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Claiming personal super contributions deductions

More taxpayers can now claim a personal super contributions deductions this tax time due to the removal of the 10 per cent maximum earnings condition that came into effect from 1 July 2017.

Eligible individuals include those who earn their income from:

  • Salary and wages
  • A personal business (self-employment)
  • Investments such as interest, dividends, rent and capital gains
  • Government pensions or allowances
  • Super
  • Partnership or trust distributions
  • A foreign source

Those who wish to claim a deduction need to:

  • Make personal after-tax super contributions directly to their super fund before 30 June 2018, if they have not already contributed this financial year
  • Provide their fund with a ‘notice of intent to claim or vary a deduction for personal super contributions’
  • Obtain acknowledgement from their fund of their notice of intent before their 2018 tax return can be lodged.

Posted on 25 May '18 by , under super. No Comments.

GST at settlement

As of 1 July 2018, purchasers of new residential premises or potential land are required to withhold an amount from the contract price and pay the amount to the ATO before settlement.

A supplier (vendor, seller) of residential premises or potential residential land must notify the purchaser in writing whether they will need to withhold an amount. If the purchaser is required to withhold, the supplier will need to inform them of the amount and when it needs to be paid to the Tax Office.

Generally, if the property contract sale specifies an amount that is the price of the supply, i.e., the contract price, then the withholding amount is calculated on the contract price. However, there are some situations where the amount to be withheld must be calculated differently, including:
– Where the margin scheme applies to the supply
– The supply is between associates and is without consideration, or is for consideration that is less than the GST inclusive market value of the supply
– There is a mixed supply, for example, only partly a supply of new residential premises or potential residential land
– There are multiple purchasers (not joint tenants)

Once the supplier lodges their BAS and it is processed, the supplier will receive a credit for the amount the purchaser withheld and paid to the ATO.

Note, purchasers do not need to register for GST just because they have a withholding requirement.

Posted on 25 May '18 by , under tax. No Comments.

How the new super measures will apply to SMSFs

The Government has introduced new measures to allow SMSF members to access their super for their first home or make contributions to their super from the sale of downsizing their home.

SMSFs should be aware of the following:

Downsizing
From 1 July 2018, SMSF members who are 65 or over and exchange a contract of sale of their main residence may be eligible to make a downsizer contribution of up to $300,000 into their super without affecting their total super balance or contributions cap for the year.

This contribution will count towards the transfer balance cap and be taken into account for determining eligibility for the age pension.

SMSF members do not have to purchase another home to access this measure. However, the contribution can only be made once; it cannot be used for the sale of a second main residence.

The First Home Super Saver Scheme
SMSF members looking to get into the property market can now use some help from their SMSF under the First Home Super Saver Scheme.

As of 1 July 2018, SMSF members over 18 years of age can apply to release their voluntary concessional and non-concessional contributions made from 1 July 2017, along with associate earnings to purchase their first home.

Voluntary contributions made since 1 July 2017 of up to a maximum of $15,000 from any one financial year, or $30,000 across all years can be applied for.

Posted on 17 May '18 by , under super. No Comments.

Focus on work-related car expenses

The Tax Office has flagged work-related car expenses as a concern this tax time.

The ATO is targeting those who make mistakes or deliberately lodge false claims. Examples include:
– Claiming things they are not entitled to, i.e., private trips such as work to home travel.
– Making claims for trips that did not occur.
– Claiming expenses that their employer has already reimbursed them for.

Advancements in data-matching technology allow the ATO to match individuals with peers in similar occupations, earning similar amounts of income. Analytics is also used to identify claim patterns, i.e., over 800,000 people claimed exactly 5,000 kilometres under the cents per kilometre method last year.

The best way to avoid making a mistake include:
– only making a car claim if you paid for the expense yourself and were not reimbursed;
– it was directly related to earning your income; and,
– you must have a record to support the claim.

An example of a legitimate car claim is travelling between work sites or between jobs as part of your job.

Before you submit a car claim, consider if your employer would agree you needed to undertake the trips as part of your job. Employers may be contacted if your claim raises a red flag.

Posted on 17 May '18 by , under tax. No Comments.

Budget 2018: living stronger

The Government is focused on encouraging older Australians to better grow and secure their personal retirement funds.

Retirees exempt from work test
An exemption from the work test will be established to allow retired Australians aged between 65-74 who have total super balances below $300,000 in their first year that they do not meet the work test criteria, to make voluntary payments into their superannuation funds.

Retirement income strategy
Superannuation trustees will now be required to produce a retirement income strategy for their superannuation fund members. This is due to new amendments to the Superannuation Industry (Supervision) Act 1993.

