Protecting your business from ID thieves

The COVID-19 pandemic has led to many challenges for small business operators, including a significant escalation in cybersecurity threats.

One of the fastest growing of these threats is identity (ID) crime, with the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s (ACCC’s) Scamwatch finding ID theft in Australia increased 234 per cent in 2021.

The scale of the problem is worrying, with a recent survey by the Australian Institute of Criminology finding 19 per cent of respondents had experienced misuse of their personal information.

What identity criminals want

The explosion in ID crime is not just a problem for individuals, it’s a growing headache for businesses. This is due to the increasing amount of personal information they now hold, about their employees, clients and customers.

The ATO has been reminding small businessowners that ID documents are like gold to tax scammers, who can use information such as a driver’s licence, passport and tax file number to steal tax refunds and super.

Cybercriminals can also commit fraud in your name, take over your business and submit amendments to your Business Activity Statements. This makes it vital to protect key information ID thieves target, such as employees’ personal information, business records containing personal information, BAS documents and myGovIDs.

Check your physical records are protected

Worrying about the physical security of your information may seem old-fashioned, but ensuring your business premises and systems are protected is vital.

ID criminals can obtain invaluable business and client details simply by breaking into your premises and photographing business records or employee details.

To combat this, fit physical barriers such as window and door locks, file copies of documents and ID information in lockable storage units, and ensure you install an appropriate alarm system to protect against intruders.

Securing your business online

Strong online security practices are also essential to protect information about your business, employees and clients from ID thieves.

If you hold financial records, confirm the identity of anyone requesting changes to their information and fully verify new payment details. Ensure your employees are trained to identify suspicious requests for personal information, or emails that may link to fake websites built to capture passwords.

It’s also important to secure your email account through multi-factor authentication or a strong, unique passphrase.

Good online security also means changing all the passwords used in the business on a regular basis and ensuring they are not easy for potential thieves to guess. Updated security and anti-virus software needs to be installed on all devices used by the business and by any employees working from home.

When sourcing business software and support (such as payroll services), ask vendors about their system security, including where the data will be stored and their security certification and support services for data breaches.

Reporting cybercrime to the ATO

While your business’s reputation can take a real battering if you don’t have adequate protections for both your own and your clients’ ID information, there are also regulatory requirements when it comes to data breaches.

Businesses have an obligation to report all tax-related security issues to the ATO.

To help you manage your obligations to protect identity information, the ATO has an online security self-assessment questionnaire small businesses can use to check their performance in this area. This can help you identify which online security measures you are getting right as well as potential areas for improvement.

Businesses also have data breach reporting obligations under the Privacy Act. The Office of the Australian Information Commissioner has helpful tips on how to create a solid data breach response plan.

Protect your myGov ID

The government’s push for more online transactions means more and more personal and business information needs to be protected. If you or a key employee accesses the government’s online services on behalf of your business, you will need a myGovID.

This new digital identity key uses encryption technology to protect your identity when interacting with government agencies online. To strengthen protection of your identity and business information online, you can now set up face verification on myGovID.

If you are aware or suspect your myGovID has been inappropriately accessed, you need to report it immediately.

If you need any assistance setting up your myGovID, please get in touch via email drouin@rgmgroup.com.au or contact us on 03 5120 1400.

Material contained in this publication is a summary only and is based on information believed to be reliable and received from sources within the market. It is not the intention of RGM Financial Planners Pty Ltd ABN 36 419 582 Australian Financial Services Licence Number 229471, RGM Accountants & Advisors Pty Ltd ABN 69 528 723 510 that this publication be used as the primary source of readers’ information but as an adjunct to their own resources and training. No representation is given, warranty made or responsibility taken as to the accuracy, timeliness or completeness of any information or recommendation contained in this publication and RGM and its related bodies corporate will not be liable to the reader in contract or tort (including for negligence) or otherwise for any loss or damage arising as a result of the reader relying on any such information or recommendation (except in so far as any statutory liability cannot be excluded).

Liability limited by a scheme approved under Professional Standards Legislation.

Federal Budget 2022-23 Analysis

A balancing act

Billed as a Budget for families with a focus on relieving short-term cost of living pressures, Treasurer Josh Frydenberg’s fourth Budget also has one eye firmly on the federal election in May.

At the same time, the government is relying on rising commodity prices and a forecast lift in wages as unemployment heads towards a 50-year low to underpin Australia’s post-pandemic recovery.

While budget deficits and government debt will remain high for the foreseeable future, the Treasurer is confident that economic growth will more than cover the cost of servicing our debt.

