Latest News

Keeping you up to date

Are you a US Citizen or Green Card holder?

The media has given a great deal of attention to the US Government’s proposed tax changes in recent weeks, including the one-off ‘deemed repatriation tax’. This tax was aimed at big businesses such as Apple and Google – but did you know that it may also capture US citizens who own more than 10% of a foreign company?

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Own land in Queensland? Do you pay land tax?

Land Tax is payable where you own land over a certain value and is determined based on assets held at midnight on 30 June each year.  The value is based on the unimproved land value (which is also used to calculate rates).  If you own more than one property the values are aggregated.  There are exceptions, including for the primary residence. So what do you need to know?

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Changes to the ATO Super Clearing House

Do you currently use the ATO Small Business Superannuation Clearing House (SBSCH) to pay your employee’s superannuation? If so, are you aware of the changes that have been made to this service?

As of February 26, you can only access this service via your ATO Business Portal.

What if I don’t have an ATO Business Portal?

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Are you a Director? Do you really want the responsibility?

Many of us are directors of the private companies we operate.  It is often a necessity of being in business.  But do you realise being a director comes with serious responsibilities?  For most of us, our businesses run day to day without a hitch.  We pay our bills when they fall due and otherwise act within the constraints of the law. 

However, sometimes things can go wrong so it’s important to make sure you understand the risk, and do everything you can to mitigate your liability.

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Are you complying with the Notifiable Data Breach Scheme?

Have you heard about the Notifiable Data Breach (NDB) scheme? Do you know what it is and how it may affect you?

The NDB scheme came into effect on February 22 and is an amendment to the Privacy Act. Essentially, if data has been breached that is likely to result in serious harm, there are certain reporting obligations that an organisation is now required to adhere to, which include notifying:  

  1. the individual whose personal information has been breached
  2. the Australian Information Commission of the breach

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When is a contractor not a contractor?

The current OSR Payroll Tax audit activity (read our payroll tax article) prompts us to once again recommend all businesses to review the arrangements they have with their contractors.  Contractors are not just an issue for Payroll Tax purposes.  They also need to be considered for Superannuation, WorkCover, PAYG Withholding  AND FairWork purposes!

Unfortunately, the definitions used for each of these calculations can be vastly different. And given that each of these issues are enforced by a different regulatory body means you need to be across them all.  We recommend that it is best practice to review your contractor arrangements at least annually.

If you need assistance reviewing your arrangements, contact us and we can help guide you through the minefield!

How can a finance broker help you?

You hear it all the time – you’ve been loyal to the same bank for years. You need to refinance/arrange pre-approval for a purchase/review your line of credit and they aren’t playing nice. You’ve called the bank manager you’ve known for years and their hands are tied (or even worse, they’ve left!). So what can you do?

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Payroll Tax - are you calculating yours correctly?

The OSR is currently auditing businesses to check they are correctly reporting their Payroll Tax.  Think you are correctly reporting? It might be a good idea to double check, because many are being caught out unexpectedly.

The target of their audits are primarily contractors.  And, as with most state government taxes, their definitions are exceptionally wide, and in many instances, seem uncommercial and unfair.  But unfortunately, that is not an excuse for not reporting!

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Did you know that your casual employees may be entitled to super?

Employing staff can mean a minefield of legislation to get your head around. Some of the most common misconceptions are generally around super – and who you are required to pay super to. And it may come as a shock to some employers that casual employees may be entitled to super payments.

The ATO has recently released some guidance to assist employees to determine whether they need to pay super to their casual employees, including those under the age of 18.  Essentially, if you pay your employee more than $450 (before tax) in a month, then super will apply. For those casual employees that are under 18, if they work for more than 30 hours each week they too are entitled to be paid super.

For further information, please click here – or contact your accountant who will be able to assist you in determining what your obligations are.

Do you have an SMSF and are currently taking a pension?

As you are all no doubt aware, significant changes to superannuation occurred recently. We touched base with all of our Self-Managed Super Fund (SMSF) clients prior to the end of the financial year with details of what they were required to do at that time (if anything). So what’s the next step?

