“Since moving from the ATO to a private practice specialising in deceased estate taxation, I’ve been surprised by the number of new technical issues I encounter when providing advice to our clients (mostly legal practitioners involved in administering an estate),” Lyn Freshwater, Senior Tax Advisor with BNR Partners told us when we caught up with her recently.
In her session, Another day, another issue, at the 2021 Death... & Taxes Conference, Lyn is delving into the sometimes surprising technical issues and differing perspectives on existing deceased estate taxation issues.
The session centres around technical analysis and if that’s not usually your cup of tea, it just might be by the end of the presentation.
“I’ve spent many years involved in technical/policy analysis. So, I find anything with a technical flavour of interest. I am particularly interested in identifying solutions where the provisions produce a seemingly absurd outcome,” Lyn said.
“I’ve always had an interest in succession law. Had I not worked for the ATO, this is an area that I would like to have practiced in. I’m finding that my tax skills (gained from the development and interpretation of various CGT and trust provisions) allow me to work in estate administration in a way that complements the skills of our clients.”
Working through technical analysis for risk averse clients
Lyn said that anyone involved with estate administration understand that executors “are a very risk averse group”, especially those outside the deceased’s family. That means practitioners must ensure they have the skills and know-how to “protect them personally from exposure to tax in respect of the deceased’s estate.”
“Currently, we are seeing a growing trend of exempt entities threatening legal action where the way an estate has been administered has resulted in the unnecessary payment of tax,” Lyn explained.
But by attending the session delegates will come to share Lyn’s appreciation of the importance of diligence and research when dealing with tax law.
“Don’t assume that the law applies in the way that you think it will. Take the time to read the relevant legislation as the tax outcomes can be unpredictable. Where uncertainty still exists, delegates should understand the various ways in which LPRs can obtain certainty from the ATO,” Lyn said.
Learning opportunities – as sure as death and taxes
When it comes to the event itself, Lyn said she’s most looking forward to, “the opportunity to hear passionate and knowledgeable speakers who practice in this area and to network with peers.”
“I presented at last year’s virtual conference. While that was better than nothing, it was a little disconcerting as a presenter not being able to read people’s faces. I’m hoping that getting back into a physical conference will allow for more interaction.”
Now in its fifth year and held in a hybrid format for the first time, the 2021 Death... & Taxes Conference boasts a program jam-packed with industry experts like Lyn sharing their expertise on an amazing line-up of topics, including:
- navigation of division 6 in an estate context
- administering an SMSF on death
- a dive into the re-emerging provisions of 99B and 100A
- actual stories of client cases and a special virtual case study streamed live from the US on the treatment of US assets and how residency issues impact US estate taxes
About Lyn Freshwater
Lyn Freshwater is a Senior Tax Advisor with BNR Partners and provides written advice on complex estate and trust matters. She commenced with BNR in 2019 after a lengthy ATO career where she gained considerable experience as an administrator particularly in the context of the capital gains tax and trust provisions. Some of her career highlights include instructing on the drafting of the scrip-for-scrip rollover provisions and streaming rules for capital gains and franked dividends, authoring various pieces of public advice such as PS LA 2003/12 (about the meaning of legal personal representative (LPR)), TR 2006/14 (about life and remainder interests), TR 2010/D1 (about income of a trust estate), PCG 2018/4 (about the liabilities of an LPR), developing ATO views in various litigation cases such as Electnet and Sandini and acting as Secretariat of the Trust Consultation Sub-group. Lyn is a member of the STEP Advocacy Committee. She has also written and taught a course about death and taxation for the College of Law.