The big picture

The Australian economy continues to grow faster and stronger than anticipated, but the fog of war in Ukraine is adding uncertainty to the global economic outlook. After growing by 4.2 per cent in the year to December, Australia’s economic growth is expected to slow to 3.4 per cent in 2022-23.i

Unemployment, currently at 4 per cent, is expected to fall to 3.75 per cent in the September quarter. The government is banking on a tighter labour market pushing up wages which are forecast to grow at a rate of 3.25 per cent in 2023 and 2024. Wage growth has improved over the past year but at 2.3 per cent, it still lags well behind inflation of 3.5 per cent.ii

The Treasurer forecast a budget deficit of $78 billion in 2022-23 (3.4 per cent of GDP), lower than the $88.9 billion estimate as recently as last December, before falling to $43 billion (1.6 per cent of GDP) by the end of the forward estimates in 2025-26.

Net debt is tipped to hit an eye-watering $715 billion (31 per cent of GDP) in 2022-23 before peaking at 33 per cent of GDP in June 2026. This is lower than forecast but unthinkable before the pandemic sent a wrecking ball through the global economy.

Rising commodity prices

The big improvement in the deficit has been underpinned by the stronger than expected economic recovery and soaring commodity prices for some of our major exports.

Iron ore prices have jumped about 75 per cent since last November on strong demand from China, while wheat prices have soared 68 per cent over the year and almost 5 per cent in March alone after the war in Ukraine cut global supply.iii,iv

Offsetting those exports, Australia is a net importer of oil. The price of Brent Crude oil prices have surged 73 per cent over the year, with supply shortages exacerbated by the war in Ukraine.v Australian households are paying over $2 a litre to fill their car with petrol, adding to cost of living pressures and pressure on the government to act.

With the rising cost of fuel and other essentials, this is one of the areas targeted by the Budget. The following rundown summarises the measures most likely to impact Australian households.

Cost of living relief

As expected, the Treasurer announced a temporary halving of the fuel excise for the next six months which will save motorists 22c a litre on petrol. The Treasurer estimates a family with two cars who fill up once a week could save about $30 a week, or $700 in total over six months.

Less expected was the temporary $420 one-off increase in the low-to-middle-income tax offset (LMITO). It had been speculated that LMITO would be extended for another year, but it is now set to end on June 30 as planned.

The extra $420 will boost the offset for people earning less than $126,000 from up to $1,080 previously to $1,500 this year. Couples will receive up to $3,000. The additional offset, which the government says will ease inflationary pressures for 10 million Australians, will be available when people lodge their tax returns from 1 July.

The government will also make one-off cash payments of $250 in April to six million people receiving JobSeeker, age and disability support pensions, parenting payment, youth allowance and those with a seniors’ health card.

Temporarily extending the minimum pension drawdown relief

Self-funded retirees haven’t been forgotten. The temporary halving of the minimum income drawdown requirement for superannuation pensions will be further extended, until 30 June 2023.

This will allow retirees to minimise the need to sell down assets given ongoing market volatility. It applies to account-based, transition to retirement and term allocated superannuation pensions.

More support for home buyers

A further 50,000 places a year will be made available under various government schemes to help more Australians buy a home.

This includes an additional 35,000 places for the First Home Guarantee where the government underwrites loans to first-home buyers with a deposit as low as 5 per cent. And a further 5,000 places for the Family Home Guarantee which helps single parents buy a home with as little as 2 per cent deposit.

There is also a new Regional Home Guarantee, which will provide 10,000 guarantees to allow people who have not owned a home for five years to buy a new property outside a major city with a deposit of as little as 5 per cent.

Support for parents

The government is expanding the paid parental leave scheme to give couples more flexibility to choose how they balance work and childcare.

Dad and partner pay will be rolled into Paid Parental Leave Pay to create a single scheme that gives the 180,000 new parents who access it each year, increased flexibility to choose how they will share it.

In addition, single parents will be able to take up to 20 weeks of leave, the same as couples.

Health and aged care

One of the Budget surprises in the wake of the Aged Care Royal Commission findings, was the absence of spending on additional aged care workers and wages.

Instead, $468 million will be spent on the sector with most of that ($340 million) earmarked to provide on-site pharmacy services.

The Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) is also set for a $2.4 billion shot in the arm over five years, adding new medicines to the list. PBS safety net thresholds will also be reduced, so patients with high demand for prescription medicines won’t have to get as many scripts.

A $547 million mental health and suicide prevention support package includes a $52 million funding boost for Lifeline.

And as winter approaches, the government will spend a further $6 billion on its COVID health response.

Jobs, skills development and small business support

As the economy and demand for skilled workers grow, the government is providing more funding for skills development with a focus on small business. It will provide a funding boost of $3.7 billion to states and territories with the potential to provide 800,000 training places.

In addition, eligible apprentices and trainees in “priority industries” will be able to access $5,000 in retention payments over two years, while their employers will also receive wage subsidies.

Small businesses with annual turnover of less than $50 million will be able to deduct 20 per cent of the cost of training their employees, so for every $100 they spend, they receive a $120 tax deduction.

Similarly, for every $100 these businesses spend to digitalise their businesses, up to an outlay of $100,000, they will receive a $120 tax deduction. This includes things such as portable payment devices, cyber security systems and subscriptions to cloud-based services.

