Published articles

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Articles associated with Matthew Burgess.

The “read the deed” mantra has been regularly highlighted by us and many others in this Bulletin (see for example 2013 WTB 38 [1642] and 2014 WTB 43 [1426]).

The need to embrace this mantra, even in relation to relatively “simple” transactions such as changes of trusteeship, has also been highlighted this year, see 2017 WTB 6 [160].

With hindsight, each of our earlier articles have focussed on discretionary trust deeds. The “read the deed” mantra
is however at least as important, if not more so, in relation to SMSF trust deeds.

By Matthew Burgess 
Published by Weekly Tax Bulletin (Thomson Reuters), 16 February 2018 (Issue 7)
Paragraph [158]

As it seems is tradition, the Tax Office has delivered another substantive release on a long-standing issue in the last month of the calendar year with the publication on 13 December 2017 of Draft Taxation Ruling TR 2017/D10 (see para [1817] of this Bulletin).
Subject to being issued as a final ruling, Draft TR 2017/D10 arguably resolves many of the uncertainties surrounding trust vesting.

By Matthew Burgess and Patrick Ellwood
Published by Weekly Tax Bulletin (Thomson Reuters), 15 December 2017 (Issue 52)
Paragraph [1797]

The Subdiv 328-G roll-over, originally considered a “one stop shop” for small business owners to restructure their businesses into appropriate entities, has started to show its cracks. A little more than a year on from its commencement, the limitations of the Subdiv 328-G roll-over have become starkly apparent due to the complexity of the legislation and the narrow interpretation adopted by the ATO on issues such as “ultimate economic ownership”. The drafting of the relevant provisions and the ATO’s subsequent interpretation have meant many small businesses that philosophically should be able to access the roll-over relief have been left unable to qualify. This article explores the circumstances in which small businesses are unable to be restructured under Subdiv 328-G and highlights that the roll-over should be relied on with caution, as much will
hinge on the application of technical requirements to the specific client circumstances and structure.

By Matthew Burgess
Published by Taxation in Australia, December 2017/January 2018 (Volume 52 Issue 6) 

Discretionary trusts are regularly used in commercial transactions, and of course tax issues are always present. But, there is a more fundamental issue that deserves attention – fettering of a trustee’s discretion. Take for example an insurance funded buy-sell arrangement that uses options under the contractual arrangement to help facilitate any ultimate buyout. This is a widely used, and generally very sensible, approach to take. A significant difficulty can arise however where the parties to the buy-sell agreement include trustees of discretionary trusts.

By Matthew Burgess 
Published by Weekly Tax Bulletin (Thomson Reuters), 20 October 2017 (Issue 44)
Paragraph [1508]

As reported at 2017 WTB 37 [1302], the Federal Court’s decision in Cunningham (Trustee) v Gapes (Bankrupt) [2017] FCA 787 (Federal Court, Collier J, 13 July 2017) (Cunningham) is vital guidance for all advisers in relation to the interplay between superannuation death benefits and the Bankruptcy Act 1966.

By Matthew Burgess
Published by Weekly Tax Bulletin (Thomson Reuters), 8 September 2017 (Issue 38)
Paragraph [1310]

As reported at 2017 WTB 29 [1014], Draft Practical Compliance Guideline 2017/D12 (Draft PCG 2017/D12) contains guidance from the ATO in relation to the liability of an executor or legal personal representative (LPR) of a deceased estate for the deceased’s tax debts.

By Matthew Burgess
Published by Weekly Tax Bulletin (Thomson Reuters), 14 July 2017 (Issue 30)
Paragraph [1031 ]

As reported at 2017 WTB 28 [956], one area that seems to be receiving an increasing amount of interest from the ATO in recent times concerns the distinction between a unit trust and a fixed trust.

Often, the differences between these 2 types of trusts can be quite subtle.
As with most trust interpretation issues, the interpretation of the trust deed will be critical in this regard.

In other words, as regularly explained in this Bulletin, the starting point in any trust related matter is to read the trust deed.

By Matthew Burgess
Published by Weekly Tax Bulletin (Thomson Reuters), 7 July 2017 (Issue 29)
Paragraph [995]

The need for effective structuring of business and personal assets has been brought into sharp focus for high net worth individuals and business over recent years. The benefits of family trusts are generally still sufficient to make them the preferred structure for asset protection, tax planning and succession purposes.

