In a recent update to the Conveyancing Manual NSW, we published material relating to the electronic assessment of duties written by new contributor, John Reid. We sat down with John to talk about how this content assists practitioners in applying legislation and Revenue Rulings to process and stamp approved documents by way of an Electronic Duties Return (EDR).
After 26 years with the Office of State Revenue (OSR) as a Senior Duties Assessor, and now practising as a licensed conveyancer, John Reid is well versed with the complexities involved with duties transactions, and the challenges that conveyancers face. With that in mind, John decided to write the Electronic Duties Assessing Handbook NSW (available within Conveyancing Manual NSW and as a standalone pdf) aimed at licensed conveyancers and solicitors to ensure that they are armed with the knowledge to properly make assessments under the Duties Act 1997, thereby, reducing the risk to their clients and businesses.
John, what was the motivation behind the decision to write the handbook?
After leaving the public service, I realised there was a void in what conveyancers needed to know in relation to in-house stamping under the EDR system, and the expectations from OSR to follow the correct procedures, with many conveyancers being caught out when audits were conducted. The audits were costing conveyancers claims on their insurance, and coupled with the fact that clients thought that everything was above board, conveyancers were placing their businesses at risk. I decided to write the handbook to close the knowledge gap between conveyancers and OSR.
What are the benefits of the handbook for practitioners?
The benefit of the handbook for practitioners is that they will be armed with the knowledge allowing them to make informed decisions when an assessment is being made in relation to a document under EDR, protecting practitioners from an audit. Practitioners cannot rely only on the advice from OSR because if a practitioner is audited, and the matter goes to court, the judge will rule on the legislation, rather than what the practitioner was told by OSR. The purpose of the handbook is to provide practitioners with the information and knowledge so they can confidently proceed with an assessment.