Archive for 'tax'

In The Spirit Of Giving These Holidays? Here’s What You Need To Know About Tax On Gifts Made To Your Employees

Are you considering giving your employees a treat this year as a thank you for their hard work?

Certain gifts that are given to your employees may be claimable as a tax deduction under strict conditions and rules. During this time of giving, a Christmas gift can be rewarding to both the employee and the employer.

Any sort of gift that may be classified as entertainment cannot be claimed on your tax, regardless of the time of year. If you wish to claim your gifts as a tax deduction (which is generally a good idea), it’s best to give items that are classified as non-entertainment gifts. These types of gifts that are given to staff or associates are usually exempt from fringe benefits tax (FBT), with the item cost, as well as the GST, being claimable.

There are certain gifts that fall within the ATO’s guidelines on what is a tax-deductible gift. If you’re looking for ideas on what to give your staff this Christmas, consider:

  • Hampers
  • Skincare
  • Beauty products
  • Flowers
  • Wine
  • TV
  • Computers
  • Crockery
  • Gardening Equipment
  • Gift Vouchers
  • Groceries
  • Games

However, these gifts should not be more than $300 in order to claim the GST credit and not incur FBT. If the gift costs more than $300, you will still be able to claim a tax deduction and the GST credit. However, FBT will be payable at the rate of 49% on the grossed-up value of the gift.

If you’re feeling more generous and really want to thank your staff, bear in mind that any gifts that you give to your staff that could be considered as a personal gifts may not be claimed as a tax deduction. Those items that cannot be claimed under the minor benefits rule generally fall under the entertainment or recreational classification, and could include:

  • Tickets to the theatre or sporting events
  • Movie tickets
  • Holidays
  • Accommodation
  • Flights
  • Club memberships
  • A trip to the amusement park
  • Live Events

Keep records of all of the expenses associated with purchasing gifts this holiday season for your staff so that we can assist with your business’s tax return.

As a rule of thumb:

  • Make sure your gift is less than $300 (including GST)
  • Make sure the gift is classified as non-entertainment
  • Make sure your gift is a once-off
  • Make sure your gift does not incur FBT
  • Keep your records to prove that the gift was bought for and given so that you can claim your tax deductions.

Posted on 20 December '21 by , under tax. No Comments.

What Tax Deductions Could You Be Claiming Back Because Of Your Office Christmas Party?

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.

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

Ready For A New Start? Watch Out For The Tax On Your Unused Leave…

Thinking about starting the new year with a new job? It’s coming to that time of the year where a lot of Australians may be thinking about refreshing their careers with a change of pace, but that could leave them with taxable consequences for their unused leave.

For example, if you currently hold a job and are planning to leave it for the new opportunity that you have been given, there are some tax traps that might impact you.

When your job ends, whether there has been a termination of employment or redundancy you will receive a payment for unused leave. This payment will be taxed differently from your normal income.

This taxation will vary depending on the reason why you left the job and any unused entitlements that have been accrued over your employment (such as long service leave or sick leave).

The tax that you must pay depends on both:

  • the reason for leaving the job
  • any unused entitlements you may have accrued, such as long service leave or sick leave.

Lump-sum payments that you receive for unused annual leave or unused long service leave are taxed at a lower rate than other income. These lump-sum payments will appear on your income statement or payment summary as either ‘lump sum A’ or ‘lump sum B’.

These payments may also be taxed differently if you lost your job as a result of COVID-19 or were temporarily stood down.

If you are starting a new job, you should also think carefully about the tax-free threshold, as you will be able to claim that in the newest position. This will reduce the amount of tax that is withheld from your pay from your new job.

Concerned about the potential tax consequences of the role, and want some guidance about how a new job might impact your income tax return for 2021-22? Speak with us for guidance and a path forward when it comes to your tax.

Posted on 1 December '21 by , under tax. No Comments.

The Tax-Threshold Only Applies To One Job But What Happens If I Have Two?

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.

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

Taxable Consequences For Grants, Payments And Loans Made To Creative Industries Organisations

The creative arts industry has been one of those affected over the past two years by COVID-19, with countless cancellations, uncertainty and threats to the continued viability of the businesses and individuals involved within.With more than 600,000 Australians within the industry, the government aimed to ease the burden of the countless employers within.

The COVID-19 Creative Economy Support Package provides last resort funding assistance to significant Australian Government-funded performing arts and culture organisations to remain solvent, provide employment and deliver high-quality cultural and creative activities and experiences for audiences.

