Once a month, we publish a newsletter which aims to keep you thoroughly up to date with key tax and super issues, news and changes. Simply click on the month and you will be taken straight to the full colour PDF.

Please contact this office for clarification, or further advice, regarding any of the topics covered in these newsletters.

Happy reading.

Lodgment Rates & Thresholds 2019-20

November 2019

Sometimes, essential tax records are missing or even destroyed. But all is not lost, as there is a “plan B” that can be put into affect, so we run through the options to help your tax outcome.

The investment strategy of any SMSF is not “set-and-forget”, and if not re-visited from time to time, could create problems with the ATO. We look at the essentials. We also touch on how a small business can make an immediate deduction for low cost assets, and with Christmas party plans most likely imminent, we provide you with three wise FBT tips.

October 2019

Deductible work-related expenses are always tempting to chase down, but to stay out of trouble with the ATO it’s always good to have fact sorted from fiction. We also look at the special CGT rules that apply when spouses have different residences.

There’s an exemption from reporting obligations for employers for certain “personal security” fringe benefits, and we spell out what needs to be reported, and what doesn’t, for SMSF event-based reporting.

September 2019

Property developers often feel the gaze of the ATO on their activities, so we look at what could be getting its attention. Still on residences, we look at some little known facts about the CGT exemption that generally, but not always, applies to inherited homes.

Also dealt with is the tax that children’s savings accounts attracts, the operating costs available as deductions to SMSFs, and the top 10 tips for rental property owners to avoid common tax mistakes.

August 2019

Heading overseas for that trip of a lifetime? There could be a few simple steps you can take to ensure all is in order tax-wise, both while you¹re away and after you return.

We also look at trust distribution resolutions, whether your backyard projects are considered a business or a hobby by the taxman, and simple measures to be aware of that can reduce the tax you pay on your small business.

July 2019

When a loan is paid out early, it can sometimes trigger a penalty interest charge. There are circumstances where this charge can be tax deductible, but also many instances where this is not the case. A new tax ruling teases out the likely outcomes.

This new income year is the first where an amount of concessional super contributions can be carried forward — but you need to closely follow the limits. SMSFs also must be wary of boosted ATO audit activity on the back of an increase in errors due to event-based reporting.

We also look at which trading structures may best suit your new business, with regard to not only tax outcomes but funding, remuneration and liability.

June 2019

With Tax Time 2019 just around the corner, we run over the sort of substantiation that the ATO expects for work-related deductions that taxpayers claim. We also look at Taxable Payments Annual Reports, and the new industries that these cover starting this year.

Also this month we cover the ATO’s compliance actions that it is subjecting trusts to, and the status of making personal deductions for car parking expenses.

May 2109

To claim a GST credit, a business is generally required to hold a valid tax invoice. However there can arise certain circumstances where an alternative document can be used.

There have been changes made to the director penalty regime, which may mean tighter diligence is needed to stay out of trouble. We also run over the ATO’s system of tax rulings and determinations, and what these can mean for your tax outcomes.

The essentials of the super downsizer scheme are also covered, and an ATO-sourced “living expenses tool” has been made available that may help put your tax records in better shape.

Budget 2019

This year’s federal budget has a few sweeteners, which was to be expected with the next federal election only about a month away and the Coalition Government trying to make up ground in the polls. The welcome news is the forecast return to surplus for the 2019-20 fiscal year.

Also note that proposed changes to Division 7A will be deferred from 1 July 2019 to 1 July 2020, and that there are some useful changes to superannuation that will benefit older pre-retirees.

April 2019

Working from home, while always an option, has become more viable as technology has developed to enhance connectivity. The ATO is fully on-board with regard to work-related deductions for working from home, but of course has set certain parameters for making claims.

Business success can pivot on the quality of staff, so ensuring they are knowledgeable and efficient through further training can be a worthwhile effort. There could also be a tax deduction for the business.

We also look at deductions for certain interest expenses, claims for donations, and where smaller employers stand with regard to singe touch payroll.

March 2019

A business facing the prospect of effectively dealing with losses could find their task a little easier with a more relaxed version of the “same business” test put in place by the ATO. We also warn about the new rules that can deny a deduction for some business payments if certain reporting obligations are unmet.

Also dusted off is the (now restricted) place for claims of travel expenses in relation to rental properties, and a reminder of the at-times forgotten role that valuations can play with regard to tax and property.

February 2019

Start-up businesses are generally not for faint-hearted investors, but there are tax incentives that can help. We look at two early stage business investment options. Also, a perennial topic of interest for tax is the ability to claim vehicle deductions, so we run over the basics to keep in mind.

In this issue we also examine how travel expense claims can be helped along if a taxpayer can also work in the word “itinerant”. And the ATO has also issued a warning on SMSFs and “personal services income”.

