June 2019 Practice Update - Single Touch Payroll Update
Employers with 19 or fewer employees are required to start reporting through Single Touch Payroll (‘STP’) from 1 July 2019.
The ATO will be working with employers to support them as they transition to STP, including allowing small employers to start reporting any time from 1 July to 30 September (and the ATO will also be "generous" in granting deferrals to small employers who need more time to start STP reporting).
May 2019 Practice Update - Federal Election called!
The Federal Election has been called for Saturday 18 May 2019, and the Governor-General has 'prorogued' the Parliament from 11 April 2019 until 18 May 2019, and dissolved the House of Representatives.
April 2019 Practice Update - Common errors with new GST withholding rules
The ATO have noticed some common errors made in activity statements since the introduction of "GST at settlement" on 1 July 2018.
March 2019 Practice Update - Changes to the small business instant asset write-off
On 29 January 2019, the Prime Minister announced that legislation will be introduced to:
- extend the small business instant asset write-off by 12 months to 30 June 2020; and
- increase the write-off threshold from less than $20,000 to less than $25,000 (effective immediately).
The current threshold of $20,000 has applied since 7.30pm AEST on 12 May 2015 and was due to revert to $1,000 on 1 July 2019.
Jan/Feb 2019 Practice Update - Division 293 Assessments
The ATO has been issuing ‘Additional tax on concessional contributions (Division 293) assessments’ with respect to liabilities relating to the 2018 income year.
Division 293 imposes an additional 15% tax on certain concessional (i.e. taxable) superannuation contributions.
December 2018 Practice Update - Company loans to shareholders under review
The Government has released a consultation paper outlining proposed reforms to ‘simplify’ the loan agreements that are generally required when a shareholder (or their associate) borrows funds (or receives a payment) from a related company.
Christmas Parties & Gifts 2018 - Year-end (and other) staff parties
Editor: With the well earned December/January holiday season on the way, many employers will be planning to reward staff with a celebratory party or event. However, there are important issues to consider, including the possible FBT and income tax implications of providing 'entertainment' (including Christmas parties) to staff and clients.
November 2018 Practice Update - Scammers impersonating tax agents
The ATO has received increasing reports of a new take on the ‘fake tax debt’ scam, whereby scammers are now impersonating registered tax agents to lend legitimacy to their phone call.
The fraudsters do this by coercing the victim into revealing their agent’s name and then initiating a three-way phone conversation between the scammer, the victim, and another scammer impersonating the victim’s registered tax agent or someone from the agent’s practice.
October 2018 Practice Update - Increased scrutiny of home office claims
Last year, 6.7 million taxpayers claimed a record $7.9 billion in deductions for ‘other work-related expenses’, which includes home office expenses.
Reportedly, due to a high number of mistakes, errors and questionable claims for home office expenses, the ATO has recently advised that it will be increasing attention, scrutiny and education on these claims this tax time.
September 2018 Practice Update - The Company Tax Rate Saga
In the last week of the August Parliamentary sittings, the controversial corporate tax cut plan for the big end of town (i.e. companies with an aggregated turnover of over $50 million) was defeated.
August 2018 Practice Update - ATO guide to the 5 most common Tax Time mistakes
As Tax Time 2018 has 'kicked off', the ATO has profiled the five most common mistakes they see, including taxpayers who are:
leaving out some of their income (e.g. forgetting a temp or cash job, capital gains on cryptocurrency, or money earned from the sharing economy)
July 2018 Practice Update - Personal Income Tax Cuts passed!
Parliament has passed the Government's Personal Income Tax plan, meaning that the first stage of the proposed income tax cuts will start to take effect from 1 July 2018.
According to the Prime Minister, taxes "will now be lower, fairer and simpler".
June 2018 Practice Update - 2018 Budget Update
The Government handed down the 2018/19 Federal Budget on Tuesday 8th May 2018.
May 2018 Practice Update - GST withholding measures now law
Legislation has been passed to “clamp down” on GST evasion in the property development sector. From 1 July 2018, purchasers of new residential
premises and new residential subdivisions will generally be required to withhold the GST on the purchase price at settlement and pay it directly to
April 2018 Practice Update - New superannuation rates and thresholds released
The ATO has published the key superannuation rates and thresholds for the 2018/19 income year.
- The Non-Concessional Contributions cap will remain at $100,000 (although transitional arrangements may apply), and the Concessional Contributions cap will remain at $25,000.
March 2018 Practice Update - ATO's focus on work-related expenses
This year, the ATO is paying close attention to what people are claiming as 'other' work-related expense deductions, so it's important when taxpayers claim these expenses that they have records to show:
- they spent the money themselves and were not reimbursed;
- the expense was directly related to earning their income; and
- they have a record to prove it.
If the expense is for work and private use, the
taxpayer can only claim a deduction for the work-related portion.
February 2018 Practice Update - Taskforce to help digitise small business
The Government has established a Small Business Digital Taskforce, to be headed by entrepreneur Mark Bouris AM, to ensure more Australian small businesses can thrive in an increasingly digital economy.
