Location counts: untangling cross-border tax consequences in 2021

When we asked Frank Hinoporos, CTA, Partner at Hall & Wilcox Lawyers how he got started in tax, he sang a different tune to many of our members.

“I had, quite funnily, a bit of clarity pretty early on in my career that tax was something I wanted to do and focus on,” he told us.

“I was always interested in tax, I was always interested in the sort of commercial side of the law. … It sort of just seemed to me to be the kind of area that really let you bring in your whole skillset as a lawyer and as a practitioner.”

Related reading: “I basically started my career without any idea that I had any interest in working in tax, says Karen Payne, Inspector-General of Taxation and Taxation Ombudsman

That long love affair with tax has led Frank to become a longstanding member of The Tax Institute, and an expert speaker at many of our events, including the upcoming 2021 Yara Valley Tax Retreat.

At the retreat, Frank will be presenting alongside the eminent Dr Julianne Jaques, QC, CTA. The pair will be delving into the consequences of mobility on the family group in Session 1: Consequences of mobility on the family group.

“What we mean by mobility in this context is people moving around the world. One of the things that we've noticed, certainly in our practice, is that more and more people are coming to Australia or leaving Australia – sometimes permanently, sometimes for a period of time, for long to medium term – and a whole range of tax issues arise,” Frank explained.

This topic has never been more relevant, with the COVID-19 pandemic putting a halt to international travel and immigration for more than 12 months now. COVID was a spanner in the works for people's plans in many different ways, and particularly for those people who were planning on relocating in the early part of last year.

“Only last week I was speaking to a client who fully intended to migrate from Australia to the UK, relocate his family and take on a new work position. That planning got thrown out thanks to COVID,” Frank said.

“He was able to commence his work duties, but to do them virtually and online. So, very much so that plays into the tax advice and the analysis you do. When he does, or does not become a resident, what might happen to the assets he has located in different jurisdictions and a whole range of complex issues.”

The Bywater decision and residency complexity

0159SA_Yarra_Valley_Tax_Retreat_MREC-Ad-300x250.pngFrank said that the Bywater decision and the ATO’s response to it would play a large role in the session, given it’s considerable effects on corporate residency.

“That really shook things up in this area quite a lot. It changed a lot of the accepted orthodoxy up until this time,” he said.

“It's an area where people want to comply. It's just really, really confusing and people need practical strategies and hopefully that's what we can convey at our session.”

Part of that confusion, he said, arises from the nature of the relocation process. Rarely – if ever – can we wake up and become tax residents of a new country within a day. It’s a process that takes place in stages, and that can create major complexity when it comes to tax matters.

“It's always better to do things in a planned and managed way. And the best time to be planning these things is when the client is clearly an Australian resident or clearly non-resident. When they're in the in-between phase or transitioning between those two statuses, then the complexity only grows and so does the risk,” Frank said.

“The facts are always most unclear where people have a foot in each camp, so to speak. … In that in-between time the facts are not always clear and can point in opposing directions.”

Technical expertise, idyllic location

Looking at the lineup for the 2021 Yarra Valley Tax Retreat, Frank was excited for a “really good agenda with great speakers.”

“I think it really covers a lot of the areas that affect me in a practical sense. And will also, I think, be relevant to a lot of the clients in the middle market.”

That focus on the middle market, where many clients deal in property and related issues, was one of the highlights of the event for Frank. Session 6: Latest legislative developments in property, presented by Sladen Legal’s Neil Brydges, CTA, and The Tax Institute’s Robyn Jacobson, CTA is on his must-see list.

He’s also looking forward to a session presented by two of his colleagues at Hall & Wilcox, Rachel O’Donnell, CTA and Adam Dimacare, called What happens where the intended use of property changes?.

Beyond the tax technical insights on offer at the Yarra Valley Tax Retreat, Frank is looking forward to, “… just getting out of town, if nothing else.”

“I always enjoy conferences because there are lots of opportunities to meet people and see people in the profession – many people that you don't know – and get to know people a little bit better,” he said.

“From that point of view, it's just exciting to be doing an event again after all of this time and having the opportunity to be in the same room as a bunch of people and talk about tax. And it’s the Yarra Valley, so you will drink a little wine and so on and so forth, so that's all very exciting.”

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The last word

Finally, Frank, who has been a member with The Tax Institute for fifteen years, shared with us some insight into how being involved in professional events like the Yarra Valley Tax Retreat has impacted his career.

“It's always a privilege to be involved in events that The Tax Institute hosts. It's given me tremendous opportunities from a speaking point of view, opportunities to build my reputation and build my network and become known for expertise in certain areas,” he said.

“It is the preeminent organization for people who are in tax or who are interested in tax. It's certainly the most important professional involvement I've had in my whole career. I will tell anybody who will listen the same thing.”

About Frank Hinoporos, CTA

Frank Hinoporos, CTA, is a Partner in the Tax group at Hall & Wilcox Lawyers. His clients include SMEs, high net worth individuals and families and not-for-profit entities. Frank is a member of the Law Institute of Victoria and a Chartered Tax Adviser with The Tax Institute.


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