Discretionary trusts: exploring the key issues for tax practitioners

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It’s clear from speaking to Julie Van der Velde, CTA, from VdV Legal, that for her, a career in tax is rooted in a desire to help ordinary Australians and their families.

When we sat down with Julie to chat about all things tax and her upcoming session at the 2021 Barossa Convention, she told us, “From very early on in my career I found that my interest was in tax law and its application to ordinary people.”

From there, she went on to do a Masters in Taxation and specialised in taxation and revenue law. Now she runs her own legal practice specialising in taxation matters, business structures and succession plans.

“As a South Australian working with South Australian business I mostly work with family businesses and family business uses trust structures. It is the flexibility of trust structures that so often makes them ideal to meet the interrelated business, family and succession needs that are an inevitable part of family business. Almost every family business has at least one trust as part of the structure,” she explained.

“As advisors we must help our clients to understand not only what the law is, but how the revenue authorities apply that law. This is at its most complex when you need to consider several hundred years of jurisprudence on that strange relationship we call a trust. It is this challenge and the importance of it to our clients and their livelihoods that made me resolve to present on this topic at the Barossa.”

In 2018, figures from the Australian Tax Office show there were more than 800,000 trusts with assets totalling more than $3 trillion operating in Australia. The majority of these are discretionary trusts and they have a key role in the Australian economy. In her session, Discretionary Trusts – Issues: new and old, Julie will examine the key issues and intricacies of discretionary trusts in practice, the benefits, drawbacks, the rise of 100A and the unforeseen result, 99B.

“Even when legislation on the taxation of trusts does not change, the changing views of the Commissioner make this a dynamic area of tax law and all tax professionals must ensure that they are aware of the changes in approach signalled by ATO publications or presentations,” she said.

Also from the 2021 Barossa Convention: Capital vs Revenue: navigating new ideas and attitudes in 2021 with Terry Murphy QC

In 2011 we were told that the long-term goal of the government was to rewrite the trust tax provisions in their entirety and transfer them to the Income Tax Assessment Act, 1997.

“Division 6 has been amended several times since but…” Julie said.

Julie’s session will provide delegates with food for thought around, “The risks of continuing to do what we did last year without re-examining the position against a dynamic tax environment.”

The 2021 Barossa Convention from 28 – 30 April will give delegates top tax technical insight, practical guidance and professional networking opportunities. With a rich history of technical excellence, the Barossa Convention

Part of the Tax Institute since 2002, opportunities like the Barossa Convention, where you can meet with many outstanding professionals, are one of Julie’s favourite things about membership. That sense of connection has been vital for her.

“I have contributed [to The Tax Institute] through membership of committees, presenting papers at various events and providing articles for publications. One of the highlights of my career was to be awarded the SME Tax Advisor of the Year in 2017, a huge honour and a wonderful affirmation that as a sole practitioner I can still be part of the wider tax community,” she said.

Secure your place at the 2021 Barossa Convention

It’s not too late to come along to the 2021 Barossa Convention to hear Julie’s session on Discretionary Trusts – Issues: new and old, where she’ll be sharing indispensable insights to help you deal with questions of the capital and revenue distinction.

And that’s just one of the reasons to come along. Don’t miss out on:

6-Mar-29-2021-10-12-46-48-PM 7-Mar-29-2021-10-12-46-65-PM 8-3

A program of timely and high-quality tax technical sessions, presented by leaders in the profession

The chance to clear your mind and focus on growth and learning in our idyllic Barossa Valley destination

Unique industry networking as we head to Saltram Winery for “The Great Taxby” Gala Dinner

Find out more

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About Julie Van der Velde

Picture1Julie is the principal of a specialised commercial law firm, VdV Legal, and has degrees in Business and in Law and a Masters of Taxation Law. With over 20 years’ experience advising South Australian businesses, her practice focuses on taxation and trust law with an emphasis on business structuring, tax planning, business succession and intergenerational transfers. Julie is The Tax Institute’s SME Chartered Tax Adviser for 2017 and is listed as a recommended tax lawyer and a recommended Wills, Estates and Succession Planning lawyer in Doyle's Guide 2017, 2018 and 2019.

When Julie’s not knee-deep in tax she likes playing with her 18-month-old granddaughter, and a good book, a good wine, or both.


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