However, the capital gains tax and commercial issues raised in the context of umbrella trusts, trust cloning and trust splitting are significant, and care should be taken when restructuring and establishing discretionary trusts. The author argues that, in this regard, the optimal approach is to methodically follow a tailored checklist.

This article provides a starting point for the development of such a list.


By Matthew Burgess
Published by Taxation in Australia, July 2017 (Volume 52 Issue 1)

The 2017 superannuation reforms are widely acknowledged as being the most fundamental changes to the superannuation landscape in over a decade.

While the reforms will have a significant impact across a range of areas, the consequences from an estate planning perspective are at risk of being overlooked.

By Matthew Burgess and Patrick Ellwood
Published by Weekly Tax Bulletin (Thomson Reuters), 12 May 2017 (Issue 20)
Paragraph [611]

The recent case of Thomas & Anor v FCT [2017] FCAFC 57 (reported at 2017 WTB 15 [457]), contains some particularly interesting comments in relation to the distribution of franking credits by the trustee of a discretionary trust, including the ability to stream franking credits as a separate class of income.

It follows the well-publicised decision of the Queensland Supreme Court in Thomas Nominees Pty Ltd ACN 010 049 788 v Thomas & Anor [2010] QSC 417 (reported at 2010 WTB 49 [1884]). That decision held that franking credits could form part of the income of a trust estate for trust law purposes and be streamed to particular beneficiaries. There then followed the Commissioner’s subsequent (successful) application in Thomas v FCT [2015] FCA 968 (reported at 2015 WTB 38 [1424]), which concluded that franking credits were not net income of the trust and therefore could not be “streamed” independently from the net income.

By Matthew Burgess and Patrick Ellwood
Published by Weekly Tax Bulletin (Thomson Reuters), 21 April 2017 (Issue 16)
Paragraph [465]

A previous article in this Bulletin explored the key revenue issues in relation to changing the trustee of a discretionary trust (see ‘Changing trustees of trusts – Simple in theory … not so simple in practice’, at 2017 WTB 6 [160]).
An equally important and related issue concerns a decision to change the principal or appointor role of a family trust. That is, the person, people, or company having the unilateral right to remove and appoint a trustee.
As regular readers of this Bulletin will know, there does not necessarily need to be an appointor or principal provision under a trust deed. However, where there is one, a trust deed itself will normally set out in some detail the way in which the role of appointor is dealt with on the death or incapacity of the person (or people) originally appointed.

By Matthew Burgess
Published by Weekly Tax Bulletin (Thomson Reuters), 24 March 2017 (Issue 12)
Paragraph [352]

It’s one of life’s biggest questions: ‘What happens to us when we die?’
But it seems Australians are increasingly choosing to answer it for themselves with
many requesting in their wills to be made into snow globes, vinyl records and other
unusual things.

Published in News – Megan Palin

The decision in Balcaskie Investments Pty Limited v Chief Comr of State Revenue [2017] NSWCATAD 19 (“Balcaskie”) was reported at 2017 WTB 4 [120].
The case is a timely reminder of the critical issues that can arise from a revenue perspective in relation to the superficially simple area of changing the trustee of a trust.
The starting point for any change of trusteeship is always the terms of the trust deed. In this regard, the ‘read the deed’ mantra has been regularly highlighted in this Bulletin (see for example 2013 WTB 38 [1642] and 2014 WTB 43 [1426]).

By Matthew Burgess and Patrick Ellwood
Published by Weekly Tax Bulletin (Thomson Reuters), 10 February 2017 (Issue 6)
Paragraph [160]

The ongoing maintenance of any trust structure is critical for all advisers working in the area. In
particular, the starting point for all trust-related matters is ensuring trustees understand the exact terms and rules of a trust. However, when a trust’s rules are uncertain due to the loss of the original deed, there is a threshold issue of a likely breach of the trustee’s duty to ascertain the terms of the trust. This can have serious implications for the beneficiaries, as well as impact the trustee’s future ability to administer the trust from a tax perspective. This article explores a number of pathways and issues that trustees and advisers should consider when a trust deed has been lost or misplaced. This article also provides a summary of the key advantages and
disadvantages for each of the main pathways explored.

