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Australia and Switzerland enter into tax information exchange

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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Investing in shares vs property in SMSFs

March 19, 2020

Shares and property are two popular investment options for those with a self-managed super fund (SMSF). However, they both have very different attributes and choosing the one that will achieve the best outcome for an SMSF depends on your personal goals and situation.

While the price of shares can vary drastically, property is a relatively stable asset, making it appealing to those who want more security and predictability. Property prices are also negotiable unlike shares, and you can generally borrow money at a lower rate for property purchases.

It may seem hard to find the perfect investment property, but older and undercapitalised properties can be renovated for profit. However, returns from property rentals can be dented due to factors such as land tax, utilities and rates, maintenance and tenancy vacancies.

Shares are more dynamic and volatile than property. One advantage is the accessibility of investing in shares, as you can enter the share market with a few thousand dollars – much less than what you need to invest in a property.

Maintaining a portfolio of quality shares that pay tax-effective dividends may be a good way to fund retirement. With the right portfolio allocation, shares also have the potential to provide a better, stronger income than property rentals, as long as that income is sustainable and increasing.

Property can generally be used as a wealth-creation tool, while shares can create a reliable retirement income. For those who can afford to put more money into investments, it may be a good idea to consider investing and diversifying in both. If you’re unsure about which investment option is right for you, seeking financial advice may be the best option.