Preparing to send your tax to your accountant

Business Tax Time – Your 25 Point Checklist

Well, another 30 June has passed and hopefully, everyone survived. For some businesses, I know year-end 30 June can be hectic; for others, it’s just a date. I thought you might appreciate some timely reminders and checklist to get your tax stuff’ to your Accountant.

Firstly, I hope your accountant contacted you and did some tax planning before 30 June. After 30 June is not the ideal time for tax planning and many opportunities have closed. If your accountant is not proactive, may I recommend you pop a note in your diary to action a tax planning meeting around May next year. So, onto the checklist:

Individuals

1. Payment Summary from your employer. If you had switched jobs during that financial year, or have multiple jobs, be sure to give your accountant all Summaries. It’s also wise that if you move home, be sure to advise any employers you had during the year, before 30 June. That way they can send to the right location and avoid that whole drama of it being lost or chasing another copy. If your employer emails, then alert them also of email address changes, and of course, around early to mid-July be sure to check spam boxes that your Summary is not in there.

2. Bank Interest – just alert us of your accounts – we can ‘auto fill’ this for you.

3. Share & dividend statements or at least the Annual Summary that they send out.

4. Rental Property Statements – for those of you who have rentals.

5. Rental Property expenditure – if you have paid any expenses for your rental yourself (and not via the property manager) then we’ll need those details. It may be rates, body corporate, repairs, insurance etc.

6. Details of any asset purchases – especially if it’s an investment asset.

7. Details of any asset sales – we may need to calculate capital gains tax on the disposal.

8. What you spend on private health insurance during the year.

9. What you spent on related education during the year.

10. What you spent on disability aids, attendant care and aged care expenses.

11. Advise on what you’ve spent in respect of private health insurance, or if you do happen to stop, also let us know.

12. Be sure also to tell us about any momentous occasions – birth of a baby, divorce, marriage, a death etc – we’re not being nosy, but often these things can affect your tax return.

 

Businesses & Companies

13. Your data file or login, whether MYOB, Xero, Quickbooks or some other program. If you are sending your file, be sure to include your version, login and password.

14. Asset Purchase – include the purchase invoice as well as any finance records.

15. Asset Disposal – include this documentation as well.

16. Asset Write Off – if you wrote off (or threw away) any old assets – let your accountant know.

17. Bank Statements – check with your accountant if they just want the opening and closing statement, or every one for the year.

18. Loan or Credit Card statements if you have not entered these items into your bookkeeping file and fully reconciled everything.

19. A list of any questions you may have. Of course, if you forget something your accountant should be happy to chat with you over the phone or respond to your email in a timely manner.

 

Self-Managed Super Fund

20. All bank statements for all bank accounts in the fund – include all statements even if you do the bookkeeping yourself.

21. All loan statements if there is a loan in the fund such as for a rental property.

22. All rental property statements.

23. All share and dividend statements.

24. All income statements from any other assets, investments or funds.

25. A copy of all tax invoices for ALL expenses incurred by the fund.

Remember, the more organised you are, and if you ensure you have got everything to your accountant, then it means they can get on with the job in hand and do not need to go back to you and hassle you for more items or missing pieces. It’s also important to mention that it’s your responsibility to alert your accountant of your details which might relate to tax. Of course, I understand not everyone knows what is needed to be mentioned (outside the normal, come, capital gains, FBT etc) however if you are unsure or ‘wonder’ then be sure to ask your accountant – they won’t mind. That’s what we’re here for.

Now you may ask “how do I get all this to my accountant?” Most firms (such as ourselves) offer you a huge range of options, including:

  • Drop the box of paperwork to our office.
  • Email a scanned copy of the documents. Just be aware of your mail limits per email as you might have to send a 2 or 3 emails to spread out the size. If this is the case, it’s a good idea to label (in the subject box) “1 of 3, 2 of 3, 3 of 3” so your accountant can clearly see if anything goes missing. Sure, they will know down the track when preparing and there is a gap, but better to be clear up front.
  • Drop in a flash drive with the documents scanned.
  • Send the documents via a program, such as Google Drive, Dropbox, One Drive, Amazon Drive. These programs often have free or trial versions you can utilise.
  • Use the link your accountant sends you.

 

As for the question of when? There are a string of deadlines throughout the year and every accounting firm needs to submit a certain percentage of their return by various dates. However, at the end of the day, it’s best to get this task done sooner, rather than later. I usually recommend to people who are employees only to action this early August (after you know all the Payment Summaries have arrived). For business clients, I suggest you wait until your June BAS had been lodged, so around August or September is a great time.