Looking ahead

With an election less than two months away, the government will be hoping it has done enough to quell voter concerns about the rising cost of living, while safeguarding Australia’s ongoing economic recovery.

The local economy faces strong headwinds from the war in Ukraine, the cost of widespread flooding along much of the east coast and the ongoing pandemic.

Much depends on the hopes for the rise in employment and wages to offset rising inflation, and the timing and extent of interest rate rises by the Reserve Bank.

If you have any questions about any of the Budget measures, don’t hesitate to call us on 03 5120 1400.

Information in this article has been sourced from the Budget Speech 2022-23 and Federal Budget support documents.

It is important to note that the policies outlined in this publication are yet to be passed as legislation and therefore may be subject to change.

https://tradingeconomics.com/australia/gdp-growth-annual

ii https://www.abs.gov.au/media-centre/media-releases/annual-wage-growth-increases-23

iii https://tradingeconomics.com/commodity/iron-ore

iv, v https://tradingeconomics.com/commodities

Material contained in this publication is a summary only and is based on information believed to be reliable and received from sources within the market. It is not the intention of RGM Financial Planners Pty Ltd ABN 36 419 582 Australian Financial Services Licence Number 229471, RGM Accountants & Advisors Pty Ltd ABN 69 528 723 510 that this publication be used as the primary source of readers’ information but as an adjunct to their own resources and training. No representation is given, warranty made or responsibility taken as to the accuracy, timeliness or completeness of any information or recommendation contained in this publication and RGM and its related bodies corporate will not be liable to the reader in contract or tort (including for negligence) or otherwise for any loss or damage arising as a result of the reader relying on any such information or recommendation (except in so far as any statutory liability cannot be excluded).

Liability limited by a scheme approved under Professional Standards Legislation.

Making your wishes known

While Australia’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic was among the best in the world, the speed and spread of the illness underlined just how fragile life can be.

It was also a solemn reminder of the importance of ensuring your affairs are in order, so your wishes are met – in life and death.

The centrepiece of any estate planning is your Will, which sets out who you would like to receive your assets when you die, and how they are to be distributed. But you also need to consider what will happen to your superannuation as well as who will act on your behalf if you are unable to make decisions about your finances, health or wellbeing.

Expressing your Will

Despite the importance of a Will, it’s estimated that nearly half of Australians don’t have one.i If you die intestate (without a Will), your assets will be distributed according to a legal formula within each State, which may not be in line with your wishes. In an era where complex family situations and blended families are common, this can create unnecessary conflict at what is already a difficult time.

Even if you have a Will, it’s not a set-and-forget document. You must make sure it is up to date and reflects major changes in your life, such as marriage, divorce, the birth of a child or the purchase of a home.

Super is not part of your Will

It is not widely understood that superannuation is not covered by your Will unless you specifically direct it to be by nominating a legal personal representative (LPR) as your beneficiary.

Unless you nominate a valid beneficiary, the fund’s trustees will determine who receives your super. Even if you don’t have much money in super yet, chances are you have life insurance with your super which is paid out to your beneficiaries on your death.

To be valid, a beneficiary must be your LPR or a dependent, defined under super legislation as your spouse, child, someone in an interdependency relationship with you or a financial dependent. If you don’t nominate anyone, or your nomination is not valid, generally the money will go to your dependants or your LPR – but it’s always good to make sure.

The best way to ensure your super and any insurance payout ends up with the people you want to receive it is to make a binding death benefit nomination. There may be a small charge and you need to renew it every three years to remain valid. A non-binding nomination is only a guide so the trustees can overrule your nomination.

It is also worth remembering that if your beneficiaries are adult children, there may be tax implications for them.

Living Wills

Estate planning isn’t just about planning who gets what when you are gone. You should also consider putting in place directives to let your family and others know how you want to see out your days.

An enduring power of attorney will allow you to nominate somebody to act on your behalf if you are no longer capable of conducting your own financial matters. A general power of attorney is not sufficient as it is usually for a set period and becomes invalid once you can no longer make your own decisions.

You should also organise enduring guardianship to appoint somebody to take control of any lifestyle or medical issues should you become incapacitated. And it is worthwhile introducing an advance care directive which states exactly what medical treatment you do and don’t want to receive towards the end of your life.

Spread the word

Once you have prepared an estate plan, it’s a good idea to gather all your documentation in one place and tell your family and legal representative where they are. Also, consider giving someone you trust your online passwords to avoid complications down the track.

Getting your affairs in order can provide great peace of mind for you and your family, now and in the future and we are here to assist please contact us on 03 5120 1400.

https://www.contestingwills.com.au/how-many-people-die-without-writing-a-will/

Material contained in this publication is a summary only and is based on information believed to be reliable and received from sources within the market. It is not the intention of RGM Financial Planners Pty Ltd ABN 36 419 582 Australian Financial Services Licence Number 229471, RGM Accountants & Advisors Pty Ltd ABN 69 528 723 510 that this publication be used as the primary source of readers’ information but as an adjunct to their own resources and training. No representation is given, warranty made or responsibility taken as to the accuracy, timeliness or completeness of any information or recommendation contained in this publication and RGM and its related bodies corporate will not be liable to the reader in contract or tort (including for negligence) or otherwise for any loss or damage arising as a result of the reader relying on any such information or recommendation (except in so far as any statutory liability cannot be excluded).

