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John has over 20 years legal experience with a focus on tax structuring, commercial advice and transactions as well as tax disputes beginning with early engagements, ruling applications, formal and informal information requests as well as Tribunal and Court proceedings.
He and his team have a passion and enthusiasm for their work and when it comes to their clients, their aim is to be outcome-focused and to work efficiently and commercially.
John is respected within the industry for his expertise and knowledge and, in 2021, was a recommended Tax Lawyer in Queensland in Doyles’ Guide.
“The most rewarding part of what we do is assisting clients take control of their understanding of their affairs. It always allows clients to refocus on what is important to them and diffuses any frustration of being held back.”
Longstanding clients operated a multi-generational real estate business in a partnership of trusts. As part of their desire to modernise their structure to attract new talent and incentivise staff, they wanted to move to a corporate structure.
However, they did not want to disturb their real estate licence or third party contracts as they had been in place for a long time, in some instances decades. Using a stepped out plan to restructure the partners first, then the partnership, we were able to place a holding company over the structure which allowed the partnership to continue to deal with third parties but gave the owners a centralised ownership structure through a single company.
A leading utilities management service provider operating on the east coast of Australia required a restructure to allow an investment by a statutory body that identified synergies in the client business.
John was able to advise and implement a restructure of the client’s business structure which operated across two standalone companies to introduce a holding company. After the restructure, we continued to act for the client to negotiate the term sheet initially and subsequently the shareholder agreement, transaction documents and address matters arising from due diligence to allow the clients and statutory body to complete the deal in their required timeframe.
A large incorporated professional practice wanted to revisit its structure to move from what was essentially a goodwill practice in respect of its ordinary shares to a no-goodwill practice and to do so in a way that preserved value for its founding members that could be realised over a period of time and only trigger tax at the realisation time.
In addition, it was necessary to allow an issue of ordinary and dividend only shares for nominal value for incoming practitioners which could provide those practitioners with a sufficient interest so that dividends were ‘splittable’ (but subject to the ATO guidelines) and from the incorporated professional practice’s perspective those amounts would not be subject to payroll tax.
It was important from the client’s perspective that the ATO was involved and approved of the restructure prior to it being implemented. As a consequence, we worked with the ATO to fine-tune the restructure to ensure that it would achieve the client’s objectives but also withstand a review by the ATO.