Tuesday, 23 February 2016

Adrian Cartland’s life as a Principal in a law firm

Employer: Cartland Law

Position: Principal

Adrian CartlandI was drawn into tax when I was in University. I had always known that I wanted to work in a business related area of law, and then in my final year of law I did tax as a subject and was inspired by the ability to use tax planning to assist commercial objectives. I was also fascinated by the large an effect tax law has on shaping people’s decisions and legal relations. For example, giving your assets away to a trustee of a discretionary trust who might choose to give income and capital back to you (but might not) seemed a strange concept when I first learned about it in trust law. But when you consider the ability to use such a trust to distribute income amongst family members on lower tax rates (not to mention asset protection benefits) this otherwise strange legal relationship made more sense. Tax law has a constant impact on the world around us, from influencing the cars we drive, the beverages we drink, to how we make decisions for our future.

I am now a principal at Cartland Law. Within my role I do a lot of tax structuring advice and drawing of opinions on tax matters, as well as running a number of disputes against State and Federal tax departments. In particular I do a lot of advice on State taxes, as well as Income and Capital Gains Tax, GST, and trust law. I am very fortunate to have a practice that is mostly tax technical work, as well as drawing the documentation to implement advices. In addition to my tax practice, I am the founder of a Start-up that has built an artificial intelligence named Ailira (Artificially Intelligent Legal Information Research Assistant) that automates legal research and assistance. The first thing that I have taught Ailira has been to provide research answers to natural language questions on tax law. As you can imagine I now spend a lot of time on technology development and running a tech company.

I have had a number of successful outcomes from disputes with tax offices, and it is fantastic to be able to give clients a great result. I have also competed successfully in the ‘Golden Gavel’ competition a number of times, which is a speaking competition on a humorous legal topic. A few years back I won the national competition by doing a monologue in an Arnold Schwarzenegger accent in the persona of “the Taxinator”.

Being part of The Tax Institute is essential for any tax practitioner. I joined so that I could learn as much as possible by attending Tax Institute events and using Tax Institute material. I have been assisted in my career by making fantastic contacts and gaining a deep knowledge in tax law.
My advice for graduates is to meet as many people as possible and understand how offices and professional firms operate. The connections that you make early on in your career will blossom into long standing relationships later. You are setting up your foundations now, and you should make the most of networking with other professionals. Likewise, set yourself on a path of constant learning, because if you sell advice for a living (as we professional advisors do) then you will be best served by having as much knowledge as possible.

Take the next step in your tax career with the Graduate Diploma of Applied Tax Law. Find out more