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ATO announces $20,000 instant asset write-off

Posted on October 12, 2018 by admin


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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Claiming tax when working from home

Posted on October 5, 2018 by admin


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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ATO developing software to stop tax avoidance

Posted on September 27, 2018 by admin


The ATO is in the midst of developing advanced data programs to find individuals who are leaving a source of income out of their tax return. Analytical tools have been developed to utilise the amount of data the ATO receives to identify instances where income has gone unreported. This is to address the annual $1.4 billion tax shortfall caused by individuals who leave income out of their return. The ATO has identified that the most common mistakes are made by taxpayers leaving out cash wages. There are also issues with the non-disclosure of income from second jobs, capital gains on cryptocurrency, the sharing economy, the gig economy and foreign-sourced income. Concerning foreign sourced income, the ATO has identified that most funds come from the UK, USA, China, Switzerland, Hong Kong, New Zealand and Singapore. In response to this, the ATO is developing a single global standard for collection, reporting and exchange of financial account information on foreign tax residents. The ATO imposes penalties and interest for a failure to disclose an accurate statement of income tax. The penalties can range from 25 per cent up to 75 per cent of the shortfall, in addition to paying the money owed.


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Authorisations for Single Touch Payroll

Posted on September 24, 2018 by admin


On the 1 July 2018, the Australian Government introduced Single Touch Payroll (STP) for employers with 20 or more employees. The new scheme requires employers to report payment activities each time employees were paid. Authorisations for an agent to act on behalf of an employer to streamline the process of STP are provided below. STP Engagement AuthorityIf a registered agent reports through STP for an employer, they can get written authorisation to make this declaration through an annual agreement. This authorisation will allow the registered agent to make the relevant declaration to the Commissioner when they lodge an STP at each pay event. Both parties should have a copy for their records although there is no need to provide a copy to the ATO The agreement should include: An outline of the responsibilities of both parties Agreed terms of the employer’s collation of payroll Their process for calculating and paying their employees Taxation and superannuation obligations Eligibility for the AuthorityFor eligibility to provide an agent with the powers given above regarding STP, the employer must not: Have any overdue activity statement lodgements Have any outstanding debts, unless they are covered by a payment arrangement or subject to review Currently be […]


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Changes to FBT for Utes

Posted on September 14, 2018 by admin


The Australian Tax Office (ATO) has released draft guidelines changing its previous stance on Fringe Benefits Tax (FBT) for utes. Amendments originated from reports that dodgy tax returns were responsible for a loss of $8.7 billion in income tax due to wrongful claims. Failure to comply with new requirements listed below may result in a 20 percent FBT imposed on the cost of the vehicle. The requirement of a logbookNew rules require employers to ensure their workers using these vehicles keep detailed logbooks. Whether the logbooks are electronic or hard copy, it is vital that the process be effective for returns lodged in the 2019 FBT year, when the law takes effect. Employers receive confirmation via email from employees using the vehicles at the end of the 2019 FBT year with their logbook including all regulated diversions and private use. Diversions and private use rulesThe guidelines introduce capped limits for the log books to comply with. Professional travel means that the vehicle must not deviate more than 2km from its usual route. However, 1000 km of non-work related travel is allowed, provided that there is no single trip exceeding 200 km. Such regulations provide greater flexibility than previous guidelines. What […]


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Income tax return: what to report

Posted on September 6, 2018 by admin


The time to report and lodge your annual tax return for your business is fast approaching. Remember, what you must report will depend upon the type of business entity you have. Sole traders As a sole trader, you are required to lodge a tax return even if your income is below the tax-free threshold. This will include: – tax return for individuals including the supplementary section – business and professional items schedule for individuals. You must report: – The business income minus the business deductions you are eligible to claim. – The other income like wages and salary (from a payment summary), rental income and dividends, minus deductions against this income. Partnerships and partners The partnership must lodge a partnership tax return. This will include the partnership’s net income (assessable income less allowable expenses and deductions). The ATO does not require the partnership to pay tax on the income it earns. Rather, every partner must pay tax on the share of net partnership income you each receive. For you (as an individual partner) you must report: – Your share of the partnership net income or loss. – Any other assessable income like wages and salary (shown on a payment summary), […]


