Archive for 'Tax'

Can Christmas Parties Be Tax-Deductible?

Posted on 5 December '21 by , under Tax. No Comments.

While your business may not necessarily be planning an extravagant bash after the events of this year, a Christmas party may be on the menu for your hard-working employees.

Planning out your Christmas party in a COVID-safe manner with a little knowledge of the tax deductions you might be able to claim back can make the giving a little sweeter this year.

The Venue

You can take advantage of the $300 (including GST) minor benefit and exemption rule to hold a Christmas function for your current employees and their spouses. To do so, the party would need to be held on the premises of the business, and during a business day. If your costs are below $300 per person, FBT will not be incurred but you will not be able to claim tax deductions or GST credits.

However, if you provide benefits to your employees over $300, it will incur fringe benefits tax (FBT). This means if the Christmas party that you hold is priced at over $300 per person (for the cost of food and drink consumed by employees and spouses) at your in-house party, you will incur and need to pay FBT on the expenses of your employee’s spouse or family members only.

If the party is being held at a restaurant or venue, you will not need to pay FBT if the costs remain under $300 as it is considered a minor benefit. If the costs rise to over $300, you will need to pay FBT for your employees, their spouses and their family.

Transportation

You may also choose to provide your employees with transportation to the Christmas party. Taxis provided to an employee will attract FBT unless the travel is to or from the employee’s place of work. If the party is held off-premises and you pay for your employee to travel by taxi to the venue and to their home after the event, only the first trip is FBT exempt.

The second trip may be exempt under the minor benefits exemption if you adopt its meal entertainment on an actual basis.

You can also provide other types of transportation to the venue, such as buses. These costs will form a part of the total meal entertainment expenditure and will be subject to FBT. If the threshold is not breached, then it may fall under the minor benefits exemption.

What About Meal Entertainment?

If your Christmas party does not include recreation, you may choose the value of food, drink, associated accommodation or travel as ‘meal entertainment’. This allows staff to pay less tax by claiming meals and drinks consumed in a restaurant/cafe or provided at a social gathering.

The taxable value of the meal entertainment can be made using a 50:50 method, 12-week method or actual method.

  • 50:50 method – a 50:50 split where the taxable value is 50% of your total expenditure when providing entertainment to your employees, associates or clients during an FBT year.
  • 12-week method – involves tracking the taxable value of each individual fringe benefit, and is based on the percentage of meals and entertainment provided to employees as registered in a log for a 12-week representative period.
  • Actual method – best used when the exact number of attendees at the majority of meals and entertainment provided or the total value of all meals and entertainment during the FBT year based on actual expenditure.

Want to know more about how you can make this merry time of the year more tax-friendly to your business? Consult with us about how we can make your Christmas parties and employee benefits work for your tax.

What Happens To My Tax If I Have More Than One Job?

Posted on 18 November '21 by , under Tax. No Comments.

Are you in the process of getting a second job to supplement your income? Or have you already received one, and are now simply confused about what you are being taxed on?

Gaining employment in a second position or job means that you may have a higher amount of tax withheld from your pay. Though this might sound daunting, it is simply because you are already claiming the tax-free threshold from another paying job.

The tax-free threshold in Australia is $18,200. If you are claiming your tax-free threshold, you are not paying tax on the first $18,200 earned in each income year. The tax-free threshold is equivalent to earning:

  • $350 a week
  • $700 a fortnight
  • $1,517 a month

Withholding tax at a higher rate means that you are less likely to have a tax debt at the end of the income year

You may be receiving pay from two or more payers at the same time if you:

  • have two or more jobs
  • have a regular part-time job and receive a taxable pension or government allowance.

In these instances, your new employer will give you a Tax file number declaration to complete. Centrelink is also a payer who will give you this form if you apply for their payments.

When you fill in this form, you can choose whether to claim the tax-free threshold from your employer. However, if you are:

  • Still earning income from your first employer, you should not claim the tax-free threshold for your second job
  • No longer earning any income (including from paid leave), then you are entitled to claim the tax-free threshold from your second job and have a lower rate of tax withheld
  • Starting to receive income from both employers, you can request that one employer withholds at a higher rate to avoid a tax debt at the end of the year.