The Government is also set to revise the Corporations Act 2001 to ensure providers of retirement income products will supply standardised and simplified reporting to assist with more informed decision making.

Pension Work Bonus
Increase in funding to the Pension Work Bonus will mean that pensioners can now receive up to $300 per fortnight before their pension payments are affected. The Bonus will also cover self-employed individuals, who will be entitled to receive up to $7,800 per year without reducing their pension payments.

Funding for older workers program
Additional funding will be provided over four years to form the Skills Checkpoint for Older Workers program, starting from 2018-19. This measure will focus on supporting employees aged 45 to 70 to remain working for longer.

Improved skills for mature age Australians
Funding will be provided over the next five years to help mature age individuals to remain up to date with changing and new skills needed to remain relevant in their workplace.

Posted on 9 May '18 by , under General news. No Comments.

Budget 2018: creating a level-playing field

The Government will continue its commitment to strengthen the economy by focusing on improving its integrity measures to create a fairer level-playing field for all.

Funding new ATO enforcement
Additional funds will be allocated from the Budget over four years to fund a new ATO enforcement strategy to tackle the black economy. Through this measure, the ATO will implement new mobile strike teams, stricter auditing and a Black Economy Hotline for Australians to report black economy and illegal phoenix activities.

Cash payment limit
The Government will commence with a restriction on cash payments made to businesses for goods or services of up to $10,000 from 1 July 2019. Payments over $10,000 must be made via an online banking system or cheque unless payments are with financial institutions or consumer to consumer non-business transactions.

No tax-deductibility for non-compliant payments
From 1 July 2019, the Government is keeping a closer eye on those businesses that try to claim deductions for any payments made to their employees that do not comply with current regulations. Deductions for payments from a business to a contractor will also be disallowed if the contractor does not have an ABN and the business does not withhold any PAYG monies, despite the withholding requirements applying.

Reforms to combat illegal phoenixing
Corporations and tax laws will be strengthened with further measures to prevent illegal phoenix activities. Those measures will include changes to:
– introduce new phoenix offences for individuals who run or open the door to illegal phoenixing;
– stop directors incorrectly backdating resignations to avoid liability or prosecution;
– control the power of related creditors to vote on the appointment, removal or replacement of an external administrator;
– expand the Director Penalty Regime to GST, luxury car tax and wine equalisation tax (to make directors personally liable for company’s debts); and
– allow the Tax Office to restrict refunds for outstanding tax lodgements.

Personal income tax
The ATO will receive further funding from 1 July 2018 in a bid to strengthen compliance activities on individual taxpayers and their tax agents. This funding is set to provide new compliance activities, a stronger audit presence and prosecutions, improve education and guidance materials, pre-filling of income tax returns and enhance real time messaging to tax agents and individual taxpayers. This measure is set to prevent over-claiming of any entitlements, including tax deductions by higher risk taxpayers and their agents.

Black economy package
The Taxable Payments Reporting System (TPRS) will expand to include security providers and investigation services; road freight transport; and computer system design and related services. Businesses required to report payments to contractors to the Tax Office must keep information from 1 July 2019, with the first annual report due by August 2020.

Tax and superannuation debts
The Budget implements a further range of strategies to improve debt collections revenue and time taken for debts to be collected. This measure is set to deter individual taxpayers from gaining an unfair advantage over individuals paying their fair share of tax and super.

Posted on 9 May '18 by , under tax. No Comments.

Budget 2018: living longer

The Government is introducing a series of new measures designed to help Australians keep a greater portion of their superannuation savings pie.

Insurance opt-in
Insurance within super may not be suitable for everyone, particularly young people and those with low balances. From 1 July 2019, insurance will be offered on an opt-in basis for members with low balances of less than $6,000; members under the age of 25; and members who have not received a contribution in 13 months and are inactive. The changes intend to protect low balances from being entirely eroded and reduce incidences of duplicate cover.

Reuniting lost super
The ATO will have the ability to reunite all inactive superannuation accounts where the balances are below $6,000 with the member’s active account as of 1 July 2019. This will benefit those with inactive low balance accounts, i.e., low-income earners, young members and seasonal workers.

Protecting your super
The Government is banning exit fees on all super accounts to enable Australians to consolidate their super accounts on a more affordable basis. Additionally, a three per cent annual cap on passive fees charged by super funds on accounts with balances below $6,000 will protect those with low balance accounts to grow and maintain their nest egg.

Avoiding unintentional cap breaches
From 1 July 2018, individuals whose income exceeds $263,157 and have multiple employers will be able to nominate that their wages from certain employers are not subject to the Superannuation Guarantee (SG). This will assist in avoiding unintentional breaches to the $25,000 annual concessional contributions cap due to multiple compulsory SG contributions.

