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A checklist for setting up your SMSF

Posted on October 30, 2018 by admin


Setting up an SMSF can be complex, which is why a checklist is useful to streamline your process. Before you set up your SMSF, first determine if having an SMSF is a commercially viable option. Once a decision is reached and you are about to start your SMSF, here are the basic steps to get things started:. Determine which members will be in your fund? Decide if you will you seek professional help to assist your set up? Decide whether the fund should have individual trustees or a corporate trustee Establish a suitable trust and trust deed Register your fund with the ATO Set up a bank account Prepare an exit strategy Get an electronic service address so the fund can receive contributions from employers


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Tax implications of a business restructure

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Tax exemptions may apply to small businesses going through a restructure provided they meet certain criteria. Typically when a business is sold, you would have to pay income tax due to transferring assets. However, when a business is restructuring, the ownership of assets remains unchanged, and there is instead a rollover. This allows you to transfer assets as a part of the restructure without having to pay income tax on that transfer. Your business may be eligible for the small business restructure rollover provided that: The change is a genuine restructure as opposed to an artificial or inappropriately tax-driven scheme There is no change to ultimate economic ownership in the sense that the economic owners of an asset are not changed or transferred, including if there is more than one owner of that asset The commissioner’s remedial power has repealed laws that incurred tax consequences on depreciating assets during a business restructure. When transferring depreciating assets, like cars during a business restructure, the commissioner’s remedial power will automatically apply, and there is nothing different you need to do to qualify for this tax exemption.


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ATO update: Check for $17.5 billion in lost super

Posted on October 26, 2018 by admin


The ATO’s new data revealed that although the total amount of lost and unclaimed super reduced by $420 million in 2017-2018, there is still $17.5 billion left to be found. The ATO has prioritised reuniting people with their lost super spread across over 6.2 million accounts. In the past financial year, the ATO was successful in merging $3 billion into active super accounts across the country. Typically people lose contact with their super funds when they change jobs, move house or forget to update their details. Although some people may intentionally maintain multiple accounts, those who are unaware they have an inactive account may not realise that fees are possibly eroding their super. You should remain engaged with your super fund throughout all stages of your career so you can maximise your retirement nest egg. You can view your super account details, including lost or forgotten accounts, by linking your myGov account to ATO online services. If you are unsure whether consolidating your super is the best option your super fund can advise you on issues such as insurance that may be attached to your accounts.


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When can the ATO issue a default assessment for overdue lodgements

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A default assessment is an assessment of taxable income for overdue tax returns or the net amount or assessable amount-for late activity statements. Although the ATO’s preferred approach is to work with taxpayers to help them meet their lodgement obligations, a default assessment will be issued if this collaborative approach fails. PenaltyThe administrative penalty of 75% of the tax-related liability will be applied for each default assessment issued by the ATO. The penalty increases by 20% for taxpayers who have a pattern of non-compliance and the ATO may also apply for another penalty for failing to lodge on time. Assessment notice warningsA warning letter will be sent by the ATO including the details of the default assessment and the date the overdue obligation needs to be lodged by to avoid a default assessment. If you do not receive notice of your default assessment, it will be if there is a risk of: Flight Dilution of assets Movement of funds outside Australia What you should do if you receive a warning letterIf you receive a warning letter, ensure all overdue obligations are lodged by the date advised in the warning letter. If you are a tax agent, notify your client, immediately, […]


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Event-based reporting framework for SMSFs

Posted on October 19, 2018 by admin


The event-based reporting (EBR) framework for self-managed super funds (SMSFs) commenced on 1 July 2018. The initiative allows for the administration of the Transfer balance cap (TBC). Under the EBR framework, you need to report to the ATO, when the first member of your SMSF begins a retirement phase income stream. The SMSF annual return is to be kept separate from the transfer balance account report. The TBAR enables the ATO to record and track an individual’s balance for their TBC and superannuation balance. The ATO does not provide ‘special circumstances’ discretion for contraventions of the TBC which is why SMSF trustees and members self-monitor to ensure that members do not exceed their TBC. Events to reportYour SMSF must report events affecting a member’s transfer balance including: Details of pre-existing income streams (including value and type) being received on 30 June 2017 that continued to be paid to them on or after 1 July 2017 or were in retirement phase on or after 1 July 2017 Details of new retirement phase and death benefit income streams including value and type (when a death benefit income stream is reversionary, the start date will be the date on which the member died) […]


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ATO reminder: fuel tax credit rates have increased

