Legal Updates

GST going concern exemption to be abolished

The Abbott Government has announced it will adopt a controversial measure proposed (but not implemented) by the former Rudd Government to replace the GST-free going concern and farm land exemptions with a new ‘reverse charge’ mechanism.

The adverse consequences may be twofold.  First, the proposal may increase stamp duty for purchasers of going concerns.  Secondly, purchasers wishing to on-sell under the margin scheme may face greater complexity and increased GST ‘costs’ up-front.  More…

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As John Lennon once sang, “Power to the People”: Mobile Home Parks and GST


The world of GST can be very complex for business owners and consumers alike.  Any changes to the way the GST law operates can potentially reduce business profits or increase customer costs, often with unhappy consequences all around.

Proposal to change the GST treatment of mobile home park site rents

The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) recently put forward a proposal to change the GST treatment of mobile home park site rents. If implemented, this change could have increased operational costs and directly impacted residents of mobile home parks. More…

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Deeds of company arrangement after Retail Adventures

Two days before Christmas, the Supreme Court of New South Wales delivered a bonus for the general unsecured creditors of the collapsed discount giant Retail Adventures, and confirmed the requirements for deeds of company arrangement.

Deeds of Company Arrangement

Under the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth), the creditors of a company in voluntary administration decide whether the company should be wound up in insolvency or whether the business should be restructured via a deed of company arrangement. In most cases, deeds of company arrangement are proposed by the directors or related parties with a financial interest in the business. More…

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The EHR Donation Safe Harbor Gets New Life in 2014

By:  Alaap Shah and Marshall Jackson

With the New Year, come new protections for health care entities and individuals utilizing electronic health records (EHRs).  On December 27, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Inspector General (OIG) and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), issued final rules regarding the Stark Exception and the Anti-Kickback Safe Harbor permitting certain health care organizations to subsidize up to 85% of the donor’s cost of certain EHR items and services (the “Final Rules”). The Final Rules amended the 2006 original rule (the “Original Rule”).  The Final Rules:

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By Jordan B. Schwartz

Virtually all hospitality employers are aware that pursuant to the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”), they are required to compensate employees for all hours worked. What is not as clear, however, is whether the time an employee spends at training programs, lectures, meetings, and other similar activities should be considered hours worked. As a result, our clients in the hospitality industry often ask whether they are required to compensate employees for time spent in such training activities. 

The short answer to this question is that an employee’s time spent in training sessions should be considered “working time” and thus is compensable, unless the following four factors are met:

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California’s 2014 Whistleblower Law to Expand Employee Protection

By Amy B. Messigian and David Jacobs

We would like to call your attention to a significant change to the whistleblower statute in California that went into effect on January 1. The statute, Cal. Lab. Code section 1102.5, has been substantially expanded beyond its prior form to now protect employees from retaliation for making internal complaints or even potential complaints about suspected violations of federal, state or local law

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Councils’ challenge in respect of permitted development rights legislation fails

In a judgment issued just before Christmas, the High Court rejected a challenge brought by a consortium of London local authorities to the process for granting exemptions to the permitted development right to change offices to residential use that was introduced by the Government earlier last year. While the High Court expressed some reservations about the way in which the Government dealt with the process for applying for exemptions, it decided that it was not so unfair as to be unlawful in terms of both the time allowed for applications for exemptions to be made and the amount of information provided to local authorities about how their applications would be assessed. More…

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Enigmatic variations

This article was previously published in

Variations are difficult to avoid in construction work, but two recent cases show that there is plenty of scope for disagreement over how they should be valued

Variations are an inevitable part of construction and it is probably impossible to avoid them altogether, given the complexities of the construction process. They do, however, present an increased risk to a project. For example, it is well known that accidents are more likely when carrying out a variation. This is because a variation often does not receive the careful consideration given to design or construction work which has been part of the project from the early stages. More…

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Real Estate Alert: Opportunity for real property owners in Ohio

Over this past year, McDonald Hopkins has achieved significant savings for its clients through appealing tax assessments in multiple counties throughout the State of Ohio and other jurisdictions throughout the United States. In one case, McDonald Hopkins was successful in reducing the fair market value of one client’s property by approximately $9 million. While the real estate market has started to climb back, it is not too late to explore if you can take advantage of potential cost savings since property tax bills in Ohio are issued in arrears.

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Ohio Statehouse Update: This Week in Ohio — January 10, 2014

Ohio Environmental Protection Agency Director Scott Nally announced this week  his resignation from the agency to pursue other opportunities. In announcing Nally’s resignation, Governor John Kasich said his energy advisor, Craig Butler would serve as interim director at the agency.

“I am grateful for Scott’s service to the state and wish him well in his next endeavor,” said Kasich. “For the past three years, Scott worked hard to keep Ohioans and our environment safe, but he also helped begin to make the agency more business-friendly.” 

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