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Division 7a in detail

Business owners sometimes borrow money from their own company for a variety of personal and financial reasons. However, there can be an issue with tax law compliance if the proper steps are not carried out in treating the transaction correctly.

Division 7a is an integrity measure of tax legislation that comes into effect when there is a loan by a company to the business’ owners and associates, i.e. the shareholders of the company. Associates are broadly defined and can include family members and other related entities.

Specifically, this tax law covers any monetary benefits including:

-payments made to a shareholder (or associate) by a private company, including transfers or uses of property for less than market value

-loans made without specific loan agreements

-debt forgiveness

These transactions may come under the Division 7a provisions and as such are treated as assessable unfranked dividends to the shareholder or associate, and are taxed accordingly.

An assessable unfranked dividend means that there are no franking credits available to the recipient, so the franking tax offset will not apply and the recipient will have to pay tax on the dividends at the usual marginal rate.

However, there a few instances in which Division 7a will not apply:

-if the payment is made to a shareholder or associate who is also an employee of the company, than the dividend may be treated as a fringe benefit instead.

-to payments of genuine debts

-if the loan is entered into formally with a written agreement outlining minimum interest rates and maximum term criteria. However, minimum yearly re- payments of the loan are required in order to avoid the amount’s being treated as dividends arising in later years.

-payments or loans excluded by virtue of other tax provisions

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News

Amnesty means that 24,000 businesses own up to underpaying Aussies superannuation

September 24, 2020

An amnesty scheme which ended earlier this month has caused around 24,000 businesses to admit to underpayment of their worker’s super. A total of 588 million dollars will be distributed to almost 400,00 individuals.

The scheme, which covered payments from the introduction of super in 1992, gave employers the opportunity to come clean without any consequences as long as they paid the unpaid super as well as 10% interest for every year the money was overdue.

The ATO will be directing its attention at any businesses that did not admit fault and these businesses will face severe penalties.

Many individuals are looking to access their superannuation early in order to have support during these times. Although there is criticism of early access to super, this facility has been helpful to many families to keep afloat.