In The Spirit Of Giving These Holidays? Here’s What You Need To Know About Tax On Gifts Made To Your Employees
Posted on 20 December '21, under tax.
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:
- Beauty products
- Gardening Equipment
- Gift Vouchers
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
- 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 19 December '21, under business.
Are you an SME who has been impacted economically by COVID-19, and who could use financial assistance to get back on their feet?
The SME Recovery Loan Scheme has been extended to 30 June 2022 with a reduced Government guarantee of 50 per cent. This is known as the 2022 Scheme expansion, where loans will be available from 1 January 2022 at the new Government guarantee.
Earlier this year (April 2021), the Government announced the SME Recovery Loan Scheme (also known as the Scheme), which was designed to support economic recovery and provide continued assistance to small and medium enterprises dealing with the economic impacts of the coronavirus pandemic.
The Scheme was initially slated to be available from 1 April 2021 through to 31 December 2021 at a Government guarantee of 80 per cent of the loan amount.
The scheme is open to small and medium-sized businesses with up to $250 million turnover including self-employed and non-profits. The Scheme has been open to (so far) eligible SMEs that were:
- The recipient of a JobKeeper payment between 4 January 2021 and 28 March 2021 (only approved under this eligibility prior to 1 October 2021)
- Affected by the floods in eligible LGAs in March 2021 (only approved under this eligibility criteria prior to 1 January 2022
- Adversely economically affected by COVID-19 (can only be approved under this eligibility criteria prior to the Scheme Expansion Date, 1 October 2021).
These loans that are issued under the Scheme are able to be used to refinance existing loans, or for a broad range of business purposes, including to support investment. They cannot be used to:
- Purchase residential property
- Purchase financial products
- Lend to an associated entity, or
- Lease, rent, hire or hire purchase existing assets that are more than halfway into their effective life.
These loans may be used to refinance any pre-existing debt of an eligible borrower, including those from the SME Guarantee Scheme.
Participating lenders are offering guaranteed loans on the following terms under the SME Recovery Loan Scheme (2022 Scheme expansion):
- the Government guarantee will be 50% of the loan amount
- the expanded Scheme will not be available for loans to flood-affected SMEs that are not adversely economically affected by COVID‑19
- the expanded Scheme will commence on 1 January 2022 and end on 30 June 2022.
- lenders are allowed to offer borrowers a repayment holiday of up to 24 months
- loans can be used for a broad range of business purposes, including investment support
- loans may be used to refinance any pre‑existing debt of an eligible borrower, including those from the SME Guarantee Scheme
- borrowers can access up to $5 million in total, in addition to the Phase 1 and Phase 2 loan limits
- loans are for terms of up to 10 years, with an optional repayment holiday period
- loans can be either unsecured or secured (excluding residential property)
- the interest rate on loans will be determined by lenders but will be capped at around 7.5 per cent, with some flexibility for interest rates on variable rate loans to increase if market interest rates rise over time
Loans that are backed by the scheme will be available through participating commercial lenders. The decisions to extend credit and the management of the loan remains with the lender.
The SME Recovery Loan Scheme may be a viable option for your business if it has been impacted by financial hardship. If you would like to know more about this scheme, you can begin that conversation with us or a participating lender.
Posted on 14 December '21, under business.
Is your ABN at risk of cancellation?
You might not have thought about it, but it’s a distinct possibility for businesses, especially after a few years of considerable fluctuations.
As a resident of Australia, you are entitled to an ABN if you’re:
- carrying on or starting an enterprise in Australia
- making supplies connected with Australia’s indirect tax zone
- a Corporations Act company
You may also be entitled to an Australian Business number if you are a non-resident who is:
- Carrying on or starting an enterprise in Australia
- Making supplies connected with Australia’s direct tax zone.
In a time where businesses may have been in reduced operations, this may be something of a concern to you.
