Risk Alert

Risk Alert Notice

Are you and your clients picking up the phone to verify all financial account details / instructions received by email


Practitioners should be aware that cyber fraud is real and Law Firms in Tasmania are being targeted.

Recently the Law Society’s Professional Indemnity Insurance Scheme had to pay out on a claim made by a client of a firm that was a victim of fraud. The claim arose because a fraudster infected a firm’s computer system with a virus which enabled that fraudster to ‘watch over’ emails sent and received by the firm to and from its clients. As a result the fraudster was able to gain access to the name of the client, intercepted relevant emails between the firm and the client and, armed with the confidential information of the client, generated a fake email allegedly from the client with the fraudster’s bank account details, into which the firm paid settlement funds. In this case if the firm had taken steps to properly verify the client’s bank account details the fraud would have been avoided.

Firms need to be aware of the risks associated with doing financial transactions by solely relying on emails. An exchange of emails alone is not sufficient to protect your client’s funds. If your firm intends to transfer money by EFT, based on email communications from clients, it is essential that steps are taken to verify the client’s bank account details. Proper verification includes placing a telephone call to the client and upon being satisfied that it is the client who answers the call, the relevant details can be checked. The details include the name of the bank, the BSB number and the Account number.

Further, firms need to ensure that all of their staff that transfer funds are aware of the appropriate steps to be taken to verify a client’s bank details. This is not a matter that involves legal practitioners alone.

Fraudsters are becoming more sophisticated and emails from them are becoming increasingly difficult to detect.

Take the time ensure that instructions received by email to transfer funds are actually from your client and not a fraudster.


Alison Clues
Professional Indemnity Insurance Scheme-Claims Manager
Law Society-Tasmania

Tasmanian Government new taxation measures 2018

The State Treasurer introduced a Bill to the House of Assembly on Thursday 14 June 2018 outlining a range of new taxation measures. The measures deal with the following and are conditional on their passage through Parliament, and Royal Assent.

Duty concession for first home buyers of established homes
Duty concession for pensioners downsizing to a new home
Foreign investor duty surcharge

Land Tax
Three-year Land Tax exemption for newly built housing made available for long-term rental
One-year Land Tax exemption for newly listed rental properties 2018 Housing Summit measure

Payroll Tax
Reduced Payroll Tax bracket rate
Payroll Tax Rebate Scheme
Three-year Payroll Tax exemption

First Home Owner Grant
Extension of the $20 000 grant for eligible first home owners 2018-19 State Budget measure

For more information about the eight measures (plus the extension of the First Home Owner Grant), please refer to this factsheet.

Mediation Training

The recognised mediation accrediting body –  Australian Dispute Centre (ADC)  – will soon be running a couple of training sessions in Tasmania (in June). For more read here.


2018 National Indigenous Law Awards (NILA)

NILA aims to highlight and recognise the achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians who demonstrate a passion and commitment to improving justice outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians.

NILA consists of two awards, the National Indigenous Legal Professional of the Year Award and the National Indigenous Law Student of the Year Prize.

More information on the National Indigenous Legal Professional of the Year Award and the National Indigenous Law Student of the Year Prize can be found on the GrantConnect website.

Applications close 12.00pm on Friday 29 June 2018 and can be lodged via:

  • Post: Indigenous Legal Services

   Legal Assistance Branch

Attorney-General’s Department

3-5 National Circuit


Notice to Property Practitioners – GST Settlement Measure Affecting Certain Settlements 1 July 2018 onwards | Opportunity to Test Drive Online Forms (register interest before 1 June at

The Society has recently issued newsletter communications to its members regarding new tax legislation that applies to how the ATO will collect GST on certain property transactions starting from 1 July 2018.

As a result of this new measure, there are two new online notification forms the purchaser or their representative are required to submit:

  • Form 1: GST property settlement withholding notification online form
  • Form 2: GST property settlement date confirmation online form.

As part of these changes, ATO Beta will be running a short test on their website exploring the experience of these forms.

Test participants will be presented with the opportunity to:

  • test drive an upcoming digital service by completing a few short tasks
  • provide anonymous feedback and suggestions for improvements
  • have a say in shaping the future experience.

The short test will run for 10 minutes and will be open to test participants for a week to complete in mid to late June.

ATO Beta will send a one-off email out to those who nominated to participate in mid-June with further details.

If your firm would like to participate please nominate your volunteer participant/s on or before Friday 1 June 2018 by emailing to the Society ( your practice’s name and the name and email address of your nominated participant/s.

The Society will then at COB 1 June 2018 submit a registration form to the ATO listing all interested LST member participants.

If you’re interested in finding out more about ATO Beta and what they do you can visit their website here.