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ATO monitors personal living expenses

In an ongoing effort to address the misuse and abuse of the tax and regulatory systems, the ATO has implemented a new tool to monitor what constitutes reasonable personal living expenses.

Information is requested by the tax office to identify unreported cash income when looking at household expenditure. An individual will be required to provide this information to work out if they need to make adjustments to their business and record-keeping practices as well as help the ATO identify if they should be selected for an audit.

In the event of an audit or when making an assessment in the course of examining an individual’s tax affairs, the ATO will employ a set of guidelines presented in the form of questionnaire worksheets. These worksheets will require taxpayers to provide certain details about the living expenses of their household.

Discrepancies in tax returns that have been discovered by individuals completing a personal living expenses worksheet can be adjusted through voluntary disclosure. Taxpayers that voluntarily inform the ATO of mistakes before an audit may be eligible for reduced penalties.

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Ineligible downsizer contributions and how they are administered

August 12, 2019

When a downsizer contribution is ineligible, the fund must re-assess the amount in accordance with the Superannuation Industry (Supervision) Regulations 1994 and the trust deed. This is to determine if the amount can be retained as a non-concessional contribution.

Provided the trust deed allows so, the fund can return the contribution to the member or adjust the prior downsizing contributions to nil and report this amount as a non-concessional contribution when the member meets the age and work tests.

When a contribution can’t be returned or returned in full:
Members who no longer have a super interest with the fund, or an insufficient return amount, must have their contribution re-reported as non-concessional, even if the contribution was returned because the member did not meet the age/work tests. Some of the contribution may be an excess non-concessional contribution (ENCC). Regardless of the age of the member, if this is the case the member will receive an ENCC determination or when the fund can’t return the full amount. Members will continue to have access to all review rights under the ENCC scheme. Even if the member is in pension phase, the funds will still need to return an ineligible downsizer contribution if it cannot be accepted.

When a fund receives a release authority:
An amount released under these circumstances is treated as a super lump sum as it is a portion of the member’s super interest. Being in pension phase doesn’t prevent a fund from complying with the release authority although it may mean the full amount can’t be released, as the available balance may be lower than the amount stated in the release authority. Where the member’s available balance is lower than the release authority amount, the fund must release the maximum amount available.

The ATO monitors the rectification of this contribution reporting. Where funds don’t act within legislative timeframes, the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA) may be contacted.