If you are in the position of having two jobs, it is recommended to claim the tax-free threshold from the payer who usually pays the highest salary or wage. Your other payers then withhold tax from your income at a higher rate, which is known as the no tax-free threshold rate. This is likely to reduce incurring a tax debt at the end of the financial year.

Sometimes the total tax withheld from all sources may be more or less than the amount you need to meet your end of year tax liability. These tax withheld amounts are credited to you when you lodge your income tax return. If too much tax is withheld, it may result in a tax refund. However, if not enough tax was withheld, the difference may need to be paid to the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) so that you have paid enough tax for your income.

Confused, concerned or a little perplexed about what having a second job could mean for your tax obligations? Want to know more about what happens if the tax withheld isn’t enough? You can speak with a registered tax agent like us about your tax liability in the event of a second job.

Rent Concessions, Property & Commercial Enterprises – What Do You Need To Know Tax-Wise?

Posted on 31 October '21 by , under Tax. No Comments.

Over the last 12 months, there have been many notable schemes promoted by state and federal governments to assist businesses and individuals with much-needed tax relief. Numerous relief schemes have been put into place to assist those with rent relief for their businesses.

Rent is a major business expense. It is one that many businesses across the country have often had to face in one way or another.

To address the issues that many businesses faced with lockdowns and cashflow issues as a result, some businesses were eligible to apply for rent concessions as a result of the impact of COVID-19, which could be as either a waiver or as a deferral.

Waiver

In the event that a waiver is the available rent concession, the tenant no longer needs to pay the amount of rent that has been waived.

Deferral

The tenant is still required to pay the amount of rent deferred, but the amount can be paid at a later stage (in the event that the ruling of the rent concession is as a deferral on payment).

Tenants who receive rent concessions from their landlords and landlords who give rent concessions to commercial tenants need to be aware of the difference between payments that are waived and deferred. Getting the two wrong can be costly, as rent payments are often a significant impact on the cash flow of a business. Missing payment due to a misunderstanding of the rental concession type you may have been afforded could be detrimental.

Property and tax is a tricky subject that goes beyond these rent relief measures and concessions. As the schemes start to dial back, it’s important to remember that tax and your dealings with property is an ongoing conversation you may need to revisit and reacquaint yourself with.

If you own, lease or rent a property that is used for business purposes (whether commercial, such as a shop or an office, or even your own home) you need to be aware of the tax implications and obligations that you will have to fulfil.

If you are in possession of a property that is used in such a manner, you:

  • must include any rental income in your tax return
  • can claim deductions for some property expenses
  • will be liable for capital gains tax on any capital gain if you sell the property
  • may have GST obligations and entitlements.

In your dealings with property, you will also likely have additional tax obligations, including those relating to one-off transactions (such as the buying, selling, leasing or developing of property).

This could result in the Australian Taxation deciding that those one-off transactions should deem you as conducting an enterprise. If the turnover from these activities is more than the GST registration turnover threshold (what you are allowed to bring in before reaching a limit), you may be required to register for GST.

Ensure that your tax obligations and consequences are met by consulting with us. We are equipped with the knowledge to assist you. You can also enquire about potential tax concessions surrounding rent and property with us, as there may be more available to you and your business than you might think.

Retail Workers & Tax – Here’s What You Need To Know

Posted on 3 October '21 by , under Tax. No Comments.

In spite of the many challenges that have faced many industries across the country during COVID-19’s persistence and ongoing effects, the retail industry through their continued, adapted operations has continued to progress.

As a result, retail workers across many stores may find that the taxable income from their work may have been affected by the changed situation. This may be a result of additional income, less income, or stagnation of their taxable income as a result of stand-downs, business closures or a forced pause in their operations.

No matter the situation though, retail workers will still need to ensure that all of their taxable income has been accurately reported and lodged in their tax returns.

If you are a retail worker earning your income or have earned your income in the industry over the course of the previous year, you will need to know:

  • What income and allowances you may need to report
  • What can and cannot be claimed as a work-related deduction
  • What the records are that you may need to keep track of

This information may be applicable to income earned in the 2020-21 financial year, or to income earned over the next year.

