Thursday, 31 October 2013

NSW Orange Councillor believes land re-zoning will create community division

Orange Councillor believes land re-zoning will create community division

Updated 8 hours 19 minutes ago
The Orange Council hopes public forums about a rezoned parcel of land to the city's south will stave off neighbourhood disputes.
The almost 280 hectare area, south of the rail line and between the Towac Park Race Track and Norton Park, was rezoned as 'urban residential' land in July.

Councillor Jeff Whitton says it allows the owners of lifestyle-sized blocks in the area to sub-divide their land.
As applications come in for development, we want to make sure that everybody in that area understands that, so we don't have issues where all of a sudden people say 'We didn't know our land, or the next door neighbour's land was re-zoned'.
Orange City Councillor, Jeff Whitton

He says it will be another year before council plans are in place to allow sub-divisions to occur, but admits it is likely to cause division in the community.
"What we're trying to do is make everyone aware of the situation as it stands," he said.
"As applications come in for development, we want to make sure that everybody in that area understands that, so we don't have issues where all of a sudden people say 'We didn't know our land, or the next door neighbour's land was re-zoned'."
Two forums will be held on November 15, one at 12:00pm (AEDT), the other 5:30pm (AEDT).
Councillor Whitton admits division is likely to be caused in the community over the rezoning.
"Certainly it does have the impact of creating, I suppose, division in the area of concern and this is why council have been really on the front foot early," he said.

"To try and make everyone aware of the situation as it stands today, and where and what may happen in the future."

Agents brace for rush in prestige end of market

     Agents brace for rush in prestige end of market

A run of strong high-end property sales and more trophy homes being offered to the market has put a spring in the step of prestige real estate agents. And exclusive properties are starting to fetch higher prices than when they were sold three years ago.

Last year, the highest recorded sale price was $22 million for the Palm Beach estate Kalua. This year a handful of houses in the eastern suburbs have sold for well above that level.

''The market is dramatically stronger,'' said Ken Jacobs, of Christie's. ''The buyers with the money to buy these properties were always there but they're no longer sitting on the fence.''

McGrath chief executive John McGrath agrees, saying there's also improvement in the troubled ''middle market''. ''I think the market right now is the strongest I've seen it since the last real estate boom,'' he said.
''We've had clearance rates in the 80 and 90 per cent range and the demand has really deepened across all price ranges … even the upper ranges we're starting to see a lot more transactions, even $5 and $10 million property sales over the last six months."

The latest big-ticket transaction is a four-bedroom house in Point Piper belonging to Sydney FC chairman Scott Barlow that sold for well over $14 million.

That sale, rumoured to be to a local buyer although neither agent would comment, shows a gain of more than $2.25 million since Mr Barlow bought it in 2010 for $11,750,000 without any renovations except DA-approved plans by architect Alex Tzannes.

The more sales there are, the more confident buyers and vendors become, said Michael Pallier, of Sotheby's International. ''It's a herd mentality that drives real estate.''

The strength of the waterfront market has prompted Woolwich resident Lynette Watkins to list her 1300 square metre home of almost 20 years with Hunters Hill agent Tracey Dixon, of McGrath, with hopes of more than $6.3 million at the October 26 auction.

Following the sale of the Barlow's Point Piper property, the waterfront residence next door at the centre of an outstanding loan dispute between property developer Ron Medich and finance broker Adam Tilley is set to hit the market next week before an October 26 auction.

That property was firebombed in 2008, allegedly by businessman Michael McGurk a year before he was murdered outside his Cremorne home, and is now part of an insolvency arrangement, of whom the main creditor is Mr Medich. It was listed off-market for much of this year with an asking price $16 million, but now has hopes of more than $12.5 million through McGrath's James Dack.

Fears have been growing that Sydney's property market is moving ahead too quickly - one commentator even suggested a 20 per cent increase in prices next year, not seen since the 2002 boom.
But others said concerns over the economy would prevent this occurring. The International Monetary Fund also sounded a note of caution last week when it called for a tougher rules globally to prevent risky lending.

But AMP Capital chief economist Shane Oliver said the Sydney housing market was a long way from becoming a bubble. ''Prices have picked up, but growth is quite modest compared with past levels of strength,'' Dr Oliver said.
His comments echo those from a Reserve Bank assistant governor, Malcolm Edey, on Wednesday, who said talk of a bubble forming was ''unrealistically alarmist''.

