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Can you claim deductions for employee training?

Employees of a small business may need to develop their expertise or skills in a particular area to better perform their duties. While training courses like seminars and one-day intensives can be a worthwhile investment, there are still a few things employers should consider from a tax point of view.

Employers can generally claim deductions for the full costs incurred when providing education to employees, including aspects like course fees and travel costs. Paying for employee work-related course fees commonly constitutes a fringe benefit and is subject to FBT. However, FBT law allows a full or partial reduction of FBT payable provided that the ‘otherwise deductible’ rule is met. The ‘otherwise deductible rule’ implies that if the employee had paid the expense themselves, they could claim a deduction for the expense. The business could then provide the benefit to the employee without having to pay FBT on the amounts.

An education expense is considered to be hypothetically deductible to the employee depending on the type of course or education studied. The course must have a satisfactory connection to an employee’s current employment, maintain or improve the skills or knowledge required for the employee’s current role, or result in an increase in the employee’s income.

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SMSF property investment regulations to keep in mind

June 2, 2020

Property is a common investment option for SMSFs, however, the ATO has a number of regulations SMSF owners need to be wary of. The ATO is particularly concerned with those using SMSF assets to invest in property in a way that is detrimental to retirement purposes.

To ensure you do not breach provisions of the Superannuation Industry (Supervision) Act 1993 (SISA), here is a breakdown of the ATO’s common regulatory concerns:

Also keep in mind that you cannot improve a property or change the nature of a property while there is a loan in place. While you can look to make additional contributions to your SMSF to speed up the loan repayment process, you will be precluded from making further contributions to your SMSF if any outstanding loans in your super balance exceed $1.6 million.

In the case that any of the ATO’s regulatory concerns apply to you and your SMSF’s involvement with property investment, confirm your situation and report your circumstances to the ATO. Additional regulatory matters regarding income tax such as non-arm’s length income (NALI) provisions as well as GST need to be reported as well.