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Amnesty means that 24,000 businesses own up to underpaying Aussies superannuation

Posted on 24 September '20 by admin

An amnesty scheme which ended earlier this month has caused around 24,000 businesses to admit to underpayment of their worker’s super. A total of 588 million dollars will be distributed to almost 400,00 individuals.

The scheme, which covered payments from the introduction of super in 1992, gave employers the opportunity to come clean without any consequences as long as they paid the unpaid super as well as 10% interest for every year the money was overdue.

The ATO will be directing its attention at any businesses that did not admit fault and these businesses will face severe penalties.

Many individuals are looking to access their superannuation early in order to have support during these times. Although there is criticism of early access to super, this facility has been helpful to many families to keep afloat.

Income Tax cuts in Federal Budget Benefiting high-income earners

Posted on 24 September '20 by admin

In its efforts to boost the economy, the Federal Government is considering bringing the planned income tax cuts forward. The intention behind these cuts is to boost the economy by boosting consumption.

Initially, income tax cuts were to take place in three stages, the first of which has already been rolled out. The following stages aim to facilitate a reduction in tax for individuals earning from $90,000 to $200,000 over the next 4 years at the cost of billions of dollars to the Parliamentary Budget.

There has been criticism of the government’s suggestion that these stages be moved forward because they are unlikely to have the desired effect. Rather than boosting consumption, beneficiaries of this plan are likely to keep the additional money in the bank. This is because these plans are directed at high-income earners who will not need to spend the money on necessities, that low-income earners would.

Additionally, the uncertainty of the current climate which the government is relying on to justify this change may be the very reason that people save their money rather than spend it.

Critics of this change are suggesting that focus should be placed on ‘Social Spending’. An example of this could be an increase in pension – which pensioners are a lot more likely to reinvest into the economy.

What to consider when consolidating your super

Posted on 27 August '20 by admin

The ATO reported that 45% of working Australians were not aware that they had multiple super accounts in 2016. Having multiple super accounts is particularly common for individuals who have had more than one job. If this is you, it is important to identify and manage your super accounts because having more than one can be costly as a result of account fees from multiple funds.To combat this, you may want to consolidate your super, which moves all your super into one account. Not only does this save on fees, but it also makes your super easier to manage and keep track of.

Before consolidating your super, it is important to do the following:

Research your funds’ policy
Compare your active super accounts so you can make the right choice about which one you should close. Things to assess include:

Check employer contributions
Changing funds may affect how much your employer contributes, as some employers contribute more to certain funds. Check your current accounts to see if changing funds will affect this. Once you have selected a super fund, regardless of whether you choose a new super fund or one of your existing ones, provide your employer with the details they need to pay super into your selected account.

Gather the relevant information
When consolidating your super, you will need to have the following details ready:

Extending relief with JobKeeper 2.1 changes

Posted on 27 August '20 by admin

The Government has introduced additional changes to JobKeeper to help more businesses qualify for the relief payments.

One of the key changes was moving the relevant date of employment for an eligible employee from 1 March to 1 July 2020, to extend employee eligibility. This allows those who were full time employees on or before 1 July 2020 and employees who became long-term casual workers between 1 March to 1 July 2020 to be eligible for JobKeeper. This will increase the amount of employees that are eligible under the current JobKeeper Scheme, and will also expand the eligibility criteria under JobKeeper 2.1.

Businesses originally needed to show that they have met the decline in turnover test in the June, September and December 2020 quarters to receive JobKeeper payments. To qualify for the first phase of the JobKeeper Extension (28 September 2020 to 3 January 2021) businesses need to show that they have had a decline in turnover only for the September 2020 quarter, in comparison to the previous year.

To qualify for the second phase of JobKeeper Extension (4 January 2021 to 28 March 2021) businesses need to show that they had a decline in turnover for the December 2020 quarter only to be eligible for payments.

This change can be particularly useful to businesses that may not have met the decline in turnover test in the June or September quarter, but suffer significantly in the December quarter.

The improved accessibility to JobKeeper payments comes from the impacts of economic downfalls in Victoria. It is predicted that more than 80 percent of these payments will flow towards assisting Victorian businesses and employees.

What is an SMSF auditor and what do they do?

