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Income Tax cuts in Federal Budget Benefiting high-income earners

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.

Posted on 24 September '20, under Tax. No Comments.

Extending relief with JobKeeper 2.1 changes

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.

Posted on 27 August '20, under Tax. No Comments.

CGT rollover when transferring assets in a divorce

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.

Posted on 20 August '20, under Tax. No Comments.

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

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.

Posted on 13 August '20, under Tax. No Comments.

Applying for small business income tax concessions

Businesses looking to save on tax for the financial year may consider applying for income tax concessions.

Businesses classified as a small business entity are eligible for income tax concessions. Since 1 July 2016, businesses are considered small business entities in the case that they:

In the event that you meet the above requirements as a small business entity, here are the income tax concessions available to you.

Small business structure rollover
Small business entities can change the legal structure of their business and transfer active assets from one entity to another without incurring any income tax liability. Assets such as capital gains tax assets, trading stock, revenue assets and depreciating assets are eligible in this rollover. The rollover is also only available in the case that it is part of a genuine restructure and there is no change to ultimate economic ownership.

Simplified trading stock rules
Under the simplified trading stock rules concession, you can estimate the value of your trading stock at the end of the financial year when reporting in your tax return. However, small businesses will also need to show how they calculated their estimated trading stock value. Businesses which choose not to use an estimate will need to account for value changes in their stock and conduct a stocktake. Stocktakes do not need to be conducted if there is a difference of $5,000 or less between the value of your stock at the start of the income year.

Immediate deductions for prepaid expenses
Payments which cover a period of 12 months or less that are ending in the next income year are eligible for immediate deductions. Prepaid expenditure is also immediately deductible when the period ends no later than the last day of the income year following the year in which the expenditure was incurred.

Two-year amendment period
Small businesses receiving a notice of assessment from the ATO have a two-year time limit for reviewing an assessment.

Posted on 7 August '20, under Tax. No Comments.

What types of income do you need to include in your business’ tax return?

Due to changing economic circumstances, businesses may be receiving income from sources they have never received from, and may be unaware of their tax implications. In the event that they are listed below, you will need to include them in your business’ tax return.

Government payments
Due to COVID-19, many government grants and payments have been made to businesses this year. Businesses receiving the following grants will need to report them as part of their assessable income in this year’s tax return:

Keep in mind that COVID-19 cash-flow boost payments are non-assessable and non-exempt income, meaning they do not have to be included as part of your assessable income.

Crowdfunding income
Crowdfunding refers to the usage of the internet or social media platforms, mail-order subscriptions, benefit events or other methods to find supporters and raise funds for your business’ projects and ventures. Profits made through crowdfunding are considered part of your business’ assessable income in the case that you have:

Income from online activities
The current pandemic may have also forced you to move your business operations online for the first time. The ATO provides a clear distinction between online selling as a business or hobby. In the event that you meet the following circumstances while selling online, you will need to report your earnings as part of business’ assessable income:

Other basic income streams such as cash income, investment earnings and capital gains and losses also need to be reported in tax returns as usual.

Posted on 30 July '20, under Tax. No Comments.

Common tax mistakes that businesses make

Meeting tax obligations as a business owner can be stressful and potentially expensive if done wrong. Certain mistakes warrant severe action, so you can expect the ATO to take a closer look at them if you’ve failed to identify these errors before lodging tax returns for your business. Most mistakes made with regards to tax filing often revolve around poor administrative knowledge of tax laws. Ensure that you are aware of potential mistakes you could be making that might cost you your business.

Inconsistent declarations

The ATO gathers data from numerous businesses across a particular industry to create a benchmark showing a band of percentages within which businesses in that industry should typically fall under. Businesses that fall outside this band can expect delays and a closer look from the ATO inspecting reasons for inconsistencies within your business’ declarations. However, these can also be sources of mistakes from the ATO’s part as some inconsistencies can be very real – such as demographics or personal situations – that can cause variations in data. Ensure that you are declaring all your sales, and that any inconsistency can be justified to the ATO.

Poor bookkeeping

A majority of tax mistakes committed by small businesses revolve around poor bookkeeping. Businesses are required to maintain all financial transactions made – but forgetting to put the purchase through the register or taking money out of the register for personal use without replacement of the difference can show varying cash register tapes that can be problematic when filing your tax returns. You may be missing out on valuable tax credit claims by not keeping proper records of your financial transactions.