Dr Andrew Wilson, senior economist at Australian Property Monitors, said despite there being more confidence and enthusiasm from buyers, there was not the ''financial framework'' to get the type of prices growth in previous strong price cycles.
Even if house prices rose 10 per cent this year they would only be 8 per cent above their previous highest peak three years ago. ''So really that's 8 per cent [growth] over three years,'' Dr Wilson said.
''Talk of a bubble is not just premature, it's nonsense.''

Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Aussie John takes aim at Steve Keen in property punch-up

Aussie John takes aim at Steve Keen in property punch-up

Click to watch link 

  • by |

While Keen – whom Symond cheekily nicknamed ‘Mr Bubble’ during Citi’s annual conference in Sydney yesterday – claimed SMSFs and Asian investors are pushing first home buyers out of the Australian housing market and that government policy is missing the point, Symond said this isn’t necessarily so. He also claimed housing prices in Sydney, Australia's most rapidly-growing market, will swell by about 10% to 12% this year, but that this follows a decade of sluggish growth of about 2.5% a year and therefore needs to be taken into ‘context’ by analysts such as Keen.
“Unlike any other cycles I’ve seen, particularly when the Reserve Bank has had a succession of dropping rates, there is always a big surge, but this time, we haven’t seen it,” said Symond

However, Keen remained adamant that Australia is in the midst of an unsustainable growth period throughout the debate.

“I think we are in a bubble and it could go on for quite some time,” he says, noting that Australia is one of just four countries in the world where house prices are now 2.4 times higher than 1985 levels in real terms.

He argued that accelerating mortgage debt is a key trigger causing unsustainable house price growth.
"This is being supported by non-residents buying so much property. I think we're in a bubble and it will go on for quite some time."

 “We’re never going to get that healthy level of growth we got in the 1950s and ’60s before this level of leverage exploded…Confidence has got bugger-all to do with it.”

Symond did criticise negative, however, saying it was originally intended to encourage new dwellings, but that the outcome has not reflected those intentions.

"If I've got some expensive apartments I can negative gear them and let the taxman pay half of my million-dollar mortgage…I've never seen consumers behave the way they have (conservatively), where we've got the lowest interest rates in history and some areas of real estate coming off the lowest they've been in years," he said.

Why not go to the next conference

Tuesday, 29 October 2013

NSW Laws change You must register Swimming and spa pools

Australia: Swimming and spa pools laws in NSW change: you must register

Last Updated: 16 October 2013
Article by Fiona Sonntag
New legislation affecting backyard swimming pools and spa pools has been introduced in NSW to enhance the safety of children around private (backyard) swimming pools and spas. How will this affect you?

Pool owners

Swimming pool and spa pool owners are required to register their pools on an online Register to be provided by the NSW State Government. Owners are required to self-assess and state that their pool complies with the applicable standards when registering.
The NSW Swimming Pool Register is available for use at Owners must register their pools by no later than 29 October 2013.
There is a penalty for owners who fail to do so. Owners may also register their pools via their local council.
Owners may apply for a Swimming Pool Compliance Certificate from their local councils or an accredited certifier so they are in a position to confidently register their pool. However, there is a fee payable for this service.
A Swimming Pool Compliance Certificate is valid for 3 years.

New Pools

If you are installing a new pool, you should ask the pool installer to provide a Compliance Certificate prior to making the last payment for the pool.

Selling your property

From 29 April 2014 pool owners who wish to sell their property must apply and obtain a Swimming Pool Compliance Certificate to be attached to the contract for sale.

Leasing your property

From 29 April 2014 pool owners who wish to lease their property must apply and obtain a Swimming Pool Compliance Certificate and provide a copy to the tenant.

Pools on strata property

An Owners Corporation is also required to register any pool on the common property. It is advisable that they apply for a Swimming Pool Compliance Certificate. This also applies to properties in community and neighbourhood schemes.