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TPRS extension to contractors

Posted on August 29, 2018 by admin


From 1 July 2018, businesses that supply cleaning or courier services must report payments made to contractors (if payments are for cleaning or courier services) via the Taxable payments annual report (TPAR) each year. However, the ATO does not require taxpayers to lodge their TPAR during the period up until the proposed law change is passed by Parliament. Instead, they are expected to keep appropriate records to ensure a TPAR could be prepared and lodged as soon as practical (after the law is enacted). After the new law is enacted taxpayers will need to check payments, they have made to contractors from 1 July 2018 and then complete and lodge a TPAR for the 2018-19 income year. The ATO does not require those taxpayers who recorded their payments and lodged their TPAR (in accordance with the changes) to do anything else. Those who did not record their payments (to contractors) must review their records and form a summary of all payments made after 1 July 2018 and the required details for each payment. Businesses who also supply road freight, security, investigation, surveillance or IT services must report payments made to contractors (if payments are for road freight, security, investigation or […]


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Tax deduction for landcare operations

Posted on August 22, 2018 by admin


You may be able to claim a tax deduction for capital expenditure on a landcare operation in Australia in the year it is incurred. Providing you are a primary producer, a rural land irrigation water provider who incurred the expenditure on or after 1 July 2004, or a business using rural land for taxable uses (excluding mining and quarrying businesses) you are eligible to claim a deduction. Many operations fall under the category of a landcare operation. For instance, when you primarily and principally: – eradicate, exterminate or destroy plant growth detrimental to the land. – put in fences to keep animals from areas affected by land degradation to prevent or limit further damage and assist in reclaiming the areas. – eradicate or exterminate animal pests from the land. – construct drainage works to control salinity or assist in drainage control. – prevent or combat land degradation by means other than fences. Other operations the ATO defines as a landcare operation include: – constructing a levee or similar improvement – erecting fences to separate different land classes as set out in an approved land management plan – for expenditure incurred on or after 1 July 2004, a structural improvement or […]


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Rental property and tax

Posted on August 21, 2018 by admin


The Tax Office is reminding individuals who either own or are looking to purchase a rental property that there are essential record-keeping and taxation obligations that they must meet. Examples of records to keep (for the period the individual owns the property for and up to five years after it is sold), include: – Rental income – Contract of purchase and sale – Expenses – Loan and refinancing documents – Periods when the property was used for private use (i.e., family use) – Steps taken to rent out the property (i.e., advertising) Individuals must also declare all income they receive from renting out their property. Examples of income may include: – Rent received (before fees or expenses) – Reimbursement for deductible expenditure – Any fees collected from cancelled bookings – Insurance payouts – Booking or letting fees Individuals can claim many expenses related to the property as immediate tax deductions or deductions over a number of years. Immediate expense deductions include: – Repairs and maintenance on the property – Loan interest – Property management fees Expenses to claim as deductions over a number of tax returns include: – Depreciating assets – Capital works or improvements – Borrowing expenses Expenses accrued […]


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Avoid these top tax misconceptions

Posted on August 7, 2018 by admin


As tax time continues, the ATO has announced the top misconceptions many individuals make when completing their claims for tax deductions. Four popular tax misunderstandings include: 1. Individuals can give credit card statements as proof of claim Debunked: When making a claim, individuals must be able to show they spent the money, what the money was spent on, the supplier and the date the purchase was made unless record-keeping exceptions apply. 2. Individuals can automatically claim $150 for clothing and laundry, under $300 for work-related expenses or 5000 kilometres for car-related expenses Debunked: While taxpayers are not required to provide receipts relating to the above in certain circumstances, these are not ‘standard deductions’ everyone can just claim. An individual can only claim if they have spent the money, and the expense relates to earning their income. They must also be able to explain how they calculated the amount. 3. Individuals can claim home-to-work travel Debunked: Individuals can only claim home-to-work travel in limited situations, i.e., in some circumstances where they must transport bulky equipment. 4. Individuals can claim work clothes when required to wear a particular colour Debunked: Individuals can only claim a deduction for work clothes if they are […]


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Managing risk in your SMSF

October 12, 2018

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:

Diversification
Diversification 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.

Liquidity
If 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.