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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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How to catch out an illegal super scheme

April 18, 2018

When a super scheme seems too good to be true, it often is. Many illegal super schemes are operating in Australia, so it is crucial to understand the characteristics of such schemes.

A popular illegal scheme is one whereby an individual is enticed by being told they can access their super early to pay off a credit card debt, go on a holiday, buy a car and so on. Generally, such schemes are illegal as superannuation can only be accessed early by meeting a condition of release.

Those promoting such schemes usually:
– Encourage individuals to transfer super from an existing super fund to an SMSF to access super before they are legally entitled to;
– Target those under financial pressure or who do not understand the super laws;
– Claim you can use your super for anything you want;
– Charge high fees and commissions, and risk losing some or all of the individuals super to them.

Unfortunately, participating in these schemes subject the affected individual to identity theft from the promoter of the scheme. Identity theft is when someone uses another person’s details to commit fraud or other crimes.

Individuals need to be aware that super is usually only accessible once the preservation age is reached and they stop working. The preservation age is currently 55 years old for those born before 1 July 1960 and 60 years old for those born after 30 June 1964.

Superannuation can only be accessed early in special circumstances such as severe financial hardship and for specific medical conditions. There are severe penalties for illegally accessing your super early.