November Practice Update

November Practice Update

Practice Update – November Edition

Fast-tracking tax cuts for small and medium businesses

The Government has fast-tracked the already legislated tax cuts to small and medium businesses by bringing them forward five years.

Companies with an aggregated turnover of less than $50 million will have a tax rate of 25% in the 2022 income year (instead of the 2027 income year based on the previously legislated timeline).

Similarly, the increase in the tax discount to 16% for unincorporated entities will apply from the 2022 income year, rather than the 2027 income year.

Editor: Small and medium businesses will appreciate the earlier access to the already legislated tax cuts.

Proposed expansion of STP to smaller employers

Single Touch Payroll (‘STP’) commenced on 1 July 2018 for approximately 73,000 employers who have 20 or more employees.

There is currently legislation before Parliament to expand STP to all employers from 1 July 2019 and it is estimated that there will be more than 700,000 employers who will enter STP as a result.

Even though the proposed expansion is not yet law, the ATO recommends that smaller employers consider voluntarily opting-in to STP early.

The ATO acknowledges there is a large number of very small employers who have less than five employees (‘micro-employers’) who do not currently use a payroll product and has indicated that they are not looking to force them to take up a product to do STP.

Efforts are being made to work with industry to look at some alternate reporting mechanisms.

It is being reported that software developers, and even some of the larger banks, have shown an interest in developing some kind of product that would enable micro-employers to provide the necessary data to comply with STP at a low cost.

Employers who are in an area that has internet issues or challenges are reminded that there are potential exemptions available under STP.

The ATO is currently consulting with focus groups to look at flexible options to transition micro-employers to STP over the next couple of years.

Assuming the relevant legislation passes, the ATO does not realistically expect that everyone will start STP from 1 July 2019 and has indicated that it will be flexible with the commencement date, including the provision of deferrals to help stagger the uptake.

Editor: This is a very positive message from the ATO, particularly for micro-employers.  Hopefully, together with the relevant software developers, they are able to come up with a low-cost and simple alternative for those who do not currently use payroll software to comply with their STP obligations.

Expansion of the TPRS

The Taxable Payments Reporting System (‘TPRS’) has been expanded to the cleaning and courier services industries from 1 July 2018.

Businesses that have an ABN and make any payments to contractors for cleaning or courier services provided on behalf of the business must lodge a Taxable Payments Annual Report (‘TPAR’) each income year.

The first TPAR for payments made to contractors from 1 July 2018 to 30 June 2019 will be due by 28 August 2019.

Where cleaning or courier services are only part of the services provided by the business, they will need to work out what percentage of the payments they receive are for these services each income year to determine if a TPAR is required to be lodged.

Specifically, if the total payments the business receives for the relevant services are:

  • 10% or more of their GST turnover – a TPAR must be lodged.
  • Less than 10% of their GST turnover – a TPAR is not required to be lodged, but the business can choose to lodge one.

Ban on electronic sales suppression tools

From 4 October 2018, the Government has banned activities involving electronic sales suppression tools (‘ESSTs’) that relate to people or businesses that have Australian tax obligations.

The production, supply, possession or use of an ESST (or knowingly assisting others to do so) may attract criminal and administrative penalties.

ESSTs can come in different forms and are constantly evolving, some examples include:

  • An external device connected to a point of sale (‘POS’) system.
  • Additional software installed into otherwise-compliant software.
  • A feature or modification that is a part of a POS system or software. An ESST may allow income to be misrepresented and under-reported by:
  • Deleting transactions from electronic record-keeping systems;
  • Changing transactions to reduce the amount of a sale;
  • Misrepresenting sales records (e.g., by allowing GST taxable sales to be re-categorised as GST non-taxable sales); or
  • Falsifying POS records.

Transitional arrangements are in place for six months starting from 4 October 2018 to 3 April 2019 for possessing an ESST.

Taxpayers may avoid committing an offence for possessing an ESST if they:

  • Acquired it before 7:30pm 9 May 2017; and
  • Advise the ATO that they possess the tool.

Importantly, the transitional provisions do not apply to the manufacture, development, publication, supply or use of an ESST.

Depending on the offence and severity of the crime, taxpayers can face financial penalties of up to 5,000 penalty units, which currently equates to over $1 million.

Scammers impersonating tax agents

The ATO has received increasing reports of a new take on the ‘fake tax debt’ scam, whereby scammers are now impersonating registered tax agents to lend legitimacy to their phone call.

The fraudsters do this by coercing the victim into revealing their agent’s name and then initiating a three-way phone conversation between the scammer, the victim, and another scammer impersonating the victim’s registered tax agent or someone from the agent’s practice.

As the phone conversations with the scammers appeared legitimate and the victims trusted the advice of the scammer ‘tax agent’, victims have been falling for this new approach.

In a recent example, a victim withdrew thousands of dollars in cash and deposited it into a Bitcoin ATM, fearing that police had a warrant out for their arrest.

The ATO is reminding taxpayers that they will never:

  • Demand immediate payments;
  • Threaten them with arrest; or
  • Request payment by unusual means, such as iTunes vouchers, store gift cards or Bitcoin cryptocurrency.

Taxpayers are advised that if they are suspicious about a phone call from someone claiming to be the ATO, then they should disconnect and call the ATO or their tax agent to confirm the status of their tax affairs and verify the call.

Open Hours

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8:00am to 5:00pm

Closed Public Holidays

If you need to get us documents quickly, access remote support, or the MYOB Portal click the button above.

Contact Us

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T: (03) 5833 3000
F: (03) 5831 2988
E: info@plus1group.com.au

Fairwork Update

Fairwork Update

Fairwork Award Updates

Changes to Modern Awards

The Fair Work Commission has varied a number of awards as part of its Modern Award Review. The changes affect rules on termination of employment and a number of other clauses.

All changes apply from the first full pay period on or after 1 November 2018.

Updated copies of the awards are available via the list of awards at fairwork.gov.au.

Termination of Employment

Employers are now required to pay an employee’s wages and all other entitlements, within 7 days of the end of their employment.

Changes to notice of termination rules mean an employer can deduct up to 1 week’s wages if an employee over 18 years resigns without  giving enough notice. Employers cannot deduct wages from employees under the age of 18 for not giving notice.

Other Clauses

The following clauses have also been varied:

  • Consultation and major workplace change.
  • Consultation about changes to rosters or hours of work.
  • Dispute resolution.
  • Individual flexibility arrangements.

To ensure you are up to date and complying with these changes, check you award now!

If you would like any assistance in this area please contact your Accountant on 03 5833 3000.

Open Hours

Monday to Friday
8:00am to 5:00pm

Closed Public Holidays

If you need to get us documents quickly, access remote support, or the MYOB Portal click the button above.

Contact Us

27 Welsford Street
Shepparton, VIC 3630

T: (03) 5833 3000
F: (03) 5831 2988
E: info@plus1group.com.au

October at Plus 1

October at Plus 1

OCTOBER AT PLUS 1

VFF Dairy Farmers Grant entries closing 29th October

Dairy farmers located in Victoria, the Riverina area of New South Wales, eastern South Australia and Tasmania may be eligible for grants of $5,000 to $10,000 to spend on projects to improve their farming business. Priority will be given to projects which promote infrastructure development, resilience building, management planning and sustainability of the industry particularly in context of drought and dry conditions. Applications close on the 29th of October 2018, so please give us a call if you would like any further information.

Due Dates for November

7th – Lodge and pay October 2018 monthly payroll tax
21th – Lodge and pay October 2018 monthly Business Activity Statement
25th – Lodge and pay September 2018 Qtr Business Activity Statement
28th – Lodge and pay September 2018 Qtr Superannuation Guarantee Charge Statement

ASIC Drought Relief for Effected Farmers

ASIC are offering relief to drought effected farmers with regards to company-related fees which may be payable. If you are currently effected by the drought, you may be able to review your fees with ASIC and organise alternative payment options.

