Is your number up this tax time? Claims the ATO will scrutinise

Is your number up this tax time? Claims the ATO will scrutinise

CPA Australia No one likes being treated as just a number, but with millions of returns and tens of billions of dollars at stake, that’s the reality when it comes to how the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) assesses tax returns. The ATO uses data-driven profiles based on things like employment type and financial investments to identify where some people may be pushing the boundaries. If your claims are disproportionate to what the ATO would expect from someone in a similar job to you, or with similar financial investments, you may be asked to provide additional evidence to validate your claims. That’s why CPA Australia is urging Aussies to be thorough with their tax returns, including declaring all earnings and having evidence to back up any deductions. Anything that stands out from the crowd may attract the ATO’s attention. “It’s important that everyone pays the right amount of tax and claims what they are entitled to,” said CPA Australia spokesperson Gavan Ord. “The ATO uses highly sophisticated analytics to scrutinise all claims, including those relating to working from home and motor vehicle expenses, income from rental properties, as well as undeclared income from investments like cryptocurrency. “Your tax return is your personal responsibility, and you should be as thorough as possible when declaring your income and claiming deductions. Failure to properly declare all of your income, or over-the-top expense claims, may set off alarm bells and your claims could be rejected if you don’t have the evidence.” Work-related expenses  Work-related deductions are the biggest deduction in most Australians’ tax returns, and some individuals may be tempted to overstate their expense claims in this area. Others may put in claims without sufficient evidence to support them. The ATO is focused on ensuring the correct apportioning of expenses between work and private use, including when you work from home. Keeping a diary of all your work-related activity and having the corresponding receipts is crucial. Your record should include: There are two ways to calculate working from home deductions – the fixed rate method (when you can claim a set rate of 67 cents for every hour worked from home) and the actual cost method. Having records mean you can choose which works best based on your individual circumstances. Motor vehicle expenses There are two methods of claiming a tax deduction for motor vehicle use for work purposes, but whichever is used, you must ensure the claim is accurate and properly evidenced, whether it’s for fuel, servicing or lease payments. If you use a motor vehicle for both business and private use, you must be able to correctly identify and justify the percentage you are claiming as business use. The percentage that is for private use isn’t claimable. To claim accurately, you will need to use a logbook or diary to record private versus business travel. Travelling from home to work is considered private use, unless you are a home-based business and your trip was for business purposes. Income from rental properties For rental property claims, the ATO is focusing on owners who make claims for renovations as repairs. Repairs to the property because of wear and tear or damage from tenants are tax deductible. However, if the work results in an improvement rather than just repairing damage, or results in the replacement of an asset, the expenses will be capital in nature and you can only claim a depreciation expense, not for the entire cost in the year it was spent. Claiming mortgage interest in full when there were drawdowns for private purposes, as well as declaring net income after expenses from annual rental summary of real estate as gross income, will also be under the microscope. Undeclared income (e.g. crypto profits) The ATO is also focused on undeclared income, now including money made from cryptocurrency. The most common use of crypto is as an investment, in which case the crypto asset is subject to capital gains tax (CGT). If you acquire a crypto asset as an investment, transactions such as disposal, exchange or swaps are a CGT event, and you may make a capital gain. If you hold the crypto asset as an investment, it will not be exempt from CGT as a personal use asset. You will make a capital gain if the proceeds from the disposal of your crypto asset is more than its cost base. To work out if you made a capital gain or capital loss from each CGT event, keep your records for each crypto asset and your transactions. You may be able to reduce capital gains using the CGT discount if you hold your crypto asset for at least 12 months. Source: CPA Australia The information provided in this article is general in nature only and does not constitute personal financial advice.  

