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Selling your home and CGT

When it comes time to sell your home, you may be wondering if you will need to pay capital gains tax (CGT).

Generally, if you live in the home you are selling you will not have to pay CGT under the main residence exemption.

The ATO considers a dwelling as your main residence if:
– you and your family live in it
– your personal belongings are in it
– it’s the address your mail is delivered to
– it’s your address on the electoral roll, and
– services such as gas and power are connected.

If the home has been used to produce assessable income such as running a business from it, renting it out or flipping it, you may not be entitled to the full main residence exemption from CGT. This means you will have to pay CGT on part of any capital gain made when your sell your home.

For those who use their home to produce income, i.e., renting out part or all of it, you can work out the capital gain that is not exempt by taking into account the following factors:
– proportion of the floor area that is set aside to produce income
– period you use it for this purpose
– whether you’re eligible for the ‘absence’ rule
– whether it was first used to produce income after 20 August 1996.

Posted on 18 October '17 by , under tax. No Comments.

Protecting honest businesses

In its effort to facilitate a fair business environment, the ATO has offered continued support for honest businesses.

With an estimated $40 billion lost to the hidden economy, the need for strong diligence and continued governance over Australian businesses is essential. The Black Economy Taskforce that was established in May 2017 and various trends have since been better understood regarding strategies dishonest businesses and individuals are using to evade their tax responsibilities.

Trends show that problematic areas include:

  • The sharing economy: the money exchanged through services such as Airbnb, Airtasker and Uber are all taxable. Ensure you understand how to be compliant before engaging with these services.
  • Cash transactions: employers paying employees in cash to avoid tax and super responsibilities costs the economy an astronomical amount, as well as contractors accepting cash payments and not accurately documenting these.
  • Incorrect reporting: individuals and businesses failing to report their business dealings correctly are creating huge liabilities in the economy. Small reporting dishonesties by a great portion of taxpayers creates a large balance of unaccountable money; the majority of unaccountable money in relation to tax evasion.

Posted on 13 October '17 by , under tax. No Comments.

Reporting SMSF changes

Self-managed super fund trustees must notify the Australian Tax Office (ATO) if there are changes to their SMSF.

Trustees must provide written notice within 28 days if there are changes to:

  • the name of the fund
  • the address of the fund
  • details of the contact person
  • the membership of the fund
  • the trustees of the fund
  • the directors of the fund’s corporate trustees
  • your SMSF’s bank account details and Electronic service address.

The above details are used by the ATO to determine if your fund meets the definition of an SMSF.

Providing incomplete or inaccurate information may make it impossible for your fund to receive rollovers or contributions.

If any of these details change for your SMSF, contact our office to update your details.

Posted on 5 October '17 by , under tax. No Comments.

Imported services and GST

Under the new law introduced on 1 July 2017, Australian GST registered businesses that import services or digital products for business purposes do not have to pay GST.

These businesses will need to supply their Australian business number (ABN) and a statement that they are registered for GST to the supplier at the time of purchase to ensure they are not charged GST.

Overseas businesses registered under the simplified GST system for non-residents do not have an ABN and cannot issue a tax invoice. If a business believes that GST has been charged, they will need to contact the supplier and seek a refund if appropriate.

However, if an Australian business is not registered for GST or their purchases are not for business use, they will need to pay GST and will not be able to claim it back.

Posted on 27 September '17 by , under tax. No Comments.

Ride sourcing – Claiming car expenses

Those who participate in ride-sourcing (i.e., Uber, GoCatch) as a driver can access a number of tax deductions come tax time.

You may be able to claim expenses such as:
– Parking fees
– Road tolls
– Mobile phone costs
– Fees or commissions charged the facilitator
– Other expenses – to the extent that they relate to work-related travel.

Under the logbook method (the business-use percentage of car expenses) include:
– Petrol
– Depreciation of your car
– General vehicle running costs such as insurance, car rego and repairs
– Maintenance.

Expenses you cannot claim include:
– Fines, such as parking and speeding fines
– Fuel tax credits
– The cost of getting and maintaining a standard driving licence
– Costs of a capital nature, such as car purchase price
– Personal or private expenses, such as the private use of a car used for ride-sourcing activities.

If you use your car for both personal and work-related use, you will need to apportion your car expenses appropriately. If the owner of the car is a spouse or de-facto partner, you can still claim deductions for the car as it is considered a joint asset.

You may be eligible for a range of concessions, i.e., simpler depreciation – instant asset write-off if you are a small business entity in an income year. Be sure to review your eligibility each year.

Posted on 20 September '17 by , under tax. No Comments.

Sharing economy and tax

The ATO is reminding those who work in the sharing economy to be aware of their tax obligations.

The sharing economy connects buyers (users) and sellers (providers) through a facilitator who usually operates an app or a website. Some popular examples include Airbnb, Stayz, Uber, Deliveroo, Airtasker and so on.