December 2017 Practice Update - Parliamentary update
Editor: The ongoing citizenship saga in Parliament has resulted in the Government losing its one-seat majority in the House of Representatives, thanks to the resignations of Barnaby Joyce and John Alexander.
By-elections have been scheduled in the relevant electorates and, in the meantime, some of the cross-benchers have guaranteed the Government's (current) survival by committing to vote with it on motions of no-confidence and supply.
November 2017 Practice Update - Can travel in an Uber be exempt from FBT?
Editor: The ATO has released a discussion paper to facilitate consultation regarding the definition of 'taxi' contained in the FBT Act, and the exemption from FBT for taxi travel undertaken to or from work or due to illness.
October 2017 Practice Update - No small business tax rate for passive investment companies
The Government has released draft tax legislation to clarify that passive investment companies cannot access the lower company tax rate for small businesses of 27.5%, but will still pay tax at 30%.
The ATO finds that businesses tend to forget to update their Australian business number (ABN) details in the Australian Business Register (ABR) when their circumstances or details change, so they have asked that we contact our clients to help keep your ABN details up to date and reduce unnecessary contact from the ATO.
August 2017 Practice Update - New threshold for capital gains withholding
From 1 July 2017, where a foreign resident disposes of Australian real property with a market value of $750,000 or above, the purchaser will be required to withhold 12.5% of the purchase price and pay it to the ATO unless the seller provides a variation (this is referred to as 'foreign resident capital gains withholding').
July 2017 Practice Update - Simpler BAS is coming soon
The ATO is reducing the amount of information needed to be included in the business activity statement (or ‘BAS’) to simplify GST reporting.
From 1 July 2017, Simpler BAS will be the default GST reporting method for small businesses with a GST turnover of less than $10 million.
June 2017 Practice Update - Budget Update
The Government handed down the 2017/18 Federal Budget on Tuesday 9th May 2017.
The Budget proposes (amongst several other changes) to increase the Medicare Levy by 0.5% to 2.5% from 1 July 2019 (and tax and withholding rates that are linked to the highest marginal income tax (e.g., FBT) will also increase from 1 July 2019).
May 2017 Practice Update - Company tax cuts pass the Senate with amendments
Editor: After a marathon few days of extended sittings (the last before the Federal Budget in May), the Government finally managed to get its company tax cuts through the Senate, but it was not without compromise.
In conjunction with the introduction of the temporary budget repair levy (of 2%, payable by high income earners), the FBT rate was also increased from 47% to 49% for the 2016 and 2017 FBT years.
However, the FBT rate will revert back to 47% from 1 April 2017.
March 2017 Practice Update - Ride-sourcing is 'taxi travel'
In a recent case, the Federal Court has agreed with the ATO that 'ride-sourcing' (such as that provided using Uber) is 'taxi travel' within the meaning of the GST law.
February 2017 Practice Update - Changes to the backpacker tax
From 1 January 2017, tax rates changed for working holiday makers who are in Australia on a 417 or 462 visa (these rates are known as ‘working holiday maker tax rates').
December 2016 Practice Update - Personal income tax cuts are law!
Editor: The government has finally legislated the tax cuts originally announced in the May 2016 Budget, so that the marginal tax rate of 37% now starts at $87,000. The ATO has updated the tax tables and PAYG withholding tax schedules (and their online tax withheld calculator) to reflect these changes.
November 2016 Practice Update - ATO warning for the building & construction industry
The ATO has reported that the building and construction industry represents a disproportionate amount of its debt book, and has identified worrying trends that affect the industry. Clients in the industry are encouraged to contact their tax agents regarding outstanding debts, as the ATO may be able to offer a range of payment options to help them get back on track sooner and reduce any interest they may be liable for.
October 2016 Practice Update - GST on low-value imports
Goods imported in Australia - often by comsumers using the internet - which cost less than $1000 are currently GST-free. On May 3 2016 as part of its package of Budget Night announcements, the Federal government proposed that, as of 1 July 2017, this low-value threshold ('LVT') of $1000 will be abolished.
September 2016 Practice Update - ATO exposes dodgy deductions
With over eight million Australians claiming work-related expenses each year, the ATO is reminding people to make sure they get their deductions right this tax time.
Assistant Commissioner Graham Whyte said that, in 2014/15, the ATO conducted around 450,000 reviews and audits of individual taxpayers, leading to revenue adjustments of over $1.1 billion in income tax.
August 2016 Practice Update - Tax time is prime time for scams
The ATO is reminding Australians to be on the lookout for tax-related scams during tax time, as scammers are particularly active because of the large number of people lodging their tax returns.
July 2016 Practice Update - ATO focuses on rental property owners
With Tax Time 2016 just around the corner, the ATO has stated it will be paying close attention to excessive interest expense claims, and incorrect apportionment of rental income and expenses between owners.