Income and Allowances That You May Need To Report

On the 30th of June, you should have received an income statement or payment salary that shows what you have earned as a retail worker throughout the year. This should include your salary, wages or allowances for that income year.

You should include all of the income that you received during the year in your tax return, regardless of when you earn it.  This may include:

  • Any salary or wages that you may have earned as income.
  • Any bonuses that may have been earned during the year.
  • Any allowances that you may have received to compensate for an aspect of your work or to help to pay for certain expenses when you have travelled for work.

Allowances can also be if an employer pays you based on an estimated amount of what you might spend (e.g. paying cents per kilometre if you use your car for work). It may also be for the actual amount spent on the expense before or after the expense is incurred.

You may receive allowances

  • For work that may be unpleasant, special or dangerous
  • In recognition of holding special skills, such as a first-aid certificate or
  • To compensate for industry peculiarities, such as work on public holidays.

Your employer may not include some allowances on your income statement or payment summary but may include them on your payslips. These can include travel allowances or overtime meal allowances (as paid per industrial law, award or agreement).

If that allowance isn’t on your income statement or payment summary and you spend the entire amount on deductible expenses, it should not be included in the tax return as income or claimed as a deduction. If you spent more than what was your allowance, you include the allowance as income in your tax return and can claim a deduction for your expense.

If your employer pays for the expenses that you occur exactly, that payment is considered a reimbursement. This is not included or considered to be an allowance, and as such, cannot be included as income in your tax return or claimed for a deduction.

Deductions That You May Be Able To Claim

If you are a retail worker looking for claimable deductions that may specifically apply to your profession, you need to:

  • Have spent the money, and were not reimbursed for the work-related expense
  • Have proof that the expense directly relates to earning your income
  • Have a record that proves the expense was incurred (a receipt is usually acceptable).

You can only claim a deduction for the work-related portion of an expense. You can’t claim a deduction for any part of an expense that is not directly related to earning your income or that is private.

Some of the deductions that may be eligible as deductions for retail workers include:

    • Car expenses – if you drive between separate jobs on the same day, or drive to and from an alternate workplace for the same employee on the same day.
    • Clothing expenses – the cost of buying, hiring, mending or cleaning certain uniforms that are unique and distinctive to your job, or protective clothing that your employer requires you to wear.
  • Meal expenses – the cost of overtime meals on the occasions where you worked overtime and took an overtime meal break and your employer paid you an overtime meal allowance.
  • Self-education expenses – if your course relates directly to your current job.
  • Seminars and conferences
  • Technical or professional publications
  • Union and professional association fees
  • Phone and internet usage if your employer needs you to use your personal devices for work.

Record-Keeping Tips

Always keep proof of any expenses that you may have incurred for which you want to claim deductions. This is usually a receipt but can be another form of written evidence (such as an invoice). Those records must show what you purchased, when, where, and how much you spent. They must be in English

There are a few exceptions to the rule. These include small expense receipts, hard to get receipts, overtime meal expense receipts and travel and meal expense receipts. These have special rules and conditions that you need to follow if attempting to claim on these.

If you would like further assistance or information on how you can handle your tax return as a retail worker for this current financial year or for last year’s return, you can speak with us. We can assist you in the process, and make sure that your tax return is lodged correctly.

Capital Gains Tax Can Be Tricky – That’s Why We’re Here To Help

Posted on 13 September '21 by , under Tax. No Comments.

If you have disposed of any assets (which can include the loss, destruction or sale of an asset) which are subject to capital gains tax, you need to let us know as soon as possible. These are known as capital gains events, which can affect the way in which a capital gain or loss is calculated, and when it is included in a net capital gain or loss.

The type of CGT event that applies to your situation may affect the time of the CGT event’s occurrence, and exactly how to calculate your capital gain or loss. As mentioned earlier, a CGT event can involve the loss of an asset, the destruction of an asset or the sale of an asset.

