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Budget 2018: creating a level-playing field

The Government will continue its commitment to strengthen the economy by focusing on improving its integrity measures to create a fairer level-playing field for all.

Funding new ATO enforcement
Additional funds will be allocated from the Budget over four years to fund a new ATO enforcement strategy to tackle the black economy. Through this measure, the ATO will implement new mobile strike teams, stricter auditing and a Black Economy Hotline for Australians to report black economy and illegal phoenix activities.

Cash payment limit
The Government will commence with a restriction on cash payments made to businesses for goods or services of up to $10,000 from 1 July 2019. Payments over $10,000 must be made via an online banking system or cheque unless payments are with financial institutions or consumer to consumer non-business transactions.

No tax-deductibility for non-compliant payments
From 1 July 2019, the Government is keeping a closer eye on those businesses that try to claim deductions for any payments made to their employees that do not comply with current regulations. Deductions for payments from a business to a contractor will also be disallowed if the contractor does not have an ABN and the business does not withhold any PAYG monies, despite the withholding requirements applying.

Reforms to combat illegal phoenixing
Corporations and tax laws will be strengthened with further measures to prevent illegal phoenix activities. Those measures will include changes to:
– introduce new phoenix offences for individuals who run or open the door to illegal phoenixing;
– stop directors incorrectly backdating resignations to avoid liability or prosecution;
– control the power of related creditors to vote on the appointment, removal or replacement of an external administrator;
– expand the Director Penalty Regime to GST, luxury car tax and wine equalisation tax (to make directors personally liable for company’s debts); and
– allow the Tax Office to restrict refunds for outstanding tax lodgements.

Personal income tax
The ATO will receive further funding from 1 July 2018 in a bid to strengthen compliance activities on individual taxpayers and their tax agents. This funding is set to provide new compliance activities, a stronger audit presence and prosecutions, improve education and guidance materials, pre-filling of income tax returns and enhance real time messaging to tax agents and individual taxpayers. This measure is set to prevent over-claiming of any entitlements, including tax deductions by higher risk taxpayers and their agents.

Black economy package
The Taxable Payments Reporting System (TPRS) will expand to include security providers and investigation services; road freight transport; and computer system design and related services. Businesses required to report payments to contractors to the Tax Office must keep information from 1 July 2019, with the first annual report due by August 2020.

Tax and superannuation debts
The Budget implements a further range of strategies to improve debt collections revenue and time taken for debts to be collected. This measure is set to deter individual taxpayers from gaining an unfair advantage over individuals paying their fair share of tax and super.

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News

Self-managed super funds (SMSF) aren’t just about financial investment

December 3, 2020

Individuals may be looking to opt for an SMSF because these provide entire control over where the money is invested. While this sounds enticing, the downside is that they involve a lot more time and effort as all investment is managed by the members/trustees.

Firstly, SMSFs require a lot of on-going investment of time:

Data shows that SMSF trustees spend an average of 8 hours per month managing their SMSFs. This adds up to more than 100 hours per year and demonstrates that compared to other superannuation methods, is a lot more time occupying.

Secondly, there are set-up and maintenance costs of SMSFs such as tax advice, financial advice, legal advice and hiring an accredited auditor. These costs are difficult to avoid if you want the best out of your SMSF. A statistical review has shown that on average, the operating cost of an SMSF is $6,152. This data is inclusive of deductible and non-deductible expenses such as auditor fee, management and administration expenses etc., but not inclusive of costs such as investment and insurance expenses.

Thirdly, investing in SMSF requires financial and legal knowledge and skill. Trustees should understand the investment market so that they can build and manage a diversified portfolio. Further, when creating an investment strategy, it is important to assess the risk and plan ahead for retirement, which can be difficult if one is not equipped with the necessary knowledge. In terms of legal knowledge, complying with tax, super and other relevant regulations requires a basic level of understanding at the very least. Finally, insurance for fund members also needs to be organised which can be difficult without additional knowledge.
Although SMSFs have the advantage of autonomy when it comes to investing, this comes at a price. Members/trustees need to invest time and money into managing the fund and on top of this, are required to have some financial and legal knowledge to successfully manage the fund.