By Matthew Burgess and Hayden Bennett
Published by Taxation in Australia, January 2017 (Volume 51 Issue 6)

The case of Re Breakwell and FCT[2015] AATA 628 (25 August 2015, reported at 2015 WTB 37 [1393]) highlighted a common trap in relation to the circumstances where a related party debt will be statute barred. The decision, which was upheld on appeal in Breakwell v FCT [2015] FCA 1471 (22 December 2015, reported at 2016 WTB 1 [27]) remains a timely reminder of the critical interplay between various legislative provisions that practitioners must be constantly aware of.

By Matthew Burgess and Patrick Ellwood
Published by Weekly Tax Bulletin (Thomson Reuters), 11 October 2016 (Issue 42)
Paragraph [1420]

As previously reported in the Weekly Tax Bulletin, there are a range of issues often overlooked in relation to trust distributions (see 2014 WTB 43 [1426]) and extensions to vesting dates (see 2014 WTB 44 [1446]). Rarely, however, do these issues arise together in the same factual scenario. In the lead up to another 30 June, the decision in Domazet v Jure Investments Pty Limited [2016] ACTSC 33 (7 March 2016) is a timely example of the problems that can arise when a deed is not carefully reviewed before trust distributions are made.

by Matthew Burgess and Hayden Dunnett
Published by Weekly Tax Bulletin (Thomson Reuters), 10 June 2016 (Issue 25)
Paragraph [799]

Following the federal government’s jobs and small business package introduced during the 2015-16 federal Budget, Subdiv 328-G was crafted to “provide greater flexibility for small business owners to change their legal structure”. Compared with the traditional roll-over relief, the scope and restructuring possibilities provided for by the provisions represent a significant liberalisation of historical rules and is set to make them a “one-stop shop” for small business restructures. The new roll-overs cover a range of potential transferor-transferee combinations, making them the likely starting point for most small businesses wanting to access tax-effective restructuring. This article explores a number of specific restructuring opportunities — for example, trust cloning, trust splitting, transferring non-CGT assets and exiting trusts with “heritage” issues — that are available under the new rules. This article also explores the fundamental issues in relation to how to satisfy the provisions in any factual scenario.

By Matthew Burgess
Published by Taxation in Australia, June 2016 (Volume 50 Issue 11)

The new Subdiv 328-G rollovers (the provisions) commencing 1 July 2016 provide significant opportunities for Small Business Entities (SBE) to restructure into a more appropriate entity, assuming the “genuine restructure” provisions can be satisfied.

This article considers a number of opportunities to restructure discretionary trusts. In particular:

· trust cloning with or without a Family Trust Election (FTE);
· trust splitting and effectively limiting the range of potential beneficiaries without causing a resettlement; and
· restructuring out of trusts with heritage issues.

The new rollovers were introduced via the Tax Laws Amendment (Small Business Restructure Roll-Over) Bill 2016 which passed all stages without amendment and received Royal Assent on 8 March 2016.

by Matthew Burgess
Published by Weekly Tax Bulletin (Thomson Reuters), 24 March 2016 (Issue 12)

Any business enterprise may, at some stage of its life, find it necessary or desirable to restructure, for any of a variety of practical, business and even personal reasons. The revenue consequences of restructuring a business would often be prohibitive, but for various concessions provided under the tax and stamp duty laws.

This article sets out and discusses the main revenue concessions available in relation to the restructuring of businesses operated via companies. In particular, the article considers individual to company roll-overs, partnership to company roll-overs, company to company roll-overs, scrip-for-scrip exchanges, the tax consolidations regime, and other transaction costs. In each case, the article discusses the relevant legal requirements, and offers insights into potential traps. In conclusion, the author believes that if a methodical approach is adopted, it will generally be possible to achieve all of the client’s commercial objectives without triggering adverse revenue consequences.

By Matthew Burgess
Published by Taxation in Australia, December 2015 (Volume 50 Issue 6)

The recent Tax Office Private Binding Ruling Authorisation number 1012846046513 (Ruling), reported at para[1477] of
this Bulletin, considers a number of key issues relating to the distribution of assets via testamentary trusts under
deceased estates.

The Ruling largely follows the well-publicised Practice Statement Law Administration PS LA 2003/12 (PSLA 2003/12), which was republished in April 2014 (reported at 2014 WTB 16[561]), and then updated in August 2015 to the new LAPS format
and style.

The Ruling is a timely reminder of the need to ensure care is taken with any intended distributions from a testamentary trust.