Local councils

From 29 April 2014 Local Councils must inspect pools associated with tourist and visitor accommodation and multi-occupancy developments at 3 year intervals. This includes many pools situated in strata, community and neighbourhood schemes.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

Monday, 28 October 2013

Tasmanian's love using to sell their properties

Tasmanian's love using to sell their properties     

Real estate sales via internet on the rise

THERE are more than 240 family-sized Tasmanian homes for sale on classified advertising website Gumtree as well as an assortment of apartments, units, townhouses and land parcels.
There are suburban homes, heritage properties, shacks and hobby farms, with properties priced as low as $130,000 to $550,000.
Homes are not just offered for sale, but for swap.
The website in 2010 reported there had been a 12 per cent increase within a year of people listing their properties to swap, with more than 2100 on offer.
Gumtree, like other methods of private sale, are attractive to potential vendors as they are not charge any seller fees.
Hobart musician Lincoln le Fevre recently sold his home through Gumtree and was pleased with the result.
``I think real estate agents for the most part work really hard to do their jobs well, but in my case, I was lucky enough to be selling a house in a part of town that's pretty attractive to buyers,'' he said.
``I knew that it was going to cost me about $15,000 in fees and commissions, when realistically it was probably going to sell before the ads even hit the paper.''

Mr le Fevre said four couples inspected the house in the first week of its listing, even though the property was uploaded without a photo, and with only the basics of the title.
A sale was agreed upon within a fortnight.

``Once we'd verbally agreed on the sale price, we had a contract signed within a week, and settled four weeks after that,'' Mr le Fevre said.

``The valuation I had been given had a $30,000 window, and the agreed price was roughly in the middle of it but considering the money I saved on fees and commission, it would have been close to the upper end of the range.''

Harcourts Launceston sales consultant Andrea Bonner warned that vendors may be short-changing themselves by advertising property sales on Gumtree.

``The key to getting the best price out of any market is attracting the most buyers,'' she said.

``You need to let everybody know you are on the market so you attract the greatest amount of buyers and create competition to drive your price up.

``If you just want to sell your house then being on Gumtree may sell it, but if you want to sell your house for the maximum price possible in the market, then you should not be jeopardising your chances by minimising its exposure and marketing and not having a trained negotiator dealing on your behalf.''

Ms Bonner said buyers were typically put off by dealing directly with vendors.
``I myself am an agent who is about to put my house on the market - even I will not deal with the buyers directly myself and have employed a sales consultant to handle it for me,'' she said.
``Negotiations are much more successful when there is a third party involved.''

Sunday, 27 October 2013

View Auction Results for weekend to work out current market sales.

View Auction Results for weekend to work out current market sales.
Just go to on a Sunday and look down the page and click on Auction Results

Friday, 25 October 2013

QLD Mining Oaks Hotels & Resorts opens in Moranbah, Middlemount

Oaks Hotels & Resorts opens in Moranbah, Middlemount

By Chris Chamberlin     Filed under: Moranbah, Oaks, Middlemount, Isaac Region
To mark the opening, the chain is offering rates from $169 per night for a standard apartment, and $239 per night for a two bedroom.

Travellers to Moranbah and Middlemount have a new ‘home away from home’ alternative, with Oaks Hotels & Resorts opening two brand new properties this week.
The addition of the two 4.5 star hotels upsurges the chain’s portfolio to 44 properties, and highlights the demand for self-contained apartment-type accommodation in Queensland’s key mining regions.
Offering full kitchen and laundry facilities, the properties are suited to longer and shorter stays alike, and provide many two bedroom options in addition to the standard single room, making it ideal for family visits.
Oaks Moranbah is situated in close proximity to a shopping centre, a range of caf├ęs and restaurants, along with parks and the Moranbah Golf Club – perfect for the practicalities, while ensuring easy access to a number of off-property leisure options.
Of course, the property is also close to a number of nearby mines, giving employers and travel arrangers incentive to book the newest hotel in town.
The chain reports that accommodation demand in the region is at an all-time high, with Virgin Australia launching direct Brisbane-Moranbah flights earlier in the year.
Further south, the Oaks Middlemount (pictured below) also features an onsite swimming pool and a BBQ area, while only a short drive from the Bundoora Dam – where travellers can indulge in a little fishing, boating, water-skiing and swimming in their free time.
To mark the opening, the chain is offering rates from $169 per night for a standard apartment, and $239 per night for a two bedroom.
For further details, visit

Friday, 18 October 2013

Would you allow your tenant to ‘nightswap’ your property?

Would you allow your tenant to ‘nightswap’ your property?