5 ways to boost your super (with contributions) before EOFY

5 ways to boost your super (with contributions) before EOFY

Looking to give your super a boost before the end of the financial year? Look no further! Follow these five strategies to maximise your contributions and make the most of your superannuation savings: 1.Consider additional Concessional Contributions (Pre-Tax Contributions) Why? Because these contributions are taxed at just 15%, potentially lowering your taxable income. It’s like giving less to the taxman and more to future you! You’re allowed up to $27,500 annually, including your employer’s 11% contribution. However, there is one exception to this… 2.Catch-up on Unused Concessional Contributions If you haven’t maxed out your concessional contributions from previous years, legislation now allows you to make ‘catch-up’ contributions if your super balance is under $500,000. Look back up to five years to see if you’ve got unused caps you can access. 3.Take Advantage of Non-Concessional Contributions (After-Tax Contributions) If you’re a low- or middle-income earner, the government co-contribution scheme is a great way for you to contribute to superannuation personally AND get a little bonus top up from the government. It’s also a great way to add larger amounts to super, because you’re allowed to contribute up to $110,000 per year (or $330,000 if you are eligible to ‘bring forward’ future contributions). 4.Sharing the Super love with Spouse Contributions If your partner’s income is on the lower side, contributing to their super could earn you a tax offset of up to $540. It’s a win-win: you help increase your family’s total super savings while scoring a tax perk for yourself. 5.Or consider Contribution Splitting with your Significant Other You may be able to split up to 85% of your concessional super contributions with your spouse. This strategy can help even out your super balances, potentially reducing the tax paid on super pensions in the future. It’s a smart move, especially if one of you is taking a career break or working part-time. With the end of the financial year fast approaching, now is the perfect time to reach out to your Financial Adviser and take action to grow your retirement nest egg and boost your super. The information provided in this article is general in nature only and does not constitute personal financial advice.  

ATO flags 3 key focus areas for this tax time

ATO flags 3 key focus areas for this tax time

Australian Taxation Office As ‘tax time’ approaches, the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) has announced it will be taking a close look at 3 common errors being made by taxpayers: • Incorrectly claiming work-related expenses• Inflating claims for rental properties• Failing to include all income when lodging ATO Assistant Commissioner Rob Thomson said the ATO is focused on supporting taxpayers to get their lodgment right the first time. ‘These are the areas that people are most likely to get wrong, and while these mistakes are often genuine, sometimes they are deliberate. Take the time to get your return right.’ Work related expenses In 2023 more than 8 million people claimed a work-related deduction, and around half of those claimed a deduction related to working from home. Last year, the ATO revised the fixed rate method of calculating a working from home deduction to broaden what is included, increase the rate, and adjust the records you need to keep. These changes are now in full effect this financial year, meaning you must have comprehensive records to substantiate your claims as you would for any other deduction. To use this method, you need records that show the actual number of hours you worked from home (like a calendar, diary or spreadsheet), and the additional running costs you incurred to claim a deduction (like a copy of your electricity or internet bill). ‘Deductions for working from home expenses can be calculated using the actual cost or the fixed rate method, and keeping good records gives you the flexibility to use the method that works for you, and claim the expenses you are entitled to.’ ‘Copying and pasting your working from home claim from last year may be tempting, but this will likely mean we will be contacting you for a ‘please explain’. Your deductions will be disallowed if you’re not eligible or you don’t keep the right records.’ Mr Thomson said. Remember, there are 3 golden rules for claiming a deduction for any work-related expense: Rental properties Rental properties continue to remain in the ATO’s sights. Our data shows 9 out of 10 rental property owners are getting their income tax returns wrong. ‘We often see landlords making mistakes when it comes to repairs and maintenance deductions on rental properties, so we’re keeping a close eye on this.’ ‘This year, we’re particularly focused on claims that may have been inflated to offset increases in rental income to get a greater tax benefit,’ Mr Thomson said. Performing general repairs and maintenance on your rental property can be claimed as an immediate deduction. However, expenses which are capital in nature (like initial repairs on a newly purchased property and any improvements during the time you hold the property) are not deductible as repairs or maintenance. ‘You can claim an immediate deduction for general repairs like replacing damaged carpet or a broken window. But if you rip out an old kitchen and put in a new and improved one, this is a capital improvement and is only deductible over time as capital works.’ ’We encourage rental property owners to carefully review their records before lodging their return and take care to ensure they are claiming deductions correctly,’ Mr Thomson said. As reporting rental income and deductions can be complex, many individual rental owners choose to use a registered tax agent to help them prepare their income tax returns. ‘Ensuring you provide full and complete records to your registered tax agent allows them to prepare your tax return correctly, so you claim everything you’re entitled to and nothing that you’re not,’ Mr Thomson said. Get it right – Wait to lodge The ATO is also warning against rushing to lodge your tax return on 1 July. If you have received income from multiple sources, you need to wait until this is pre-filled in your tax return before lodging. ‘We see lots of mistakes in July where people have forgotten to include interest from banks, dividend income, payments from other government agencies and private health insurers,’ said Mr Thomson. For most people, this information will be automatically pre-filled in their tax return by the end of July. This will make the tax return process smoother, save you time, and help you get your tax return right. ‘By lodging in early July, you are doubling your chances of having your tax return flagged as incorrect by the ATO.’ ‘We know some prefer to tick their tax return off the to-do list early and not have to think about it for another 12 months, but the best way to ensure you get it right is to wait for just a few weeks to lodge.’ ‘You can check if your employer has marked your income statement as ‘tax ready’ as well as if your pre-fill is available in myTax before you lodge. That way, an amendment doesn’t need to be made later, which could result in unnecessary delays,’ Mr Thomson said. Source: Australian Taxation Office The information provided in this article is general in nature only and does not constitute personal financial advice.  