Liability limited by a scheme approved under Professional Standards Legislation.


Tax deductions for your home-based business

Using your home as the base for your business is increasingly popular, particularly due to COVID-19, with many of Australia’s 2.1 million enterprises with four or less employees now based at home.

As a result, the ATO is busy revisiting the rules on the tax deductions you can claim for a home-based business. Your claimable expenses will depend on how you operate your business, so it’s worth checking the current rules to ensure you know what’s what.

Your business structure matters

The structure (sole trader, partnership, trust or company) you use to operate your business affects your entitlements and obligations when claiming expense deductions.

Sole traders and partnerships can claim a deduction for the costs of running their business from home. What you can deduct is governed by whether or not you have an area of your home set aside as a ‘place of business’.

Trusts and companies, however, must have a genuine market-rate rental contract or agreement in place with the property owner covering which expenses the business is responsible for paying.


Different types of expenses

For home-based sole traders and partnerships, there are two main types of claimable expense.

Running expenses are the increased costs from using your home’s facilities for your business, such as heating, cooling, cleaning, landline phone and internet, equipment and furniture depreciation, and equipment repairs.

These can be claimed if you have a separate study or desk in a lounge room, even if the area doesn’t have the character of a place of business.

You can only claim deductions for the portion of your expenses related to running your business. Any part of an expense related to personal use cannot be claimed.

You may also be able to claim motor vehicle expenses between your home and other locations if the travel is for business purposes.

Claiming your business costs

When you calculate your running costs, you can choose the actual cost, fixed rate or temporary shortcut method. Each one is acceptable provided it’s reasonable for your circumstances, excludes your private living costs and there are appropriate records for your calculations.

With the actual cost method you use the real cost of the expense, while the fixed rate uses a set cost of 52 cents for each hour you operate your business. This covers heating, cooling, lighting, cleaning and depreciation. Other expenses need to be worked out separately.

The temporary shortcut method (available until 30 June 2022), is an 80 cents per hour rate covering all your expenses.

Occupancy expenses can’t always be claimed

Your business can claim occupancy expenses (such as mortgage interest, council rates, and home and contents insurance) if the area in your house set aside for your business has the character of a place of business (even if most of your business is conducted online).

Indicators of a place of business include identification (such as an external sign) it’s a place of business, the area is not easily adaptable for domestic use and is almost exclusively used for your business, or you receive regular client visits.

If you are eligible to claim occupancy expenses, they must be apportioned based on the share of the year your home is used for business and the portion of the floor plan.

Recordkeeping is essential

The ATO expects you to keep records for at least five years to show your business actually incurred the claimed expenses.

You must be able to substantiate your claims with written evidence or receipts for all running costs. If you claim occupancy expenses, you need to substantiate your mortgage interest, insurance, council rates and rental agreement with the homeowner.

The ATO also requires you to demonstrate how you calculated your expense claims and separated them into business and private use.

Capital gains implications

A word of warning though. If you claim deductions for the cost of using your home as your main place of business, there may be capital gains tax (CGT) implications when you sell.

If you claim occupancy expenses, the usual main residence exemption may not apply to the proportion of your home and the periods you used it for your business.

If you have recently started working from home or plan to do so, we can help you work out the best method of claiming deductions for your home-based business.

Material contained in this publication is a summary only and is based on information believed to be reliable and received from sources within the market. It is not the intention of RGM Financial Planners Pty Ltd ABN 36 419 582 Australian Financial Services Licence Number 229471, RGM Accountants & Advisors Pty Ltd ABN 69 528 723 510 that this publication be used as the primary source of readers’ information but as an adjunct to their own resources and training. No representation is given, warranty made or responsibility taken as to the accuracy, timeliness or completeness of any information or recommendation contained in this publication and RGM and its related bodies corporate will not be liable to the reader in contract or tort (including for negligence) or otherwise for any loss or damage arising as a result of the reader relying on any such information or recommendation (except in so far as any statutory liability cannot be excluded).

Liability limited by a scheme approved under Professional Standards Legislation.


New financial year new perspective

The start of the financial year is always an excellent time to take stock of your current situation and visualise where you’d like to be in the future.

It’s fair to say this year hasn’t been ‘business as usual’! While no-one could have predicted the first six months of 2020, nor want to repeat them, it’s likely there have been lessons learned. So as you review and set new goals, consider any takeaways from lockdown and how they have influenced your goals and path for the future.