Depending on your circumstances, ASIC will either set up an alternative payment arrangement or waive the fee altogether. To receive this relief from ASIC you must provide them with details of your current situation and evidence supporting this.

For more information on what  ASIC are offering, please view the below link.
https://asic.gov.au/about-asic/news-centre/find-a-media-release/2018-releases/18-289mr-asic-fee-relief-and-financial-counselling-for-the-drought-affected/

Fairwork Ombudsman – Preparing for Christmas and New Years

Are you gearing up for the holiday period?
Christmas casuals can help you get through the end of year madness, but its important to get the right person for the job. Our guide will help you through each step of the hiring process and make sure they hit the ground running. Full article here.

 

 

Or are you winding down?
Before you shut up shop for the holidays read this. It’ll make sure you’re up to date about shut downs, public holidays and directing staff to take leave. Full article here.

Myth: Out of hours meetings aren’t paid
Just because it’s out of hours and catered, doesn’t mean it’s not work time. All compulsory meetings are paid work time. Check out some other workplace myths we’re busting. Full article is here.

 

 

Note: The above articles are provided to you by fairwork.gov.au

EMMA’S FINANCIAL PLANNING QUOTE OF THE DAY

As you near retirement, it’s natural to become a more conservative investor with a desire to preserve your investment. We can help you understand the difference between income and total-return investment strategies, and why maintaining a balanced approach is key to preserving your portfolio through your retirement.

Looking for financial advice? Contact Emma for your FREE Financial Planning consultation on (03) 5833 3000.

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If you have any sponsorship queries contact us at hr@plus1group.com.au 

Disclaimer: The advice provided is general advice only. It has been prepared without taking into account your objectives, financial situation or needs. Before acting on this advice you should consider the appropriateness of the advice, having regard to your own objectives, financial situation and needs. Where quoted, past performance is not indicative of future performance.

Open Hours

Monday to Friday
8:00am to 5:00pm

Closed Public Holidays

If you need to get us documents quickly, access remote support, or the MYOB Portal click the button above.

Contact Us

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T: (03) 5833 3000
F: (03) 5831 2988
E: info@plus1group.com.au

October Practice Update

October Practice Update

Practice Update – October 2018

Increased scrutiny of home office claims

Last year, 6.7 million taxpayers claimed a record $7.9 billion in deductions for ‘other work-related expenses’, which includes home office expenses.

Reportedly, due to a high number of mistakes, errors and questionable claims for home office expenses, the ATO has recently advised that it will be increasing attention, scrutiny and education on these claims this tax time.

In particular, the ATO has flagged their concerns relating to taxpayers who are claiming:

  • expenses they never paid for;
  • expenses that their employer has reimbursed them for;
  • private expenses; and
  • expenses with no supporting

Whilst additional costs incurred as a direct result of working from home can be claimed, care must be taken not to claim private expenses as well.

The ATO has indicated that one of the biggest issues they face is people claiming the entire amount of expenses (e.g., their internet or mobile phone), rather than just the extra portion relating to work.

Provided the taxpayer is able to demonstrate that they have incurred additional costs of running expenses (e.g., electricity for heating, cooling and lighting), then these are generally deductible.

In contrast, employees are generally not able to claim any portion of occupancy-related expenses (e.g., rent, mortgage repayments, property insurance, land taxes and rates).

Taxpayers are warned that the ATO may contact their employers to verify expenses claimed for working from home.

In addition, the ATO expects to disallow a lot of claims where the taxpayer has not kept adequate

records to prove that they have legitimately incurred the relevant expense and that the expense was related to their work.

As with the claiming of deductions in general, supporting records must be kept when claiming work-from-home expenses, which may include receipts, diary entries and itemised phone bills.

Importantly, only the additional work-related portion of the relevant expense is deductible.

Advancement in technology has allowed the ATO to deploy sophisticated systems and analytics to spot claims that do not ‘add up’ and claims that are out of the ordinary compared to others in similar occupations, earning similar income.

Finally, the ATO has reminded taxpayers of the ‘three golden rules’ to follow when claiming work-from-home deductions, being:

  • the taxpayer  must  have  spent  the  money themselves and have not been reimbursed;
  • it must be directly related to earning the taxpayer’s income, not a personal expense; and
  • the taxpayer must have a record to prove the expense.

More help for drought-affected farmers

As part of the next phase of its drought assistance policy (which includes various other measures), the Government announced that farmers will be able to immediately deduct the cost of fodder storage assets.

Previously, these types of assets (such as silos and hay sheds used to store grain and other animal feed storage) were required to be depreciated over three years.

This measure is designed to make it easier for farmers to invest in more infrastructure to stockpile fodder during the drought.

This measure is available for fodder storage assets first used, or installed ready for use, from 19 August 2018 (being the date of the announcement), and complements the $20,000 instant write-off already available to small business entities.

Editor: The relevant legislation giving effect  to this announcement was fast-tracked through Parliament to provide certainty for these drought- stricken farmers, passing both Houses on 20 September 2018.

Increase in Private Health Insurance excesses

Legislation has been passed by Parliament to implement the Private Health Insurance (‘PHI’) reforms announced by the Government in October 2017.

The measures are designed to simplify PHI and make it more affordable for consumers by improving the value of PHI either in the form of lower premiums and/or improved cover for  certain benefits.

Of particular interest from a tax perspective is the increase in the maximum voluntary excess levels for products providing individuals with an exemption from the Medicare levy surcharge.

The increased levels of voluntary excesses that insurers can apply are:

  • $750 (up from $500) in any 12-month period for singles; or
  • $1,500 (up from $1,000) in any 12-month period for couples/families.

These increases will apply from the 2019 income year, with private health insurers permitted to offer products with the new higher excesses from 1 April 2019.

Editor: This is a positive change, as the excess levels have not changed since 2000.

Whilst there is no requirement for consumers to move  to  products with higher excesses, it is expected that more affordable PHI will encourage more people to take out cover.

Legislation to combat illegal phoenix activity

The Government has announced a package of reforms to tackle illegal phoenix behaviour. By way of background, phoenixing occurs when the controllers of a company strip the company’s assets and transfer them to another company, to avoid paying the original company’s debts. The proposed measures will deter and  disrupt the core behaviours of phoenix operators by:

  • creating new criminal and civil offences, attaching the highest penalties available under the law, to target those who engage in and facilitate illegal phoenix transactions;
  • preventing directors from backdating their resignations to avoid personal liability;
  • preventing sole directors from resigning and leaving a company as an empty corporate shell with no directors;
  • restricting the voting rights of related creditors of the phoenix company at meetings regarding the appointment or removal and replacement of a liquidator;
  • making directors personally liable for GST liabilities, as part of extended director penalty provisions; and
  • extending the ATO’s existing power to retain refunds where there are outstanding tax lodgements.

A new Phoenix Hotline is also being established, which will make it easier to report suspected phoenix behaviour. Editor: According to the Government, the proposed measures are tightly targeted at those who misuse the corporate form, while minimising any unintended impacts on legitimate business restructuring. Whether they will be able to achieve this goal or not is yet to be seen…

Please Note: Many of the comments in this publication are general in nature and anyone intending to apply the information to practical circumstances should seek professional advice to independently verify their interpretation and the information’s applicability to  their particular circumstances.

Open Hours

Monday to Friday
8:00am to 5:00pm

Closed Public Holidays

If you need to get us documents quickly, access remote support, or the MYOB Portal click the button above.

Contact Us

27 Welsford Street
Shepparton, VIC 3630

T: (03) 5833 3000
F: (03) 5831 2988
E: info@plus1group.com.au

August at Plus 1

August at Plus 1

AUGUST AT PLUS 1

Drought Transport Subsidy

Subsidies of up to 50% of the total freight cost are available through the Rural Assistance Authority to eligible primary producers. A maximum of $5 per kilometre (plus GST), up to a maximum eligible distance of 1,500 kilometres. The maximum amount available to under the program is $30,000.

