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Making smart investment choices in your SMSF

Posted on October 24, 2014 by admin


One of the most exciting things about self-managing your superannuation is the ability to make your own investment choices. In SMSFs, there are also a lot more investment options available, and it can be tempting to get a little creative with your portfolio. However, unless you are extremely confident and familiar with the investment, or have received trusted professional advice, it is advisable to be wary of unorthodox investment options. Especially if someone is making a hard sales pitch, because good investments sell themselves! This week the ATO released a warning about telemarketers trying to convince SMSF trustees to invest in high-risk collectables, such as art. If you are considering investing in collectables, which can be a great addition to your portfolio, you should always have them independently valued. If you are considering investing in unusual areas, you should also make sure that the investment meets the sole purpose test.


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Australia’s superannuation system ranked world’s second best

Posted on October 15, 2014 by admin


The Mercer Global Pension Index, a comprehensive annual report that rates the quality of international retirement schemes, has placed Australia’s superannuation system as the world’s second best. Denmark was ranked number one, with the Netherlands, Finland and Switzerland rounding out the top five. Australia, Canada, Chile and Singapore were the only non-European states to make the top ten. Representatives from groups representing the interests of Australian retirees have expressed surprise at the finding, pointing out that the full pension rate currently sits close to the poverty line. Australia’s position improved thanks to the recent superannuation guarantee increase from 9.25%-9.5%. Industry representatives have claimed that if the guarantee rises to 12%, as is the government’s long-term plan, Australia could reach the number one position.


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ATO amnesty offer reveals over 1000 offshore tax evaders

Posted on by admin


As part of their project DO IT, the ATO have successfully uncovered over $550 worth of assets that Australians hold offshore. The tax office is offering a period of amnesty that allows them to come forward and reveal offshore assets without the risk of heavy penalties. The ATO will only assess four years of income for those who come forward and this will be subject to a maximum shortfall penalty of 10%. The ATO is also guaranteeing that there will be no prosecutions. However, for taxpayers who do not reveal their offshore holdings before the mid-December deadline there may be a hefty tax bill. The full amount will be assessed as income, meaning almost half will go to the ATO. On top of that, because the assets were subject to tax evasion, the ATO may apply an additional penalty of 90%, and this can be subject to interest charges.


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Changes to FBT for Utes

September 14, 2018

The Australian Tax Office (ATO) has released draft guidelines changing its previous stance on Fringe Benefits Tax (FBT) for utes. Amendments originated from reports that dodgy tax returns were responsible for a loss of $8.7 billion in income tax due to wrongful claims. Failure to comply with new requirements listed below may result in a 20 percent FBT imposed on the cost of the vehicle.

The requirement of a logbook
New rules require employers to ensure their workers using these vehicles keep detailed logbooks. Whether the logbooks are electronic or hard copy, it is vital that the process be effective for returns lodged in the 2019 FBT year, when the law takes effect. Employers receive confirmation via email from employees using the vehicles at the end of the 2019 FBT year with their logbook including all regulated diversions and private use.

Diversions and private use rules
The guidelines introduce capped limits for the log books to comply with. Professional travel means that the vehicle must not deviate more than 2km from its usual route. However, 1000 km of non-work related travel is allowed, provided that there is no single trip exceeding 200 km. Such regulations provide greater flexibility than previous guidelines. What the ATO deems “minor” or “irregular trips” like carpooling the children to and from school or an occasional trip to visit relatives will not render you non-compliant so long as it is recorded as non-professional use.