Archive for the ‘General News’ Category

Issues for businesses

Thursday, July 5th, 2018

Lower company tax rates and imputation
Company tax rates are falling in Australia. Companies carrying on a business with turnover of less than $25 million will pay a rate of 27.5% in 2018 – the rate of 30% only applies if turnover is $25 million or more, or the company is not carrying on a business.
By 2027, the tax rate will reach a low of 25% for companies carrying on a business with turnover up to $50 million.
TIP: The dividend franking rate for 2018 may be different from a company’s tax rate, depending on whether turnover in 2017 was less than the current year’s turnover benchmark ($25 million for 2018).

Deductions for small business entities

Small business entities (companies, trusts, partnerships or sole traders with total turnover of less than $10 million) will qualify for a raft of tax concessions in the 2018 income tax year:
• the $20,000 instant asset write-off – an immediate deduction when buying and installing depreciating assets that cost less than $20,000.
• the simplified depreciation rules – accelerated depreciation rates of 15% or 30% for depreciable assets that cost $20,000 or more;
• the small business restructure rollover;
• an immediate deduction for start-up costs;
• an immediate deduction for certain prepaid expenses;
• the simplified trading stock rules – removing the need to do an end-of-year stocktake if stock value has changed by less than $5,000;
• the simplified PAYG rules – the ATO will calculate PAYG instalments;
• cash basis accounting for GST – the ATO will calculate the GST instalment payable and annual apportionment for input tax credits for acquisitions that are partly creditable;
• the FBT car parking exemption (from 1 April 2017); and
• the ability for employees to salary-sacrifice two identical portable electronic devices (from 1 April 2016).
These concessions are very powerful for small businesses, and can lead to substantial tax savings.

Small business CGT concessions
If you’re selling a business that has an aggregated turnover of less than $2 million (a “CGT small business entity”) or the value of its net CGT assets is $6 million or less (it satisfies the $6 million “net asset value” test), you may be able to access the small business CGT concessions.
These concessions include:
• a 15-year exemption – no CGT is payable;
• a 50% active asset reduction – a 50% CGT discount in addition to the 50% general discount;
• the retirement exemption – up to $500,000 lifetime tax-free limit; and
• the active asset rollover – minimum two years’ deferral.

Tax planning

Thursday, July 5th, 2018

With the end of the 2018 income tax year rapidly approaching, this issue draws attention to year-end tax planning strategies and compliance matters that you need to consider to ensure good tax health. It focuses on the most important issues for small to medium businesses and individuals to consider.
TIP: This is general information, but we’ll take your particular circumstances into account to help you achieve good tax health. Contact us to find out more.

Deferring derivation of income
If your business recognises income on an accruals basis (when an invoice is raised) and your cash flow allows, you may consider delaying raising some invoices until after 30 June, meaning the assessable income will be derived after the 2018 income tax year.
For business income derived on a cash basis (interest, royalties, rent and dividends), you may consider deferring the receipt of certain payments until after 30 June 2018. For example, setting term deposits to mature after 30 June 2018 rather than before.

Bringing forward tax-deductible expenses

To qualify for deductions in the 2018 income tax year, you may be able to bring forward upcoming expenses so that you incur them before 30 June 2018. Small businesses and individual non-business taxpayers may prepay some expenses (such as insurances and professional subscriptions) up to 12 months ahead. This should only be done subject to available cash flow and where the prepayment makes commercial sense.

ATO assessments issued for excess super pension balances

Friday, May 11th, 2018

The ATO has started issuing excess transfer balance (ETB) tax assessments to self managed super fund (SMSF) members, or their agents, who had previously received an ETB determination and rectified the excess. These ETB tax assessments are sent to SMSF members (or their professionals), and not to the fund. It’s then up to the member to decide how to cover the ETB liability for exceeding their $1.6 million pension transfer balance cap.
The ATO warns that SMSF members may receive an ETB assessment even if they didn’t receive an ETB determination. If they rectified the excess before they were assessed for a determination, they are still liable for the ETB tax. However, SMSF members who were covered by the transitional rules for excesses not exceeding $100,000 and rectified in full by 31 December 2017, will not receive an ETB tax assessment.

Banking Royal Commission wraps up evidence on financial advice

Friday, May 11th, 2018

The Banking Royal Commission has wrapped up its two weeks of hearings focused on financial advice.
The hearings have included gruelling evidence of misconduct in financial services entities’ provision of financial advice, occurring in the context of fees being charged for no service, platform fees, inappropriate advice, improper conduct and the disciplinary regime.
The Royal Commission has adjourned until 21 May 2018, when it will begin its third round of hearings with a focus on small and medium enterprises (SMEs). The Commission’s final report is due by 1 February 2019.