This support aims to ensure that the arts and entertainment sector can continue its activities by providing the necessary finance to plan a pathway for recovery from the effects of COVID-19. This funding will support employment, contribute to rebuilding Australia’s economy, and enhance community well-being and access to cultural experiences across Australia.

Have you been the beneficiary of any of the grants and payments that are within this package? You may have additional tax obligations that need to be met.

If you applied for and received a grant to support the creative economy, you must include it in the assessable income for your tax return.

Example

If you were involved in event management and had to cancel a music festival due to COVID-19 in 2020 and are looking to run it instead in 2021, you can apply for a grant through the Restart Investment to Sustain and Expand (RISE) fund. The RISE program provides finance to assist the presentation of new or re-shaped cultural and creative activities and events. To be eligible for this, you need to:

  • Provide a co-contribution for the activity
  • Have an Australian Business Number (ABN)
  • Be registered for GST

You do not enter into an agreement with the government to provide the festival, but if you choose not to hold the festival:

  • You are not under a binding legal obligation to go ahead with the festival
  • You are required to repay the funding that was received from the government

You must include the payment as assessable income and claim a deduction for the costs involved in the running of the festival, including venue and equipment hire, performers and staff.

If instead, you received a concessional loan to support your organisation within the creative economy, you do not need to include the loan as assessable income in your tax return.

Example

As the owner of a small theatre with no full-time staff and which ran few productions throughout the year, you may be able to apply through your bank for a concessional Show Starter loan.

These loans are designed to assist creative economy businesses to fund new productions and events that stimulate job creation and economic activity. A 100% Commonwealth guarantee backs the loans.

Although any income you make from the theatre productions you hold is to be included in your income tax return, the concessional loan is not included in the assessable income. Instead, you can claim a deduction for the interest payments on the loan and the costs of the theatre productions (in the usual manner).

GST does not have to be paid on the loan received.

Are you involved in the creative industries and want to know more about your potential taxable consequences, or what support might be available to you? Start a conversation with us.

Posted on 8 November '21 by , under tax. No Comments.

You May Need To Amend Your Tax Return If You Received The COVID-19 Disaster Payment For Individuals

If you were the recipient of the COVID-19 Disaster Payments For Individuals due to your situation resulting from the impact of COVID-19, there are certain things you may need to know about it.

The COVID-19 Disaster Payments were provided by the Australian Government to support eligible individuals who are unable to earn an income due to state/territory health orders preventing them from working. This may be due to lockdowns, hotspot or movement restrictions.

Recipients of the payment received $750 per week if they lost more than 20 hours of work during that week, and received $450 if they lost between eight and 20 hours of work.

Your tax return may need to be adjusted, as the payment has been reclassified as non-assessable non-exempt (NANE) income.

With the reclassification of the payments as NANE income, this means:

  • The payment is a non-taxable payment
  • The payment does not need to be included in your tax return.

Due to the rising vaccination rates across states and territories, there will be changes in the way individuals can access the payment. At 70% of individuals aged 16 or over at fully vaccinated status, the payment will need to be reapplied for. At 80%, the payment will need to be reapplied for if you have previously made a claim for it, but will only be available for one or two more weeks (depending on the individual’s circumstances and eligibility).

If you have recently applied for the COVID-19 Disaster Payment with Services Australia and received the payment on/after 1 July 2021, it will not need to be included in your tax return.

If you received the payment as a result of the Greater Melbourne lockdowns during the 2020-21 income year, and have yet to lodge your tax return for that period, the payment does not need to be included.

However, if you have already lodged your return for 2020-21 and included the payment as assessable income, your return will need to be amended due to its reclassification as NANE. This could lead to a refund.

You can speak with us for assistance with this process, as we are equipped with the skills and knowledge to assist. Let us know how we can best help you by starting the conversation with us.

Posted on 25 October '21 by , under tax. No Comments.

When Your Employees Are A Little Too Taxing To Bear, It Might Lead To Termination – But What Does That Mean For The Taxable Consequences Of Their Payouts?

In the business world, employees can leave your business for various reasons. Sometimes as the employer, you may have to step in and terminate their employment (as a result of circumstances). At other times it could be a result of redundancy or resignation.

Regardless of the how or why employers who terminate their employee’s positions must be aware of a critical obligation that they must fulfil.

