How to end the financial year on a high note

As the financial year draws to a close, it’s the perfect time to review your financial affairs and set the stage for a successful new financial year. By taking care of essential tasks and implementing strategic planning, you can position yourself for a smooth transition and a strong start for the year to come.

Topping up super

One important item for the To Do list is to top up your super with either concessional (pre-tax) or non-concessional (post-tax) contributions. For example, you could make a voluntary concessional contribution up to the limit allowed and then claim a tax deduction on your personal assessable income for it.

Consider making additional contributions to your own super account or your spouse’s account, to take advantage of tax concessions.

If you have unused concessional cap amounts from the previous five years and a super balance less than $500,000 on June 30 the previous year, you may be eligible to make a catch-up (or carry-forward) contribution greater than the annual limit.

Maximising contributions not only helps you build your retirement savings but can also provide valuable tax benefits. But it’s critical to be mindful of your caps and to ensure that you make any super contributions before the end of the financial year to meet the deadline.

Reviewing investments

Reviewing your investment portfolio is a valuable task at any time but particularly now.

For example, you could take a look for any capital gains or losses that could be used strategically to manage your tax liability.

Also, it is worth considering how your portfolio performed over the past 12 months against your goal of capital growth, income, or balance.

You may decide to readjust your goals or your investments to help steer performance in the right direction for the next 12 months.

Of course, if you’re planning any changes, it’s important to check in with us to ensure you’re making informed decisions about your investments.

Paying expenses early

Another useful strategy at tax time can be to bring forward any deductible expenses or interest payments before 30 June to reduce your taxable income.

That could include incurring expenses on an investment property, prepaying interest on investment loans, making charitable donations, or claiming eligible work-related expenses.

Make sure you keep detailed records and receipts to support your deductions.

The ATO’s myDeductions app is a great place to start for free record keeping and to assist you to be ready for tax time.

Setting up salary sacrifice

As you look ahead to the new financial year, consider whether a salary sacrifice arrangement might be right for you.

Salary sacrifice allows you to divert a portion of your pre-tax salary directly into your superannuation, which effectively reduces your taxable income and boosts your retirement savings.

You will need to think carefully about your living expenses to work out the amount you can afford to contribute to your super, ensuring you do not exceed your concessional (before-tax) contributions cap of $27,500 (which will increase to $30,000 from July 1 2024) to avoid paying any extra tax.

Your employer or payroll department can help you set up a salary sacrifice arrangement.

Checking your budget

This is a good time to revisit your financial goals and how you’re tracking, and then put together a strong budget for the new financial year that will help get you further along the track.

Take the time to review your income and expenses and identify any areas where you can cut back spending or improve your income.

This exercise not only helps you understand your financial habits but also allows you to reallocate funds towards your goals, such as paying down debt, building an emergency fund, or increasing your investment contributions.

Consult with professionals

Don’t forget to check in with your trusted advisers – financial advisers, accountants, or tax professionals – to make sure you are making the most of any opportunities for financial growth and maximising tax savings.

Taking advantage of our expert advice to review your current financial situation and goals, and check that you are making the best decisions for you can make a difference. It provides peace of mind, ensures that you are complying with any obligations and, importantly, puts you in the best position to achieve your financial goals.

Tax update June 2024

Tax cuts ease the message of greater ATO oversight

Every taxpayer can look forward to a tax cut from 1 July thanks to the centrepiece of the Federal Budget delivered in May.

On average, taxpayers will save around $36 a week under the new rules, which were legislated in February.i

The lowest tax rate in 2024-25 reduces from 19 per cent to 16 per cent, and the 32.5 per cent marginal tax rate reduces to 30 per cent for those earning between $45,001 and $135,000.

The current 37 per cent marginal tax rate will be retained for people earning between $135,001 and $190,000, while the existing 45 per cent rate now applies to income earners with taxable incomes exceeding $190,000.

The Budget also included a commitment to reform current tax laws and give the ATO discretion to stop chasing on-hold historical tax debts of individuals and small businesses.

Boost for tax compliance

Other Budget tax measures include a $2.5 billion crackdown on the shadow economy, as well as other fraud and tax avoidance through upgrades to the ATO’s IT systems to enable real-time identification and blocking of suspicious activities.ii

A new compliance taskforce will also be formed to focus on recovering lost revenue and stopping fraudulent refunds.

Instant asset write-off retained

Small businesses will be pleased to know that the deadline for the popular $20,000 instant asset write-off has been extended to 30 June 2025.iii

Under the instant asset write-off rule, small businesses with an annual turnover of less than $10 million are permitted to immediately deduct eligible assets of less than $20,000, rather than depreciate them.

Key focus areas

The ATO has announced it will be taking a close look at three common errors taxpayers are making in returns lodged this financial year.

These include incorrectly claiming work-related expenses, inflating deduction claims for rental properties and failing to include all income when lodging a return.

Work-from-home expenses will need comprehensive substantiation and rental landlords will need to carefully check their repairs and maintenance deductions.

Meanwhile, existing CGT exemptions for foreign residents buying and selling assets will be tightened.