Financial Complaints Authority takes shape

Friday, May 11th, 2018

Minister for Revenue and Financial Services Kelly O’Dwyer has announced the authorisation of the new financial dispute resolution scheme, the Australian Financial Complaints Authority (AFCA), which will start accepting complaints from 1 November 2018. AFCA is intended to be a “one-stop shop”, having the expertise to deal with all financial disputes, including superannuation and small business lending disputes, with higher monetary limits and compensation caps.
All Australian financial services (AFS) licensees, Australian credit licensees, superannuation trustees and other financial firms legally required to join AFCA will need to do so by 21 September 2018.

Government to increase civil penalties for white-collar crime

Friday, May 11th, 2018

In response to recent Senate Economics References Committee and Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) Enforcement Review Taskforce reports, the Federal Government has agreed to increase the civil penalties for corporate and financial misconduct (white-collar crime), for both individuals and bodies corporate. ASIC infringement notices will also be expanded to cover a broader range of financial services and managed investments infringements.
The new maximum civil penalties will be set at:
• for individuals, the greater of 5,000 penalty units (currently $1.05 million) or three times the value of the benefits obtained or losses avoided; and
• for corporations, the greater of 50,000 penalty units (currently $10.5 million) or three times the value of the benefits obtained or losses avoided, or 10% of annual turnover in the 12 months before the misconduct, up to a total of one million penalty units ($210 million).

Data matching finds taxpayers with unnamed Swiss bank accounts

Friday, May 11th, 2018

More than 100 Australians have been identified as “high risk” and will be subject to ATO investigation because they have links to Swiss banking relationship managers who are alleged to have actively promoted and facilitated tax evasion schemes.
The ATO constantly receives intelligence from a range of local and international sources which it cross-matches against existing intelligence holdings through its “smarter data” technology.
Australians who may have undeclared offshore income are encouraged to contact the ATO with that information – if penalties or interest apply, the amounts will generally be reduced (by up to 80%) if you make this kind of voluntary disclosure.
TIP: It’s important for Australia tax residents to declare all of their worldwide income to the ATO. Australia has many international tax agreements that work to avoid double taxation for people who are resident in Australia but make income from offshore sources.

ATO closely examines work-related car expenses

Friday, May 11th, 2018

The ATO is concerned about taxpayers making mistakes or deliberately lodging false claims for work-related car expenses, and has announced it will be closely examining claims for these expenses in 2018 tax returns. Last year, around 3.75 million people made a work-related car expense claim, totalling about $8.8 billion.
The best way for to avoid mistakes is to make sure you follow “the three golden rules”, only making a car claim if:
• you paid for the expense yourself and you weren’t reimbursed;
• it’s directly related to earning your income – in other words, your employer required you to make the trips as part of your job; and
• you have a record to support your claim.
TIP: We can help you avoid mistakes and understand what you’re entitled to claim this tax time. Contact us about your tax return today.

Superannuation rates and thresholds for 2018–2019

Tuesday, April 10th, 2018

We summarise some of the key superannuation rates and thresholds for the upcoming financial year:
Contributions
Concessional contributions cap: $25,000
Non-concessional contributions cap: $100,000*
CGT cap amount: $1,480,000
Super guarantee percentage: 9.5%
Maximum contribution base (per quarter): $54,030

* 300,000 for a “bring forward” arrangement

Government co-contributions
Lower income threshold: $37,697
Higher income threshold : $52,697

Superannuation payments
Lump sum low rate cap: $205,000
Untaxed plan cap: $1,480,000

ETP cap amount: $205,000
Genuine redundancy and early retirement payments – tax-free amounts:
• base amount: $10,399
• service amount: $5,200

Pension cap
General transfer balance cap: $1,600,000
Defined benefit income cap: $100,000
“Total superannuation balance” threshold: $1,600,000

Single Touch Payroll reporting: ATO urges employers to get ready

Tuesday, April 10th, 2018

The ATO is urging employers with 20 or more employees to start preparing now for the Single Touch Payroll (STP) reporting regime, which will be mandatory from 1 July 2018.
This reporting change for employers means they will report payments such as salaries, wages, allowances, PAYG withholding and superannuation contributions information to the ATO directly from their payroll solution at the same time they pay their employees. STP reporting starts on 1 July 2018 for employers with 20 or more employees, and is slated to apply from 1 July 2019 for those with 19 or fewer employees.
TIP: Businesses should do a headcount of employees as at 1 April 2018 to check if they have 20 or more. There are rules about which employees to include in the headcount. Contact our office for assistance.


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