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GST at settlement

As of 1 July 2018, purchasers of new residential premises or potential land are required to withhold an amount from the contract price and pay the amount to the ATO before settlement.

A supplier (vendor, seller) of residential premises or potential residential land must notify the purchaser in writing whether they will need to withhold an amount. If the purchaser is required to withhold, the supplier will need to inform them of the amount and when it needs to be paid to the Tax Office.

Generally, if the property contract sale specifies an amount that is the price of the supply, i.e., the contract price, then the withholding amount is calculated on the contract price. However, there are some situations where the amount to be withheld must be calculated differently, including:
– Where the margin scheme applies to the supply
– The supply is between associates and is without consideration, or is for consideration that is less than the GST inclusive market value of the supply
– There is a mixed supply, for example, only partly a supply of new residential premises or potential residential land
– There are multiple purchasers (not joint tenants)

Once the supplier lodges their BAS and it is processed, the supplier will receive a credit for the amount the purchaser withheld and paid to the ATO.

Note, purchasers do not need to register for GST just because they have a withholding requirement.

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News

Expert advice on early superannuation access as a result of COVID-19

April 2, 2020

Under the coronavirus stimulus package released and revised by the Australian Federal Government on 22 March 2020, individuals in financial trouble due to the negative economic impacts of COVID-19 will be able to access their superannuation funds early. However, while the option is available, it is recommended that individuals only consider withdrawing from their super in the case of absolute emergencies and treat it as a last resort.

With the new rules on superannuation, workers whose incomes are reduced by at least 20% due to the COVID-19 outbreak are allowed to take $10,000 out of their super for the 2019-20 financial year and another $10,000 for 2020-21. Individuals will also not need to pay tax on any withdrawn amounts and existing welfare payments will not be affected either.

While the introduced early access to superannuation funds may be inviting for newly unemployed workers, it is important to consider whether the temporary relief is necessary and worth foregoing super funds available for long term investment. For example, even when accounting for Australia’s slowing economy in the coming years, $10,000 is predicted to be worth over $65,000 in another 30 years.

Especially for younger workers who are less likely to have access to other savings, the choice to give up future savings for current comfort is a difficult one. Experts instead are recommending Australians to apply for the other payments and benefits made available to vulnerable Australians through the coronavirus stimulus package, such as added $550 fortnightly supplements to Australians on JobSeeker payments and other welfare recipients and pensioners.

Experts also predict that the Australian Government will introduce more stimuli for increased cash flow in the Australian economy and more payments for unemployed, struggling and vulnerable Australians in the case of COVID-19 becoming more of a serious economic issue. Hence, withdrawing funds from your superannuation account should be considered a last resort and not for the sake of unnecessary temporary relief.

In addition to being allowed early access into individual super funds, superannuation minimum drawdown rates will also be temporarily reduced by 50% for account-based pensions and others similar until 2021.

The Government has also reduced the upper and lower social security deeming rates by a further 0.25 percentage points, with upper at 2.25% and lower at 0.25% which will come into effect on 1 May 2020.