Different priorities and new goals

Your priorities may have forcibly changed in response to the change of circumstances, or perhaps you realised that some things are more important to you than others. Do you now want to spend more time with family, improve your connection to your friends, help out in the community? Perhaps you have a reignited passion for your work or have been motivated to look for greater opportunities. Has not being able to travel in the short-term made you more determined to hit the road or jet off to a new destination?

Work/life balance remains a top priority for many people, yet it can feel elusive at the best of times. By identifying what is important to you and what you want more (or less) of, you’ll be better placed to make changes to reach more of a balance.

You might have also discovered a new hobby. If you’re a gym junkie, you might have made the shift to exercising outdoors and discovered a love of trail running or mountain biking. If you love visiting restaurants and cafes, perhaps you started to enjoy more time in the kitchen, trying to replicate your favourite chef-cooked meals. Whatever hobby you’ve picked up or re-sparked, think about how you can keep it up when life returns to a new normal. Perhaps this hobby could even be a side business or has ignited an idea for a new career path?

Awareness of your finances

It’s likely your financial situation has changed in 2020. Your income and expenditure may have altered during the period of lockdown, and while we were all impacted in different ways, the period presented a degree of uncertainty for everyone, highlighting the need for financial security.

The financial goals you established last financial year or in January are likely to have shifted due to the year’s upheaval. And you may also have new goals following the COVID-19 pandemic. Review your finances and your budget to set new objectives, working with your current situation to build a financial safety net and work towards your future goals.

Setting and achieving your goals

The first half of the year has shown us that plans can and sometimes, must change. But don’t let this stop you from setting goals and working towards your vision of the future.

Ensuring your goals are smart, or specifically SMART – Specific, Measurable, Assignable, Realistic and Time-related, will make it easier for you to follow through and achieve them. Whether they’re related to finances, your career or spending more time with family and friends, drill down into the details.

The SMART framework strengthens your goals by making sure they are thought through. For instance, if this has been a time of financial instability for you, your priority could be having more savings behind you. But how much money will you put away and how often, who will make this happen, and is this feasible? With increased uncertainty, it may be beneficial to set micro goals with shorter time frames. This will allow you to be adaptable while still progressing towards your larger goals.

Getting support

This tumultuous year has also highlighted the importance of reaching out for support. This may be a coach, friend or mentor who provides guidance, encouragement and keeps you accountable on your journey. When it comes to establishing your financial goals and working through concerns, you don’t have to go it alone.

We can help keep you on track to achieving your objectives and guide you through the process, so feel free to get in touch today via our contact page or 03 5120 1400.

Material contained in this publication is a summary only and is based on information believed to be reliable and received from sources within the market. It is not the intention of RGM Financial Planners Pty Ltd ABN 36 419 582 Australian Financial Services Licence Number 229471, RGM Accountants & Advisors Pty Ltd ABN 69 528 723 510 that this publication be used as the primary source of readers’ information but as an adjunct to their own resources and training. No representation is given, warranty made or responsibility taken as to the accuracy, timeliness or completeness of any information or recommendation contained in this publication and RGM and its related bodies corporate will not be liable to the reader in contract or tort (including for negligence) or otherwise for any loss or damage arising as a result of the reader relying on any such information or recommendation (except in so far as any statutory liability cannot be excluded).

Liability limited by a scheme approved under Professional Standards Legislation.


Tax Alert – December 2021

As COVID-19 turbulence starts to settle, the ATO is moving away from its supportive position and returning to its more usual compliance focus.

That means taxpayers need to be aware their financial affairs will come under renewed attention in the year ahead.

Data gathering programs increase

In recent months the ATO has announced programs to gather data on various aspects of Australians’ financial lives to use in its ongoing data-matching projects.

Recent programs include gathering data on property management and rental bonds, cryptocurrency, online selling and novated leases for the upcoming financial year (2022-23). The ATO will also be collecting data on payments made by government agencies such as Comcare, the Department of Health, the NDIA, Department of Veterans’ Affairs and the clean energy regulator.

Taxpayers who buy and insure high-value lifestyle assets will also be under the microscope, with the ATO looking to collect details that will “assist with profiling [to obtain] a holistic view of a taxpayer’s wealth”. Under this program, the taxman will be obtaining information from insurance companies for the period 2020-21 to 2022-23 about assets exceeding certain nominated thresholds.

These high-value assets include boats valued over $100,000, motor vehicles (including caravans) and thoroughbred horses valued over $65,000, fine art worth over $100,000 per item and aircraft valued over $150,000. Data obtained from insurers will include individual client identification and policy details.

Overseas gifts or loans under scrutiny

The ATO has also announced it will be increasing scrutiny of undeclared foreign gifts or loans from related overseas entities, including family and friends.

The regulator says it has encountered many situations where Australian taxpayers are deriving assessable income or capital gains offshore but failing to declare these in their income tax returns. The ATO will be looking at arrangements where taxpayers are attempting to avoid tax on foreign assessable income by disguising amounts as gifts or loans.

Anyone receiving genuine monetary gifts or loans should keep supporting documentation. Inheritances count as gifts, so if you receive an inheritance from overseas, get a certified copy of the person’s will or estate distribution statement.

