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Using myTax

The ATO has introduced a new streamlined online tax return process for individuals with very straightforward tax affairs. MyTax is made up of just ten screens and is intended for people whose only income derived from wages, salary, dividends, bank interest, allowances,  and/or other Australian government payments.

To use myTax your only tax deductions need to be from work-related expenses, expenses related to income from interest or dividends, gifts/donations, and the costs associated with handling your own tax affairs. The only tax offsets that can be used in myTax are the senior Australians and pensioners’ tax offset, the zone and overseas forces tax offset, and/or the private health insurance rebate.

If you wait until early August to file your tax return with myTax, the ATO will be able to pre-fill all of your relevant tax information from the past financial year. This means that all you will have to do is provide your identification details, review the information and then submit.

In order to use myTax, you will need to have an existing myGov account. Both myGov and myTax are available on smart phones and tablet devices.

If you are unsure whether myTax is appropriate for you then the ATO has provided a full set of questions that you can use to determine whether or not you meet the criteria. Individuals who have tax affairs that are too complex for myTax should use the existing eTax system.

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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 Individuals will also not need to pay tax on any withdrawn amounts and existing welfare payments will not be affected either.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.