We are a very focused accounting firm – working exclusively with internationally operating clients or clients with international issues.
Our primary focus is twofold. Firstly, we focus on foreign investors dealing with Australia, whether it be direct investment (FDI), employing just one person in Australia, or exporting or selling on-line to Australia. Secondly, we focus on Australian-based businesses expanding abroad.
These scenarios involve an array of Australian and overseas tax, legal and other challenges that most professional advisers do not deal with.
To this niche client base we offer a comprehensive range of services from high-level tax consulting to basic bookkeeping, to setting up entities and assisting expats.
Our Australian team comprises of a mix of Australian, Asian, British and other nationalities, with different professional backgrounds. Between us we speak a number of languages. In addition, we have the rest of the Sheltons Group team in our other offices.
Accounting and related
Providing the full range of accounting services to Australian-based and foreign-based businesses’ Australian units is our daily bread and butter. Our language skills, knowledge of non-Australian (and Australian) accounting software, familiarity with relevant aspects in many overseas countries, familiarity with what foreigners find odd about Australian accounting (and related areas) and what Australian managers find odd about accounting in overseas jurisdictions equips us extremely well in serving our clients.
Our systems and procedures ensure that the matter at hand is not dependent on the availability of a particular person – we work as a team.
We also work in a way that enables us to easily avail of the resources in any of the other Sheltons Group offices should the need arises.
We prepare accounts from source documents, or on the basis of preliminary work from the client, taking Australian and overseas rules, and the client’s wishes, into account.
We use a variety of Australian and non-Australian accounting software packages.
We prepare statutory (legally required) accounts – as well as regular management accounts, with or without reports, analyses, etc.
We also prepare special-purpose accounts (such as pro forma accounts) and consolidated accounts.
Our services include reviewing client-prepared accounts and supporting the client’s internal accounting team, as appropriate.
We are ‘fluent’ in Australian GAAP and IFRS and the equivalent in countries where we have offices – and we have a good knowledge of the GAAP or similar in a number of countries.
- Audit assistance
Many of our clients do not need to be audited, but where an audit is done voluntarily or because the law requires, an important role is to liaise with the Australian and overseas auditors of the client’s Australian and overseas companies. We have clear systems for preparing material to facilitate efficient audits in Australia.
We can often satisfy all questions from the auditors or at least significantly reduce the time demands on the client.
We very regularly liaise with the auditors of other parts of the group.
As a completely independent firm, we are not a member of any accounting network, resulting in an comfortable relationship with the auditors, whether they be in Australia or overseas. Our independence is of special importance when the auditors are not – where they are part of an international network.
- GST (VAT) services
We handle overseas sales tax, VAT and GST, as well of course as Australian GST.
Much of the accounting work we do is driven by GST, VAT or sales tax compliance needs.
We assist with all aspects of GST, VAT, sales tax, etc., compliance, from registration to setting up routines with our clients to the preparation and filing of returns, ensuring that filing deadlines are met. Where assistance is necessary overseas, we identify an appropriate firm to complement us.
See also under GST (VAT) advice
- Salary administration
Apart from advising employers and employees on the Australian and international tax aspects of the employment (see under Local tax advice and compliance) we provide efficient payroll administration services.
Many of our client cases involve employers based in other countries, directly employing staff in Australia. Similarly, we work with Australian employers with employees overseas.
The employees may well be Australian residents or non-residents in Australia for shorter or longer assignments, and may be in Australia under temporary work visas. Different circumstances have different consequences in terms of the employees tax on the salary income.
Providing payroll administration services for foreign businesses, or Australian units thereof, often involves extensive interaction with the foreign part of the group. We pride ourselves in our ability to understand the needs of the foreign parts of the group and in our flexibility in providing the services.
For Australian-based businesses with overseas employees, or with subsidiaries overseas with employees, we not only provide advice on any Australian ramifications but we can either do or arrange the payroll administration – and assist with all other employer obligations in the overseas country. Where needed we can identify a suitable partner in the overseas country to complement our services.
Our broad range of services to employers, whether Australian-based or based overseas, with employees in Australia covers matters such as
- Employer registration
- Drafting and review of employment contracts
- Visa assistance (with an immigration agent where appropriate)
- Generation of payslips
- Reporting to the ATO
- Assistance with payment (net salaries, tax, etc)
- Annual administration (reports to the tax authorities, the employer and the employees)
Apart from providing advice on employer obligations, we also provide comprehensive tax advice and expat relocation services.
Local tax advice and compliance
We are widely recognised as a being leading firm in the area of Australian / international tax advice. Our origins in this regard goes back the early 1980’s where Ned Shelton worked in this field with HLB Mann Judd and then Arthur Andersens in Sydney. The origins of our international tax expertise goes back to Ned’s career in tax and international tax in The Netherlands (where he founded Sheltons as an independent Duthc and international tax advisory firm) and in Denmark, where he commenced the Danish office of Sheltons in 1995. As all clients were internationally operating, Sheltons developed significant expertise in the international tax area.
Although Sheltons commenced as an international tax consulting firm, we have branched out, in all our offices, and are now a specialist accounting firm (still working only with internationally operating businesses and individuals with international issues), tax is still a very strong string to our bow.
See also SITTI and International tax advice
- Tax complianceAt the Australian end. Our compliance services covers areas such as personal and company tax return preparation; obtaining tax residence certificates; obtaining tax clearance certificates,;Fringe Benefits Tax (FBT) return preparation; administration of (the state-based) payroll tax including preparation of returns; stamp duty administration; Business Activity Statement (BAS) and Instalment Activity Statement (IAS) preparation and compliance; procedures for paying reduced withholding taxes in Australia and abroad and for requesting refunds thereof; applications for Australian Business Numbers (ABNs) for overseas-based businesses and overseas controlled Australian companies.
At the overseas end. Using our own resources or, where necessary, by bringing in competent overseas firms to compliment our services, we look after the overseas tax compliance obligations of Australian-based businesses as well.
- Corporate tax
Our services on corporate tax covers a wide range. Some key areas on which we commonly advise are as follows:
- Australian Business Number (ABN) – eligibility
- Corporate tax generally
- Deductibility of interest
- Determination of residency
- Obtaining tax rulings
- PAYG matters
- Payroll taxes (state-based)
- Public officer – advice on when needed
- Initial assistance re selection of legal form
- Investing in Australian real estate
- Tax consolidation
- Tax efficient financing
- Tax returns preparation
- Tax planning
- The application of anti-avoidance rules
- Thin capitalisation rules
- Transfer pricing
- Treatment of foreign exchange gains and losses
See also under ‘Tax compliance’, above, and ‘Australian international tax – corporate’, and ‘International tax, below.
- Personal tax – including Australian international tax
Our services here cover a wide range. Some key areas on which we commonly provide advice are as follows.
- Inheritance and gift taxes
- Residency issues
- Salary packaging and Fringe Benefits Tax (FBT)
- Structuring local investments
- Tax issues connected with pensions (and superannuation)
- Tax planning
- Taxation of Australian-sourced investment income
- Taxation of foreign-sourced Investment income
- Taxation of expats coming to Australia
- Taxation on departing Australia
- Taxation on working abroad
- Tax file numbers (TFN) – eligibility and procedures
- Trusts – Australian and foreign
See also under Corporate tax, Australian international tax – corporate and International tax
- Australian international tax – corporate
Our services in the area of Australian international corporate tax cover a wide range. Some key areas on which we commonly provide advice are as follows:
- Beneficial ownership under treaties
- Controlled foreign company (CFC) matters
- Determination of the profits attributable to a permanent establishment – in Australia and abroad
- Existence – or not – of a permanent establishment in Australia
- Existence of permanent establishment abroad
- Management and control
- Planning for foreign investment income
- Reducing Australian and foreign withholding taxes
- Residency under tax treaties
- Structuring investments abroad
- Tax planning
- Tax treaty application
- Tax treaty interpretation
- Taxation of foreign real estate owned by Australian taxpayers
- Thin capitalisation rules
- Transfer of residency to and from Australia
- Transfer pricing
- Treatment of foreign exchange gains and losses
- Withholding tax issues on payments from Australia
- Withholding tax refunds
- See also under GST (VAT) services and International tax
See also under ‘Corporate tax’ and ‘Personal tax – including Australian international tax’, above and International tax, below.
- GST (VAT) advice
- Deferred GST on import
- Disputes with the tax authorities
- Eligibility for registration
- GST groups
- GST issues generally
- GST on import
- Non-residents liability to GST
- On-line sales into Australia
See also under GST (VAT) services and International tax
Entity set-up and management
Working exclusively with internationally operating businesses over more nearly three decades has resulted in us playing a leading role in the formation of several hundred entities – companies, general and limited partnership, trust and other entities – in many countries throughout the world.
During our many years’ of experience in establishing Australian companies and other entities for foreign-based clients, we have developed and fine-tuned our systems and procedures, enabling us to provide efficient and reliable services in this regard.
We only establish Australian entities where the entity is conducting real business in Australia and has actual economic activity in Australia.
Our extensive international experience built up over the past decades means we are often quite familiar with the shareholders’ jurisdictions and the shareholding entity – whether it be a Delaware LLC, a German GmbH, an Indian Pvt Ltd, a Brazilian Limitada, a UK LLP, a Dutch closed CV, etc. etc.
Before setting up the company or other entity we are almost always consulted as regard the selection of the right legal form as well as on the relevant business tax conservations of each legal form.
When we set up a company or other entity for a client are almost always asked to attend to all necessary (regular) registrations as well as the setting up of a bank account, obtaining credit cards, etc. Often we also assist with obtaining merchant facilities for the company in order to receive credit card payments.
Apart from our expertise in establishing new entities we are also very experienced in the field of solvent liquidations and winding up or (deregistration). We regularly assist in this in cases where the entity is solvent and a registered liquidator is not legally required to be involved.
- Pty Ltd
Currently being updated.
- Liquidations / winding up
Liquidations / winding up / de-registration
The process of ending the existence of an Australian company is relatively simple where there are no unpaid creditors. In such cases there is generally no requirement that a registered liquidator be involved.
Domiciliation (director, registered office, public officer, etc)
When a foreign-based business establishes a Australian company, there will always be period until the new company has its own premises and own senior staff in Australia.
We provide not only the registered office but if the client wishes we can arrange for the appointment of a local director.
Even when the entity has its own premises in Australia the client often prefers that we continue to provide the registered office in order to ensure that important mail, often of legal importance, is handled professionally and with the appropriate degree of confidentiality.
Australia is a common law jurisdiction and local companies are required to comply with various obligations set out in the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth).
Australian companies must have at least one director who is resident in the country. It is not mandatory for companies to appoint a ‘company secretary’, but if a company does have one (or more), Australian law requires that at least one of the individuals ordinarily resides in Australia.
Our services cover attending to all shareholder and director meetings and resolutions to support various company changes and evolutions, annual corporate maintenance, holding the corporate register and filing all required documents and notifications with the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC).
We have well-developed systems and procedures in place and our two decades of experience in forming and administering Australian entities has resulted in the development of extensive knowledge, systems, models and routines in this regard.
Legal services (from Europe)
Sheltons Legal Pty Ltd (ACN 649 323 517) is an integral part of the Sheltons Group family.
Working closely with all Sheltons Group offices globally, Sheltons Legal (a law firm incorporated in New South Wales, Australia) is able to assist with and provide advice on Australian legal matters.
Our Australian qualified lawyers (solicitors) are based in our London office for the convenience of our clients in the many countries in the European time zone.
We take pride in assisting our clients with their legal needs, anywhere in the world.
Sheltons Legal’s contemporary Australian legal team is renowned for high quality client service, and providing advice that is practical, pragmatic and easily understood.
Our clients, both foreign and Australian domestic, can consistently rely on us for all their commercial legal needs.
Our key focus legal sectors include:
- Workplace relations (HR and employment related)
- Australian coronavirus schemes and subsidy programs
- Intellectual property (trademarks and copyright)
- Due diligence for major acquisitions and disposals
- Commercial law (business agreements, merchant shipping/import agreements, restructuring arrangements etc)
- Company law
- International treaties
- Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB) applications
- Workplace relations (HR and employment related)
Disputes in the workplace can be personal, and often have the potential to rapidly escalate – which calls for prompt guidance from our skilled legal team.
We can guide businesses on all Australian workplace management aspects – from employee engagement and contracts, superannuation obligations, industrial relations and workplace safety, workplace disputes, individual performance issues and terminations.
We aim to not just provide legal advice, but to work intimately with our clients to reach cost-effective and focused solutions.
- Coronavirus and the evolving legal ramifications
The COVID-19 pandemic has presented our clients with multiple, unforeseeable challenges – we are committed to helping them meet and overcome those challenges. We will guide our clients as they navigate this hurdle in their business’s lifecycle.
An array of measures and schemes have been introduced to Australian law recently, resultant of the pandemic. We have prioritised concentration on the evolving changes, so that we are readily available to advise on the current situation at all times.
Recently introduced legislation in Australia has impacted the following areas:
- Employee “JobKeeper” subsidy schemes
- Temporary changes to employee and employer rights and obligations, relating to periods of leave, redundancy and terminations
- Intellectual property
Our world is saturated with ideas, concepts and products – all of which have individual authors and creators. With intellectual property (IP) law, we can help you protect ownership of your ideas and inventions, because a business’s intellectual property can often be one of its most precious assets.
We are well positioned to help our clients solve trademark and copyright issues across all borders. Our global reach and knowledge enables us to provide seamless, high quality global service to assist our clients in maximising and protecting the commercial potential of their brands, ideas and technological advances.
- Due diligence
Our team at Sheltons Legal are skilled and extremely meticulous in providing assistance on any legal due diligence enquiries for potential transactions.
Regardless of the magnitude of a transaction, due diligence is a critical element in any risk minimisation strategy for both vendors and purchasers. One of the great advantages to our clients where we undertake due diligence for them is the ability to deal with potential identified issues at the outset of negotiations. This means a number of potential risks can be appropriately mitigated, or eliminated entirely.