By Matthew Burgess and Patrick Ellwood
Published by Weekly Tax Bulletin (Thomson Reuters), 18 September 2015 (Issue 40)

The recent case of Thomas v FCT [2015] FCA 968, reported at para [1424] of this Bulletin, considers a number of key issues relating to the distribution of franking credits by the trustee of a discretionary trust, including the ability to stream franking credits as a separate class of income.
It follows the well-publicised decision of the Queensland Supreme Court in Thomas Nominees Pty Ltd ACN 010 049 788 v Thomas & Anor [2010] QSC 417 (reported at 2010 WTB 49 [1884]), which relevantly held that franking credits could form part of the income of a trust estate for trust law purposes and be streamed to particular beneficiaries.
The Commissioner was not a party to that earlier decision. The Thomas case explores the interaction between s95 and s97 of the ITAA 1936 dealing with trust income and Div 207 of the ITAA 1997 dealing with the imputation system.
The decision is a timely reminder of the need to ensure that trust distributions are made in compliance with the trust deed, the ITAA 1936 and the ITAA 1997, and of the complexities that can a rise when streaming different classes of income.

By Matthew Burgess and Patrick Ellwood
Published by Weekly Tax Bulletin (Thomson Reuters), 4 September 2015 (Issue 38)

Matthew Burgess is a speaker, consultant and author. He started speaking as part of his vocation as a lawyer.
Matthew has more than 40 independently published books including business books, children’s books and joke books.

He was accredited as a Certified Speaking Professional (CSP) in 2014.

Published by Professional Speakers Australia Monthly News Bulletin September 2015

It is clear that there is a growing need for estate planning to utilise appropriate structuring. Wills using testamentary trusts should be the starting point for any comprehensive estate planning exercise. The difficulty
in many such exercises is that serious attempts to devise and implement a plan are often not made until some triggering event, such as financial or matrimonial misfortune, life-threatening illness or death, stimulates
action. This article considers options available for implementing trust structures after death when appropriate planning was not done during a person’s lifetime, and the post-death strategies which can be used to fix
estate planning problems. In such a case, it is possible to establish a trust following a person’s death, including an estate proceeds trust or a superannuation proceeds trust. The article discusses the benefits and limitations of these strategies in turn, and also includes a summary of child maintenance trusts.

By Matthew Burgess
Published by Taxation in Australia, April 2015 (Volume 50 Issue 2)

A superannuation proceeds trust (SPT) is a trust established solely to receive superannuation proceeds on the death of a fund member. A SPT can be established by a will or by deed after the death of an individual, although establishing the structure post death can be problematic and is outside the scope of this article.
The ITAA 1997 provides that a superannuation death benefit, paid to a death benefit dependant as a lump sum, is not assessable income. A death benefit dependant (defined under s 302-195 of the ITAA 1997) is a:

  • spouse or former spouse of the deceased;
  • child, aged below 18, of the deceased;
  • person with whom the deceased had an “interdependency relationship”, as defined by s 302-200 of the ITAA 1997; or
  • person financially dependent on the deceased just before they died

By Matthew Burgess and Patrick Ellwood
Published by Weekly Tax Bulletin (Thomson Reuters), 3 July 2015 (Issue 29)

In the context of deceased estates (and specifically with the use of testamentary trusts), the excepted trust income rules under Div 6AA of the ITAA 1936 are well known.

In particular, the rules allow income derived by infant children via distributions from a testamentary trust to be assessed at the normal, individual adult rates. As a result, each infant beneficiary can receive over $20,000 of income tax-free and the balance is taxed at the adult marginal rates. For most families, this can mean significant tax planning opportunities.

By Matthew Burgess and Patrick Ellwood
Published by Weekly Tax Bulletin (Thomson Reuters), 20 March 2015 (Issue 11)

Succession planning is a critical issue for any jointly owned business, and the unexpected exit of a principal can have adverse ramifications for the business. Appropriate structured insurance funding can be an important step in mitigating these risks. Changes were recently made to the type of total and permanent disablement insurance policies which can be owned through superannuation. Total and permanent disablement policies commonly feature in insurance-funded buy–sell agreements. The purpose of this article is to review the various ways in which these agreements can be structured. The article considers how most insurance-funded buy–sell agreements operate, the alternatives available when determining how the insurance policies should be owned, and the taxation consequences of the different ownership approaches.

By Matthew Burgess and Patrick Ellwood
Published by Taxation in Australia, March 2015 (Volume 49 Issue 8)

Since the withdrawal of the ATO’s draft Buy Sell Discussion Paper in 2010 there has been some uncertainty about many aspects of insurance funded buy-sell arrangements, particularly those that utilise insurance trusts.

Recent changes introduced as part of the Tax and Superannuation Laws Amendment (2014 Measures No 7) Bill 2014 (now awaiting Royal Assent after having been passed by Parliament without amendment appear to have clarified the position.

By Matthew Burgess and Patrick Ellwood
Published by Weekly Tax Bulletin (Thomson Reuters), 6 March 2015 (Issue 9)

Brisbane legal eagle Matthew Burgess enjoyed his own little 50 Shades of Grey moment.

Published by The Courier Mail, 17 October 2014

Often a key reason for seeking to extend the vesting day of a trust will be to defer the likely tax and stamp duty implications that would arise where the trust vests and assets are distributed to the beneficiaries.

The recent Queensland case of Re Arthur Brady Family Trust; Re Trekmore Trading Trust [2014] QSC 244 (see 2014 WTB 42 [1416]), provides a useful illustration of the way in which the Courts respond to applications where deferring revenue costs are arguably the primary driver for the application.  The case follows previous decisions such as Stein v Sybmore Holdings Pty Ltd [2006] NSWSC 1004 in NSW andRe Plator Nominees Pty Ltd [2012] VSC 284 in Victoria, each of which are discussed.

By Patrick Ellwood and Matthew Burgess
Published by Weekly Tax Bulletin (Thomson Reuters), 17 October 2014 (Issue 44)

A methodical approach is needed when preparing trust distribution resolutions to ensure the intended outcomes are achieved.  There are a range of issues often overlooked in relation to distribution resolutions.  Where a purported trust distribution is subsequently found to be invalid, several potential ramifications arise, including:

  • The “knowing recipient” principle.
  • Disallowed deductions.
  • Disclaimers.
  • Equity and rectification.
  • Impact of any default provisions.

By Matthew Burgess and Tara Lucke
Published by Weekly Tax Bulletin (Thomson Reuters), 10 October 2014 (Issue 43)

Longstanding views about the form and level of asset protection afforded by trusts have been challenged and made less certain by a number of recent court decisions and legislative changes. This article explores the
key issues to consider when seeking to “bust-proof” a trust, that is, to render a trust structure less vulnerable to challenge on taxation grounds.

By Matthew Burgess
Published by Taxation in Australia, May 2014 (Volume 49 Issue 2)

With another 30 June fast approaching, it is timely to consider 3 key issues often overlooked, namely:

  1. ensuring that the intended recipient of a distribution is in fact a valid beneficiary of the trust;
  2. avoiding distributions to beneficiaries who appear to be validly appointed under a trust deed, however are in a practical sense excluded; and
  3. complying with any timing requirements under a trust deed, regardless of what the position at law may otherwise be.

By Patrick Ellwood and Matthew Burgess
Published by Weekly Tax Bulletin (Thomson Reuters), 20 June 2014 (Issue 27)

If is often said, there is nothing certain in life but death and taxes… and adjustments to the limits for superannuation contributions. In recent times, particularly given the ongoing adjustments to the limits for con- cessional superannuation contributions, the way in which to maximise contributions has been an area of focus

By Matthew Burgess and Tara Lucke
Published by Weekly Tax Bulletin (Thomson Reuters), May 2014 (Issue 22)

Questions have been raised about comments that CGT event E4 should apply only to fixed trusts and, by implication, not unit trusts. This article explores the various issues, including the potential consequences of the decision of the Full Court of the Federal Court in FCT v Clark, and the relevance of ATO pronouncements.

By Matthew Burgess, Tara Lucke and Liam Polkinghorne
Published by Taxation in Australia, May 2014 (Volume 48 Issue 9)

Part II of this article will focus on distributions from testamentary trusts to beneficiaries and the abandonment of the previously announced legislative changes.

By Matthew Burgess and Patrick Ellwood
Published by Weekly Tax Bulletin (Thomson Reuters), 16 May 2014 (Issue 21)

In December 2013, the Federal Government announced its decision to abandon a number of proposed legislative changes in relation to various aspects of the taxation of testamentary trusts. As a result, there has been a refocus on what is likely to be the approach of the ATO in this area.  Part I of this 2-part article considers the taxation aspects of:

  • the transfer of assets under a deceased estate;
  • distributions from a will maker to a legal personal representative (LPR);
  • distributions from a LPR to a testamentary trust.

