the time in which respondents may serve payment schedules and adjudication responses.
For complex claims:
- the time for a respondent to provide a payment schedule will increase from 10 to 15 business days (all other claims will ...
The small business CGT concessions provide a significant tax advantage to eligible taxpayers. Their focus is to allow the concessions for capital gains made on business assets that are owned by a small business. This is achieved through two principal basic conditions:
- the Active Asset Test, which limits entitlement to the concessions to assets used in the business of an entity within the taxpayer’s group; and
- a size test - either a $2 million turnover test or a maximum net asset value test.
This article is concerned with the maximum net asset value test (MNAV).
At present the MNAV provides for a threshold of $6 million. Prior to 1 July 2007 the threshold amount was $5 million. The application of the test is not limited to the taxpayer, otherwise it would be a relatively simple matter to separate the ownership of assets into separate entities to bring the taxpaying entity under the threshold. To overcome that possibility, the MNAV requires that you identify a relevant group of entities and determine whether the net value of CGT assets of those entities exceed the $6 million threshold. When the concessions were first introduced in 1997, the group was limited to:
- the taxpayer;
- persons or entities that control the taxpayer (controllers); and
- entities that the taxpayer or controllers control.
At that stage, the assets of affiliates were not taken into account. At that time, an asset could only be an active asset where it was used in a business carried on by its owner. The concept of affiliate was introduced in the 1999 year, when the concessions were amended to allow assets used in the business of a connected entity or an affiliate to be eligible for the concessions. At that time, the MNAV was amended to include assets of affiliates who use the asset in respect of which the concessions were being claimed and the share of any affiliate’s interest in a ...
Peter Rouse, Rouse Lawyers Associate and team leader of Franchising, is producing his first short film, Respite. Rouse Lawyers has now joined the team as executive producer.
The film is affiliated with Vision Australia, a charity that supports the blind community. The producers will be donating a portion of the profits made from the film to Vision Australia for all their help authenticating the script and promoting the film.
By pledging on the link below, you will not only help realise this wonderful story, you will also be contributing to a wonderful cause!
The ultimate goal of the film’s team is to have the film shown at film festivals both domestically and intentionally, including Cannes and Sundance.
Respite follows the story of Dominic, a blind man suffering depression and insomnia. When he dreams visually for the first time, he becomes addicted to sleeping (pills), citing God for his good fortune. Meanwhile, he neglects a newfound friendship with Hope. Torn between dreams and reality, life and death, can Dominic be saved and assume responsibility for his own deliverance?
Respite is a story of hope in the face of darkness and the prevailing power of an individual’s will. It is about the isolation we all share, a correlation between despair and faith, and a struggle between rationality and spirituality.
You can help donate to this exciting film by visiting the following link www.indiegogo.com/projects/respite. ...
Matthew Rouse, the managing partner and founder of Rouse Lawyers, recently endeavoured to climb the highest peak in Africa, Mount Kilimanjaro. Once Matthew made it to the top of the highest free-standing mountain in the world, he held up the Act of Kids flag, raising awareness to a whole new height, 5,895 metres to be exact.
The trip was a spur of the moment decision, booked only three months prior. Matthew confessed he wasn’t overly confident for the climb.
“I had a bad reaction to a yellow fever inoculation and was too sick to get much training in before I left. I did try to hike Mt Mee a week before I left –and managed to get lost which didn’t do my confidence the world of good. Luckily, my fitness levels weren’t too bad and I didn’t embarrass myself (completely) on the trip”, Matthew said.
Matthew admits that running a law firm doesn’t allow him much holiday time and confessed that he hasn’t had a vacation in two years.
“I wasn’t overly keen on the idea of just laying on a beach for two weeks and wanted to do something different and challenging”, Matthew said.
Act for Kids is an important charity to Rouse Lawyers and Matthew said Act for Kids motivated him to take this challenge.
“The Act for Kids flag was perfect – I was going to get the flag to the summit even if I did it crawling on hands and knees, which funnily enough is how some people make it up there. Hopefully the photo can motivate people and highlight the wonderful work done by Act for Kids. Climbing a mountain is one thing, but Act for Kids are assisting children deal with very difficult challenges every day”
Wanting to plan a challenge for yourself? Become an everyday hero and help raise awareness and funds for Act for Kids! If you would like further information about different everyday hero opportunities call Ellen Park on 1300 288 000 http://www.everydayhero.com.au. ...