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Christmas giving (tax free!)

The holiday season is a great time to think about giving a little back to those less fortunate than you, and many Australians will make charitable donations. In Australia, charitable donations are tax deductible, which only adds to the incentive to be generous this year.

A recent global survey of charitable giving across the world has shown that countries that award taxpayers benefits for donations report much higher rates of donations per capita.

Here are some tips for maximising your tax breaks on donations tis year:

1. Make sure that the charity that you donate to has tax-exempt status from the ATO
2. Keep your receipts! You may need it if you are audited
3. If you are making a large donation, discuss the tax implications with your accountant, just to be on the safe side
4. Remember that you can only claim gifts as a tax deduction. This means that if you have received anything in return for your donation, for example, a raffle ticket or trinket, you may not be able to claim the deduction.

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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.