18/04/12: Tax Effective Investments - Be careful!

Be inquisitive...

As June 30 is just around the corner we are moving into the sharp end of the tax season. Tax is major headwind to any investment and everyone has the right to minimise the amount of tax they pay through legal tax planning arrangements. Indeed the after tax return is the critical measure for any investment. But sometimes the desire to reduce tax can blind people to the risks - both investment and legal - that certain tax schemes, sophisticated and otherwise, carry with them. In recent years, the collapse of a number of high-profile agribusiness and financing schemes have painfully served to alert people to the dangers of committing to tax schemes that promise upfront tax benefits and potential investment returns that ultimately never materialised. Last year, the ATO produced a helpful, plain language guide - Understanding tax-effective investments (helping you make the right decisions) on what to look out for among some of the more common types of tax schemes that the ATO has encountered that have caught out both individual investors and businesses. Cynicism often masquerades as wisdom, especially in a post GFC world, so it is important that investors don't become paralysed with fear, taking the easiest route, which is to do nothing. But doing your homework is also an important part of the risk/reward equation, so by all means be optimistic and hopeful, but don't forget to be inquisitive. In other words, don't be afraid to see what you see.  Rick Maggi  Read Understanding Tax Effective Investments