Employee payments

Businesses may assume that superannuation payments need not be made if they are employing subcontractors. This can be an expensive mistake, as if the worker has standard hours and is expected to work consistently for your business under your direction, they need to be treated as employees. Businesses may leave superannuation guarantee payments until the end when cash flow becomes restricted – but avoid late lodgements to prevent penalties from the ATO.

Posted on 23 July '20, under Tax. No Comments.

Common tax mistakes that businesses make

Meeting tax obligations as a business owner can be stressful and potentially expensive if done wrong. Certain mistakes warrant severe action, so you can expect the ATO to take a closer look at them if you’ve failed to identify these errors before lodging tax returns for your business. Most mistakes made with regards to tax filing often revolve around poor administrative knowledge of tax laws. Ensure that you are aware of potential mistakes you could be making that might cost you your business.

Inconsistent declarations

The ATO gathers data from numerous businesses across a particular industry to create a benchmark showing a band of percentages within which businesses in that industry should typically fall under. Businesses that fall outside this band can expect delays and a closer look from the ATO inspecting reasons for inconsistencies within your business’ declarations. However, these can also be sources of mistakes from the ATO’s part as some inconsistencies can be very real – such as demographics or personal situations – that can cause variations in data. Ensure that you are declaring all your sales, and that any inconsistency can be justified to the ATO.

Poor bookkeeping

A majority of tax mistakes committed by small businesses revolve around poor bookkeeping. Businesses are required to maintain all financial transactions made – but forgetting to put the purchase through the register or taking money out of the register for personal use without replacement of the difference can show varying cash register tapes that can be problematic when filing your tax returns. You may be missing out on valuable tax credit claims by not keeping proper records of your financial transactions.

Employee payments

Businesses may assume that superannuation payments need not be made if they are employing subcontractors. This can be an expensive mistake, as if the worker has standard hours and is expected to work consistently for your business under your direction, they need to be treated as employees. Businesses may leave superannuation guarantee payments until the end when cash flow becomes restricted – but avoid late lodgements to prevent penalties from the ATO.

Posted on 23 July '20, under Tax. No Comments.

Amending fringe benefits tax return and updated exemptions

The Government has updated fringe benefits tax (FBT) exemptions to include travel in ride-sourcing vehicles under the existing taxi travel exemption. In the case that your business has been providing employees with such travel options and would like to amend your FBT returns to include the new exemption, the ATO has also updated 2020 FBT return amendment instructions.

New FBT exemption
Ride-sourcing vehicles are now included in the FBT taxi travel exemption. Business owners will be eligible for the exemption for travel provided to their employees in a single trip to or from the workplace:

Ride-sourcing FBT exemptions also apply to travel in relation to the sickness or injury of an employee.

Amending your FBT return
In the event that you have already lodged your FBT return but are eligible to be exempt from FBT due to the addition of ride-sourcing vehicles, there are a number of ways you can amend your FBT return.

An amendment to your FBT return can only be made if it is requested within three years from the date the FBT return was lodged. In the case that tax has been avoided, the amendment can be made within six years of lodgement. You can amend your FBT return by:

Posted on 16 July '20, under Tax. No Comments.

Are you eligible for the small business income tax offset?

The small business income tax offset can be used to reduce the tax you pay by up to $1,000 a year. Also known as the unincorporated small business tax discount, the offset is worked out on the proportion of tax payable on your business income.

The rate of offset is 13% for the 2020-21 financial year and 16% for the 2021-22 financial year and onwards. The offset is only available to entities with an aggregated turnover of less than $5 million (from 2016-17 financial year onwards) and is capped at $1,000.

The ATO will work out your offset based on your income tax return and uses your:

Conditions for sole traders

The offset is calculated based on net small business income for sole traders (which is the sum of your assessable income from carrying on your business, minus any deductions). Sole traders are not entitled to the offset in the event that their net small business income is a loss.

Income and deductions that you need to include in your net small business income include:

Conditions for partnership and trust distributions

You may be eligible for the tax offset if:

Keep in mind that there are income and deductions that you cannot include when working out your net small business income for the small business income tax offset. Such income amounts include wages, government allowances and net capital gains you made from carrying on your business. Discuss with a financial advisor or accountant for more information on the offset conditions for your business.

Posted on 9 July '20, under Tax. No Comments.

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

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.

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