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Plan to tax bank deposits

Posted on March 30, 2015 by admin


The federal government has announced that it is planning to place a tax on bank deposits in its next budget, which will be handed down in May. According to media reports, the tax will take the form of an insurance levy; the government offers consumers a savings guarantee of up to $250 000 to protect them in the event of a bank collapsing. To support this insurance guarantee, accounts holding more than $250 000 will incur a 0.05% levy. Banking representatives are warning that the cost of the tax may be passed on to consumers. Further criticism of the scheme comes from assertations that the likelihood of an Australian bank collapsing is extraordinarily remote. The new banking tax is expected to raise $500 000 each year.


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ATO Releases New Blueprint: Reinventing the ATO

Posted on March 19, 2015 by admin


Yesterday, the Australian Tax Office released a blueprint containing information on a new unit for wealthy taxpayers, as well as a new design to guide future proceedings with taxpayers. Entitled ‘Reinventing the ATO’, the blueprint outlines an exclusive unit to deal with wealthy individuals in Australia and at least one million privately owned businesses. The announcement of this new unit comes in response to the government being forced to defend exempting Australia’s biggest private companies from tax disclosure requirements. Beginning in late April, the taxpayers who make over $1 billion or have $500 million in assets will be personally contacted by the ATO to discuss assessments of tax risks or issues. Other taxpayers in this segment who attract attention from the ATO, will also be provided with a report outlining any risk assessments or concerns. For thousands of small businesses, the ability to pay all their employee super contributions at once to the Small Business Superannuation Clearing House will be possible by July, and there will also be enhancements made to the ATO’s small business newsroom. The blueprint is available today on the ATO website, and contains information for both the community and ATO staff.


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Tips for cutting your tax bill

Posted on March 13, 2015 by admin


1. Put more into your mortgage offset account: Mortgage offset accounts are usually considered to be a mechanism for protecting yourself from interest rate rises. However, another advantage is that if you direct more money here and less to your savings account, you will save on tax earned on interest. With interest rates at record lows, this strategy may be particularly beneficial to some individuals. 2. Don’t forget about non-concessional super contributions: There is a lot of hype surrounding the massive tax benefits of concessional (before tax) superannuation contributions, but don’t forget about your non-concessional (after tax) options! By making after-tax contributions, you will save tax on the returns earned by your investments. 3. Discretionary family trusts: Family trusts allow you to direct the income earned towards lower income earners, thereby reducing the amount of tax you pay. If you are interested in starting a family trust, feel free to call our office to discuss your situation.


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Superannuation and life insurance

Posted on March 12, 2015 by admin


A lot of Australians are unaware of the fact that they probably have life insurance provided by their superannuation fund. Due to economies of scale, you are most likely getting a very good deal on your cover, and as such it pays to be aware of a few things that can impact your life insurance. 1. SMSFs need to consider the life insurance needs of their members. However, this does not necessarily mean that the SMSF needs to provide the insurance. A lot of SMSF trustees choose to keep some of their super invested in public funds in order to take advantage of the cheap life insurance. 2. You need to specify who you would like to receive your life insurance payout in the event that you pass away (you need to do the same for your superannuation). It pays to be aware that life insurance payouts to non-dependents tend to attract a hefty tax bill, whereas payouts to dependents are typically tax-free. 3. You can also access income protection insurance in your SMSF. Income protection insurance is especially important for people who have families or large debts (i.e. a mortgage).


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Australia and Switzerland enter into tax information exchange

Posted on March 5, 2015 by admin


Switzerland and Australia have entered into an unprecedented agreement that will see the two countries automatically exchange tax information. The move is intended to prevent tax evasion through income earned and held in offshore bank accounts. Tax avoidance has been increasingly prominent on the international agenda recently, and Switzerland is striving to shake its reputation as a haven for tax dodgers and criminal organisation. Swiss authorities have even gone so far as to criticise the James Bond film franchise for the unsavoury image it has cast on the alpine nation. Authorities from both countries have indicated that they expect the information exchange to be in full swing by 2018. While this is the first time that Switzerland has entered into such an agreement, negotiations for similar arrangements are underway with a number of OECD countries.


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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.