Whilst each individual return does not take months to action, it is a process to get in everything, ensure the returns are correctly prepared, chase any missing pieces of the puzzle and potentially discuss any issues with a client. At Southern Cross Accounting, we, of course, do tax returns, but where for this reason most firms ask (perhaps even beg) you don’t leave your returns till the very last moment. I’m sure you don’t want to be up to 3am digging out a missing piece of paper and no accountant wants the pressure of a last minute rush on work. Preparing a tax return is far more than simply ‘plugging in’ some figures, clicking some buttons and it’s done. Strategy, planning and thought needs to go into many of the returns that are prepared – in order to achieve the best (legal) outcome possible for a client.

So, we hope this checklist has been helpful and will make getting your paperwork easier for you to get the information to your accountant. If I can be of any help, or you’d like to come in and chat with me about the services that Southern Cross Accounting offers – no charge – give me a call on 1300 722 570.

Research & Development Rebate

Research & Development Rebate

Research & Development (R & D) Rebate

The R & D rebate is an excellent incentive for businesses engaged in research & development. The biggest issue I find with the R & D rebate is that businesses are unaware of the rebate or unaware of what constitutes R & D. This is further compounded as it is quite hard for me to tell when reviewing the financial records of a business if they are undertaking R & D.

The R & D rebate provides a 43.5% tax offset for eligible expenditure in excess of $20,000 for entities with a turnover of less than $20M (38.5% if greater and is non-refundable). It’s important to understand that the R & D expenses are denied as tax deductions, so the benefit is really 15% for the business entity; that is, 15% of money back on R & D expenditure. Also, only the depreciation on plant & equipment qualifies for the rebate in each year, not the full capital cost.

So what is R & D – it’s when new science or technology is created or attempted to be created. For most businesses, that means technology – the application of science. The activity needs to have a real risk of failure in a practical (non-financial) sense. Essentially the business tries to develop something innovative but doesn’t know if it can. Within the overall project, there are activities which are akin to experiments that may fail or succeed that then lead to further activities.

The R & D offset is available for companies for the most part (or partnerships of companies) and before recording the R & D information in the company tax return the R & D activities must be registered (approved) by AusIndustry. AusIndustry has a close off date of 30 April every year for the preceding year’s R & D activities and if you miss it, there’s no recourse.

I have considerable experience lodging R & D AusIndustry applications and the subsequent completion of the company tax returns so if you think you’ve undertaken R & D activities last year and would like more information please contact me WELL BEFORE 30 APRIL. I’ve actually received a speeding ticket once driving an application to AusIndustry before 5:00 PM 30 April one year due to information being supplied at a really late date (30 April). Thankfully the forms are electronic now.

If you would like to learn more about the R & D Rebate or if you have any other questions, please feel free to contact us.

2017/2018 Budget reminders

2017/2018 Budget reminders

Budget reminders

Here is just a small list of budget reminders. From 1 July 2017, the ‘rich’ are off the hook from the temporary budget repair levy being removed for taxpayers with a taxable income of greater than $180,000.

The small business instant asset write off for assets costing less than $20,000 has been extended to 30 June 2018.  Remember also the small business turnover threshold in the 2018 financial year is $10M.

BAS are getting easier, from July 1 small business entities only need to report G1 (sales), 1A (GST collected) and 1B (GST Paid).

All vendors in real estate sales where the price exceeds $750,000 must get a clearance certificate from the purchaser or withhold 12.5% of the sale proceeds.

In a great change, individuals (well most under 75) can claim a deduction for personal super contributions without needing to pass the 10% test.  The ‘10% test’ in the past largely meant only self-employed individuals could claim personal super contributions.

Finally in a not so great change, concessional contribution caps have been reduced to $25,000 and are no longer age based.

For more information about the budget or if you have any questions, please feel free to contact us.

Federal Budget 2017 – 2018 Part II

Federal Budget 2017 – 2018 Part II

RESIDENTIAL RENTAL PROPERTIES – BUDGET LEAKAGE MEASURES

Travel expenses related to inspecting, maintaining or collecting rent for a residential rental property will be disallowed from 1 July 2017.

From 1 July 2017, the Government will limit “plant and equipment” depreciation deductions to outlays actually incurred by investors in residential real estate properties.

HELP REPAYMENT – BUDGET LEAKAGE MEASURES

The 2017-18 Budget confirmed the setting of the minimum repayment threshold at $42,000 from 1 July 2018 with a lower 1% repayment rate, and a maximum threshold of $119,882 with a repayment rate of 10% – see table below.

MEDICARE LEVY INCREASE – BUDGET LEAKAGE MEASURE

The Government will increase the Medicare levy to 2.5% from 1 July 2019 (up 0.5% from the current 2% Medicare levy) to ensure the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) is fully funded and to guarantee Medicare. Other tax rates that are linked to the top personal tax rate, such as the FBT rate, will also be increased.

MEDICARE LEVY THRESHOLD REDUCTION  – LOW INCOME ASSISTANCE MEASURE

For the 2016-17 income year, the Medicare levy low-income threshold for singles will be increased to $21,655 (up from $21,335 for 2015-16). For couples  with no children, the family income threshold will be increased to $36,541 (up from $36,001 for 2015-16). The additional amount of threshold for each dependent child or student will be increased to $3,356 (up from $3,306).

SUPER –  HOUSING AFFORDABILITY MEASURE

The Government will allow a person aged 65 or over to make a non-concessional contribution of up to $300,000 from the proceeds of selling their home from 1 July 2018. These contributions will be in addition to those currently permitted under existing rules and caps and they will be exempt from the existing age test, work test and the $1.6m total superannuation balance test for making non-concessional contributions (which applies from  1 July 2017).

The measure will apply to sales of a principal residence owned for the past 10 years or more. Both members of a couple will be able to take advantage of this measure for the same home. The measure seeks to reduce a barrier to downsizing for older people to enable more effective use of the housing stock by freeing up larger homes.

SUPER –  HOUSING AFFORDABILITY MEASURE

The Government will encourage home ownership  by allowing future voluntary contributions to superannuation made by first home buyers from 1 July 2017 to be withdrawn for a first home deposit, along with associated deemed earnings.

Concessional contributions and earnings that are withdrawn will be taxed at marginal rates less a 30% offset. Combined with the existing concessional tax treatment of contributions and earnings, this will provide an incentive that will enable first home buyers to build savings more quickly for a home deposit.

Under the measure up to $15,000 per year and $30,000 in total can be contributed, within existing caps.

CGT – HOUSING AFFORDABILITY MEASURE

From 1 January 2018 the CGT discount for individuals  will be increased from 50% to 60% for gains relating to investments in qualifying affordable housing.

CROWD FUNDING – INNOVATION MEASURE

The Government released with the 2017-18 Budget draft legislation to extend crowd-sourced equity funding (CSEF) to proprietary companies. This will open up CSEF for a wider range of businesses and provide additional sources of capital. Note that the Government legislated a CSEF framework for public companies in March 2017.

FOREIGN RESIDENTS WITHHOLDING TAX – INTEGRITY MEASURE

Australia’s foreign resident capital gains tax regime will be extended by:

  • denying foreign and temporary tax residents access to the CGT main residence exemption from 7:30 pm (AEST) on 9 May 2017 (with existing holdings being grandfathered until 30 June 2019);
  • increasing the CGT withholding rate for foreign tax residents from 10% to 12.5% from 1 July 2017; and
  • reducing the CGT withholding threshold for foreign tax residents from $2m to $750,000 from 1 July 2017.

GST – INTEGRITY MEASURES

Purchasers of newly constructed residential properties (or new subdivisions) will be required to remit the GST directly to the Tax Office as part of settlement.

Currently, GST is included in the purchase price and it  is the developer who remits any GST. However, some developers are failing to remit the GST (despite having claimed GST credits on their construction costs).

The Government will align the GST treatment of digital currency with money.

SUPER BORROWINGS –  LRBA INTEGRITY MEASURE FOR PENSION CAP

As an integrity measure, the use of limited recourse borrowing arrangements (LRBAs) by superannuation will be included in a member’s total superannuation balance and for the purposes of the $1.6m pension transfer balance cap from 1 July 2017.

OTHER – INTEGRITY MEASURES

The Government intends to prohibit the manufacture, distribution, possession, use or sale of electronic point of sale (POS) sales suppression technology and software

The Government will extend the taxable payments reporting system (TPRS) to contractors in the courier and cleaning industries

The Government will amend the small business CGT concessions to ensure that the concessions can only be accessed in relation to assets used in a small business or ownership interests in a small business.

Federal Budget 2017-2018 Part I

Federal Budget 2017-2018 Part I

SMALL BUSINESS INSTANT ASSET WRITE OFF

The Government will extend the current instant asset write-off ($20,000 threshold) for small business entities (SBEs) by 12 months to 30 June 2018.

A small business entity if a company in 2017/2018 is an entity with a turnover less than $25M or if a trust less than $5M (don’t get me started on the company versus trust anomaly).

MEDICARE LEVY

The Government will increase the Medicare levy to 2.5% from 1 July 2019 (up 0.5% from the current 2% Medicare levy) to ensure the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) is fully funded and to guarantee Medicare. Other tax rates that are linked to the top personal tax rate, such as the FBT rate, will also be increased – necessary.

For the 2016-17 income year, the Medicare levy low-income threshold for singles will be increased to $21,655 (up from $21,335 for 2015-16). For couples with no children, the family income threshold will be increased to $36,541 (up from $36,001 for 2015-16). The additional amount of threshold for each dependent child or student will be increased to $3,356 (up from $3,306) – hopefully you’re not in this category.