December 2018

Compensation for financial wrong-doings, such as has been uncovered by the Royal Commission, may still attract tax. And with any investment, there are taxation issues to consider along the way.

We also look at the ATO’s use of “taxpayer alerts”, and the ins and outs of partnership agreements.

September 2018

There’s a new option in place for self employed Australians to be better able to save for retirement, but another change to the superannuation rules (in the SMSF arena) could lessen the appeal of borrowing to invest.

We look at a GST apportioning option to cover private use, and also the compliance steps that may need to be taken should the “use” of an asset change. And we take a broad overview of tax and the stockmarket.

August 2018

They say that education comes with a cost, but that ignorance can cost you more. Self education is certainly worthwhile considering, especially as there can be tax breaks for the right sort of training.

SMSF trustees are generally family or friends, but that doesn’t mean there won’t be arguments along the way to greater wealth, so we take a look at how to best settle disputes. Another prompt for dispute is between deceased estate beneficiaries if a will doesn’t satisfy expectations, so we examine how this can (sometimes) be rectified.

We also touch upon catching up on GST credits that have slipped through the cracks, and the exclusion clause the ATO has up its sleeve to deny a claim for a business loss.

June 2018

It’s not uncommon for taxpayers to be in dispute with the ATO from time to time, and although the Tax Commissioner may seem invincible, this is not always the case. We look at the best approach to better your outcome.

At some stage, SMSF trustees will need to get their heads around the proportioning rule, so we run over the way this works. Also covered are the building and construction Taxable payments annual report, which is soon to be expanded to more industries, and a brush-up on statute barred debts.

2018 Federal Budget Special

Undoubtedly the headline item from tonight is tax relief for individuals by lifting the 32.5% tax bracket to $90,000 from 1 July 2018 and the Government’s announcement of its intention abolish the 37% tax bracket in 2024-25. In the 2022-23 financial year we will also see the Low Income Tax Offset increased to $645 and the 19% tax rate from $37,000 to $41,000.

Health & aged care was a key focus for this announcement. In the build up to the budget, we heard that there will be no increase to the Medicare levy, as the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) has been funded from other sources of revenue. Whilst we do not know the exact details of where this extra money has been found, the abandonment of this proposed increase is certainly welcomed. The Medicare rebate is increasing by 55¢ for a visit to the GP after a four year freeze and the Royal Flying Doctors Service given an additional $84 million to expand its services.

The Government is also tackling the sin taxes in this year’s budget. After crackdowns in recent times on the black economy, the Government’s next project to recoup lost revenue is to establish a tobacco taskforce – expected to raise an additional $3.6 billion in additional revenue – to crack down on the “chop-chop” tobacco trade. With regards to alcohol, the excise charged on craft beer kegs over eight litres will be equalised. This is intended to level the competition between small craft breweries and large multinational beer producers.

May 2018

Interest expenses on money borrowed to buy business assets can be deductible. However there are also circumstances, allowed under tax law, where deductions are still available after the relevant asset is disposed of. We run over the details.

We also look at the “work test” required for super contributions to be made for those over the age of 65. In this issue of your newsletter we also deal with tax and franchising, the basics of testamentary trusts, and have a quick quiz (with answers) on business deductions.

April 2018

There’s been a lot of buzz about bitcoin lately, so we thought it timely to run over the ins and outs of cryptocurrencies. Another phenomenon of the modern marketplace is the sharing economy, but care needs to be taken when dealing with businesses carried on via sharing platforms to ensure there are no hidden tax traps. We use Airbnb as an example.

Back on more familiar territory, we also run over the many rules and requirements when making commutation requests for your retirement income. And as buying online from overseas is so prevalent these days, we also take a quick look at related costs such as customs duties.

March 2018

There’s a hidden danger lurking within the FBT rules that business owners should keep an eye on. Where a third party supplier is generous enough to include your employees, there’s a very real possibility that this could trigger a tax liability for that business. We run over this and other quirks of the FBT regime.

We also look at the need for valuations for SMSF assets, the looming Single Touch Payroll requirements, as well as when or if a business can use simplified trading stock rules.

December 2017

Recent legislative changes mean that SMSF trustees need more than ever to stay aware of the value of assets, and makes the forced unwinding of an LRBA a more real possibility for many. We run over the practical aspects.

Recent legislative changes mean that SMSF trustees need more than ever to stay aware of the value of assets, and makes the forced unwinding of an LRBA a more real possibility for many. We run over the practical aspects.

October 2017

There were a couple of housing-based superannuation contribution proposals contained in this year’s Federal Budget, for which draft legislation has finally been tabled. We run over the finer details that have been revealed.