Focus on working from home deductions

On a positive note, if you are still working from home due to COVID-19, you can continue using the shortcut method for claiming deductions until 30 June 2022.

From 1 July 2022, you will need to use either the traditional fixed rate or actual cost methods and meet their eligibility and recordkeeping requirements.

The ATO says it’s currently reviewing the 52 cents per hour fixed rate method to make it easier and simpler to use, given more people will be working from home in the longer term.

Backpacker tax under fire

Employers paying working holidaymakers will need to keep a close eye on developments in this area following a decision by the High Court that tax rates applied to these employees is discriminatory as it is based on nationality.

The decision could affect the applicability of the backpacker tax for workers from countries with double tax agreements with Australia. According to the ATO, this means working holidaymakers from Chile, Finland, Germany, Japan, Norway, Turkey, UK, Germany or Israel.

The ATO is currently considering the implications of the High Court decision and will provide further guidance for employers. In the meantime, employers should continue using the tax rates in the ATO’s published withholding tables for backpackers.

Self-education expense threshold to go

The government has made good on its May 2021 Budget promise to remove the $250 non-deductible threshold for claiming work-related self-education expenses.

The Treasury Laws Amendment (2021 Measures No.7) Bill 2021 is currently before Parliament. If passed, it will remove the current threshold for taxpayers claiming self-education expenses. It’s also expected to simplify the claims process in your annual tax return.

The start date for the change is likely to be 1 April or 1 July 2022.

Reminder on super stapling

If you are an employer, don’t forget to request super fund details from new employees, now the government’s super stapling rules are in place.

If a new employee doesn’t choose a super fund, you must request their stapled super fund from the ATO if they have one. This fund is linked to them and must be used for your Superannuation Guarantee (SG) contributions unless the employee requests otherwise.

If you would like help getting your tax affairs in order for the new year, contact our office today on 03 5120 1400 and speak to one of our tax accountants or send us a message via our contact page.

Material contained in this publication is a summary only and is based on information believed to be reliable and received from sources within the market. It is not the intention of RGM Financial Planners Pty Ltd ABN 36 419 582 Australian Financial Services Licence Number 229471, RGM Accountants & Advisors Pty Ltd ABN 69 528 723 510 that this publication be used as the primary source of readers’ information but as an adjunct to their own resources and training. No representation is given, warranty made or responsibility taken as to the accuracy, timeliness or completeness of any information or recommendation contained in this publication and RGM and its related bodies corporate will not be liable to the reader in contract or tort (including for negligence) or otherwise for any loss or damage arising as a result of the reader relying on any such information or recommendation (except in so far as any statutory liability cannot be excluded).

Liability limited by a scheme approved under Professional Standards Legislation.




The new Director ID: Do you need one?

It’s been a busy year for Australia’s two million plus directors dealing with the pandemic and lockdowns and there’s now a new task on their to-do list.

From 1 November 2021, if you’re a director or want to become one, you will need to apply for the new Director Identification Number (Director ID) being rolled out by the Federal Government.

Directors of businesses and entities of all sizes – including directors and corporate trustees of self-managed super funds (SMSFs) – will all need to apply. If you run your business as a sole trader or partnership, however, you won’t need a Director ID.

Director ID: what is it?

The new Director ID is a unique 15-digit identifier most directors will need before they can take up a directorship.

Before you join a board, you will need to apply for your own Director ID which you will keep forever, even if you change boards, stop being a director, change your name or move interstate or overseas.

This new identifier is part of a broader registry modernisation project combining the Australian Business Registry Service (ABRS) with numerous ASIC registers to form a single system overseen by the ATO.

According to the government, unique director identifiers will create a fairer business environment by preventing the use of false and fraudulent director identities.

Who needs a Director ID?

The new regime casts a pretty wide net and will catch most business entities and organisations.

You will need a Director ID if you are an eligible officer of a company, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander corporation, corporate trustee, charity or not-for-profit organisations limited by guarantee, or a foreign company registered with ASIC and conducting business in Australia.

Directors of registered Australian bodies (such as incorporated associations registered with ASIC that trade outside the state or territory in which they are incorporated) also need to apply.

If your organisation has an Australian Business Number (ABN), you can use the ABRS LookUp tool to check whether it is registered with ASIC.

Officers outside the ID regime

Some company officers are not required to apply for the new identifier.

If you are a company secretary but not a director, act as an external administrator of a company, or are called a director but haven’t been appointed as a director under the Corporations Act, you won’t need a Director ID.

Neither will directors of charities not registered with ASIC to operate throughout Australia.

The officers of an unincorporated association, cooperative or incorporated association established under state or territory legislation (unless the organisation is also a registered Australian body), are also exempt.

Applying for your Director ID

From November 2021, you will need to apply for your Director ID on the ABRS website and log in using the myGovID app. The myGovID app is downloaded on your smart device to verify your digital identity and is different to your existing myGov account.

