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JULIA JOHNSTON

Director

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Fuelled by her passion for people and her commitment to finding effective solutions for her clients, Julia founded Johnston Law in 2023.   Renowned as a problem solver, Julia prides herself on delivering optimal outcomes for her clients, no matter the area of concern, while striving to simplify processes and minimise stress. 

 

Julia's extensive career encompasses roles at an international accounting firm, a "big 4" institution, a boutique tax law firm, and most recently as a partner at a mid-tier law firm, where she spearheaded the tax team and a branch office.  Additionally, she has contributed her expertise to a large corporate recovery team at an international firm.  This multifaceted background in law, commerce, and accounting equips Julia with a broad skill base to cater to her clients' needs, whether it involves tax or relationship property matters.  Known for her friendly and supportive demeanour, she focuses on practical solutions and simplifying complex issues, earning trust as a go-to problem solver for individuals, corporates, and advisors alike. 

 

From a tax perspective, Julia assists clients and their advisors with all their tax advisory requirements with her experience spanning a wide array of cases, from assisting with structuring ventures in the property industry, providing advice on the correct tax and GST treatment of various transactions and guiding her clients through Inland Revenue instigated tax investigations, tax audits, risk reviews and settlement negotiations.  

 

Passionate about migrant tax issues, she aids both inbound and outbound residents in navigating their New Zealand tax obligations to optimise tax efficiency across jurisdictions.  As a migrant herself, Julia understands the complexities faced by migrants firsthand, and dedicates considerable effort to providing clear and practical advice and guidance.  This foundation fosters a deep understanding of her clients' circumstances, enabling her to continue advising on various aspects of tax law once they are established in New Zealand, whether commercial or otherwise.

 

Julia’s dedication and proficiency have earned her recognition, including the University of Canterbury's top student award in Advanced Taxation in 2008, and consecutive New Zealand Taxation Advisor of the Year titles in the 2022 and 2023 Finance Monthly Tax Awards.  As well as providing advice, she actively shares her insights through presentations at seminars and conferences nationwide and internationally, addressing topics such as land tax issues, international tax matters, and migrant tax concerns. 

 

Julia also specialises in relationship property matters, assisting clients with contracting out agreements, separation agreements, property divisions, and other related aspects of such work.  Julia's extensive background in tax law not only enhances her understanding of complex financial matters, but also gives her a rare and distinctive ability to apply commercial insight to the intricate realm of relationship property law.  This unique skill set enables her to navigate the nuances of tax and commercial implications and structuring within the context of property division and contractual agreements, offering clients a comprehensive and strategic approach to their relationship property matters.

 

Julia offers empathetic support during what can be emotionally and often distressing times.  She takes a friendly, supportive approach while reaching a practical solution while aiming to simplify and clarify these often-complex matters.

 

Beyond her professional endeavours, Julia actively contributes to her community as a trustee of the Ara Foundation and the Hornby Day Care Trust for the Elderly, as well as serving as treasurer for an equestrian-based Incorporated Society.  Outside of work, you will find Julia out riding/competing with one of her horses, spending time with her husband, family, and friends, or relaxing at home in Canterbury, New Zealand, alongside her beloved dogs and cat.

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NZ Tax Lawyer of the Year 2022 & 2023: Finance Monthly Tax Awards

MICHAELA COMBE

Practice Manager

With two decades of experience in the legal field, Michaela embarked on her journey as an Office Junior in a boutique law firm, steadily working her way up to become a Personal Assistant in a top-tier law firm.  Taking a hiatus from the workforce in late 2015 to nurture her young family, she returned in early 2018 as a Legal Assistant for a mid-tier law firm before joining Julia's team in May 2020.

 

While having worked predominantly in litigation during her career, working for Julia presented Michaela with the opportunity to broaden her knowledge into tax and relationship property.  Renowned for her meticulous attention to detail, organisational prowess, and commitment to meeting deadlines while upholding confidentiality, Michaela is an integral part of Johnston Law.

 

When Julia formed Johnston Law, Michaela was a key part of that change and moved with her.  The transition to Johnston Law underscored Michaela’s significance within the team, facilitating her advancement to the position of Practice Manager.  In this capacity, Michaela orchestrates the seamless daily operations of Johnston Law, overseeing administrative and operational facets to ensure efficiency and the delivery of high-quality legal services to clients.

 

During her leisure time, Michaela enjoys riding her horse, reading, and cherishing moments with her fiancé, young son, and assorted pets on their lifestyle block in Canterbury, New Zealand.

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