And if you or anyone you know has considered driving an Uber car to earn some extra income, we have some essential information that you need to understand. However if you are already a higher income earner, note that a certain income threshold has recently dropped (by $50,000!) that may catch a lot of taxpayers unexpectedly.

We also look at immediate deductions for start-up businesses, and go over the car parking FBT exemptions for small business.

Lodgment Rates and Thresholds 2017-18 Special Edition

September 2017

The small business CGT concessions can be extremely valuable, but sometimes the complexity of the details can be confusing. We clear up some of the more obscure factors.

The rules around LRBAs for SMSF trustees have been fiddled with again, and necessitate (again) a look at the fine print. There is also a new statistical report on SMSFs that trustees should be glad to read.

Also dealt with are the differences between investment returns being on revenue or capital account, and what to do if you need to lodge your next tax return early.

August 2017

Making claims for travel allowances is a handy deduction for many employees, especially as the ATO has seen fit to make an exception to substantiate these claims in many circumstances. However this consideration comes with a warning — get it right, or lose that exception. We run over the particulars.

Did you know that there are deductions that are specific to SMSFs? As usual however, there are conditions. We also look at deductions available for financing rental properties, the interaction between the new super transfer balance cap and child recipients of death benefits, and a tax break available for life policy bonuses held for a certain time.

July 2017

The ATO is on the warpath over incorrect deductions that many taxpayers try to claim for holiday rental properties, so we take a look at the issues that have been grinding the taxman’s gears.

And if you’re going to soon make an appointment to complete your tax return, we’ve made a general checklist of things to prepare. By the way, you might also be able to claim the travel costs for travelling to see us — we share the particulars for eligibility.

Mobile, home phone and internet costs may be claimed under some circumstances, so we run over the substantiation that the ATO will accept to successfully make these deductions. We also present an overview of streaming trust capital gains and franked distributions.

June 2017

The end of the financial year is in sight, but businesses shouldn’t assume their 2016-17 tax outcome is set in concrete just yet — there are still some legitimate tax planning strategies that can help us help you not pay a cent more tax than you have to.

We also look at how to make good use of a tax loss, and discuss interest income and who is deemed to be assessable. Importantly for SMSF trustees, we also run over the newly minted transitional CGT relief measure that can apply when trustees comply to the new balance cap.

April 2017

There’s nothing wrong with sourcing certain business assets through peer-to-peer websites like Gumtree or even a Facebook group. It’s when it comes to substantiating a tax claim that these sorts of transactions can end up being difficult.

The ATO’s rules regarding deductions claimed for work clothing, or for laundering clothes, are fairly straight-forward, but there are a few grey areas that crop up now and then.

We cast an eye over how simplified depreciation works for small business pools, and also look at the new “total superannuation balance” and what it means for your fund.

February 2017

There is a particular speed hump to negotiate when chasing one of the valuable small business CGT concessions, and that is if the asset involved is “active” as opposed to “passive”. We explain the difference.

There are certain steps to take when tying up the loose ends when looking after a deceased estate, so we provide a 7 point checklist to help. We look at the pros and cons of electing to be a family trust, and also run over important changes regarding the assets test for pensioners.

October 2016

A recurrent topic of inquiry when it comes to possible tax deductions is when taxpayers travel to a work location, and the eligibility or otherwise of certain claims for that travel. We unravel the complexities.

A start-up business is going to have to make a decision about the type of structure most suitable for their enterprise. But we also look at when a business ends, and the delicate topic of liquidation and what needs to be done when winding up a business.

The latest government announcements regarding superannuation are also dissected to see where SMSF trustees may be able to prepare for the future.

July 2016

Property investors may be missing out on some valuable depreciation items (and did you know sometimes even the humble garden gnome can qualify), so we run over the sorts of assets you may be able to include.

We also look at what is on the taxman’s radar relating to work deductions this Tax Time, and also run over what you might need to bring in to your appointment if we’re completing your 2015-16 tax return.

June 2016

Even though the current financial year is winding up, don’t assume that your 2015-16 tax outcome is set in concrete just yet — there are still some legitimate tax planning strategies that can help us help you not pay a cent more tax than you have to. In the same vein, we also list the top 7 tax tips for investors.

SMSF trustees come in two flavours — corporate or individual. Deciding which is best for your retirement savings outcome requires careful consideration, so we have run a ruler over each. We also look at trust essentials, and explain the government’s Restart wage subsidy program that’s available for businesses.

May 2016

While a lot of the benefits a business can provide to employees will bring an FBT liability with them, this is not the case for every benefit. We look at what you can consider that are also FBT-free. And if staff are looking to salary package, we also run over the possibilities.