The Sale Of An Asset

If there is a contract of sale, the CGT event happens when you enter into the contract.

A common CGT asset involved with contracts of sale that is often sold is the house. The CGT event, in that case, happens on the date of the contract, not on the date of settlement.

If there is no contract of sale, the CGT event is usually when you stop being the asset’s owner.

Your capital gain or loss for the assets is usually the selling price, less the original cost and certain other costs associated with acquiring, holding and disposing of the asset.

Loss Or Destruction Of An Asset

If a CGT asset that you own is lost, stolen or destroyed, then the CGT event happens when you first receive compensation for the loss, theft or destruction.  In this way, the capital gain for such an asset is the amount of compensation less the asset’s original cost. If you do not receive compensation for the asset, the CGT event happens when the loss is discovered or the destruction occurred. Replacing the asset may result in being able to defer (or “roll over”) the capital gain until another CGT event occurs (e.g. selling the replacement asset).

The best way to ensure that you are doing the right thing when it comes to CGT tax is to keep your records up to date. This will assist us in ensuring that you are remaining compliant Any CGT events that have occurred need to be recorded (including asset disposals for at least five years after the event occurred. The best way to ensure this is to keep track of:

  • receipts of purchase, transfer or sale
  • if money was borrowed and details of interest
  • receipts for insurance, rates and land taxes
  • receipts for the cost of maintenance, repairs and modifications
  • any market valuations
  • brokerage on shares and cryptocurrency
  • digital wallet records and keys.

Keeping accurate and well-maintained records for CGT events is of utmost importance, as it allows us to ensure that you are accurately reporting your transactions and lodging your return correctly. If they incur any net capital losses, this needs to be reflected in the return as they may be able to offset these against capital gains in a later year. Once a loss has been offset against a capital gain, you need to keep the records about that CGT event for two years (for individuals and small businesses) or four years (for other taxpayers).

If you are in the process of disposing of a capital gains asset, you will want to be certain that you are doing the right thing. Capital gains tax can be a tricky issue, with plenty of rigamarole. Come speak with us to ensure that your returns are lodged with the most accurate and correct information needed for submission.

Renovations, DIY and Repairs – Here’s The Tax Information You Need To Know As A Property Investor

Posted on 23 August '21 by , under Tax. No Comments.

As a property investor, you might find yourself implementing repairs and renovation work onto a property to ensure that you are maximising its value on the market. However, though both can be claimed on your tax return, it’s of paramount importance that you know how to claim them. Getting it wrong can be both costly, and unlawful.

A rental property improvement is a renovation where something is improved beyond its original state and must be claimed with depreciation. This means that you are claiming a deduction for the decline in the value over the effective life of the renovation. For example, a rental property improvement that could be claimable by a property investor could include a bathroom getting retiled.

Maintenance and repairs however can be claimed differently, with all records kept containing accurate information on that work. This will assist in working out the depreciation of assets of the property.

A depreciation schedule is a report that outlines all available tax depreciation deductions for a residential investment property or commercial building. These depreciations can be claimed in your tax return each financial year and could help you to save thousands.

Investors who renovate and lodge their tax returns prior to ensuring that they have updated their tax depreciation schedule correctly could get caught out in making a mistake between the two types of work. Those who fail to properly record rental property improvements in a tax depreciation schedule risk making inaccurate claims and inviting the scrutiny of the Australian Taxation Office (ATO).

Your tax obligations and entitlements when renovating your property may change depending on how you go about it. Depending on whether you are a personal property investor, engaged in the profit-making activity of property renovations or carrying on a business involved in renovating properties, you will have to abide by certain requirements outside of maintaining the depreciation schedule.

Personal Property Investor

As a personal property investor engaging in renovations to a property:

  • The net gain or loss gained from the renovation is treated as a capital gain or capital loss.
  • Capital gains tax concessions such as the CGT discount and the main residence exemption may reduce your capital gain.
  • You will not be required to register for GST as you are not conducting an enterprise.

Profit-Making Activity of Property Renovations

Consider yourself a ‘flipper’ of properties? You will be required to:

  • Report your net profit or loss from the renovation in your income tax return as a result of the profit-making activity.
  • Have an Australian business number.
  • May be required to register for GST if the renovations are substantial.

