Empowering legal minds: how tax education enhances expertise in trusts

Written by: The Tax Institute

Published: 5 Jan 2024



Marianne Dakhoul, Associate at Brown Wright Stein Lawyers, Sydney, was the Dux of Tax for Trusts: from an SME perspective for Study Period 2, 2023. She discusses her joy of learning and how useful the Tax for Trusts subject has been for her work.


Tell us about your career in tax so far

I started my legal career working at the NSW Crown Solicitor's Office in various practice groups. During my time there, I worked on State Revenue matters which exposed me, for the first time, to the tax world. From there I developed an increased interest in tax and knew that I wanted to further pursue my knowledge and experience in this area. In October 2019, I started working at Brown Wright Stein Lawyers where I have been provided with numerous opportunities to continue to grow and expand my knowledge in tax, including in State taxes, income tax, superannuation and trusts. I have had the privilege of working with amazing tax lawyers while at Brown Wright Stein Lawyers. I enjoy constantly learning from my colleagues and other professionals in the industry, and applying this knowledge and expertise to assist clients.


What made you take the Tax for Trusts: from an SME perspective subject?

I am currently undertaking the Graduate Diploma of Applied Tax Law. I chose the Tax for Trusts subject as the majority of my clients use trusts in their structures, or trust issues arise on an almost daily basis. Understanding how trusts are taxed and the legal issues that can arise regarding the use of trusts is a very important aspect of my legal practice. The Tax for Trusts subject was tailored to my needs and I apply this knowledge in my work on an almost daily basis.


What’s your experience studying at The Tax Institute Higher Education?

It has been great, the subjects are well planned and easy to follow online. The information I have learned is practical and can be readily applied to my practice. I also enjoy that I can learn at my own pace and organise my time so that studying fits into work and other commitments. 


How did you manage study whilst working?

To be frank, for the last two weeks leading up to the final exam I did not have much of a social life, and focused on studying and work. However, I knew this was only a short-term sacrifice for a long-term gain. I was committed to the task and wanted to achieve well in the subject. My tips for others would be to prioritise activities in your life. At various stages of our careers we have different priorities but constant (and often competing) demand from clients, colleagues or other professionals. We cannot always meet these demands at once. Prioritising what is important to you at different intervals of your career is important, so that you can grow as a professional, be a valued team member, and continue to service your clients to a high standard. 


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