Posted on 20 August '20 by admin

Self-managed super fund (SMSF) trustees are required to appoint an ATO-approved SMSF auditor no later than 45 days before lodging their SMSF annual return. An SMSF auditor is a professional who assesses your fund’s compliance with superannuation law and examines your fund’s financial statements.

SMSF auditor eligible requirements
Your SMSF auditor must be:

What will your SMSF auditor do?
An SMSF auditor provides you with an independent opinion on the existing assets in your SMSF and whether or not your fund complies with the rules outlined in the Superannuation Industry (Supervision) Act 1993.

When preparing for an audit, an SMSF auditor will issue a Terms of Engagement Letter to the trustee(s) of the fund, which includes the roles and responsibilities for parties involved in the audit as well as the range of the audit. In the case that your SMSF auditor’s primary contact is your accountant, your accountant will be issued a separate Terms of Engagement Letter.

By clearly outlining each parties’ capabilities, a Terms of Engagement Letter helps you, your accountant and your auditor to avoid any misunderstandings and also protects audit evidence provided by your auditor from unintended alterations. In turn, SMSF auditors who fail to follow standards or take shortcuts can be sued or imposed penalties by the Court.

The Terms of Engagement Letter also acts as a contract to keep parties accountable during compliance breaches and prevents cases of ‘opinion shopping’ where trustees look to other auditors for unqualified opinions. Trustees may end up being audited by the ATO in the event that they breach the Terms of Engagement Letter and ‘opinion shop’, as it comprises auditor independence.

CGT rollover when transferring assets in a divorce

Posted on 20 August '20 by admin

Transferring the ownership of assets from one party to another may attract CGT. However, in the event that a change in ownership occurs due to the breakdown of a relationship, you may be eligible for a rollover of the asset.

A rollover allows taxpayers to defer or disregard a capital gain or loss that would normally arise on a CGT event. Specifically, a same asset rollover can occur when an individual transfers assets to their ex-spouse, as the transferee already has an involvement with the asset. The spouse who receives the asset will make the capital gain or loss when they dispose of the asset in future. They will also receive the cost base of the asset (the cost of the asset at the time of its initial purchase), as well as expenses incurred when acquiring, holding and disposing of the asset.

The rollover applies to CGT events that occur as a result of:

Separating couples transferring assets in accordance with a binding financial agreement will not require court intervention, however, for rollover to apply, the following must be true at the time of transfer:

Couples with informal or private agreements related to the transfer of assets will not be eligible for a rollover, and CGT will apply to these ownership transfers. The parties cannot choose whether or not the rollover applies to their situation.

How to make your website accessible

Posted on 13 August '20 by admin

The key goal for all business websites is to attract as many visitors as possible. However, not many business owners remember to cater their website to those with special needs and disabilities. To make sure your website is accessible for everyone on the internet, here are a few tips to consider.

Be mindful of your colour choices

Colour is often viewed as a major contributor to making a website visually appealing. However, not all people have the privilege to distinguish between colours, or may find it difficult to read texts over certain colours. It is therefore important to be mindful of the colours you choose to use on your website as well as the contrast levels between your text and background colours. For example, red-green colour deficiency is most common among individuals experiencing colour blindness so it is best to avoid using such colours on your website altogether. Using visual cues such as asterisks and question marks can also be helpful in separating content otherwise divided by colour.

Ensure your website is keyboard and mobile-friendly

Not all of your website’s visitors are going to be on a computer, so it is important to make sure your website is both keyboard and mobile friendly. Keyboard-only navigation means that all of the content, links and pages on your website can be accessed without a mouse, often using the ‘tab’ key. It is also important to accommodate mobile users and make sure your website can shrink down to the vertical, zooming and pinching format while also retaining its functionality.

Include alternative text for images

Visitors may prefer to read text over viewing images on your website due to a number of reasons, such as slow internet connection, image-blocking browsers or users who are sight-impaired. To satisfy such audiences, consider providing descriptive alternative texts in place of images to convey the same message to those who cannot see them. Alternative text is especially important in cases where your image acts as a page link or is integral to the content on your website.

Make sure your content is structured

A clean and uniform structure is integral to making your website accessible and this can be achieved by using headings to correctly organise your content. Headings can be used to help visitors easily navigate between your content, but it is also important to make sure your headings are visually uniform to prevent confusion between different content pages on your website.