In The Business Of Renovating Properties

If you are carrying out the business of renovating or flipping properties:

  • They are regarded as trading stock (even if you live in one for a short period of time.
  • The costs associated with buying and renovating them form part of the cost of your trading stock until they are sold.
  • You calculate the business’s annual profit or loss in the same way as any business with trading stock
  • You’re entitled to an Australian business number (ABN)
  • You may be required to register for GST if the renovations are substantial.

In this instance, CGT does not apply to assets held as trading stock. Similarly, the CGT concessions (such as the CGT discount, small business concessions and main residence exemption) will not be applicable to the income gained from the sale of the properties.

If you are concerned about any of the topics discussed above, or want to know more about claiming property improvements on your tax return, you can come and speak with us for further information and advice.

When Does A CGT Concession Or Exemption Apply To Your Small Business?

Posted on 2 August '21 by , under Tax. No Comments.

Small businesses are facing a set of challenges once again that can make fulfilling tax obligations seem like a daunting task. However, as a small business, capital gains tax concessions on assets used to conduct your business may be of interest to you. These assets are known as “active assets” and can, for example, be a tangible asset (such as commercial property), or an intangible asset (such as goodwill).

The turnover threshold for such CGT concessions is $2 million, according to the ATO.  If your turnover is more than $2 million, then you need to satisfy an assets test.

There are stringent eligibility requirements and conditions that you must meet in order to access these concessions.

If you have owned an active business asset, you may only be required to pay tax on 25% of the capital gain when the asset is disposed of.

If you are 55 years of age or older, and are retiring or are permanently incapacitated (and have owned an active business asset for at least 15 years), you may not have to pay any CGT when disposing of an asset by sale, gift or transfer. You might also be able to contribute the amount that you make from this exemption to your super fund without affecting your non-concessional contributions limits (you can speak with us about this if you are unsure about this process).

If you are under 55, the taxable 25% of the disposal of an asset can be paid into a complying fund or a retirement savings account. There is then a full CGT exemption on the sale of an active business asset of up to $500,000 (the lifetime limit). Any amounts earned from this exemption to CGT may be able to be paid into your super fund without affecting the non-concessional contributions limit).

Disposing of an active asset, but are going to buy a replacement asset or improve on an existing one? You can defer your capital gain in this instance until a later year. The replacement asset can be acquired one year before or up to two years after the last CGT event in the income year that you choose the roll-over for.

If the asset is a share in a company or an interest in a trust, there will be additional conditions that you will be required to meet as well. If you are a small business, there are other CGT exemptions, rollovers and concessions specific to small businesses that you may be able to access, if you meet the eligibility criteria. These small business CGT concessions will reduce the taxable capital gain and in some cases result in no tax being paid at all on the gain.

Speak with us to find out what you may be entitled to when it comes to CGT and your business to ensure that you are doing the right thing with your tax obligations after selling an asset.

Receive A Relief Or Support Payment? Here’s What You Need To Watch Out For This Tax Season

Posted on 12 July '21 by , under Tax. No Comments.

Have you, over the course of the past financial year, received a government assistance payment, support payment or disaster relief supplement?

There have been a number of cases where people who received financial assistance from the government were hit with additional owed tax to the ATO, due to their payments increasing their income threshold.

When lodging your individual income tax return this year, you will need to declare certain Australian Government payments, pensions and allowances in your tax return. If you did not elect to pay tax on those payments, this could affect the payment received from your return (or mean that you actually owe money to the ATO).

Some of the taxable payments that you may need to include in your tax return include:

  • the age pension
  • carer payment
  • Austudy payment
  • JobSeeker payment
  • Youth allowance
  • Defence Force income support allowance (DFISA) where the pension, payment or allowance to which it relates is taxable
  • veteran payment
  • invalidity service pension, if you have reached age-pension age
  • disability support pension, if you have reached age-pension age
  • income support supplement
  • sickness allowance
  • parenting payment (partnered)
  • disaster recovery allowance (but not in relation to 201920 bushfires)

Most of these pensions, payments and allowances will pre-fill in your tax return if you lodge online. You will need to make sure that all information submitted is correct though. Verify the pre-filled information with your own records to ensure that you are lodging the right information, and not missing anything.

