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Carbon tax repealed

The Abbott government has delivered on its long-standing election promise to repeal the carbon tax, effective from July 1, 2014. A condition of the repeal receiving crucial crossbench support from the Palmer United Party (PUP) was that savings be directly passed on to consumers and small businesses. As a result, the ACCC (Australian Competition and Consumer Commission) has been given extended powers to fine parties failing to do so.

Initially this stipulation created anxiety amongst the business community, as the government failed to clarify whether or not all businesses would be required to provide proof of passing on savings. However, it has now been established that the ACCC is only required to ensure that electricity, natural gas and refrigerant gas companies pass on their carbon tax savings.

The repeal has been largely welcomed by the business community, with predictions indicating that electricity prices will fall by approximately 9%, and gas prices by 7%. However, energy providers have indicated that there may be other factors that are contributing to rising prices, including increased electricity infrastructure spending and new legislation allowing the international sale of Australian gas. This means that the energy savings from the carbon tax repeal may not be as significant as originally thought.

Businesses operating in other industries have indicated that their capacity to pass savings on to consumers will be largely dependent upon the savings that they incur from their suppliers. Some small business owners, in particular providers of luxury goods, have expressed the hope that they will experience a boost in business as consumers experience an increase in their disposable incomes. Whether or not this eventuates will depend largely on whether or not there is, in fact, a significant decrease in energy costs, as well as the fate of the tax breaks and cash handouts implemented by the Gillard government to counteract the costs of the carbon tax for households.

Posted on 24 July '14 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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