Changes to the Farm Household Allowance

The government has recently announced changes to the farm household allowance, these include:

  • Increasing the time you can receive benefits from 3 to 4 years; and
  • Introducing lump sum payments to people receiving the allowance.

If you have previously received or think you could be eligible to receive the farm household allowance please give us a call.

Grants for Young Greenies

The Victorian state government have recently announced funding of $400,000 to help children across the state protect the Environment. Local junior Landcare groups are encouraged to apply for grants of up to $5,000 to boost biodiversity.

MYOB discontinuing support services for an original desktop product in 2019

From 30th September next year, MYOB is set to discontinue support services and compliance updates for their Account Right Classic product. For those clients wanting up-to-date support and systems beyond 30th September 2019, will mean a force to upgrade to one of MYOB’s cloud based products, or consider looking at an alternate software provider.

September Deadlines

September 7 – Payroll tax monthly return – August 2018

September 21 – August 2018 Business Activity Statement/Instalment Activity Statement

September 30 – 2018 PAYG payment summaries to be lodged with the ATO (if prepared by a tax agent)

On the 22nd August, the Plus 1 Wealth Advisor team visited the Kialla Children’s Centre to provide the staff a free seminar in wealth creation.

Held after hours for the staff, the Plus 1 team discussed a vast range of topics including salary sacrificing, negative gearing, dollar cost averaging, property, insurance and superannuation.

The Kialla Children’s Centre team said that the seminar opened their eyes to potential wealth creating opportunities they did not know existed, or hadn’t given thought to in the past.

If your workplace would like to host a FREE Financial Planning seminar for your staff, contact Plus 1 Wealth Advisors on (03) 5833 3000.

NEW FAMILY AND DOMESTIC LEAVE ENTITLEMENTS

From 1 August 2018, all employees (including casuals) who are covered by an industry or occupation based award will be able to access 5 days of unpaid family and domestic violence leave each year.

Modern awards will be varied to help employees deal with the impact of family family and domestic violence, by providing employees with time to attend court hearings, access police services and make arrangement for their safety or the safety of a family member.

Find out more
You can find more information about domestic and family violence leave and who it applies to at www.fairwork.gov.au

CHRISTMAS CLOSURE

It’s getting to that time of year when businesses need to start thinking about closing down their operations over Christmas. 

It is important to ensure you check the Award that applies to your business to ensure you are giving staff ample warning regarding the dates when they may be required to take annual leave.

For example, in the Road Transport and Distribution Award 2010, the Award states:

An employer may close down an enterprise or part of an enterprise for the purpose of allowing annual leave to all or the majority of the employees in the enterprise or part concerned, provided that:

a) the employer gives not less than one months notice of its intention to do so;

b) an employee who has accrued sufficient leave to cover the period of the close down, is allowed leave and also paid for that leave at the appropriate wage;

c) an employee who has accrued sufficient leave to cover part of all of the close down, is allowed paid leave for the period for which they have accrued sufficient leave and given unpaid leave for the remainder of the close-down; and

d) any leave taken by an employee as a result of a close down pursuant to this clause also counts as service by the employee with their employer

EMMA’S FINANCIAL PLANNING QUOTE OF THE DAY

As Financial advisers we don’t merely pick shares or recommend investments— we carefully analyse your personal circumstances and assess the market environment as we develop your overall investment strategy.

Looking for financial advice? Contact Emma for your FREE Financial Planning consultation on (03) 5833 3000.

PLUS 1 – PROUDLY SUPPORTING

Open Hours

Monday to Friday
8:00am to 5:00pm

Closed Public Holidays

If you need to get us documents quickly, access remote support, or the MYOB Portal click the button above.

Contact Us

27 Welsford Street
Shepparton, VIC 3630

T: (03) 5833 3000
F: (03) 5831 2988
E: info@plus1group.com.au