- Commercial law
Our legal team has a wealth of experience and knowledge when it comes to complex business planning and analysis. As well as drafting for our clients, we also regularly provide advice and guidance to our clients on:
- Distributorship and agency agreements
- Royalty agreements
- Shareholder agreements
- Agreements between businesses and business partners
- General transactional matters
- Preparing and negotiating leases
- Business succession planning
- Trust structures and establishment
- Business sale and purchase agreements
- Commercial disputes
The approach at Sheltons Legal is to work collaboratively across the firm, drawing on deep and wide knowledge of the industry challenges our clients encounter. We take great pride in our ability to provide holistic outcomes for our clients.
- Company law
Over the years we have set up, and kept in good standing, numerous Australian subsidiaries for our overseas-based clients. We advise on and assist with a wide range of company law areas, including the areas below.
Did you know that:
- The Australian Corporations Act 2001 (Cth) requires that a company complies with a range of obligations, including the keeping of ‘minute books’ recording director and shareholder resolutions and the keeping of registers of members, directors, charges and more
- Each year all companies must make a resolution as to whether or not the company will be able to pay its debts when they fall due (solvency resolutions)
- To avoid a ‘small’ company having file financial statements with ASIC and to be audited, an exemption must be applied for if the company is foreign-owned – but not if Australian owned
- A foreign company carrying on business in Australia must register with ASIC before it commences business (branch registration)
- Australian and foreign parties need to obtain an ABN (Australian Business Number) before carrying on business in Australia– and if there are any non-resident directors or shareholders it might take two or more months to obtain this
Advising our clients on the above and actually attending to these matters is our daily bread and butter. Here are a few examples of other very common tasks:
- Setting up companies and registering branches
- Preparing resolutions for shareholder and directors meetings, and resolutions without a meeting
- Attending to the ‘annual review’ of companies and to annual filings for branches
- Changing the registered office, principal place of business, directors and company secretaries
- Keeping all ASIC records up to date
- Registering business names
- Changing company names
- All aspects of share transfers
- Arranging share capital increases and reductions
- De-registrations of branches
- Voluntarily winding up of companies
- International treaties
We can assist with the application and interpretation of international agreements involving Australia, including the following:
- Free trade agreements (FTAs)
- Investment protection agreements / bilateral investment treaties (BITs)
- Social security agreements (SSAs)
- Double tax agreements (DTAs) / Double tax treaties (with the support of our international tax colleagues)
- Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB)
Australia has a foreign investment approval regime that regulates certain types of acquisitions by foreign persons in Australian companies, business and land.
If you are planning an Australian acquisition (including in a business, shares or land) that triggers the ‘notifiable action’ or ‘notifiable national security action’ provisions, you will need to make an application for Government approval in advance.
We are able to assist with advice as well as all aspects of applications to the Foreign Investment Review Board.
Relocation of expats
Relocation of expats
As a consequence of our focus on internationally operating businesses, and especially those based abroad doing business in Australia, and as a result of our close involvement with the incoming employees (with regard to tax matters, visas, registrations with the authorities and the like), it was not a major step to formally offer relocation services.
To make the decision even more obvious, not only has Ned Shelton been an expat (moving from Australia to Denmark, Denmark to the Netherlands, the Netherlands to Denmark, Denmark to Australia) but currently we have senior staff in the offices of Sheltons Australia who are themselves expats.
So since early 2016 we have offered expat relocation services. We formed a separate company to provide these services but it is very much part of Sheltons Australia – the offices are shared, the team is shared and facilities are shared.
The services we deliver include assistance in each of the following areas.
Arranging for a temporary, furnished apartment
Bank account opening
Finding a job for the partner or ‘trailing spouse’
Importing a (used) car
Language courses – recommending, arranging
Obtaining an Australian driver’s licence
Preparing a move-in report
Removals – transport
Subscriptions for telephone, internet, TV, Netflix, etc
Tax advice – employer
Tax advice – expat
International tax services
Please click to learn more about our International Tax Services
In addition to the above, we also provide a variety of other services, such as:
Applications for finance
Domain name registration and advice
Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB) applications
Introductions to reliable suppliers
Premises – finding offices, warehouses, etc
Trade mark registrations
Doing Business in Australia Guide
Sheltons are proud to be a co-sponsor of the the guide ‘Doing Business in Australia Guide‘. We are a very focused accounting firm – working exclusively with internationally operating clients.
Our primary focus is on foreign investors dealing with Australia, whether it be direct investment (FDI), employing just one person in Australia, or exporting or selling on-line to Australia.
These scenarios involve an array of tax, legal and other challenges that most professional advisers do not deal with.
To this niche client base we offer a comprehensive range of services from high-level tax consulting to basic bookkeeping, to setting up entities and assisting expats sent to Australia.
Our team comprises of a mix of Australian, British and other nationalities, with different professional backgrounds. Between us we speak a number of languages.