Legal Updates

Cyprus Double Tax Treaty developments

The double tax treaties (the “DTTs”) which Cyprus has concluded with Ethiopia, Iran and Jersey have recently entered into force and, as per the provisions of the relevant DTTs, will become effective as from 1 January 2018.

In brief:

1. The DTT between Cyprus and Ethiopia provides for 5% withholding tax on dividends, interest and royalties.

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Separating the titles of land and buildings – what is the point?

Under a less-known rule of the new Civil Code it’s now possible for a property owner to separate the titles to a plot of land and the buildings built on it, and to manage or commercially exploit these as separate properties. Businesses are taking a cautious approach to making use of this opportunity in practice: although splitting titles can make property development or borrowing more flexible, for the time being legal uncertainties are preventing it from becoming more widespread.

The old Civil Code set out, as a fundamental principle, that the owner of the land has the right to own the building built on the land, and there were only limited cases in which it permitted a person other than the land’s owner to obtain stand-alone title to the building, thus enabling the land and the buildings on it to be separately sold or encumbered.

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Transformation Sweeping Advertising and Marketing: Data

As mentioned, I gave a presentation on the key trends and legal developments sweeping the advertising and marketing ecosystem at last week’s 39th Association of National Advertisers/Brand Activation Association Marketing Law Conference, “Breakthrough: Legal Strategies for Dynamic Businesses.” Today I will share with you the second installment of this series…

The question of who has access to consumer data and device information – and how it gets used – is one that we all need to worry about.  But when it comes to brands, how can they create compelling content to convince a consumer to stay connected and share their data?

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Davis Malm Adds Alicia R. Selman to its Growing Real Estate Practice

Davis Malm announces that Alicia R. Selman has joined the firm as an associate. Ms. Selman practices in the Real Estate and Environmental area. She assists in a range of real estate transactions and litigation matters for individuals and commercial clients, including lenders, developers, title insurance companies, and condominiums. Prior to joining Davis Malm, Ms. Selman interned with the Hon. Howard P. Speicher at the Massachusetts Land Court, as well as with the Massachusetts Development Finance Agency, the Executive Office of Health and Human Services, the Women’s Bar Association of Massachusetts, Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage, and two private practice law firms.

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Further updates to the 457 Visa

Further updates have been announced by the Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) on 18 November 2017 which we have summarised here.

Regional Boundaries update

Perth is longer classified as a regional area for the purposes of a Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme (RSMS) Subclass 187 visa which means employers within this area no longer have access to this program. This will not apply retrospectively.

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The Reserve Bank of India (“RBI”) has issued various guidelines from time to time on issuance and operations of Prepaid Payment Instruments (“PPIs”) in India. PPIs are defined as payment instruments that facilitate purchase of goods and services, including financial services, remittance facilities, etc., against the value stored on such instruments, and can be classified under three types viz. (i) Closed System PPIs, (ii) Semi-closed System PPIs, and (iii) Open System PPIs.

In view of the numerous technological innovations, progress in fintech and the use of PPIs growing at an exponential rate, RBI with the aim to foster innovation and competition, safety, security, and customer protection, has issued a fresh set of directions relating to issuance and operations of PPIs on October 11, 2017, in the form of RBI (Issuance and Operation of Prepaid Payment Instruments) Directions, 2017 (“Master Directions”). These Master Directions are applicable to PPI Issuers, System Providers, and System Participants, and are effective immediately. Existing authorised PPI issuers have, however, been allowed till December 31, 2017 to comply with the revised requirements (except where otherwise specified in the Directions).

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Trump Nominee Peter Robb Confirmed as NLRB General Counsel

The Senate has confirmed Peter B. Robb as the next General Counsel of the National Labor Relations Board (“NLRB” or “Board”).  Mr. Robb, a management side labor lawyer perhaps best known for his representation of the FAA during the 1981 air traffic controllers’ strike, will succeed Richard Griffith, Jr., who was appointed to his four year term by President Barrack Obama in 2013.

Although Mr. Griffin’s term concluded on October 31st, and the Senate sent Mr. Robb’s confirmation to the President for his signature, to date President Trump has not signed off, with the result that since November 1st, Deputy General Counsel Jennifer Abruzzo has been serving as Acting General Counsel.

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Talking Tax – Issue 103


Beneficiaries beware! Option to purchase property of an estate may attract duty

On 6 November 2017, in Watts v Chief Commissioner of State Revenue [2017] NSWCATAD 320, the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal (Tribunal) determined that the Taxpayer failed to satisfy the Tribunal that nominal duty of $50, rather than duty at normal rates, should be imposed on a transfer of land made pursuant to an option contained in the Will of a deceased person. Broadly, nominal duty is available for transfers of dutiable property made under or in conformity with a Will of a deceased person, or where the property is the subject of a trust for sale contained in a Will, and the transferee is a beneficiary under the Will.

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Appeals Court Enforces Arbitration Clause in Hyperlinked Terms & Conditions

In an important decision concerning the enforceability of an arbitration clause included in a mobile app’s Terms of Service, the federal appeals court in New York recently found that a reasonably prudent smartphone user would recognize that blue, underlined text within an Internet-linked app leads to another page where additional information can be found.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit therefore held that a mobile app’s registration screen, notifying the user that by registering, he or she will be bound by the app’s “Terms of Service,” is sufficient to bind that user to a contractual arbitration provision included in those Terms of Service, reversing the district judge’s decision that determined such hyperlinked terms to be unenforceable.

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Lawmakers Get One Step Closer To Reversing The NLRB’s Controversial Joint Employer Standard

The House of Representatives recently passed the Save Local Business Act (H.R. 3441), which marks an important step in the campaign to reverse the Board’s controversial loosening in Browning Ferris Industries of the long standing tests for determining whether two businesses are joint employers expansion and share bargaining obligations and liability for each other’s actions.  The measure seeks to protect businesses with staffing, franchise and other contractual relationships from liability and union bargaining obligations for another business’ workers unless one business exercises direct control over the employees of the other.

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