By Matthew Burgess and Patrick Ellwood
Published by Weekly Tax Bulletin (Thomson Reuters), 9 May 2014 (Issue 19)

This article focuses on the creative use of testamentary trusts in the context of estate planning. The article considers assets that do not form part of an estate, testamentary trusts, tax treatment of testamentary trusts, the attitude of the Australian Taxation Office towards testamentary trusts, trust cloning, trust splitting, bespoke company constitutions and fettering of a trustee’s discretion, and changing of domicile.

By Matthew Burgess
Published by Taxation in Australia, April 2014 (Volume 48 Issue 9)

This article considers the specific requirements for a trust qualifying as a fixed trust and the relevance of the fixed trust concept for taxation purposes. Specifically, this article examines whether fixed trusts and unit trusts are the same, unit trusts and franked dividends, the status of distributions that are not fixed, borrowing by unit trusts, unit trusts as investment vehicles, risks posed by trust loss rules, the tax implications of converting a non-fixed trust into a fixed trust, and the consequences of CGT event E4 for unit trusts.

By Matthew Burgess, Tara Lucke and Liam Polkinghorne
Published by Taxation in Australia, December 2013/January 2014 (Volume 48 Issue 6)

A separate issue that practitioners must be aware of whenever reviewing existing structures or establishing new entities, arises under the Corporations Act2001. In particular, the Act expressly prohibits companies from owning shares in themselves.

By Matthew Burgess and Kate Timmerman
Published by Weekly Tax Bulletin (Thomson Reuters), 15 November 2013 (Issue 48)

There is a range of issues that can potentially undermine the intentions of a trustee when attempting to make distributions from the trust to beneficiaries. This article focuses on a number of the more common scenarios where purported distributions fail, in the context of a typical family discretionary trust with a range of beneficiaries, including family members and related trusts and companies. It also addresses the potential resulting tax consequences. The article considers trust distributions to a “beneficiary”, distributions to particular beneficiaries, ATO requirements for tracing distributions, areas of ATO focus, and the ramifications of failed distributions.

By Matthew Burgess and Darius Hii
Published by Taxation in Australia, October 2013

Even where distributions are made validly to a potential beneficiary, they can prove extremely problematic from an asset protection perspective.

One scenario that seems to arise regularly in this regard is the distribution by a trust to a corporate beneficiary, the shares in which are owned personally by an at-risk individual.

By Matthew Burgess and Liam Polkinghorne
Published by Weekly Tax Bulletin (Thomson Reuters), 4 October 2013 (Issue 43)

Practitioners will be aware, from many previous articles in this Bulletin (and elsewhere), of the critical importance that trust deeds should be read before making any distribution of income or capital. While the “read the deed” mantra should be indelibly etched in practitioners’ minds, regular reminders of the dangers of not doing this are not out of place.

By Matthew Burgess and Darius Hii
Published by Weekly Tax Bulletin (Thomson Reuters), 4 September 2013 (Issue 38)

The High Court decision in Kennon v Spry appears to alter longstanding principles relating to the asset protection advantages of trusts. This article considers the consequences of that decision, discusses the treatment of trust assets in a relationship breakdown and the distinction between assets forming part of the pool of property or being treated as a financial resource, examines the application of these principles in recent decisions, and offers some practical recommendations.

By Matthew Burgess and Tara Lucke
Published by Taxation in Australia, May 2013

The ATO appears to have recently changed its position in relation to the forgiveness of debts owed by deceased estates.

By Matthew Burgess and Tara Lucke
Published by Weekly Tax Bulletin (Thomson Reuters), 16 November 2012 (Issue 48)

At 2012 WTB 34 [1373] and 2012 WTB 39 [1586], the Family Court decisions in Morton v Morton [2012] FAM CA 30 and Harris v Harris [2011] FAM CAF 245, respectively, in relation to the potential exposure of assets held via family trusts on a matrimonial breakdown, were analysed.

This article considers a tax specific issue arising as part of Harris v Harris, relating to distributions from the trust in question to a company which was found not to be a beneficiary.

By Matthew Burgess and Tara Lucke
Published by Weekly Tax Bulletin (Thomson Reuters), 12 October 2012 (Issue 43)

Towards the end of 2011, the case of Harris v Harris [2011] FamCAFC 245 considered whether the assets of a family trust should be treated as assets of a marriage and so subject to division on a property settlement.