Do you have concerns about your tax return this year? Uncertain about deductions, or if certain taxes will apply to you? Want a little more help or information about your government payments?

Be prepared for your individual income tax return with a consult with us. We can advise you on your tax returns, and potentially help you minimise the tax you will end up paying.

ATO Says Different Payments Will Have Different Tax Treatments.

Posted on 30 June '21 by , under Tax. No Comments.

The ATO is looking to make tax season a little bit easier this year, particularly in light of the unique but significant challenges that Australians have been facing over the last year, and are continuing to face. If you received a financial assistance payment, grant or scheme package during the 2020 financial year, you need to be aware of your taxable requirements. There are different tax treatments for different payments that you may have received. 

 

Jobkeeper

Payments that were received from Jobkeeper as an employee will be automatically included in your income statement as either salary and wages, or as an allowance. Sole traders who have received a Jobkeeper payment on behalf of their business will need to include the payment as assessable income for the business.

 

Jobseeker

All information will be included in your tax return (in the Government Payments & Allowances question) when ready. Lodging your return prior to the information being available will require you to add it yourself. Leaving out income will slow your return, so it is important to ensure that you have all of the information when lodging.

 

Stand Down Payments

If you were the recipient of a one-off or regular payment from your employer after being temporarily stood down due to COVID-19, these payments will be automatically included in your return as they are taxable. 

 

COVID-19 Disaster Payment For People Affected By Restrictions

The Australian Government (through Services Australia) COVID-19 disaster payment for those who were affected by restrictions is a taxable payment. This must be included when lodging your tax return.


Tax Treatment Of Other Assistance Payments

The tax treatment of other assistance payments may vary according to what is required and how the income is assessed as. It is best to double-check on the ATO’s website directly to determine how different disaster payments may impact your return. 

 

Early Access To Superannuation

If you received early access to your superannuation under the special arrangements resulting from COVID-19, you do not need to declare that amount in your tax return. Any eligible amounts withdrawn under this program are tax-free.

 

If you require assistance with determining what is taxable income and what is not, or you’re not sure what payments that you received may be applicable to the ATO’s different tax treatments, come speak with us. We’re here to help. 

The ATO Warns Gig Economy Workers To Declare Their Income, Or Face Severe Penalties

Posted on 21 June '21 by , under Tax. No Comments.

The inexpensive and profitable side hustle is under the ATO’s watchful eye when it comes to declaring income this tax season. With many gig economy workers often earning their income as independent contractors, the ATO warns that a failure to report all income from all of the work that they carry out could land them with severe penalties. 

 

The ATO is expected to employ advanced data-matching from platforms that play host to large proportions of Australia’s gig economy to ensure that tax is declared and paid on the income from workers of the gig economy. Those workers may include Uber workers, Doordash, Lyft, Airbnb and many more similar side hustle income earners.

 

There is a silver lining for gig workers this tax time. Many gig economy workers may find themselves more eligible for tax deductions – but are warned against claiming more than they are allowed to.

 

Gig workers are eligible to claim deductions for most costs incurred while earning their income (such as travel or vehicle expenses, financing and marketing). These deductions, however, can only be claimed for the work-related proportion of the claim. You won’t be able to claim the whole amount for the deduction if the claim is made because you picked up an Uber fare on the way back from your Grandma’s for example, it will only be deductible from when you picked up your passenger. 

 

Those who prepare their deductions based on a representative period are also warned to prepare an additional record for this period, as the pandemic has induced numerous tax challenges for many gig economy workers involved in declining and rising fields of the economy. 

 

Workers who fail to declare cash income from the gig economy may incur penalties in the form of interest on their tax bills or potential criminal charges. It is vital that you ensure your tax return is correctly lodged and all income is declared if you are a gig economy worker of any kind. If you need assistance regarding your tax return lodgment process, you can always contact us for advice.