If you have not reported business activity in your tax return or there are no other signs of business activity in other lodgments or third-party information, your Australian Business Number may be flagged for inactivity.
If an ABN is identified as being inactive, the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) may select it as a candidate for cancellation. In the event that your ABN is cancelled, you will not have a legal business in operation.
Would your customers deal with an illegal business? Most likely no, they would not. Losing customers means losing revenue, and that’s not an event that your business wants to happen.
It is your responsibility to maintain your ABN details. If you lapse, the ATO will notify you of the pending cancellation.
The ATO periodically checks ABNs for inactivity to make sure that the information available on the Australian Business Register is correct. The ABR’s information is used in the event of natural disasters by emergency services and government agencies and to identify where financial disaster relief is needed to help businesses.
In the event that there are defunct or inactive ABNs in the ABR, they may incorrectly receive funds that they are not actually eligible to receive.
If your ABN is cancelled and you need it later:
- you can reapply for the same ABN if your business structure is the same
- you’ll get a different ABN if your business structure is different (e.g. you were a sole trader but are now a company)
If the ATO cancels your ABN and you disagree with the decision, you can contact them directly to try to resolve the issue directly.
One of the main causes for ABN cancellation is a failure to lodge business activity in your tax returns. Remember that registered tax agents like us can assist you during that process, and help you avoid losing your ABN.
Posted on 12 December '21, under super.
There are plenty of ways to maximise your superannuation contributions prior to your retirement at any time of your life. As the means of funding your nomadic lifestyle, your seachange or your downtime after retiring, you want to make sure your superannuation is equipped to handle it.
The Australian Taxation Office recommends that you should check how you can maximise your super at the bare minimum of 10-15 years before the age that you hope to retire so that you have the time you need to make a difference to your final super balance.
So, if you were thinking of retiring at your preservation age (which is the age that you can access your super), your superannuation should reflect the amount that you want to be able to access to fund that retirement.
While starting earlier does mean it may be easier to accumulate what you need to retire by the time of it occurring, it doesn’t mean that there’s a cutoff date or a deadline to have contributions in for maximised profits.
Here are 3 simple ways that you can make a difference to your superannuation fund which could impact your balance for retirement in the long-term(and the sooner you try them, the better).
Your employer is required by superannuation law to contribute 10% of your taxable income to your super each year. This allows you to build up a steady balance as you work without having to actively contribute yourself.
However, if you have a position that pays well enough and allows you to do so, you may also be able to speak with your employer about arranging for some of your income to be ‘sacrificed’ to your superannuation, and contribute additionally to the balance yourself. These are known as concessional contributions.
So, for example, your employer may pay you $1,500 as your base salary pay. They also make the 10% contribution for your superannuation and pay $100 in tax. That leaves you with $1350. If you elect to salary-sacrifice, you might wish to pay $100 from your before-tax income. This means that instead of being taxed at a $1,500 base salary, you’ll only be taxed from the $1,400.
Track Down & Combine Your Accounts
There have been measures enacted to prevent additional super funds from being created for new employees who don’t elect to nominate a super fund – for those who may have existing multiple super accounts, it’s time to consolidate and combine them.
You can increase the rate that your super grows each year as a result of the compounding effect of additional funds and fewer fees, and ensure that your nest egg is nurtured by a provider that aims to grow. You just need to be sure to check that you don’t lose out on any benefits by transferring or consolidating to your chosen fund.
Tax & Super Can Work Great Together, If You Know How
If you are willing and ready to start saving, your superannuation can become a tax deduction gold mine (if you are eligible for the deductions that you are applying for.
One such deduction is the spousal contribution deduction.
If you make a contribution to your spouse’s super (and they earn less than $37,000 per year) any contributions that you make to their super can provide you with a tax rebate of up to $540. You can also claim back on any contributions that you may have made directly from your bank account to your super until you reach the contributions limit (known as a cap).
Discussing with a specialist or your super provider about the best course of action for you and your needs may be the step that you need to take to ensure the potential growth of your fund.
Posted on 7 December '21, under super.
Superannuation can be confusing at the best of times for the average Australian. However, for those experiencing the effects of dementia, or living with those affected by it, access to their superannuation can become a financial issue of great magnitude.
Dementia is not a specific disease, but rather a term that describes symptoms associated with more than 100 different diseases characterised by the impairment of brain function. The most common type of dementia that is often encountered is Alzheimer’s disease.
It occurs more frequently in the elder demographic than in the younger population but is indiscriminate in who it affects. However, with an increasing number of people looking at accessing their superannuation, and a rise in the number of Australians impacted by Alzheimer’s disease or dementia, it’s best to be prepared with the knowledge of what you must do.
When it comes to your superannuation, if your circumstances mark you as an eligible applicant, you may be able to claim a lump sum from your superannuation’s fund’s total and permanent disability (TPD) insurance.
You may be under the assumption that to access the benefits from TPD, you need to have suffered an accident, a workplace injury or have a critical terminal illness. However, you can claim for TPD and monthly income protection benefits from your super fund if you have any type of long-term illness that affects your ability to do your job (including young-onset Alzheimer’s or dementia).
You should get total and permanent disablement from your life insurance provider for a broad range of early-onset Alzheimer’s disease or dementia-related symptoms, including significant permanent impairment, loss of independence, cognitive decline, and other mental health effects.
Your life insurance provider will consider several factors when deciding whether you’re eligible to make a claim, including:
- Whether your claim can be supported by a doctor or medical specialist.
- Whether you’re receiving any treatment for dementia or Alzheimer’s disease, and the frequency of this treatment.
- Whether your early-onset Alzheimer’s disease can be considered permanent.
- How your capacity to work has been impaired or will be impaired by your symptoms as your disease progresses.
- Whether you may be able to take on an adjusted job role or work in a new career.
If you successfully claim TPD insurance for early-onset Alzheimer’s or dementia, you should be given early access to your super. This money will be paid in a lump sum and will cover your day-to-day costs for the rest of your life. The amount of money you receive will depend on your specific circumstances.
What About If An SMSF Trustee Is Affected By Dementia/Alzheimer’s?
In the case of an SMSF, legally, the loss of mental capacity for a trustee of an SMSF means that they can no longer make decisions as a trustee of the fund. The critical period for an SMSF is the time prior to diagnosis when the trustee may be making or not making decisions that would be in the best interest of the members of the fund.
There are four options that the trustees of this SMSF have:
- They can retain the SMSF and appoint additional trustees to the fund who share trustee responsibility as they age (which would typically occur with adult children joining the fund).
- The trustees of the SMSF can appoint an individual to take on trustee responsibility on his behalf under an enduring power of attorney.
- The trustees of the SMSF can close the SMSF and rollover the fund to a public offer fund, with all ongoing administration and compliance of the fund reverting to a third-party trustee.
- The SMSF trustee can convert the fund into a Small APRA Fund (SAF). A SAF offers the flexibility of an SMSF, without trustee responsibilities as an independent trustee is appointed to manage the trustee responsibilities on an individual fund basis and on an agreed fee basis.
It is most important to remember that if you have not appointed someone as your enduring power of attorney and you do lose mental capacity, then it is too late and you will need to apply to the court. It is always important to seek advice about appointing someone as your enduring power of attorney.
Posted on 5 December '21, under tax.
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.
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.
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 1 December '21, under tax.
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 28 November '21, under business.
From 1 November 2021, minimum wages in 21 awards were increased. If you are not paying your employees this new rate of pay, you may find yourself facing significant penalties for failure to comply with the Fair Work Ombudsman. This increase is to be applied to anyone who is paid the minimum award wages or the national minimum wages.
As an employer of workers, you must pay them a fair wage according to the award that their profession exists under. That wage must meet the minimum wage expectations for the award, which is the minimum amount an employee can be paid for the work that they’re doing. Employees may be paid more than that wage, but the bare minimum that they can be paid is set out in the awards and as a part of the national minimum wage base rate.
The national minimum wage was increased from $19.84 per hour to $20.33 per hour, or 772.60 per week (increased from $753.80). This increase should have applied from the first full pay period starting on or after 1 July 2021. In addition, employees who are covered by awards should also have had their base rates increased by 2.5 per cent, though these increases may begin on different dates for different groups of awards.
Most award wage increases applied from 1 July 2021, though there were 21 awards where the Fair Work Commission deemed there to be exceptional circumstances in place that would affect the increase. Those 21 awards were increased from 1 November 2021, and include:
- Pilots Award
- Cabin Crew Award
- Airline Ground Staff Award
- Airport Award
- Alpine Resorts Award
- Amusement Award
- Dry Cleaning and Laundry Award
- Fitness Award
- Hair and Beauty Award
- Hospitality Award
- Live Performance Award
- Models Award
- Marine Tourism and Charter Vessels Award
- Nursery Award
- Racing Clubs Events Award
- Racing Ground Maintenance Award
- Registered Clubs Award
- Restaurant Award
- Sporting Organisations Award
- Travelling Shows Award
- Wine Award
This increase is a result of the Fair Work Commission’s announcement after conducting its Annual Wage Review. The Fair Work Commission is the independent national workplace relations tribunal. It is responsible for maintaining a safety net of minimum wages and employment conditions, as well as a range of other workplace functions and regulations.
Workplaces are expected to ensure that all of their employees are being treated fairly and paid the minimum rate relevant to their circumstances (award/base minimum rate).
Employers and employees can visit www.fairwork.gov.au or call the Fair Work Infoline on 13 13 94 for free advice and assistance about their pay and compliance requirements.
Are you concerned about potential non-compliance with the new minimum wage, want to know more about the other increases to different kinds of rewards? Trying to get your head wrapped around the new superannuation guarantee requirements, or after some business planning advice in the approach to the new year? We’re the people you can speak to about any concerns you may have for your business and its future.
Posted on 23 November '21, under business.
If you’re someone employed in a trade, the next few months are likely to be among the busiest of your year. With the added pressure of the pandemic’s effect on delaying site access and work progress, completing jobs is sure to be a high priority on your mind.
In the business process of providing your services, you would have provided your clients with a timeline for work completion and a quote for the services rendered at the acceptance of the job.
Ongoing supply chain issues from the global isolation of the country (as an island with no land border neighbours) have led to material shortages and inflated prices. This means that renegotiations need to be entered into regarding original quotes, as overall costs may have increased threefold.
In order for tradespeople to come out of the other side of the holiday season with a healthy profit margin, they will need to have a better understanding of their costs and how to choose a pricing strategy.
There are 5 key figures you need to be familiar with before pricing your work:
- Sales revenue – the price you charge the customer for a job.
- Cost of sales – the direct costs associated with the job, typically covering labour and material costs.
- Gross profit – the amount of money you have left after subtracting the cost of sales from income.
- Overheads – your fixed expenses for each month like rent, insurance, loan repayments etc.
- Net profit – the final amount you’ll end up with after subtracting your overheads from gross profit.
You may already be familiar with these three common approaches to pricing work:
- Estimate – A rough estimate of the final price that is not legally binding and subject to change
- Quote – A legally binding agreement where the tradie offers a fixed price ahead of commencing work
- Do and charge – Hourly rates, overhead charges and margins on time and materials are agreed in advance, and final invoices are based on the costs actually incurred on the job
Quoting a price for a customer or client is a popular pricing method, but can have a number of issues, including:
- Uncertainty of customers accepting the quote, which can lead to underpricing or overpricing the work to be completed for your customers
- If there is an unforeseen issue that causes you to run over budget, you will need to make up the difference out of pocket.
A common mistake that is made in the profession is when the work is priced based on the cost of the sales without considering overhead costs. Your business’s sales revenue needs to conder your overheads, the cost of your labour and materials and still have enough left over for a profit.
You may need to experiment with your pricing (particularly post-lockdowns) to determine what works best for your business. However, a general rule of thumb is that your overheads should constitute 25-50 per cent of your sales revenue to make sure there’s at least 10 per cent net profit left over.
Trying to work out what your business can afford to price? Looking for assistance with business planning? Come start a conversation with us. We are business experts who are more than happy to assist you with your queries.
Posted on 21 November '21, under super.
What happens to your super when you die? It might not be a question that has cropped up in many people’s minds, but it is something that you should be concerned about.
Upon the untimely death of someone, their superannuation may be one of the elements of the estate that can be bequeathed and divided between their loved ones (trustees of the estate and beneficiaries.
This is not done through your will though, as it isn’t automatically included unless specific instructions have been given to your super fund. Often this is done through a binding death benefit nomination. These payments are usually paid out in lump sum payments and split between beneficiaries as dictated by the deceased.
However, like any property or asset that can be challenged, the death benefits from superannuation and SMSF can be a legal quandary if the appropriate succession planning measures have not been put into place.
Death benefits are one of the most commonly occurring legal issues that plague the superannuation and SMSF sector for individuals. Many court cases involving death benefits are the result of poor succession planning, as individuals who were not stated to be recipients of the payments miss out on what may be supposed to be theirs.
In the event of an individual’s death, the deceased’s dependent can be paid a death benefit payment as either a super income stream or a lump sum. The non-dependants of the deceased can only be paid in a lump sum. The form of the death benefit payment (and who receives it) will depend on the governing rules of your fund and the relevant requirements of the Superannuation Industry (Supervision) Regulations 1994 (SISR).
If succession planning around who the superannuation is to be left to is in place by the deceased, those who may be classed as dependents and non-dependents can become legally blurred.
In any event, dependents are defined differently depending on what kind of law they are being examined under (superannuation law and taxation law).
Under superannuation law, a death benefits dependant includes:
- The deceased spouse or de facto spouse
- A child of the deceased (any age)
- A person in an interdependency relationship with the deceased (involved in a close relationship between two people who live together, where one or both provides for the financial, domestic and personal support of the other).
Under taxation law, a death benefits dependant includes:
- the deceased’s spouse or de facto spouse
- the deceased’s former spouse or de facto spouse
- a child of the deceased under 18 years old
- a person financially dependent on the deceased
- a person in an interdependency relationship with the deceased
Depending on the type of law that the beneficiary is classified under affects how they can interact with the death benefits.
How Do I Make Sure My Beneficiaries Will Receive The Death Benefits That I Want Them To Have?
Death benefit payments need to be nominated by the holder of the superfund, as superannuation is not automatically included in your will. If you fail to make a nomination, your super fund may decide who receives your super money regardless of who is in your will.
That’s why succession planning is important when it comes to death benefits, no matter the situation. Even if you are at your healthiest, you’ll want to be prepared for any eventuality.
To get your succession planning right, here are 5 tips that will help you during the process.
- Locate and/or consolidate your superannuation funds – if you do not consolidate your funds, ensure that there is a binding death benefit nomination (BDBN) in place for each fund.
- Prepare a BDBN – this is a notice given by you as a member of a superannuation fund to the trustee of your super fund, nominating your beneficiaries on your death and how you wish for the death benefits to be paid.
- Seek advice before making changes to your level or type of insurance cover – you may be compelled to disclose medical conditions which may impact your ability to obtain cover or impact the cost of your cover if you remove or change your insurance cover.
- Review your binding death benefit nomination (BDBN) each year during tax time
- Seek advice on a superannuation clause under your will – though superannuation is not an estate asset, the death benefit may be paid to the estate under certain conditions, which you should consult with a super professional about.