2024-25 Federal Budget Recap 

2024-25 Federal Budget Recap 

In his 2024 Federal Budget speech, treasurer, Jim Chalmers, announced that ‘The number one priority of this government and this Budget is helping Australians with the cost of living’.  But what exactly does that mean?   Let’s take a closer look at what the 2024 Budget proposes –   An average tax cut of $1,888 in 2024-25  The budget proposes significant tax relief for ALL Australian taxpayers to alleviate cost-of-living pressures, including reduced tax rates, adjustments to the income thresholds, and increased low-income thresholds for the Medicare levy.   This measure aims to boost disposable income and encourage economic activity by allowing Australians to retain more of their earnings.  $300 back in the pocket for ALL Australian Households  To combat rising energy costs, the government has allocated $3.5 billion for a one-time $300 energy bill rebate for all Australian households, designed to directly reduce headline inflation by about 0.5 percentage points in 2024-25 without adding to broader inflationary pressures.  This initiative also extends to one million small businesses, receiving a $325 rebate.  Superannuation contributions on paid parental leave  The 2024 budget integrates enhancements to parental leave and childcare into comprehensive support for families. It includes a $1.1 billion investment to extend superannuation contributions to government-funded Paid Parental Leave, improving financial security for new parents.   Additionally, the budget boosts childcare support, aiming to make childcare more affordable through increased subsidies, reducing the financial burden on families and supporting parents’ return to work.   These measures are part of a broader effort to provide more robust support for families and promote gender equality.  $3 billion in student debt… wiped  In an effort to alleviate the burden of education costs, the budget proposes a change to the way the government calculates HELP debt indexation, erasing $3 billion in student debt for over 3 million Australians.   An investment in education for Australians  The budget commits to reforming tertiary education and increasing vocational training funding, aligning skills training with market needs.   Specifically, it allocates $88.8 million to provide 20,000 new fee-free TAFE places, including pre-apprenticeship programs relevant to the construction industry.   Additionally, the government is introducing Commonwealth Prac Payments to support students undertaking mandatory placements, offering $319.50 per week to more than 73,000 eligible students, which includes those in fields like nursing and social work.   This investment is part of a broader effort to align skills training with labor market demands and support sectors critical to economic growth.  Supporting small businesses  To aid small businesses, the 2024 budget extends the $20,000 instant asset write-off for an additional year, enabling continued investment in necessary business equipment. This extension is designed to enhance the cash flow of small enterprises and encourage further economic activity among local businesses.   Additionally, the budget includes investments to support the mental and financial well-being of small business owners, recognising the unique challenges they face and bolstering the resources available to them for sustainable operation.  Access to affordable medicines  The budget allocates up to $3 billion to reduce the maximum PBS co-payments. This includes a one-year freeze on the maximum patient co-payment for everyone with a Medicare card and a five-year freeze for pensioners and other concession cardholders, ensuring that no pensioner or concession card holder will pay more than $7.70 for PBS-listed medications until 2030.  … And an increase to health funding  The budget allocates $888.1 million to expand mental health services. This includes funding for new and existing programs that provide critical support for individuals facing mental health challenges.    An additional $2.2 billion is directed towards improving the aged care system, and investments are made in strengthening Medicare with a focus on urgent care clinics, reducing hospital admissions, and supporting regional and remote health services.  This expansion aims to provide wider access to necessary health services, significantly improving health outcomes and making healthcare more affordable and accessible to more Australians.  A 10% increase to Commonwealth Rent Assistance  In response to the housing affordability crisis, the budget increases Commonwealth Rent Assistance by 10%, benefiting nearly 1 million households. This follows a 15% increase from the previous year, marking a substantial boost to aid renters, especially given the rising rental market costs.  Housing affordability  The government is investing $6.2 billion in new housing initiatives to tackle affordability and accessibility.   This funding supports the construction of more homes, including affordable and social housing options, addressing critical housing shortages and supporting community infrastructure development.   The 2024-25 Federal Budget is strategically focused on alleviating financial pressure through targeted support measures. By understanding and applying these benefits, Australian households can better navigate the challenges of rising living costs.  For tailored advice on how to adjust your financial plan in light of the new budget measures, consider consulting with a financial adviser or accountant. They can help you understand the specific impacts on your personal finances and strategise accordingly.  The information provided in this article is general in nature only and does not constitute personal financial advice.  

Get ready for June 30 now!

Get ready for June 30 now!

When it comes to getting the most (money) from your annual tax return, there is usually a lot to think about, so we’ve identified a few options that could open the door to some opportunities to save on tax. The key here is to plan ahead. Deductions — lower your tax liability If you have some spare cash available, paying for certain expenses before June 30 could mean you get your tax break back from the ATO earlier. Expenses paid in July could leave you waiting more than 12 months for the return. A popular expense in this category is prepaying interest on an investment loan, but be careful because not all expenses qualify for a tax deduction in advance. This year the ATO is focusing on work-related expenses. If you are planning to claim expenses for things like a home office, mobile phone, tools and equipment, etc, make sure you claim only eligible expenses and have the paperwork to substantiate them. You can claim the premiums you have paid for your income protection insurance as a tax deduction. Note that you can only claim the portion of the premium that covers you for loss of income, not for any benefits of a capital nature. Premiums for other personal insurance cover such as life, critical care or trauma cannot be claimed. You also can’t claim deductions for premiums that are paid from your superannuation contributions if your policy is held in your fund. Super contributions — don’t waste the limits June 30 is not just about deductions for expenses. It’s also a good time to review your superannuation contributions to date and take advantage of the annual caps. The annual limit for these types of tax-deductible contributions is $27,500 per annum, regardless of age. If you’re an employee, this limit covers both employer super guarantee and salary sacrifice contributions. How much has your fund received in contributions so far this year? Do you need to review and adjust your current arrangements? Anyone under 65 (whether working or retired) can contribute $110,000 each year to super as after-tax or non-concessional contributions. You can also contribute $330,000 in a single year by bringing forward the limit for the following two years. But – when it comes to super there’s usually a ‘but’ – check your total super balance to ensure any extra contributions do not exceed the general balance transfer cap which is currently $1.9 million. And one final point on super contributions – the total contributed is based on how much is received by your fund, not when you sent it to the fund. Another reason why planning ahead is crucial. These are just a few ways to manage how your money is taxed. Depending on your circumstances, other options may be available. Your licensed adviser can work with you to help you achieve what is best for you this financial year. But please don’t leave it too late. The information provided in this article is general in nature only and does not constitute personal financial advice.  

A Self-Employed Superannuation Guide

A Self-Employed Superannuation Guide

When you’re at the helm of your own business, it’s easy to get caught up in the whirlwind of the present – chasing sales, generating leads, and growing your business. Often, self-employed people prefer reinvesting back into their businesses, hesitant to stash money away in superannuation. Yet, there’s a compelling case for setting aside a slice of your earnings. The facts don’t lie At present, self-employed Australians are not required to contribute to superannuation. According to the Australian Tax Office’s (ATO) data, while self-employed people make up about 10% of the workforce, their super contributions account for just 5% of the retirement pie in 2014-15. Dive deeper into the numbers, and fewer than 1 in 10 self-employed Australians opted to make tax-deductible super contributions that same year. What is ‘self-employed’? The ATO has clear guidelines on what a self-employed person is: For more information see the ATO website. Why contribute to superannuation? While it’s tempting to pour every hard-earned dollar back into your business, the reality is that not all businesses come with a pot of gold at the end. Some self-employed people and businesses rely solely on their own labour, with no substantial business assets to lean on. That’s where superannuation can come in, providing a great way to plan for your retirement. A nest egg for retirement By contributing to super, you are building a nest egg that will provide you with financial security and income in retirement. Putting a small amount of money into superannuation regularly can provide financial stability over time, allowing you to focus on growing your business knowing that you have another income stream building in the background. Tax benefits Here’s a big one: self-employed people may be entitled to a full tax deduction for contributions made to super. If you’re self-employed, you can make personal contributions up to the annual cap, which is $27,500 per year for the 2023-24 financial year. These contributions are taxed concessionally at 15 per cent, rather than marginal tax rates. So not only are the contributions taxed at a lower rate, self-employed people can also claim a tax deduction on those contributions. To claim a deduction for personal contributions it’s important to note that: Compounding Superannuation remains one of the most tax-effective ways to grow wealth. Over time, your contributions can benefit from compounding growth, as your investments earn returns on both your initial contributions and any earnings generated. Starting early and contributing consistently, even with small amounts, can significantly boost your retirement savings. Diversification Many self-employed people see their business as their retirement strategy. But by putting money away into the tax-effective superannuation environment, with investment strategies that can be tweaked over time, you can diversify your investment, reduce risk, AND plan for retirement. How do I contribute to super if I’m self-employed? Just because you’re self-employed doesn’t mean super has to be complicated! With various tax benefits, flexibility of contribution size and frequency, and having another source of income for your retirement, if you’re self-employed why wouldn’t you be contributing to super?! If you’d like to get started, talk to your adviser today. The information provided in this article is general in nature only and does not constitute personal financial advice.  

Federal Budget 2023-24 Summary

Federal Budget 2023-24 Summary

Lady Luck has once again looked down fondly upon Australia, creating the first Federal Budget surplus in 15 years, through a higher tax take on record export earnings and increasing income tax receipts from higher job numbers. But how long will the good times last? Domestic economic growth is expected to buckle under the weight of higher interest rates. As a result, annual gross domestic product is expected to fall to just 1.5 per cent in 2023 -2024, recovering slightly to just 2.25 per cent the following year. This low growth forecast, down from 3.25 per cent currently, comes despite an expected surge in immigration numbers to 300,000, while inflation is forecast to stay stubbornly close to the 6 per cent mark for 2022-2023. The Budget papers suggest inflation will eventually fall within the Reserve Bank‘s guidelines, but not for some time, raising the possibility of stagflation engulfing economic growth. At the same time, unemployment is expected to rise from its record low level of 3.5 per cent to 4.5 per cent the following year and remain at this level for the foreseeable future. Nonetheless, this is a true Labor Budget. The Federal Government will boost Job Seeker payments by $40 a fortnight, provide greater rent assistance and energy subsidies to low-income households, as well as lower medicine costs and provide cheaper doctor visits for all Australians. Increased wage payments for those working in the aged care sector and increased childcare subsidies should also help to reduce the pressure on working families struggling to deal with the recent uptick in cost-of-living pressures. An estimated 60,000 single parents will also be able to claim the Single Parent welfare payment benefit from September 1, with the Government lifting the eligibility age for the youngest child in a family from 8 to 14 years. The Government insists these measured spending increases are targeted and restrained and will work to reduce the rate of inflation. However, only time will tell if the Reserve Bank agrees that a lift in overall government spending via the Budget will work to bring down prices. The Government hopes to reduce housing pressures by encouraging investment in rental housing by lowering the annual profit on build-to-rent projects from 30 to 15 per cent. But beyond this, this Budget has very little to help struggling businesses. It does, though, include some $4 billion to encourage new green energy programs, including $2 billion to support large-scale hydrogen production and $1.3 billion to help households upgrade their existing homes through the Household Energy Upgrades Fund. At the same time, big-ticket items within the Budget just get bigger. There is a brave estimate that spending within the NDIS will be restrained, yet there is no actual strategy for achieving this other than to reduce waste. The cost of providing health services has never been higher, while defence spending is expected to surge to $20 billion over the next four years, including some $9 billion to be spent on the new AUKUS nuclear-powered submarines. Little has been done to boost Government revenue beyond more fairly taxing windfall profits in the gas industry and increasing the tax bill for super accounts with more than $3 million in assets. Beyond this, nothing has been done to address the structural challenges within the Budget. Meanwhile, there is already unrest that the Job Seeker allowance is not being increased sufficiently to pull recipients out of poverty, with cost of living pressures at record highs for Australia’s most vulnerable people. All at a time when the Budget is in surplus.   The information provided in this article is general in nature only and does not constitute personal financial advice.

Thriving in the ‘Gig Economy’

Thriving in the ‘Gig Economy’

If you’re a freelancer or contractor or maybe even a consultant then you’re part of the “gig economy”. Gone is the job for life, or even a job in the normal, employed meaning of the word. For you, work consists of short-term contracts or a series of one-off jobs. “Gigs” as the band down at the pub might put it. For some, gig work is a liberating choice that allows them to work their own hours, holiday when they like and work wherever they wish. For others it’s a necessity in a weak job market where under-employment and age discrimination is rife, and more companies choose to outsource specific tasks. Key to the gig economy is technology, be it an Uber app, Skype, crowdsourcing sites or just email and the Web. A study found that 4.1 million Australians had freelanced in 2014/15, and it’s a trend more likely to grow than diminish. So if you’re a “gig worker” what can you do to make the most of your situation? It’s business If you’re happy picking up the odd jobs that fall into your lap for a little extra money, that’s fine. But if you are looking to earn a full-time income then you’re in business and need to operate accordingly. To begin with, you need to know: Who your potential clients are; How to reach out to them; How to gain referrals; The processes you have to put into place to track your work, issue invoices, and make sure you get paid on time; How to meet your tax obligations. Protect yourself Depending on the work you do and the requirements of your clients you may need a range of insurances: Professional indemnity insurance – if there’s any chance a client could sue you in relation to the work you are engaged to complete. Public liability insurance – in case your work activities cause injury to a member of the public. Income protection insurance – you may be eligible for workers’ compensation insurance, but the rules vary from state to state, depend on your business structure, and only cover work-related injuries. Income protection insurance will also cover you against illness and non-work-related injuries. Life insurance – if you have dependents but little in the way of net assets. Think long term Can you build your business into something you can sell? If not, how will you fund your retirement? As a gig worker you’re unlikely to receive compulsory superannuation contributions, but you can (and should) make your own contributions. Personal contributions are tax deductible up to the annual concessional cap of $27,500. Get advice All state and territory governments have departments of business that offer a wealth of information and support for small businesses. Check out the help available in your state. And talk to your financial adviser. Aside from being able to look at your insurance, savings and super needs, your adviser may be an experienced small business operator, a potential mentor, and a valuable member of your network. Contact us today!   The information provided in this article is general in nature only and does not constitute personal financial advice.

4 simple techniques to reduce your tax

4 simple techniques to reduce your tax

Here is a list of tips to help you minimise the amount of tax you pay this end of financial year: 1. Keep records Even if you use an accountant to prepare your tax return, you are responsible for the information you provide and for keeping your tax records for a minimum of five years. So, to ensure that you don’t have to pay any more tax than you are obliged to: Keep receipts of all your tax-deductible expenditure. If you are audited by the tax office, you will need to be able to prove the expenses were incurred. Keep track of all your medical expenses. If net medical expenses relating to disability aids, attendant care or aged care exceed the threshold for the year, you may be eligible for a tax offset that takes the form of a credit against tax payable. Keep detailed records of income and capital gains. Required details include date the investment was purchased, how much was paid, when it was sold and how much was received. 2. Claim all available tax deductions You may be able to claim a tax deduction for many of your expenses. These include: donations to registered charities or non-profit organisations; self-education expenses; premiums on income protection insurance; work-related expenses. You should bear in mind that the range of permissible work-related expenses varies widely from occupation to occupation. Refer to the Australian Tax Office (ATO) website www.ato.gov.au for full details. 3. Contribute to superannuation Contributions to superannuation can reduce the level of tax you would otherwise have to pay on your investments because super is taxed at a maximum of 15%. In addition, some people are eligible to claim a tax deduction for contributions made to super. The rules surrounding superannuation tax deductibility provisions and contribution limits are complex, so it pays to seek advice from your financial planner. 4. Manage capital gains When you sell an investment for a profit, you are considered to have made a capital gain. For non-professional investors, capital gains will be included on your annual income tax return. Assets acquired before 20 September 1985 are exempt from Capital Gains Tax (CGT) considerations. When you sell an asset for less than you initially paid for it, you make a capital loss. When your total capital losses for the year outweigh your total capital gains, you will finish up with a net capital loss for the year. If you have a potential CGT liability, there are some strategies that you could consider to reduce the amount you need to pay: a. Keep an investment for at least 12 months Investors are entitled to claim a 50% discount on capital gains made on assets held for longer than a year. So, by holding on to the investment for more than 12 months you will halve the CGT payable. b. Use carry-forward tax losses to reduce CGT Capital losses incurred in previous tax years that have not already been offset against capital gains may be carried forward in future tax years and can mitigate the effect of any CGT liability. Check your past income tax returns or ask your accountant to determine whether this is an option for you. Remember that this information is not personal tax advice. Always consult a professional adviser to help you determine the best strategies for your personal circumstances.   The information provided in this article is general in nature only and does not constitute personal financial advice.

A different “End of Financial Year Sale”

A different “End of Financial Year Sale”

As the end of financial year fast approaches, there is still time to consider the strategies available to you this June 30 to build your wealth, some of which are discussed below. Making a non-concessional contribution to super (Government Co-contribution Scheme) There is a federal government scheme in which people who earn less than $42,016 pa and make a non-concessional contribution to superannuation (a contribution for which no tax deduction will be claimed), may be eligible to receive a government contribution to their superannuation. Under the scheme, the government will contribute up to $0.50 for each $1.00 you contribute to your super fund up to $500. This entitlement reduces for every dollar earned up to the cut-off annual income of $57,016. For those eligible, this strategy can provide a return on every dollar contributed to super. Making a concessional contribution to super Concessional contributions to superannuation are those contributions made to super for which a tax deduction is being claimed. Using this strategy, most people can claim a tax deduction for contributions they make, up to the maximum limit, which is currently $27,500 p.a. However, this figure includes any Superannuation Guarantee Contributions an employer may make. If you have a total superannuation balance of less than $500,000 on 30 June of the previous financial year, you may be entitled to make additional concessional contributions for any unused amounts. The federal government allows a 15% Low Income Superannuation Tax Offset of up to $500 on concessional contributions made by individuals with a taxable income of less than $37,000 per year. This strategy can assist you to bolster your retirement savings whilst managing your tax liability prior to retirement. Paying income protection premiums in advance Income protection insurance can pay a monthly benefit of up to 75% of your salary if you are unable to work due to illness or injury, with the premiums being tax deductible. Paying premiums in advance enables you to bring forward the following financial year’s premiums to claim a tax deduction this financial year. This strategy enables you to protect your existing and potential wealth by taking out insurance to cover you against those events which can disrupt even the best laid plans. There are many end of financial year strategies that have tangible benefits to assist your wealth accumulation and protection objectives, so speak to your financial adviser now to discuss and implement.   The information provided in this article is general in nature only and does not constitute personal financial advice.

EOFY is coming – Have you thought about …

EOFY is coming – Have you thought about …

The end of another financial year is looming, and with that may come thoughts about your tax return and how your wealth has tracked throughout the year. Whether you’re nearing retirement, a high-income earner looking to reduce your taxable income, or you’re on a lower income and looking for ways to maximise your super contributions; there are a few things you can consider at tax time. Nearing retirement? Maximise your super contributions If you’re nearing retirement, putting as much money into your superannuation account now is a good way to make sure you build up a healthy nest egg to live off in your golden years. To maximise your super contributions, consider salary sacrificing to put more money into your super account. Salary sacrificed super payments take money out of your pre-tax income. These are called concessional contributions and are taxed at 15%. This rate is lower than most taxpayers’ marginal tax rates, so it can be an excellent way to reduce your taxable income while increasing your superannuation savings. The maximum employer and salary sacrificed contributions that can be made each financial year is $25,000. And remember, if you’re self-employed, your concessional contributions are a tax deduction. Non-concessional contributions of up to $100,000 can also be made each financial year. These contributions come from your after-tax income. Consider a one-off contribution to lower your income tax Let’s say you’re on an income of $170,000. If you haven’t opted to salary sacrifice, your employer contributions to super will be $14,748.86 in the financial year. Therefore, your taxable income will be $155,251.14. To lower your taxable income, you could make a one-off concessional contribution of $10,000. This will reduce your taxable income and still come in under the concessional contribution cap of $25,000. Are you eligible for the Government co-contributions to super? If you earn less than $54,837 per year (20/21 financial year) before tax, you could be eligible for the Government’s co-contribution on after-tax super contributions. Those who earn under the threshold can make an after-tax contribution, and the Government will calculate your co-contribution amount when you submit your tax return. The co-contribution will be deposited directly to your superannuation account. Review your records now Now is the time to check you’ve been keeping good records. Have you got a record of relevant receipts and policy statements for items such as income protection policies you have outside superannuation? Understanding the paperwork you require now to maximise your deductions will save you time when it comes to completing your tax return. If you haven’t got all of your records organised, review your spending throughout the year, identify transactions that may be a tax deduction, and put aside those receipts for tax time. Looking for more help? If you’re looking to maximise your tax return and get ready for a successful financial year ahead, talk to a financial adviser about your options. It doesn’t matter your circumstances; there are options available to help you boost your super savings and get the best tax return possible.   The information provided in this article is general in nature only and does not constitute personal financial advice.

Working from home? How to boost your next tax return

Working from home? How to boost your next tax return

With the range of technology and software available today, it’s become easier than ever to work from home. Employees can efficiently complete calls using teleconferencing software, many collaboration tools are now cloud-based, and work devices, including laptops and tablets, are light and portable. If you’ve been working from home, you’ve likely also set up a dedicated work area, and you’re using your own electricity and resources to power your workday. But which of these items can you claim in your next tax return to ensure you maximise your return? How many Australians work from home? Working remotely has become more common as companies began providing the technology to enable employees to work from anywhere. Research from Roy Morgan found that in early-2020, at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic shut down, 32 per cent of Australian workers were working from home. This equates to over 4.3 million people. It’s easier for employees in certain industries to work from home, such as finance and insurance, public administration and defence, and communications. In contrast, more “hands-on” industries such as retail, manufacturing, transport and storage and agriculture still require staff to be present in-store. Tax deductions available if you work from home Home office expenses you may be able to claim include: – electricity; – cleaning costs for your dedicated work area; – phone and internet expenses; – computer consumables – such as printer paper and ink cartridges; – stationery; and – home office equipment – including computers, printers, phones, furniture, and furnishings. The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) provides a complete list of the available deductions and how to calculate each on its website. How to calculate your home office expenses There are three methods employees can use to calculate their home office expenses: – Shortcut method: 80 cents per work hour – only available from 1 March 2020 to 30 June 2021 – Fixed-rate method: 52 cents per work hour – Actual cost method Be careful with home office expenses If you include home office expenses in your next tax return, ensure you calculate and apply your deductions correctly. For example, you can claim the full cost of home office equipment up to $300, but you need to claim the decline in value (depreciation) for any items that cost over $300. Regardless of the method you use to calculate your expenses, you will need to have records. You’ll need to keep receipts for any purchases you’ve made and a record of relevant utilities and bills. You’ll also need to keep a timesheet, roster or diary that shows the hours you’ve worked from home. If you can, keep your relevant records and receipts aside and updated throughout the year to save yourself a significant administrative workload at tax time. Have a professional prepare your tax return to maximise your refund With the range of deductions that may be available to you, plus the different calculation methods for home office expenses, having a registered tax professional prepare your tax return can be worth the investment. Quite often, your maximised refund will more than cover the cost of having a professional prepare your return. If you’re unsure about the home office deductions you’re entitled to, contact an accountant or qualified financial professional for advice.   The information provided in this article is general in nature only and does not constitute personal financial advice.

What will you do with your tax refund?

What will you do with your tax refund?

Thousands of Australians receive tax refunds every year. Some refunds won’t even cover the cost of a pizza to celebrate, however many are quite substantial. If you’re one of the lucky ones, what will you do with your tax windfall? If you go out and spend it, all you’re doing is giving part of it back to the government in the form of GST. Sure, it’s nice to splurge once in a while but there are other places you can stash your cash and reap a longer term benefit. Consider these options: a) Superannuation contributions Your superannuation fund will surpass any other investment vehicle simply due to the law of compounding… and your contributions are taxed at only 15%. Whilst superannuation funds remain the most tax-effective haven and thus the best way to grow your investments, the downside is that once your money is contributed it’s usually not accessible until you retire. b) Regular investment plan Consider investing the lump sum and setting up a regular savings investment plan to build it up. This will help you meet future objectives such as a new home, education or new car. While a certain amount of money in the bank is helpful for emergencies, now could be the time to consider a longer term plan with assets such as property or shares. You can invest in a managed fund with an initial deposit of $1,000 and make monthly contributions. While such investments are subject to fluctuations in value, you will see them grow over time. c) Reduce your mortgage By paying it straight into your mortgage, you immediately acquire more equity in your home and reduce the interest. Having more equity in your home also means that you can re-borrow that money again for investment, gearing, or to purchase other assets. So that’s an option that could keep on working for you. The moral of this story is to have a plan and then apply it. Work out where your tax refund will work best for you then talk your decisions through with your licensed financial planner.     The information provided in this article is general in nature only and does not constitute personal financial advice.

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