Have you already lodged a BAS but forgot to include an item? Don’t panic. There are ways around it, and we can help. We also consider the tax implications that can arise through making claims on a holiday house, and raise the delicate topic of cognitive decline among older SMSF trustees.

April 2016

While your business might own some tempting assets, be careful when making use of these for your personal enjoyment, as this could trigger a tax liability. And if you are considering changing the structure of your small business, a new measure means you might in certain instances no longer trigger CGT.

SMSF trustees note; it is essential that you know the difference between a binding and a non-binding death benefit nomination, so we run over what these mean. And speaking of legacies, every successful business owner should ideally have a succession plan in mind.

We also look at travel expense claims, how these differ from the living away from home allowance, and also how the ATO is getting help from insurance companies to uncover undisclosed wealth.

February 2016

Claims for vehicle use remain one of the most popular for a huge number of taxpayers, but recent tweaks to both the compliance regime and the provisions for making such claims means that correct record keeping is essential. And as doing business online is becoming even more pervasive, it’s just as well the Tax Office has provided guidance on claiming relevant costs for setting up a website.

Trustees of SMSFs continue to make use of limited recourse borrowing arrangements (LRBAs), but there are important considerations, and warnings, to be aware of before you jump in. We also look at an FBT-free commuting alternative, and remind certain taxpayers that the special zone tax offset they may have previously claimed may no longer be available.

December 2015

If you are building a new home or repairing an old one, there is a concession that allows you to extend the period when you are able to claim the main residence CGT exemption, even if you are not living in that dwelling, if circumstances are right. And as there still seems to be lingering confusion on the $20,000 small business pool write-off, we run over all the details. The cut to the small company tax rate is welcome, but there is a dividend franking implication that you need to keep an eye on. We also briefly explain what “adjusted taxable income” is, and survey the tax landscape from a cyber security point of view.

November 2015

Everyone likes end-of-year Christmas parties, but there’s no reason to rack-up a tax bill while celebrating. We list five tips to keep the fun tax-free. And while getting a valuation is sometimes necessary, you need to make sure there are no negative tax outcomes.

Like everyone, company directors have responsibilities. The potential problem for directors however is that they can be held personally liable. We run over the rules. Also this month we look at the circumstances that allow a deduction for the fees paid for training courses, the reality of bracket creep and tips to reduce the impact, and the necessary steps you need to take when winding up your SMSF.

October 2015

If you haven’t heard of the “sharing economy” yet, it could be time to start to get familiar with this “new way of connecting buyers (users) with sellers (providers)”. Services like Uber, Airbnb, AirTasker and MenuLog are all in the Tax Office’s sights to ensure these new forms of business pay their full share of tax.

We also run an eye over various rental property claims that continue to be misunderstood, look at the Tax Office efforts to match credit card data with declared income, and spell out the more common traps that SMSF trustees can still fall into. We also reveal a handy tip about claiming a portion of professional association membership costs, even after retirement.

There are certain tax breaks made available to the small business sector that every small business owner should know about, so we spell out what is available. We also look at how the tax system treats children’s income, spell out the top tax mistakes that small businesses keep making, and discover that there is such a thing as a deductible cup of tea.

September 2015

Thousands of Australians head offshore each year to expand their horizons and a lucky few will fund their adventure by working overseas. There are however important tax considerations. We run through the dangers.

If we have already lodged your tax return but you’ve discovered an extra deduction you could have claimed, or became aware of an error that needs fixing, don’t panic. There are ways to make sure your assessment has the right outcome.

There are certain tax breaks made available to the small business sector that every small business owner should know about, so we spell out what is available. We also look at how the tax system treats children’s income, spell out the top tax mistakes that small businesses keep making, and discover that there is such a thing as a deductible cup of tea.

August 2015

Up until this year, the Tax Office’s compliance focus has tended, in part, to look at certain professions for problems or mistakes made by taxpayers, but a change of tactic this Tax Time sees it focus instead on particular expense claims. We run through the work-related expenses at the top of the Tax Office hit list.

We also look at some considerations for anyone thinking about taking a pension from their SMSF, as well as having a look at how a “transition-to-retirement” arrangement could be beneficial.

Lastly, if you’re selling a business, the GST “going concern” concession should not be an assumed bonus, so we run over the rules to make sure you don’t miss out. We also look at public rulings and how these can relate to your own tax affairs.

July 2015

Although a very welcome announcement from the last federal budget, the $20,000 immediate asset write-off sparked a lot of questions about its implementation and eligibility requirements. We answer all your pressing inquiries.

Also covered are tax deductions that are generally not allowed, claims you may be able to make if you’re lucky enough to own a holiday house, and a guide to taking out insurance through your SMSF.

We also look at the essentials of succession planning, and profile the new role proposed for the small business sector, the Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman.