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Are your website costs tax deductible?

The ATO has provided business owners with further guidance on the deductibility of website costs in a recent Taxation Ruling.

The Tax Office considers a commercial website as a website which is used in the course of a business, irrespective of whether it is used directly to produce income. This does not include software provided on the website for installation on the user’s device.

Hardware, the right to use the domain name and content available on or incorporated into a website that has independent value to the business are considered separate from a commercial website.

The tax deductibility of a website depends on whether the expenditure on a commercial website is revenue or capital in nature under section 8-1.

Examples of expenditure which are tax deductible in the year incurred include:
– Periodic operating, registration and licensing fees
– Expenditure incurred in maintaining a website
– Modifications to a website that add minor functionality or make minor enhancements to existing functionality
– Domain name registration fees and server hosting costs
– Maintaining a social media presence and updating content mainly for marketing purposes
– ‘Off-the-shelf’ software that is licensed periodically

Costs that are ‘capital’ in nature are generally claimable over a number of years. Examples of capital expenditure include:
– Labour costs that are directly referable to the enhancement of the profit-yielding structure of the business
– ‘Off-the-shelf’ software products where the product provides an enhancement of the profit yielding structure of the business
– Acquiring or developing a commercial website for a new or existing business
– Modifications resulting in structural advantage
– Extended or new functionality

In-house software
Expenditure that is not deductible under section 8-1 may be ‘in-house software’ and deductible under the capital allowances regime. The expenditure may be deducted over 5 years from the time the in-house software is first used or installed ready for use.

If the expenditure on in-house software is incurred through developing computer software, the expenditure may alternatively be allocated to a software development pool and deducted in accordance with the pool rules.

For small business entities that choose to use the simplified depreciation rules and do not allocate the expenditure to a software development pool, the expenditure is deductible:
– immediately where the asset costs less than the instant asset write-off threshold, and
– otherwise, in accordance with the general small business pool rules.

Posted on 1 March '17 by , under Tax.

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Transition to retirement

The transition to retirement (TTR) strategy allows you to access some of your super while you continue to work.

You are able to use the TTR strategy if you are aged 55 to 60. You can use it to supplement your income if you reduce your work hours or boost your super and save on tax while you keep working full time.

  • Starting a TTR pension: To start your TTR pension, transfer some of your super to an account-based pension. You have to keep some money in your super account so that you can continue to receive your employer's compulsory contributions as well as any voluntary contributions you may be making.
  • Government benefits and TTR: The benefits you or your partner receive might be impacted if you choose to opt for this strategy. How and what exactly will change might become clearer upon discussing this with a Financial Information Service (FIS) officer.
  • Life insurance and TTR: In some cases, the life insurance cover you have with your super may stop or reduce if you start a TTR pension – check this before making any decisions or changes.

TTR can help ease your mind as you transition into retirement but it can be a bit complex. Before you choose whether you want to use TTR to reduce work hours or save on tax, or even if you want to use TTR altogether, you should figure out how this will impact all aspects of your finances.

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