If you as an employee have your employment terminated, you may be eligible for employment termination payments (ETP). These payments form a part of your final payment, usually paid out as a lump sum or several lump sums. The tax treatment of ETPs will depend on the type of payment, how the employment was terminated and the age of the employee.

Only certain payments are eligible to be classified as ETPs, which receive concessional tax treatment. These can include:

  • Payment for unused rostered days off
  • Payment for unused sick leave
  • Payment in lieu of notice
  • Compensation for loss of a job or wrongful dismissal
  • Severance or gratuity packages
  • Redundancy payments or early retirement scheme payments which exceed the tax-free threshold
  • Invalidity payment, such as permanent disability.
  • Death benefits that are paid to another person as a result of the death of an employee.

For a payment to be classified as an ETP, there must be an official ‘termination of employment. Termination of employment can be as a result of the dismissal, redundancy, employee resignation, retirement, or unforeseen circumstances such as illness or disability.

The rate of tax that is paid on ETPs will depend on the type of payment that is received by the employee. If a part of the payment is for invalidity, it will have a tax-free component. However, the remainder of the ETP should be concessionally taxed, up to the concessional cap.

It is important to be aware of the special tax treatment and differing caps on concessional treatment of ETPs. For instance:

Whole-of-income cap: This is the tax payable on ETP, if an employee earns more income in the same financial year (eg, getting a new job) as their employment is terminated.

ETP cap: This cap applies to all ETP and has a threshold that is indexed annually. The ETP tax rate varies depending on the age of the employee. If over the preservation age, they are taxed at a maximum of 7%. If under the preservation age, they are taxed at a maximum of 32%.

If an ETP is received within 12 months of your termination, it is concessionally taxed. The rules around the concession caps for these kinds of contributions may differ according to the type of payment received.

Unused annual and long service leave may be paid out to employees on termination of their employment. This may be concessionally taxed based on:

  • How the employment was terminated
  • When the leave was accrued

However, these payments are not generally classified or determined as being a part of the ETP. This should be kept in mind when working out ETPs for your employees.

Employees may also request an employment separation certificate from their employer in the event that their employment is terminated. This can be presented to Centrelink when applying for unemployment benefits to assist them during their subsequent job-seeking process. Employers are legally required to issue these upon request – failure to do so may result in harsh penalties.

Employers should also provide an ETP payment summary as part of an employee’s final payment summary. This indicates how the payments were calculated, as well as any tax on these payments.

Have you been put into the position of having to terminate the employment of your employees? We can assist you with navigating employment termination payments, as well as the taxable concessions that those payments may be subject to. Come start the conversation with us.

Posted on 19 October '21 by , under tax. No Comments.

Deductions, Allowances, Tax Returns And More – Here’s What You Might Need To Know As A Retail Worker

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.

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

Saving Tax By Spending Money On Assets – A Good Or Bad Idea?

One of the ways that many Australians may be looking to recoup or maximise their tax refund’s potential is in spending money on assets for themselves or their business that can be ‘written off” as a tax deduction. Doing so might help save you on the tax that you have to pay after lodging your return, but the initial spend on the asset may not be a viable option for your finances.

Spending money on assets in a bid to reduce tax might seem like a great strategy. But, if you ask us, it might be better for you not to be spending your money on assets for that purpose if you do not actually have to.

Some of the assets that you might be considering purchasing as a tax ‘write-off’ may not count as eligible assets in the first place. An eligible asset is usually one that is used for work-related purposes. In this case, a BMW that you bought for personal use probably won’t cut it.

Regardless of whether you’re an individual looking to ramp up your wealth creation activities, or a business owner seeking greater profitability, you should always focus your spending on a primary income-generating purpose – any associated tax benefit should be secondary. It might be better for you if you reinvest that money back into the business or purchase assets that will appreciate and generate an income (such as property or shares).

The Australian government has a number of schemes and tax concessions that may be of use to you if you are considering purchasing an asset as a business or business owner. Some of these schemes and concessions may only be available if you meet certain criteria.

And, if you’re looking for an even simpler way to receive a tax deduction for your return, accounting fees are a tax-deductible expense that we’d be happy to help you out with. Come speak with us about what purchasing an asset could do to your tax, and if it’s a viable option for you to consider.

Posted on 29 September '21 by , under tax. No Comments.

What You Need To Know About Capital Gains Assets And Disposals

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.

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