We now need to consider how our SMSF clients manage their pensions in the future. Trustees of SMSF’s will shortly receive a letter from us providing information on what the new rules are. We ask that you take the time to read through these thoroughly as your decisions may have a significant impact on the tax payable by your SMSF future years.

If you have any concerns about how this might affect your super fund, please do not hesitate to contact us.

TFN Declaration Forms now available on-line

You’ve hired a new employee – and there’s a lot of paperwork you need to complete. The ATO is making life easier and has recently launched a new electronic Tax File Number (TFN) Declaration. Simply get your new employees to fill it out on-line, print and sign it and return it to you so that you can lodge it with the ATO.

Click here to download.

Xero multiple file discount

Do you have more than one Xero business edition file hosted through us? If so, we’ve got great news! We’re very pleased to announce that anyone with multiple files will now be eligible for 15% off each file. This discount will be applied to your next invoice which will be sent in the coming days. Happy days!

Tax Office visits to cash only businesses

We all do the right thing and pay our fair share of tax don’t we? Unfortunately, not everyone feels that they should. The latest ATO blitz is focused on flushing out businesses who operate in a cash only or ‘hidden economy’. And given the advances in technology, the ATO has more resources than ever to data match and identify areas of ‘concern’- and they are out and about visiting high risk businesses.

Some key factors that may trigger a ‘visit’ are:

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SMSF processing....

 A well-known financial commentator recently suggested that the Trustees of a Self-Managed Super Fund (SMSF) might be better off using a SMSF only ‘administrator’ rather than their accountant to administer their fund. Their argument was that it was cheaper and just as efficient. But is that necessarily the case? And is that the only important thing to consider when selecting an administrator?

We’ve put together what we consider to be a list of the main differences that we as accountants can provide when compared to a SMSF ‘administration’ only service:

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SMSF - Real Time Reporting

After much debate the decision on real time reporting for Self-Managed Super Funds (SMSFs) has finally been announced.

The outcome is that funds that have a member who has a balance of $1M or more will now be required to report to the ATO quarterly with details of any transactions that impact any members Transfer Balance Cap.  This includes the commencement of pensions, lump sum withdrawals from pensions, rollovers as well as a number of other less common transactions.  The due date for the report will be 28 days after the end of the quarter the event took place in.  So if you commence a pension on say 15th November you must report this on the December quarterly report, due 28 January.

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Do you or someone you know have a HECS debt and live overseas?

The ATO has reminded individuals that they must repay their Higher Education Loan Program (HELP, formerly known as HECS) and Trade Support Loans (TSL) even if they live overseas and are not an Australian resident for tax purposes!

So if you live and work overseas and earn worldwide income that exceeds the minimum HELP and TSL repayment thresholds, you will be required to make repayments against your loan.

For further information, please click here.

Simpler BAS

It is meant to make reporting business income to the ATO easier, but Simpler BAS appears to be creating some confusion for taxpayers.

From July 1, the ATO changed its requirements so that businesses with a turnover of less than $10M had reduced BAS reporting requirements. You may have noticed that your software and the ATO portal have been updated so that you are only required to provide information in the following fields:

  • G1 – Total sales
  • 1A – GST on sales
  • 1B – GST on purchases

You are no longer required to provide information on export sales, GST-free sales, capital purchases and non-capital purchases.

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ATO crackdown on work related expenses

In the 2015/16 financial year, over $8 Billion of work-related car expenses were claimed by taxpayers. A “significant portion” of these claims were at the limit of requiring detailed records and this has raised a flag to the ATO. They’ve announced that they will be paying “close attention” to these claims.

When making any tax related claim, the onus of proof is always on the tax payer. If asked, you need to be able to substantiate your claims with detailed records – and that is why we always ask for supporting documentation to confirm your eligibility for a claim.

So be aware, car-related expenses are on the ATOs radar.

For further information on what you can claim, please click here, or contact your accountant.

General Advice

The information provided by Bentleys (Sunshine Coast) Pty Ltd does not constitute financial product advice and is for general information only. It is written without taking into account any individuals personal objectives, situation or needs, and is not intended as professional advice. Any person acting upon such information without receiving specific advice, does so entirely at their own risk. Please contact your Accountant to discuss your personal situation before relying on this information.