When applying for your Director ID, you are required to personally make the application so you can verify your identity.

There are varying application deadlines for the new identifier, with current directors (on or before 31 October 2021), having until 30 November 2022 to obtain their Director ID.

While existing directors have plenty of time, if you become a director between 1 November 2021 and 4 April 2022, you must apply for your Director ID within 28 days of your appointment to the board.

Directors appointed after 5 April 2022, must apply prior to taking up their directorship.

If you are unable to apply for your Director ID by the relevant deadline, you can apply for an extension.

Once you receive your new Director ID, you will need to pass it on to your company recordholder who is usually the company secretary or authorised agent. The ABRS is not permitted to disclose Director IDs to the public without consent and your details won’t be searchable on the register.

If you would like more information about Director IDs, whether you need one and how to go about applying, please get in touch with one of our advisers on 03 5120 1400 or via our website contact page.

Material contained in this publication is a summary only and is based on information believed to be reliable and received from sources within the market. It is not the intention of RGM Financial Planners Pty Ltd ABN 36 419 582 Australian Financial Services Licence Number 229471, RGM Accountants & Advisors Pty Ltd ABN 69 528 723 510 that this publication be used as the primary source of readers’ information but as an adjunct to their own resources and training. No representation is given, warranty made or responsibility taken as to the accuracy, timeliness or completeness of any information or recommendation contained in this publication and RGM and its related bodies corporate will not be liable to the reader in contract or tort (including for negligence) or otherwise for any loss or damage arising as a result of the reader relying on any such information or recommendation (except in so far as any statutory liability cannot be excluded).

Liability limited by a scheme approved under Professional Standards Legislation.




Future proofing your career with professional development

“The only thing that is constant is change” – so said the ancient Greek philosopher Heraclitus and it continues to ring true today.

Industries are changing, continuing to evolve in response to challenges (such as the COVID-19 pandemic), technological disruptors and customer expectations. As a result, there is a greater need for the workforce to continue to adapt and develop. We need to be agile to stay on top of these changes, continue developing and learning, which will work towards future proofing our careers.

While some industries have formal professional development programs, there are many ways to foster your own development for those who don’t have formal pathways. Here is how you can take the lead to future proof your career.

Enrol in a course

Some workplaces offer both in-person and online courses, for example LinkedIn Learning, so take advantage of what’s on offer. You can also seek out professional courses relevant to your industry to upskill, keeping you abreast of the changing environment – not to mention that further education is a great additional to your CV as it showcases your engagement within the industry and your proactive approach to your career.

Attend webinars or seminars

While COVID restrictions have halted many in-person seminars, there are plenty of online webinars you can attend, some which are specifically on the topic of future proofing your career. While there are a number of free webinars you can attend, others may be offered by organisations to their members. Paid membership to these organisations be they industry groups, or groups centred around a common goal, can be a worthwhile investment assisting with not only educational sessions but networking opportunities.

Not only are webinars accessible from your office or living room, they tend to be more budget-friendly than seminars. However, seminars offer face-to-face learning and networking opportunities, so they are great to utilise where possible.

Pick up a book or listen to podcasts

It doesn’t get easier than picking up a book to arm yourself with new knowledge. There is a wealth of information out there, some which will be general advice discussing trends and management styles, others that will be tailored to your industry.

If you don’t have much time to read, opt for an audio book to listen to in the car or during exercise. Podcasts are also excellent ways of getting helpful information in a format that is convenient and can be tapped in and out of. As they are regularly created, you’re likely to get more up-to-date information this way.

Enlist the help of a mentor

It’s clear that a mentor can help you stay on top of your industry or explore new opportunities by providing support and guidance. A 2019 survey showed that while 76% of people thought mentors are important, only 37% actually have one.i

The study also found that 61% of mentor-mentee relationships developed naturally, with 25% happening after someone offered to mentor, and 14% when someone asked for a mentor. This means that there’s likely to already be someone in your life who could be your mentor. Think about who is dynamic in facing industry changes and don’t be shy to ask if they’re open to mentoring you.


Join peer groups

An extension of having a mentor, peer groups provide you with the support of others who are also dedicated to professional and personal growth. If you are someone who thrives on peer support, it will be invaluable to be part of a group of people rather than going it alone.

You can give each other feedback, check in on each other’s goals and share helpful experiences and resources such as great books or webinars. This is also a fantastic way to make real-life connections – you might even meet someone who helps you land a new job or open doors to a new industry. Online tools such as Meetup can help you find a group near you and keep an eye on industry meetups as well.