The case provides further context to the general attitude of the Family Court in relation to family trust structures, especially in relation to the concept of indirect control as outlined by the High Court in Kennon v Spry (2008) 238 CLR 366.

By Matthew Burgess and James Ford
Published by Weekly Tax Bulletin (Thomson Reuters), 14 September 2012 (Issue 39)

Trusts are structures regularly used for asset protection purposes or as vehicles to protect children from divorce when relationships break down. However, family trusts must be used carefully to avoid potential problems. The decision of the Family Court in Morton v Morton [2012] FamCA 30 is discussed as an illustrative case.

By Matthew Burgess and James Ford
Published by Weekly Tax Bulletin (Thomson Reuters), 10 August 2012

Succession planning expert Matthew Burgess, emotional resilience expert Dennis Hoiberg and Suncorp Bank head of agribusiness Greg Leahy took to the stage at Beef Week to discuss succession planning issues facing many families on the land.

Published By North Queensland Register, 17 May 2012

Succession planning expert Matthew Burgess, emotional resilience expert Dennis Hoiberg and Suncorp Bank head of agribusiness Greg Leahy took to the stage at Beef Week to discuss succession planning issues facing many families on the land.

Published by Countryman, 17 May 2012

Suncorp teamed up with Matthew Burgess to try to shed more light on the subject of succession planning during Beef Week.

Published by Queensland Country Life, May 2012

This feature story discusses the advantages of using the elawyer service to ‘…empower advisers to provide their clients with a comprehensive range of estate planning and estate administration services’.

Published by RiskInfo Magazine, June 2011

The need for effective structuring of business and personal assets has been brought into sharp focus for farming families over the last few years and more recently as a side-effect of the global financial crisis.

By Matthew Burgess and Tara Lucke
Published by Queensland Country Life, 13 August 2009

The use of lineal descendant trusts in estate planning allows for tax effective income distribution and a high level of asset protection.

By Matthew Burgess and Elissa Etheridge
Published by Australian Farm Journal, August 2009

Matthew is interviewed by The Courier Mail in relation to the tax outcomes for marriage splits and pre-nuptial agreements.

By Erica Thompson
Published by The Courier Mail, 28 April 2008

Matthew is interviewed by The Courier Mail in relation to the tax implications for MBF members if a proposed takeover of the health fund goes ahead.

By Erica Thompson
Published by The Courier Mail, 21 April 2008

Matthew is interviewed by Financial Standard in relation to integrating trauma cover into a business insurance portfolio.

By Sue Laing
Published by Financial Standard, 4 February 2008

Over the last six years, McCullough Robertson has had a dream ride on the back of Queensland’s economic boom. The firm specialises in three of the key areas in which the state has boomed: capital markets, resources and property. Matthew is mentioned as a member of the firm’s executive committee.

By Nicola Berkovic
Published by The Australian, 6 July 2007

In light of fundamental changes to the taxation regime and the expanding wealth of Australia’s aging population, there is a growing need for estate planning to utilise appropriate structuring.  These articles (divded into Part 1 and Part 2) focus on the use of special purpose trusts in the estate planning process.

By Matthew Burgess
Published by Taxation in Australia, June 2007 (Volume 41 No. 11)

The ability of a discretionary trust to protect business assets is called into question by a recent federal court decision.

By Matthew Burgess and Suzanne Bagot
Published by National Accountant, April/May 2007

The testamentary trust structure provides significant levels of asset protection and offers flexibilities from a tax planning perspective.

Published by Queensland Country Life, September 2006

Matthew is interviewed by The Courier Mail in relation to the impact of ATO changes to service trusts.

By Liliana Molina
Published by The Courier Mail,  24 August 2005

Navigating the tax system and using structures such as trusts are among the top tactics of some of Brisbane’s most successful investors, according to McCullough Robertson Lawyers business partner Matthew Burgess.

By Alex Tilbury
Published by The Courier Mail, 27 April 2005

Matthew is interviewed by The Courier Mail in relation to the fee disclosure in prospectuses and his recommendations to investors.

By Alex Tilbury
Published by The Courier Mail, 9 April 2005

Matthew is interviewed by Australian Financial Review in relation to how older farmers can retire and hand the property intact to their children, without triggering capital gains tax and other issues.

By Stephen Wisenthal    
Published by Australian Financial Review, 13 July 2004

Matthew is interviewed by The Courier Mail in relation to long term planning for tax minimisation.

By Alex Tilbury
Published by The Courier Mail

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