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Fuel tax credit rates have increased on 1 August. The ATO reminds you to use the new rates to calculate claims on your next business activity statement (BAS). How to simplify fuel tax credit claimsIf you claim less than $10,000 in fuel tax credits each year, you can use the ATO’s simplified methods to keep records and calculate your claims. Keep in mind the following tips: Keep accurate business records to help you claim all fuel tax credits you are entitled to Use the ATO tax fuel credit calculator to work out your claim Registered tax agents and BAS agents can help you with your tax Simplified record keeping strategiesUse the following records to substantiate claims of less than $10,000 per year: Contractor statements can be used where an amount for fuel used in performing services is deducted from the amount payable for the services Financial institution statements (business or personal credit/debit accounts)- where only the dollar amount is displayed on the statement Point-of-sale docket- where the docket either does not itemise the quantity of fuel dispensed or the quality is illegible Fuel supplier statement of invoice- where only the dollar amount is displayed on the statement


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Managing risk in your SMSF

Posted on October 12, 2018 by admin


SMSFs provide the trustee autonomy and an increased opportunity to maximise your retirement savings. However, an investment strategy must be accompanied by a risk management plan should some of your investments come up short. Consider the following risk management strategies: DiversificationDiversification reduces risk by investing in many different assets including property, annuities and equities. By spreading your earnings across several investments you minimise the risks to your retirement nest egg that can occur if one investment suffers a loss or a disappointing return. Organise your target returns according to your asset class and establish the accepted variation range from this target. This allows you to track your investment portfolio and whether it is setting you on the right financial path. LiquidityIf you tie up your money in assets like property, then you may run short on cash. It is important that you have cash to cover the costs of running your SMSF and in the case of a member’s total and permanent disablement. If you’re also forced to sell an asset to get this cash the market conditions may not be ideal, and you could receive a disappointing return because you need cash in a rush.


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ATO announces $20,000 instant asset write-off

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The ATO has extended the $20,000 threshold to 30 June 2019. If you buy an asset and it costs less than $20,000, you may write off the business portion in your tax return. To be eligible to use the simplified depreciation rules and claim an immediate deduction for the business portion of each asset costing less than $20,000, you must: Have a business turnover less than $10 million (increased $2 million on 1 July 2016) The asset was first used or installed ready for use in the income year you are claiming it in. If your asset costs more than $20,000, you are not eligible for immediate deduction. They will continue to be deducted over time using the general small business pool. You can write off the balance of this pool if the balance (before applying any other depreciation deduction) is less than $20,000 at the end of an income year. The $20,000 threshold applies from 12 May 2015 to 30 June 2019 and reduces to $1,000 on 1 July 2019. Remember, registered tax agents and BAS agents can help you with your tax.


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Choosing the right super risk profile

Posted on October 5, 2018 by admin


Choosing the right super risk profile at the right time can drastically increase your retirement savings. The following considerations will help you invest wisely when it comes to building your retirement nest egg. Types of investment optionsYour super fund should offer a range of investment options to consider. Here is what to know about each kind of option: Aggressive options are high risk, and you may have to sustain significant losses hoping to maximise your return in the long-term Growth options aiming for higher returns over longer terms may sustain some losses in poorly performing markets Balanced options provide moderate growth but endure less damage with an economic downturn Conservative options provide a lower return but are the lowest risk option Picking the right optionThe investment option right for you depends on your retirement goals, your financial circumstances and your attitude towards risk. Your timeframe for investment should be substantial if you are looking at high-risk options as you have a considerable opportunity to recover from any losses. As your income stabilises and your retirement comes closer consider shifting to a low-risk alternative to secure what you have built up. You may also want to look to your assets like […]


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Claiming tax when working from home

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The ATO is seeking to increase their attention on home office expenses due to the high level of questionable claims made by taxpayers. There has been an increase in the number of Australians claiming deductions for costs incurred from working from home. The ATO reports that in the last tax year 6.7 million taxpayers claimed a record $7.9 billion in deductions for ‘other work-related expenses’, including expenses relating to working from home. The main mistakes stem from individuals claiming the whole instead of the work-related portion of expenses for bills related to phone, internet, printing and stationery. The ATO has identified that a separate work area will incur work-related expenses eligible for tax deductions as opposed to answering some emails at a kitchen bench. The ATO has also recommended recording expenses in case of an audit or if the ATO contacts your employer to confirm your claim. To ensure you do not suffer non-compliance penalties, the ATO recommends you follow the three golden rules for taxpayers working from home. One- you must have spent the money yourself and not been reimbursed, two- the claim must be directly related to earning your income, and three- you need a record to prove […]


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Authority for super complaints introduced

December 14, 2018

The new Australian Financial Complaints Authority (AFCA) will make it easier for individuals and small businesses to make complaints about their superannuation financial firms.

The Coalition government has responded to criticisms of previous dispute resolution bodies by creating a new financial disputes framework. AFCA has been described as a “one-stop shop” that will improve outcomes for consumers and increase the efficiency of the dispute resolution process.

AFCA’s jurisdiction
AFCA has been given authority over a range of complaint areas including:

What you can make complaints about
Your super complaint to AFCA must adhere to its governing rules. AFCA has specific time limits for complaints but no monetary limits.

You can make complaints about: