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Reducing errors when claiming business expenses

The ATO has identified particular areas relating to business expenses that are commonly entered incorrectly in tax returns. Owners should take the time to carefully review tax returns to ensure all information is correct.

Individuals who use a motor vehicle entirely for their business can claim a deduction for the whole amount. However, if they use the vehicle for a mix of business and private use, they will need to divide the expense amount and only claim the business portion.

Business expenses must be kept separate from an individual’s private expenses, such as personal rent, fines, travel, food and renovations of a private residence. Those who operate their small business as a company or trust need to be aware that paying private expenses from these accounts may have other tax implications such as fringe benefits tax and shareholder loans.

In the event a business is upgrading its accounting software, remember to check that business and private expense codes are correct. The business expenses must be claimed at the GST exclusive rate if they are registered for GST, not the GST inclusive rate.

Small businesses should note that falsely or incorrectly claiming expenses is not something the ATO takes lightly. Penalties can apply based on the extent of the misinformation.

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Basics of SMSF investing

January 21, 2021

Setting up an SMSF fund is the simplest step. Establishing a fund which delivers you consistent returns from your investments is much more difficult.

Investing successfully involves determining precise goals and picking investments which will effectively achieve those goals. The advantage of SMSFs is that you can build a portfolio which reflects your short-term and long-term goals in response to changing market conditions.

In an SMSF fund, your investment options are:

Before you begin investing, consider what might be the best way to diversify your portfolio. How you portion your investments will depend on your funds, the market, and your goals. Regardless of what your plan is, diversification should be a priority.

Choosing an SMSF as opposed to an industry or retail super fund provides you with more flexibility, but also with more responsibility. Researching before investing is key if you want the best out of your SMSF.