Life is full of change, but rather than feeling overwhelmed, embrace it. By furthering your education, you’ll future proof your career and feel more empowered tackling the changes you face.


https://online.olivet.edu/research-statistics-on-professional-mentors

Material contained in this publication is a summary only and is based on information believed to be reliable and received from sources within the market. It is not the intention of RGM Financial Planners Pty Ltd ABN 36 419 582 Australian Financial Services Licence Number 229471, RGM Accountants & Advisors Pty Ltd ABN 69 528 723 510 that this publication be used as the primary source of readers’ information but as an adjunct to their own resources and training. No representation is given, warranty made or responsibility taken as to the accuracy, timeliness or completeness of any information or recommendation contained in this publication and RGM and its related bodies corporate will not be liable to the reader in contract or tort (including for negligence) or otherwise for any loss or damage arising as a result of the reader relying on any such information or recommendation (except in so far as any statutory liability cannot be excluded).

Liability limited by a scheme approved under Professional Standards Legislation.

Investing lessons from the pandemic

When the coronavirus pandemic hit financial markets in March 2020, almost 40 per cent was wiped off the value of shares in less than a month.i Understandably, many investors hit the panic button and switched to cash or withdrew savings from superannuation.

With the benefit of hindsight, some people may be regretting acting in haste.

As it happened, shares rebounded faster than anyone dared predict. Australian shares rose 28 per cent in the year to June 2021 while global shares rose 37 per cent. Balanced growth super funds returned 18 per cent for the year, their best performance in 24 years.ii

While every financial crisis is different, some investment rules are timeless. So, what are the lessons of the last 18 months?

Lesson #1 Ignore the noise

When markets suffer a major fall as they did last year, the sound can be deafening. From headlines screaming bloodbath, to friends comparing the fall in their super account balance and their dashed retirement hopes.

Yet as we have seen, markets and market sentiment can swing quickly. That’s because on any given day markets don’t just reflect economic fundamentals but the collective mood swings of all the buyers and sellers. In the long run though, the underlying value of investments generally outweighs short-term price fluctuations.

One of the key lessons of the past 18 months is that ignoring the noisy doomsayers and focussing on long-term investing is better for your wealth.

Lesson #2 Stay diversified

Another lesson is the importance of diversification. By spreading your money across and within asset classes you can minimise the risk of one bad investment or short-term fall in one asset class wiping out your savings.

Diversification also helps smooth out your returns in the long run. For example, in the year to June 2020, Australian shares and listed property fell sharply, but positive returns from bonds and cash acted as a buffer reducing the overall loss of balanced growth super funds to 0.5%.

The following 12 months to June 2021 shares and property bounced back strongly, taking returns of balanced growth super funds to 18 per cent. But investors who switched to cash at the depths of the market despair in March last year would have gone backwards after fees and tax.

More importantly, over the past 10 years balanced growth funds have returned 8.6 per cent per year on average after tax and investment fees.ii

The mix of investments you choose will depend on your age and tolerance for risk. The younger you are, the more you can afford to have in more aggressive assets that carry a higher level of risk, such as shares and property to grow your wealth over the long term. But even retirees can benefit from having some of their savings in growth assets to help replenish their nest egg even as they withdraw income.

Lesson #3 Stay the course

The Holy Grail of investing is to buy at the bottom of the market and sell when it peaks. If only it were that easy. Even the most experienced fund managers acknowledge that investors with a balanced portfolio should expect a negative return one year in every five or so.

Even if you had seen the writing on the wall in February 2020 and switched to cash, it’s unlikely you would have switched back into shares in time to catch the full benefit of the upswing that followed.

Timing the market on the way in and the way out is extremely difficult, if not impossible.


Looking ahead

Every new generation of investors has a pivotal experience where lessons are learned. For older investors, it may have been the crash of ’87, the tech wreck of the early 2000s or the global financial crisis. For younger investors and some older ones too, the coronavirus pandemic will be a defining moment in their investing journey.

By choosing an asset allocation that aligns with your age and risk tolerance then staying the course, you can sail through the market highs and lows with your sights firmly set on your investment horizon. Of course, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t make adjustments or take advantage of opportunities along the way.

We’re here to guide you through the highs and lows of investing, so give us a call if you would like to discuss your investment strategy with a financial adviser on 03 5120 1400.

https://www.forbes.com/sites/lizfrazierpeck/2021/02/11/the-coronavirus-crash-of-2020-and-the-investing-lesson-it-taught-us/?sh=241a03a46cfc

ii https://www.chantwest.com.au/resources/super-funds-post-a-stunning-gain

Material contained in this publication is a summary only and is based on information believed to be reliable and received from sources within the market. It is not the intention of RGM Financial Planners Pty Ltd ABN 36 419 582 Australian Financial Services Licence Number 229471, RGM Accountants & Advisors Pty Ltd ABN 69 528 723 510 that this publication be used as the primary source of readers’ information but as an adjunct to their own resources and training. No representation is given, warranty made or responsibility taken as to the accuracy, timeliness or completeness of any information or recommendation contained in this publication and RGM and its related bodies corporate will not be liable to the reader in contract or tort (including for negligence) or otherwise for any loss or damage arising as a result of the reader relying on any such information or recommendation (except in so far as any statutory liability cannot be excluded).

Liability limited by a scheme approved under Professional Standards Legislation.