By Jennifer Duke
Thursday, 17 October 2013
New ‘nightswapping’ website Cosmopolit Home has some tips for your tenant if they’re planning to travel, which involves the concept of sharing properties across the world.
If you’ve heard of home exchange, the concept is quite similar with no accommodation to pay for when you go on holiday. The website allows individuals, home owners and tenants the opportunity to sign up and swap properties.
Hosting other nightswappers allows you to increase the number of nights you can stay elsewhere.
Founder Serge Duriavig, previous associated managing director of Smartbox, launched the concept in 2011, with the website launching in 2012.
For landlords, this poses an interesting question, particularly as tenants can have their home lived in by someone else for as long as arranged, while they travel overseas.
Client manager, Charlene Mas, in discussing the common concerns, had some advice for tenants.
For instance, if a tenant is told they have no right to receive people at home, she provided the following advice.
“This is wrong! Unlike holiday rentals websites, tenants are allowed to practice Nightswapping, just as home owners. Nightswapping is considered, anywhere in the world, as a loan, and not as a sublet. Since there is no financial transaction, it is just as if you were hosting a parent or friend,” Mas noted.
“Not only is it 100% legal, it also is recommended! To prevent burglaries, insurers recommend not leaving your home empty when you're absent. One more reason to get started! And it is even more efficient and much better-value than going through caretaking websites or security services.”
This has a particularly interesting connotation for those who own properties in typically “tourist” locations.
“The greatest advantage of Nightswapping is to have access to places that would remain off-budget with traditional leasing. With Cosmopolit Home, the economic logic does not apply to the listed accommodations, as the «nights» do not have a financial value. If you live in a small house in the suburbs, nothing's to say that one day you shouldn't enjoy a huge loft in the heart of New York,” Mas explains.
“The second but not least advantage is that, as hosts, you have no risk of tax misconduct. Unlike other rental websites, you won't have to declare income taxes. Another weight off your mind.”

      Thursday, 17 October 2013

      Best tip for Selling Vacant Land

      Selling Vacant Land

      No matter what your intention was with the land, the fact you do not own a home or how unfair the law is you are not entitled to the CGT main residence exemption on vacant land. This is because the exemption only applies to dwellings and the land attached. No dwelling no exemption. So build or put a caravan on the land and live there for 3 months to get the exemption back dated for 4 years before you lived there. But make sure the caravan is sold with the land.
      Please seek advice on your particular circumstances before acting on this information.  

      Wednesday, 16 October 2013

      Renovating for Profit

      Renovating for Profit

      BAN TACS Accountants Pty Ltd How not to be a Developer Booklet - 26 - Created by Julia Hartman B.Bus CPA, CA, Registered Tax Agent

      If you buy a property with the intention of doing it up and selling it then you are in business. The property is not an investment so it is not subject to CGT or your main residence exemption. Instead you purchased it with the intention of resale at a profit so the profit is taxed as normal income. Further, if your renovation is substantial you will also have to charge GST when you sell but you can claim input credits and possibly utilise the margin scheme.
      If you rent the property out before you renovate you may qualify for large tax deductions when you scrap part of the house or plant and equipment. So you need to consider whether you should get a quantity surveyor in before you start. A deduction for scrapping is only available if the property is rented out during the renovation or it is rented out immediately before the renovation begins and you do not live in the property during the renovation.
      If you are in the business of renovating to sell you will have to charge GST if the renovation is substantial. Fortunately, ‘substantially renovated’ is really that; it takes quite a considerable amount of changes before you will trigger GST. Section 195-1 of the GST Act states “substantial renovations of a building are renovations in which all, or substantially all, of a building is removed or is replaced. However, the renovations need not involve removal or replacement of foundations, external walls, interior supporting walls, floors, roof or staircases”.
      GSTR 2003/3 is the ATO’s ruling on the matter. It is not just based on how significant the renovation is but whether it affects a substantial part of the original property. For example, you could put an extension on the back of a property that is twice the size of the original house but if you don’t renovate the original house then there is no substantial renovation. Superficial changes to all the rooms in the house do not make the renovation substantial either, even though all rooms are affected. An example of this would be painting all the walls.
      GSTR 2003/3 specifically states at paragraph 76 that replacing a kitchen, bathroom, repainting the whole property and doing minor repair work, in most circumstances would not be a substantial renovation. Cosmetic work, such as painting, sanding floors, replacing light fittings, curtains or carpets are not substantial renovations even if they affect every room in the house. Replacing the floorboards or electrical wiring in a property gets you into dangerous territory, however, because they usually affect every room in the house and are not merely cosmetic. 