Unpaid GST and income debts

The ATO has signalled it intends to increase its focus to ensure both individuals and businesses pay their tax and super obligations on time.

For example, there will be a crackdown on businesses failing to pass on $50 billion in undisputed debts for GST and PAYG from employee wages.

Around 65 per cent of this debt is owed by small businesses and the ATO has warned it is returning to its normal, pre-pandemic debt collection practices.iv

Changes for trust tax returns

Small business owners who are trustees or trust beneficiaries need to remember new income tax reporting changes commence on 1 July 2024.

Trustees will be required to provide additional information about capital gains tax on the trust’s tax return statement of distribution to provide beneficiaries with additional information when completing their trust income reporting obligations.

Trust income from managed funds will also be reported with the additional details.

SG payment reminder

With the new Super Guarantee (SG) payday rules due to start on 1 July 2026, the ATO is  reminding employers they need to ensure timely payment of their quarterly SG obligations.

Payments for the fourth quarter (1 April to 30 June 2024) are due by 28 July at the latest, with more frequent payments being encouraged.

Check for unlawful tax schemes

The ATO has warned businesses again about the potential risks of becoming involved in unlawful tax schemes, including structured arrangements incorrectly classifying revenue as capital, exploiting concessional tax rates and obscuring the source of funds or party relationships.

Warning signs for these schemes include zero-risk guarantees, being asked to maintain secrecy and fees or commissions based on the tax saved.

We’d be happy to provide further information or clarification about any of the new tax measures or to provide advice if they affect you.

https://budget.gov.au/content/factsheets/download/factsheet-col.pdf
ii https://budget.gov.au/content/bp2/download/bp2_02_receipt_payment.pdf
iii https://budget.gov.au/content/factsheets/download/factsheet-sml-bus.pdf
iv https://www.publicaccountants.org.au/news-advocacy/media-releases/2024-25-australian-federal-budget-chalmers-fails-to-charm-small-business-owners

Victorian Stamp Duty for Industrial and Commercial Property changes

In the latest budget, the Victorian Government announced significant changes to the payment and application of Stamp Duty for Industrial and Commercial Properties as of 1 July 2024.

The Commercial and Industrial Property Tax Reform Act 2024 (Vic) (the Act) provides that commercial and industrial properties in Victoria will be subject to stamp duty for a final time when it is next sold or otherwise transacted after 1 July 2024. Ten years later from the time at which the transaction takes place, it will transition to the new annual Commercial and Industrial Property Tax (CIPT) imposed at the rate of 1% of the unimproved value of the land. The CIPT will be in addition to land tax.

Notably, properties that are not sold or transacted (a change of ownership of more than 50%) will remain outside the CIPT regime and CIPT will not be payable even after the 10 year transition period.

What properties does this apply to?
Only properties and land zoned Commercial or Industrial fall within this new reform. The State Revenue Office will rely on Council Rates for assessing whether a property is Commercial or Industrial.

Mixed-use properties will be assessed on a case by case basis and the Commissioner will make a determination as to whether the property is primarily used for Commercial or Industrial. If so, CIPT will be payable. If not, CIPT will not be payable. This is an all or nothing situation.

What triggers the introduction of CIPT?
A change of 50% or more ownership in a property will trigger the transition to CIPT. Minority investors may become subject to CIPT directly or indirectly if a majority interest in the property is changed (which may occur in a syndicate) on or after 1 July 2024.

Owners seeking to change ownership of their commercial or industrial property between trusts, SMSFs or corporations that transact after 1 July 2024 will also trigger the implementation of CIPT.

Do I still pay Stamp Duty?
Stamp Duty will still be payable on the first transaction for that particular property that occurs on or after 1 July 2024. Stamp Duty can be paid upfront (as would usually occur) or you can apply for a Government Funded Support Loan which incurs interest (rate still be determined but looking like approximately 7%pa) and repayments are to be paid annually over 10 years. If you sell within the 10 years the Loan is to be repaid in full and it is likely that break costs will be charged. The Loan does not fall to the next purchaser.

This first transaction triggers the property to enter the CIPT scheme and 10 years from that date CIPT will be payable. If, for example, 3 years after the first transaction, the property is then sold, this next transaction does not incur Stamp Duty but CIPT will be payable in 7 years time by whoever owns the property at that time.

What is the rate of CIPT?
The rate of CIPT is 1% of the unimproved value of the property (as assessed on your Council Rates Certificate). It is an annual tax and is to be paid in addition to regular land tax. For example, if the unimproved value of the property is $800,000 your CIPT will be $8,000 annually.

The owner of the property as of 31 December immediately preceding the tax year has the liability of the CIPT and this cannot be adjusted on the sale of the property.

Can I pass CIPT onto my Tenant?
In most instances, no you cannot pass CIPT onto your Tenant for payment as an outgoing. The Retail Leases Act 2003 prohibits the passing on of CIPT and Land Tax to a Tenant as an outgoing. If your Lease does not fall within the confines of the Retail Leases Act 2003 then, subject to the terms of your lease, you may be able to pass on payment of CIPT to the Tenant.

