What type of question can I ask?
We aim to answer the day-to-day questions that arise in your business or practice. Our service does not replace the need for specialist advice on planning or strategy matters or legal advice where an analysis of the law is required for a particular fact situation. Nor can we advise you about the correctness of tax positions you have taken or commercial transactions. Therefore we cannot review specific documents or other detailed attachments. However, where possible, we will briefly outline possible relevant legal considerations and set out alternatives for further consideration.
To give you an idea, we have put together some sample questions and our likely approach to them.
- Simple compliance issues or straightforward questions of law or procedure
The answers involve quoting provisions of legislation, principles from case law or straightforward commentary from CCH publications.
Question: What were the use of money interest rates for the quarter from 1 April to 30 June 1997?
Question: Does the Fair Trading Act 1986 prohibit comparative advertising?
- Questions involving simple practical situations
The answers involve sourcing the applicable law and applying it to the facts you supply or advising you of the relevant laws. Please note that our replies will not contain legal advice.
Question: My client and a rival company both sell products X, Y and Z. The rival company advertises that its prices for these products are lower than those of my client. The advertisements also say the rival company offers better service than my client. Is this permitted? What should my client do?
Our answer would briefly set out the relevant legal issues.
Question: One of my employees left without working out the notice period. He has had several days of sick leave, two of which he was paid for but was not entitled to. Can I withhold two days from his holiday pay?
This question falls within the ambit of the service and will be answered.
- Questions involving more complex issues of law or less straightforward factual situations
We might advise that more time is required to answer the question and we will consider whether the question is within the scope of our service (see paragraph 5 below). In some cases we might ask for further information or suggest that you consult a professional adviser.
Question: My client is thinking of taking a job in Saudi Arabia. Will she have to pay New Zealand tax on her earnings?
We would probably need more factual details before answering this question.
- Questions where the answer involves a strategy recommendation or advice on a choice of different courses of action
Where possible we will summarise the relevant law and set out the possible alternatives for you, but we cannot advise on strategy or recommend a specific course of action.
Question: One of my employees has complained about pornographic material on another employee's computer. What should I do?
In this case we will outline the issues involved and the available alternatives. However, we don't advise on strategy and cannot suggest a definite course of action if several alternatives are possible in law.
- Questions outside the scope of the service
The service covers the fields in which CCH New Zealand Limited produces publications. Those fields are listed above. We will do our best to answer questions relating to those areas.
However, there are some questions which are considered out of scope of the service. These are questions which:
- are in areas of the laws in which we do not publish commentary and analysis
- require a detailed background knowledge of the circumstances, or review of specific documents
- raise issues involving more complex areas of law and which cannot be dealt with in a relatively brief emailed answer
- require specific advice relating to the direction or management of any actual or contemplated proceedings
- would result in our breach of the Lawyers and Conveyancers Act 2006 (note that CCH is not a law firm).
Should you submit such a question we will suggest that you seek the assistance of a professional adviser.
Whether or not a question falls outside the scope of the service is ultimately at the sole discretion of CCH.
Question: A group of 10 people wishes to form an investment club. We are unsure whether to form a trust, a company or a partnership. We wish to form a tax-effective structure that is inexpensive and simple to run. Please advise us.
This question cannot be satisfactorily answered without a full consultation. It involves far more factual information about the type of investments involved, the relationships between the parties and other factors than can be summarised briefly.
Question: My client wishes to form a joint venture to ……. I enclose a draft agreement. Please check the terms and conditions and advise if they should be changed.
We will not answer this. It involves detailed factual knowledge and the answer would involve subjective strategic decisions. We will suggest that you contact your regular tax or legal adviser.