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FBT and business vehicles

Business owners who make a car (leased or owned) available for employees to use for private travel may be subject to fringe benefits tax (FBT).

If a car is garaged at or near your employee’s home, even if only for security reasons, it is considered by the ATO to be available for their private use regardless of whether or not they have permission to use the car privately.

Similarly, where the place of residence and employment are the same, the car is considered as private use. Generally, travel to and from work is also private use of a vehicle.

The use of the car is exempt from FBT in some circumstances, i.e an employee’s private use of a taxi, panel van or utility designed to carry less than one tonne if the travel is limited to:
– travel between home and work
– incidental travel in the course of performing employment-related travel
– non-work-related use that is minor, infrequent and irregular

The best way to show the ATO that a car is used for business purposes is by keeping a log book for a period of at least 12 consecutive weeks showing:
– dates of travel
– odometer readings at the start and end of any trips
– the kilometres travelled
– the reason for the trip

Business owners should also keep odometer readings at the start and end of each year, along with details of the operating costs of the car.

Note, company directors are generally considered as employees by the Tax Office, so if directors use the car for private purposes, then FBT could apply.

Posted on 1 February '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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