Member limit increase
Self-managed super funds and small APRA funds will have the opportunity to increase the maximum number of allowable members from four to six as of 1 July 2019.

Integrity of personal deductible super contributions
From 1 July 2018, additional funding will be allocated to the ATO aimed at improving the integrity of processes for claiming personal superannuation contribution tax deductions. This will enable the ATO to develop a new compliance model and undertake additional compliance and debt collection activities.

Posted on 9 May '18 by , under super. No Comments.

Budget 2018: building resilience

The 2018 Federal Budget is built on the back of a historically strong post-mining boom Australian economy, triggering fairly conservative changes to tax policy. The Budget’s strategy is to provide sustainable tax relief to those in the workforce, stimulating spending and encouraging businesses to invest in creating jobs.

Individuals
The Government is introducing a seven-year Personal Income Tax Plan to make tax lower, fairer and simpler. The plan is affordable and consistent.

The first step is to lower taxes for low and middle-income earners, thereby increasing disposable incomes to help take the pressure off household budgets. From 1 July 2018, the Government will introduce the Low and Middle Income Tax Offset, a non-refundable tax offset of up to $530 per annum to Australian resident low and middle-income taxpayers.

The second measure in the plan will tackle bracket creep. From 1 July 2018, the Government will increase the top threshold of the 32.5 per cent personal income tax bracket from $87,000 to $90,000.

The top threshold of the 32.5 per cent personal income tax bracket will increase from $90,000 to $120,000 from 1 July 2022.

The third phase of the Government’s Personal Income Tax Plan will simplify and flatten the personal tax system by eliminating the 37 per cent tax bracket entirely. From 2024-25, the 37 per cent tax bracket will be abolished to protect middle-income Australians from bracket creep over their working life. This will also allow working Australians to take on additional work and seek advancement without increased tax consequences. This strategy suggests the Government’s confidence in a buoyant economy and increased future wages growth.

The increase in Medicare levy from 2 to 2.5 per cent indicated in last year’s Budget will no longer proceed. In addition, the Medicare levy low-income thresholds will be increased for singles, families, seniors and pensioners from the 2017/18 income year.

Businesses
The $20,000 instant asset write-off has been extended for small businesses to 30 June 2019, providing more opportunity for them to reinvest in their business and replace or upgrade their assets. While the extension is a welcomed measure for small businesses; it may prove to be a standard feature with the Government facing difficulty trying to eliminate it in the future.

Posted on 9 May '18 by , under tax. No Comments.

Upcoming deadline for SMSF 2016-17 returns

Self-managed super fund (SMSF) trustees are reminded that the deadline for their 2016-17 annual return is fast approaching.

The extended due date for annual SMSF returns is 30 June 2018. As the due date falls on a Saturday, the ATO is allowing returns to be lodged the next business day, Monday 2 July 2018, without penalty.

The extension also applies to reporting the 30 June 2017 value of any retirement phase income stream to the ATO using the transfer balance account report (TBAR).

To remain compliant, SMSF trustees are encouraged to ensure they have all the right records and engage with an SMSF auditor for their annual SMSF audit.

Trustees are also reminded that this is the last chance to elect transitional CGT relief for eligible SMSFs. If electing this relief, trustees must do so prior to the due date.

Posted on 3 May '18 by , under super. No Comments.

ATO clarifies claims made in recent media coverage

The Australian Tax Office is standing by its actions undertaken that were presented on a recent current affairs program.

The ATO says where taxpayers fail to lodge tax returns and BAS returns over a number of years despite repeated requests, the ATO will raise a default assessment based on evidence that can be obtained, i.e., cash deposits in their bank account and bank statements.

In circumstances where a taxpayer refuses to cooperate with the ATO such as refusing to provide basic information, the ATO can only work off their bank account.

Firmer action is undertaken where taxpayers fail to respond to a position paper put to them based on this evidence and where there are attempts to engage with such taxpayers for an extended period, i.e., giving them a chance to rectify their tax situation.

One such penalty is a mandatory 75% penalty where a taxpayer has failed to send the ATO GST or tax they have withheld from their employees’ pay.

The next step is to issue a garnishee notice for taxpayers who repeatedly fail to engage with the ATO, despite the Tax Office’s attempts to contact them and collect tax owed. If there is no response from them, the ATO will then issue a garnishee notice.

The Tax Office generally will not proceed with garnishee action if there is a current dispute.

Posted on 3 May '18 by , under tax. No Comments.