What to consider when developing a sales strategy plan

Posted on 13 August '20 by admin

A successful sales strategy plan will provide your business with clear priorities, goals, and outcomes that can help you increase sales.

Outline your mission and goals

What’s your business’ mission statement? What are the goals and objectives that will help you achieve this? Your mission statement should define what your business stands for and what it aims to achieve, while your goals and objectives should be aimed at executing your mission. Consider using the S.M.A.R.T. framework when developing your goals to ensure that they are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time based.

Identify your ideal customer

Knowing your ideal customer persona is crucial as it will be the basis of your marketing strategy. Assess your ideal audience by researching their demographics, needs and wants while thinking about how your products or services have to offer them. Don’t limit your demographic research to age, location, and gender, but also consider their attitudes, aspirations, and lifestyle.

Conduct a SWOT analysis

Assessing your business by using a SWOT analysis can help you identify areas to consider when developing a sales strategy plan, by addressing:

Strengths:

Weaknesses:

Opportunities:

Threats:

Buying property through your SMSF

Posted on 13 August '20 by admin

Using SMSFs to buy property has become increasingly popular among Australians in recent years, particularly since it became possible for SMSFs to borrow money to fund a direct property purchase.

Residential property

A residential property owned by an SMSF has some limitations as to who it can be leased to.

To buy property through your SMSF, the property must meet the following requirements:

Commercial property

A commercial property owned by an SMSF can be leased to a wider range of tenants than residential properties. Commercial property purchased for business purposes can be purchased from a member of the SMSF or a related entity. This allows small business owners to use their SMSF to purchase the premises from which their own business is run, enabling them to pay rent directly to their fund. This can be preferable to paying rent to an alternate landlord. However, keep in mind that rent must be at market rate and be paid promptly and in full at each due date.

SMSF borrowing

SMSFs can borrow money to purchase a property, however, the borrowing criteria for an SMSF is generally much stricter than regular property loans taken out by individuals. All loans must be undertaken through a limited recourse borrowing arrangement (LRBA). An LRBA involves an SMSF trustee taking out a loan to purchase a single asset, such as a residential or commercial property. Under the Superannuation Industry (Supervision) Act 1993, super fund trustees can use borrowed money to pay for regular repairs and maintenance. However, borrowed money under the LRBA cannot be used for property improvements or renovations that result in the acquirable asset becoming a different asset. This may include adding additional rooms to the property or completely renovating a room.

Tax consequences

Buying and renting property through an SMSF also comes with tax consequences. SMSF funds are required to pay 15% tax on rental income from properties purchased through the fund. However, properties held for over 12 months receive a one third discount on any capital gains made upon the sale, bringing any CGT liability down to 10%.

Expenses such as interest from loans, council rates, maintenance and insurance can be claimed as tax deductions by the SMSF.

As well as this, once SMSF members reach pension phase, any rental income or capital gains arising in the fund will be tax-free.

SMSF property costs

SMSF property sales often attract higher fees that can end up reducing your super balance. Fees and charges can include:

What is a TPAR and do you need to lodge one?

Posted on 13 August '20 by admin

The Taxable Payments Annual Report (TPAR) is an industry-specific report through which businesses inform the ATO of the total payments made to contractors for services in that financial year. This information is then used by the ATO to match the contractors’ income declarations to improve their compliance efforts.

A TPAR is generally required by businesses that have an Australian Business Number (ABN), have supplied a relevant service and have made payments to contractors for services completed on your behalf. Contractors can be operating as sole traders, partnerships, companies or trusts. The following services are considered relevant:

If your business provides these services, regardless of whether it is only a part of the services you offer, or if it is a federal, state, territory or local government entity, you are obligated to report the payments made to third parties through a TPAR.

It is important to remember that not all payments need to be reported. Your taxable payments annual report does not require details of:

Only payments made to contractors for work that is relevant to carrying on your business needs to be reported. Your TPAR is due by 28 August each year, and fines may apply for not lodging the report by the specified deadline.

If your business does not need to lodge a TPAR for a particular financial year, consider submitting an optional non-lodgement advice through the ATO business portal to avoid unnecessary follow-up about TPAR lodgements.

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