      Tuesday, 15 October 2013

      CGT Rollover Relief When Building a Strata Plan

      CGT Rollover Relief When Building a Strata Plan

      BAN TACS Accountants Pty Ltd How not to be a Developer Booklet - 26 - Created by Julia Hartman B.Bus CPA, CA, Registered Tax Agent

      If you build a duplex or block of units with a business partner you will effectively own all the properties together under the same legal title as you did the original land. This can create a CGT nightmare if you want to own your units individually.
      For example you and a friend find a nice block of land that is far too expensive for either of you. But it is large enough to be approved by Council for a duplex development. So you agree to buy the land together build a duplex and then take one each. The trouble is once the duplex is built you will still technically own half of each other’s unit just as you had owned half of the land and if you simply subdivided the land and changed the title to sole ownership you would create a CGT event in that you would be deemed to have sold each other at market value half of their unit. On the other hand if you split the duplex under a strata plan you would be entitled to use the rollover relief available under section 118-42 so that no CGT would be payable.
      Section 118-42 does not discuss these particular circumstances in fact it is very basic, as follows: If:
      1. a)  You own land on which there is a building and
      2. b)  You subdivide the building into stratum units and
      3. c)  You transfer each unit to the entity who had the right to occupy it just before the subdivision
      A capital gain or capital loss you make from transferring the unit is disregarded.
      To your advantage is the fact PBR 17485 specifically discusses duplex and claims that section 118-42 can be used in these circumstances.
      Note that PBRs are not binding on the ATO so if you want to be sure you should apply for your own ruling quoting PBR 17485 

      Monday, 14 October 2013

      GST and Vacant Land

      GST and Vacant Land
      BAN TACS Accountants Pty Ltd Investors Booklet - 2 - Created by Julia Hartman B.Bus CPA, CA, Registered Tax Agent 

      The ATO issued an Addendum to GSTR 2003/3 pointing out that the exemption from GST on domestic properties that are not brand new does not apply to the sale of land cut off from such a property.
      Even if you are registered for GST you do not have to charge GST on the sale of a house if it is not the first time it has been sold as a residential property. Note if you undertake substantial renovations that affect every room in the house then the next sale of the house will be subject to GST because it is considered new again.
      In order to qualify for the concession the house and land have to have been sold previously as a package. Vacant land can never qualify for the concession. This is the case even if there was once a house on the land or the block has been cut off from a house and land. Relocating a home onto land and selling it will still be considered the first sale of the house because it is the first time that piece of land and that house have been sold together.
      If you buy a house and land, move the house to one side and subdivide the land GST is not applicable to the
      sale of the house side because that land and house have previously been sold together but of course GST will apply to the separate sale of the vacant land. On the other hand if you add land to an existing house and land package you will have to charge GST on the sale of that part of the land because that land had never been sold with that house before.
      Note if you are not registered for GST and you are not selling the land as part of your actual business activity then even though the sale maybe for more than $75,000 you are not required to register for GST. The $75,000 threshold, at which you are required to register for GST, only includes turnover that is subject to GST from normal business operations, even domestic rents are not included in this threshold because they are not subject to GST.

      Sunday, 13 October 2013

      Holding a Rental Property in a Trust

      Holding a Rental Property in a Trust
      BAN TACS Accountants Pty Ltd Newsflash

      If you are concerned about land tax, depending on which state you are in, a trust might give you another land tax threshold. 

      For example in Queensland a trust does not pay land tax until the unimproved land held by the trust in the state of Queensland exceeds $350,000. 

      NSW gets complicated but certainly discretionary trusts are not entitled to a threshold at all so will pay land tax on any property they own 

      NT has no land tax. 

      Victoria only gives trusts a $25,000 threshold. Another way of avoiding land tax is to buy properties in different states.

      Here is a bit of a run down on the two types of trusts you are likely to considers:
      Fixed/Unit Trusts:
      Generally you would borrow money to purchase units in the trust. This would give you a fixed right to the income of the trust which then gives you a right to deduct the interest on the loan in your personal tax return. The trust may also borrow but because of your contribution the trust makes a profit which is
      distributed to you and appears in your tax return so that the interest on your loan is a cost of earning income. If the property is overall negatively geared then your interest will exceed the income you receive from the trust.
      This may sound good but all it really provides is protection of your personal assets from anyone suing the trust. If anyone is suing you they would gain access to the trust by gaining access to the units you own; so only a little better asset protection than owning in your own name. The tax outcome is about the same just an extra tax return. There is a stamp duty advantage in that once the property is held in the trust you could transfer the units (for market value) amongst family members without paying stamp duty on the transfer but it would trigger CGT, so you are unlikely to do this.
      Discretionary Trusts:
      A discretionary trust allows you to decide each year who gets the profits and/or capital gain because unlike a unit trust there is no fixed right to profit. The down side of no fixed right to profit is that you cannot effectively negatively gear in your personal tax return. You have no fixed right to profit so the interest on the money you borrow to put into the discretionary trust is not a cost of earning trust income. To make it deductible (a cost of earning income) you need to charge the trust interest at the same or a higher rate. This means the deduction effectively moves into the trust and is locked in there until it makes a profit as trusts cannot distribute losses. The up side of no fixed right to profit is that if you are sued, your creditors cannot demand that the trust pays them anything. If the property is positively geared anyway then the discretionary trust has no down side and putting a positive property into a discretionary trust gives you something to offset against other rental property losses so you may then be able to afford to hold a negatively geared property in a discretionary trust.

      Warning Any trust that claims to give you the benefits of a combination of those above risks being treated by the ATO as a discretionary trust removing your right to claim the interest on the money used to buy the units; or requires the trust to buy back the units which will trigger a CGT event at market value to the unit holders.

      Note Trusts are sometimes marketed as a succession planning tool. A trust can only operate for 80 years, at the end of which the assets must be transferred to the beneficiaries and the trust has to pay CGT. Accordingly, if you must use a trust at all, to control from the grave, it is better to create it in your will so it lasts as long as possible and the tax benefits of distributing income to minors are much better. If you hold a property in your own name you can transfer it to your heirs through your will with no CGT consequences and they can do the same. Keeping a property in the family through personal ownership and wills will completely avoid CGT for an infinite period until someone sells the property. 

      Saturday, 12 October 2013

      Asbestos removal claim a full tax deduction in that financial year.

      Asbestos removal claim a full tax deduction in that financial year.

      ID  2004/720 states that the cost of removing an asbestos shed in the back yard of a rental property qualified for an immediate tax deduction.  Any other type of shed and it would probably be considered capital expenditure as an improvement or initial repairs.  But the removal of asbestos is claimable under the environmental protection concessions so none of these restrictions apply. 
            This means you could purchase a property with an asbestos roof, replace it, immediately improving its rental potential, increase your equity and claim a full tax deduction in that financial year.
      Thanks BAN TACS Accountants Pty Ltd

      Thursday, 10 October 2013

      QLD Council approves 3000-bed miners camp for Miles

      Council approves 3000-bed miners camp for Miles

      A 3000-bed miners camp is coming to Miles.
      A 3000-bed miners camp is coming to Miles.Brenda Strong
      MILES is bracing for a population explosion after Western Downs Regional Council today approved a controversial 3000-bed camp for the town.
      Following impassioned debate about the pros and cons of Landtrak Corporation's plan to construct the accommodation facility on Laycock Rd, councillors voted 5-4 in favour of approving stages one and two of the project.
      Councillors Charlene Hall, Ray Jamieson, Andrew Smith and Carolyn Tillman voted against the application in its current format.
      The approval included 47 conditions, with much of the division focusing on the plan to use trucks - up to 60 per day, according to one report - to cart the water required to service the camp.
      Cr Hall said she was "extremely concerned" about the plan, adding she believed the council would be demonstrating inconsistency by approving the application.
      It has the potential to change a wonderful town forever

      "It has the potential to change a wonderful town forever," she told the meeting.
      The issue of consistency was also raised by Cr Jamieson, who asked how the Landtrak Corporation plan could be approved when an Ostwald Bros application for a smaller project in Wandoan was rejected because carting water had been deemed an unacceptable solution.
      "We are being inconsistent if we approve this development," he said passionately.
      "We are not in the business of picking winners, we are in the business of being consistent.
      "Inconsistency is giving one developer (Landtrak Corporation) open slather."
      Cr Tony Brame has been a vocal advocate of the development and admitted while he "had concerns", he was in favour of it proceeding.
      "At the end of the day, I couldn't find any real reason to knock it back."
      While chairing the meeting, Mayor Ray Brown said he agreed with a staged approach to construction.
      "(One of) my concerns ... being the water, but I believe there are solutions available to that," Cr Brown said.
      Three Landtrak Corporation representatives - including managing director Paul Czislowski - were in the public gallery for the vote and were clearly happy with the result.
      A jubilant Mr Czislowski said he believed several of the councillors had not fully understood the purpose of transporting water to the facility.
      "It's a starting point," he told the Dalby Herald.
      "The whole purpose of carting is to not impact the water supply of the town."
      Despite stages one and two being approved, Cr Jamieson reiterated his objection and said he did not want to see the council viewed as "a rubber stamp".
      "It's not a practical solution to truck in 40 loads of water a day for 15 or 30 years," he said.

      Tuesday, 8 October 2013

      What to do after Bamford?

        What to do after Bamford?

      A fundamental decision passed by the High Court of Australia in Bamford v Federal Commissioner of Taxation (Bamford) has implications on way beneficiaries are taxed and the definition of income of the trust.

      The Bamford case-
      Issue 1 - Proportionate taxation of beneficiaries
      Following the Bamford case Beneficiaries are now taxed on their proportionate share of the income of the trust that they are presently entitled to.

      Mr and Mrs Bamford were the directors of a corporate Trustee of a trust; the Bamford Trust. The income of the trust totalled $191,701 and was reduced by deductions to $187,530. Mr & Mrs Bamford received distributions from the $187,530 amounting to $33,872 each. Therefore Mr and Mrs Bamford were both presently entitled to approximately 18% of the income of the Trust.

      The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) denied the deductions and subsequently taxed Mr & Mrs Bamford according to their proportionate present entitlement of the Trust's income; approximately 18% of $191,701. This increased their tax liability and they were taxed on $34,624 each rather than the amount they each actually received being $33,872. Consequently the Trust held $181,530 but the parties were taxed on the $191,701 according to their proportionate present entitlement of the income of the Trust.

      Following the Bamford case beneficiaries are now taxed proportionately according to their proportionate share of the income of the trust which they are presently entitled to. Despite this fundamental change occurring in the 2009/10 tax year the ATO has indicated that it will accept past practice until the 2010/11 tax year.

      Issue 2 - Trustee may treat capital as income of the trustA second impact of the Bamford judgement was the ability of a Trustee to determine capital gains as income of the trust. In 2002 the Bamford Trust sold an asset making a capital gain. A term in the Bamford Trust Deed allowed a capital gain to be classified as net income of the trust. This would allow the Trustee to treat a capital gain as income of the trust.

      The High Court held the capital profit made by the trust during the year was income of the trust estate because the trustee had a valid power in the Bamford Trust Deed to treat the profit of the sale as income pursuant to the trust deed. Accordingly where the definition of income is drafted in the Trust Deed to include capital and income the Trustee may determine any capital gain is income of the trust.

      What action should be taken?Trust Deeds should be reviewed to ensure streaming clauses are up to date and ensure the definition of income of the trust in the Trust Deed comprises capital and ordinary income. This is particularly important where the Trust is likely to make a capital gain in the not too distant future.

      This may require amendments to the Trust Deeds which naturally can cause resettlement issues. Coulter Roache Lawyers can assist with amending Trust Deeds in light of the Bamford case and provide resettlement advice.

      For further information please contact Nick Amore or Tom White on 5273 5271.

      Sunday, 6 October 2013

      Facebook builds its own apartment complex (complete with doggy daycare)

       Facebook builds its own apartment complex (complete with doggy daycare
      • By
      Renderings of Facebook's planned Anton Menlo Community housing.
      Facebook Inc.'s FB +3.78% sprawling campus in Menlo Park, Calif., is so full of cushy perks that some employees may never want to go home. Soon, they'll have that option.
      The social network said this week it is working with a local developer to build a $120 million, 394-unit housing community within walking distance of its offices. Called Anton Menlo, the 630,000 square-foot rental property will include everything from a sports bar to a doggy day care.
      Facebook Inc.'s sprawling campus in Menlo Park, Calif., is so full of cushy perks that some employees may never want to go home. Soon, they'll have that option. Reed Albergotti has details on Lunch Break. Photo: Facebook
      Even in Silicon Valley, where tech companies compete to lure coveted engineers with over-the-top perks and offices that resemble adult playgrounds, Facebook's plan breaks new ground.
      A Facebook spokeswoman said employee retention wasn't a major factor in the real estate push. "We're certainly excited to have more housing options closer to campus, but we believe that people work at Facebook because what they do is rewarding and they believe in our mission," she said.

      The Facebook Life

      Amenities for residents of an apartment building Facebook is constructing near its campus:
      • On-site cafe, convenience store, and sports pub
      • Bicycle repair shop with onsite storage
      • Pet spa with doggy day care, pet walking services, dog park
      • Resort-inspired pool, spa and cabana area
      • Indoor/outdoor wellness, yoga and training facility with personal training
      • Rooftop entertainment deck with three-themed areas
      Some employees had inquired about places to live near the corporate campus, she said, amid a housing shortage in Menlo Park.
      Real estate prices are skyrocketing in Silicon Valley, and in San Francisco, up 24% in the fourth quarter of 2012 in the Bay Area, according to DataQuick, MDA.T -1.27% a real-estate data firm.
      The development conjures up memories of so-called "company towns" at the turn of the 20th century, where American factory workers lived in communities owned by their employer and were provided housing, health care, law enforcement, church and just about every other service necessary.
      Spending more time in the clutches of the company sphere isn't necessarily positive. One reason the old company towns eventually disappeared was that they could be overbearing to workers. In the 2013 version, the downside could be unspoken expectations that employees always be working.
      Facebook's plans are still a far cry from those steelworker and mining company towns from a century ago. Facebook employees aren't expected to work there for their entire lives. And the new development can only house a maximum of about 10% of its Menlo Park employees.
      But the move speaks to how competition is reshaping the role of corporate culture in the tech industry.
      "Silicon Valley is in many ways the antithesis of the company town," said Ajay Agrawal, a professor of entrepreneurship at University of Toronto. In today's tech industry, Mr. Agrawal says, employees feel less tied to a company, and more tied to the geographical location and industry. They're more likely to switch companies and collaborate on ideas with people outside their own corporation.
      One of the downsides of the Silicon Valley model, Mr. Agrawal says, is that if companies believe their employees will likely leave, they won't invest as much in their lives or their development.
      "There may be some optimal level between the extreme company town," he says, "and Silicon Valley, where everyone is moving companies."
      To build the housing, Facebook's "amenities team" worked with developer St. Anton Partners, a San Francisco Bay area, multi-family real estate developer, to create an environment that mirrors the atmosphere of its corporate campus, where employees are encouraged to mingle and share ideas.
      Rendering of path between the apartments and Facebook's campus.
      The apartments will go for market rates, and a handful will be set aside for low income residents. All but 15 of the units will be open to non-Facebook employees.
      "The beauty of this thing is that it's extremely close to our campus," said John Tenanes, Facebook's director of real estate and an architect involved in the planning. "It's a five-minute bike ride" along a dedicated path that runs along the San Francisco bay, he said. "You don't even have to put on the brakes."
      One of Facebook's corporate goals is to take care of as many aspects of its employees lives as possible. They don't have to worry about transportation—there's a bus for that. Laundry and dry cleaning? Check. Hairstylists, woodworking classes, bike maintenance. Check.
      At Facebook, the company's headquarters are supposed to feel more like a college campus than an office.
      The 56-acre parcel, which it moved to in December 2011, will soon be connected to a new wing, designed by architect Frank Gehry. There is a winding asphalt road that runs through the center of campus where employees glide through on bicycles.
      Throughout the workday, programmers bond with advertising product developers over free lattes or ice cream, walking around the sculptures and shops, or lounging on sun-drenched grassy knolls and park benches.
      There is a company game day, where employees run the three-legged race. At night, employees watch movies on a giant, stadium-style outdoor television screen that looms over an open plaza in the middle of campus.
      Lauryn Hale, a Harvard Business School graduate who was hired by Facebook in 2010, said all the amenities take some stress out of the daily job and allow her to think more creatively.
      Her favorite thing to do is have a "walking meeting" with another employee, but only after grabbing a frozen yogurt at the sweet shop. "I probably love that too much" she says.
      Write to Reed Albergotti at