HELP REPAYMENT THRESHOLD AND RATE

The 2017-18 Budget confirmed the setting of the minimum repayment threshold at $42,000 from 1 July 2018 with a lower 1% repayment rate, and a maximum threshold of $119,882 with a repayment rate of 10% – fair enough (unless you’re a single mum).

 

MAJOR BANK LEVY FROM 1 JULY 2017

What else is there to write that hasn’t been written – I assume you know it will be passed on if you’re with a big four.

 

TAXABLE PAYMENTS REPORTING

The Government will extend the taxable payments reporting system (TPRS) to contractors in the courier and cleaning industries – this extends from what’s in place in the building and construction industry.

 

POS SUPPRESSION TECHNOLOGY

The Government intends to prohibit the manufacture, distribution, possession, use or sale of electronic point of sale (POS) sales suppression technology and software – you really shouldn’t use this software in the first place.

 

GST TREATMENT OF DIGITAL CURRENCY

The Government will align the GST treatment of digital currency with money (bitcoin) – the former treatment was ridiculous and too hard to explain and should be applied to trade exchanges as well (e.g. Bartercard).

 

GST REMITTANCE CHANGE TO SUBDIVISIONS

Purchasers of newly constructed residential properties (or new subdivisions) will be required to remit the GST directly to the Tax Office as part of settlement.

Currently, GST is included in the purchase price and it is the developer who remits any GST. However, some developers are failing to remit the GST (despite having claimed GST credits on their construction costs). Your solicitor on settlement will address this.

 

PLANT & EQUIPMENT DEPRECIATION CHANGES

From 1 July 2017, the Government will limit “plant and equipment” depreciation deductions to outlays actually incurred by investors in residential real estate properties. If you buy an existing property (not new) you can only claim the special building write off, there will be no depreciation deduction on previously installed depreciable assets, they’ll just form part of the costs base.

TRAVEL EXPENSES ON RENTAL PROPERTIES

Travel expenses related to inspecting, maintaining or collecting rent for a residential rental property will be disallowed from 1 July 2017 – this is what happens when too many taxpayers rout the deduction.

 

CGT DISCOUNT CHANGE TO AFFORDABLE HOUSING

From 1 January 2018, the CGT discount for individuals will be increased from 50% to 60% for gains relating to investments in qualifying affordable housing – there’s no detail on this yet but if you have a NRAS property you’ll probably get this discount (but there may be no gain to discount).

 

FOREIGN RESIDENTS CGT CHANGES

Australia’s foreign resident capital gains tax regime will be extended by:

  • denying foreign and temporary tax residents access to the CGT main residence exemption from 7:30 pm (AEST) on 9 May 2017 (with existing holdings being grandfathered until 30 June 2019);
  • increasing the CGT withholding rate for foreign tax residents from 10% to 12.5% from 1 July 2017; and
  • reducing the CGT withholding threshold for foreign tax residents from $2m to $750,000 from 1 July 2017. Lots of people don’t know about this but your solicitor on settlement should address it for you.

 

SUPER BORROWINGS –  LRBA INTEGRITY MEASURE FOR PENSION CAP

As an integrity measure, the use of limited recourse borrowing arrangements (LRBAs) by superannuation will be included in a member’s total superannuation balance and for the purposes of the $1.6m pension transfer balance cap from 1 July 2017.

 

ADDITIONAL SUPERANNUATION CONTRIBUTIONS FOR DOWNSIZING

The Government will allow a person aged 65 or over to make a non-concessional contribution of up to $300,000 from the proceeds of selling their home from 1 July 2018. These contributions will be in addition to those currently permitted under existing rules and caps and they will be exempt from the existing age test, work test and the $1.6m total superannuation balance test for making non-concessional contributions (which applies from 1 July 2017).

 

ACCESS TO SUPER FOR FIRST HOME BUYERS

The Government will encourage home ownership by allowing future voluntary contributions to superannuation made by first home buyers from 1 July 2017 to be withdrawn for a first home deposit, along with associated deemed earnings.

Concessional contributions and earnings that are withdrawn will be taxed at marginal rates less a 30% offset. Combined with the existing concessional tax treatment of contributions and earnings, this will provide an incentive that will enable first home buyers to build savings more quickly for a home deposit.

Under the measure up to $15,000 per year and $30,000 in total can be contributed, within existing caps.

 

CROWD SOURCED EQUITY FUNDING

The Government released with the 2017-18 Budget draft legislation to extend crowd-sourced equity funding (CSEF) to proprietary companies. This will open up CSEF for a wider range of businesses and provide additional sources of capital. Note that the Government legislated a CSEF framework for public companies in March 2017.