Different rules apply, depending on what type of sharing economy activities are undertaken by an individual.

Those who rent out part or all of their home are reminded to:
– declare what they earn in their tax return;
– apportion related expenses as appropriate before claiming deductions and
– understand it may affect their capital gains tax if they sell their home in the future.

Individuals who participate in ride-sourcing activities need an ABN, to register for GST from the day they start, to pay GST on the full amount of every fare and to keep records of income and expenses for both GST and income tax purposes. GST credits associated with your ride-sourcing enterprise are deductible.

Those providing other goods and services through the sharing economy need to remember to declare what they earn and apportion related expenses.

Posted on 14 September '17 by , under tax. No Comments.

Single Touch Payroll for streamlined reporting

From 1 July 2018, employers with 20 or more employees will report payments to the Australian Taxation Office at the same time as they pay their employees, using the Single Touch Payroll reporting system.

This reporting system will keep track of payments such as:

  • Salary and wages
  • Super contributions
  • Deductions, e.g. workplace giving
  • Pay as you go (PAYG)
  • Allowances

The introduction of this new reporting measure does not incite changes to an employer’s payroll cycle; you can still make payments as you were, i.e., weekly, fortnightly, monthly, etc. When you do make these payments, the super and tax details of employees will be passed on, creating a more streamlined approach to make reporting and compliance more manageable.

For businesses with less than 20 employees, the single touch payroll reporting system will be in place by 1 July 2019.

Posted on 7 September '17 by , under tax. No Comments.

Claiming the small business income tax offset

The small business income tax offset can help reduce the tax small businesses pay on business income by up to $1,000.

This offset is available from the 2015-16 income year onwards. Small businesses with an aggregated turnover less than $5 million can access the concession from the 2016-17 income year.

Business income derived by another partnership or trust, in which the small business owner is not a partner or beneficiary, is not eligible for the offset.

Small business owners can claim the offset if they receive a share of net small business income from a small business:

  • partnership, in which they are a partner
  • trust, in which they are a beneficiary.

The offset is 8 per cent for the 2016-17 income year onwards, 5 per cent for the 2015-16 income year. The offset will increase to 10 per cent in 2024-25, 13 per cent in 2025-26 and 16 per cent in 2026-27.

Posted on 30 August '17 by , under tax. No Comments.

Have you received personal services income?

Personal services income (PSI) is income mainly produced from your personal skills or efforts. There are special tax rules that apply if your income is classified as PSI.

Almost any trade, industry or profession can receive PSI. The most common are financial professionals, IT consultants, engineers, construction workers and medical practitioners. PSI does not affect employees receiving only salaries and wages.

When more than 50 per cent of the amount you received for a contract was for your labour, skills or expertise, then the income is classified as PSI.

If you have received PSI (including if you have received it as a company, partnership or trust), you will need to work out if the PSI rules apply to that income. You can use the ATO’s Personal services income decision tool to do this.

Where the rules do apply, they affect how you report your PSI to the ATO and the deductions you can claim.

In the circumstances where the PSI rules do not apply, you are still required to declare any PSI amounts at the relevant labels on your tax return. Where you receive PSI but the rules do not apply, there are no changes to the deductions you can claim.

It is important to note that PSI is not only applicable to sole traders. Those who produce PSI through a company, trust or partnership and the PSI rules apply, the income will be treated as your individual income for tax purposes.

Posted on 23 August '17 by , under tax. No Comments.

Tax penalty remissions

The Australian Taxation Office distributes penalties to ensure individuals are not making misleading or false statements regarding income, business and wealth matters.

Studies indicate there is over $5.5 billion lost every year through tax avoidance in Australia, a massive amount of money. One of the reasons these penalties exist is to ensure taxpayers take more care and responsibility in adhering to their tax responsibilities.

While the ATO has the power to distribute penalties, they also have the discretion to reduce or modify the penalties individuals owe. If you find yourself in a position where you are owing money due to penalties such as failing to lodge in due time, PAYG withholding, etc., there are a number of actions you can take. You can make a request to remit or cancel your penalty either online, by phone or by mail.

In your request to remit or cancel a taxation penalty, you will need to provide the following:

  • Full name
  • Name, address and contact number to contact you (or an individual on behalf of you) regarding your request
  • Tax file number/Australian business number
  • Reference number (you will be advised of when you receive your penalty notice)
  • Reason/s as to why penalty should be reduced or cancelled
  • Details of penalty amounts and dates.

The ATO will review your request and notify you of its final decision. Factors that will be considered include:

  • Previous compliance history
  • Deferred or avoided tax
  • Reasons that brought about the penalty
  • Whether the ATO became aware of your non-compliance through internal investigations or through voluntary disclosure.
  • Your overall attitude towards resolving the issue.

Posted on 16 August '17 by , under tax. No Comments.