What if I leave my property as it is for the next 20 years?
If you do not change the ownership of your property over the next 20-30 years then you will not trigger CIPT and it will not be payable. Bear in mind that this is the case under the current legislative framework and there is no guarantee that this, or the rate of the CIPT, will not change in the future.

What should I do?
If you have no intention of changing the ownership structure of your property for the foreseeable future, then you do not need to do anything. If a change is on the cards, you should transact this change (sign a Contract or Transfer of Land) prior to 1 July 2024.

If you are looking at purchasing a Commercial or Industrial property, you should sign a Contract of Sale before 1 July 2024.

In summary:

  1. CIPT applies to changes in ownership of Commercial or Industrial properties with a Contract signed and settlement taking place after 1 July 2024;
  2. The first transaction after 1 July 2024 will incur Stamp Duty which can be paid in full or via a government funded transition loan;
  3. 10 years after the first transaction, CIPT will be payable by the then current owner at the rate of 1% of the unimproved value.

Managing risk when growing your business

It’s a risky business being in business for yourself, so knowing how to identify and manage risk is an important part of running a thriving business.

Anything that impedes a company’s ability to achieve its financial goals is considered a risk, and there are many issues that have the potential to derail a successful business. Some of these can ruin a business, while others can cause serious damage that is difficult to recover from.

However, taking risks is an essential part of growing a business – it’s how you thrive and expand. The key to achieving the rewards that come with risk and avoiding the devastation that can occur, is identifying and actively managing your business risk.

Assessing your tolerance for risk

The first step is to think about what level of risk you are comfortable with. A range of factors influence your appetite for risk including your individual circumstances, financial resources, specific industry dynamics, economic conditions, and business goals.

It’s important to acknowledge the relationship between risk and reward. High-risk activities may provide the potential for significant returns when you are going for growth but are also associated with greater uncertainty and the potential for larger losses.

Not all risk is equal

Some types of risk are best managed through insurance while others can be managed through thoughtful decision making and risk mitigation.

Risk taking is often associated with innovation and entrepreneurship and there are countless examples of reckless business behaviour that paid off – and as many examples that did not pay off. To expand, evolve and stay relevant in a changing marketplace, businesses may need to take calculated risks. This can encompass the development of new services or targeting a different client base, employing staff, developing new products, the adoption of emerging technologies, or exploring new markets.

Taking calculated risks involves some planning – conducting research, gathering supporting data and considering possible outcomes before making a decision. Informed, calculated decisions have a greater chance of success and doing your homework is a great way to mitigate risk in business.

Managing business risk

There are many ways to manage business risk, depending on the type of risk. Threats come in many shapes and forms and can include strategic, compliance, operational, environmental, and reputational, but one of the most fundamental risks is that of the business no longer being financially viable. All the above can impact a businesses’ bottom line so when considering your strategies, it’s a good idea to identify the risks that could affect your business’s ability to meet its financial obligations.

Setting up and maintaining a cash reserve is critical for small businesses, particularly ones with narrow margins. Half of all small businesses hold a cash buffer of less than one month which may not be adequate.i A cash reserve is a great risk mitigation strategy as it can help you get back on your feet when faced with an adverse event.

Keep an eye on cashflow

Growing a business can put pressure on cashflow, and managing your cashflow is a powerful way of managing your business risk.

If you have not already done so, creating, and maintaining a cash flow forecast helps you anticipate and cash shortages. Monitoring your cash flow over time gives you visibility of your financial situation and an understanding of any seasonal ebbs and flows.

Some things you can do to manage your cashflow include being responsive with invoicing and chasing overdue payments. Negotiate payment terms that support your cashflow requirements and consider offering incentives for early payments or penalties for overdue invoices.

For many businesses, one of the leading causes of cash flow shortfalls is overstocking, which increases the amount of cash you have locked up in your stock. Effective inventory management and working with suppliers to reduce lead times can assist with cashflow.

We can help you develop solid cash flow management and provide expert advice to make growing your business less of a risky proposition.

https://www.jpmorganchase.com/institute/research/small-business/report-cash-flows-balances-and-buffer-days

Living your best life in retirement

If you’re nearing retirement age, it’s likely you’re wondering if you will have enough saved to give up work and take it easy, particularly as cost-of-living increases hit some of the basic expenses such as energy, insurance, food and health costs.

Fortunately, someone has already worked out what you might need.

The Association of Superannuation Funds in Australia (ASFA) updates its Retirement Standard every year, which provides a breakdown of expenses for two types of lifestyles: modest and comfortable.i

Based on our average life expectancy – for women it is just over 85 years and men 81 – if you are about to retire at say age 67, you will have between 14 and 18 years in retirement, on average and depending on your gender.ii

ASFA finds that a couple needs $46,944 a year to live a modest lifestyle and $72,148 to live a comfortable lifestyle. That’s equal to $902 a week and $1387 respectively. The figure is of course lower for a single person – $32,666 for a modest lifestyle ($628 a week) or $51,278 ($986) for a comfortable lifestyle.iii

What does that add up to? ASFA estimates that, for a modest lifestyle, a single person or a couple would need savings of $100,000 at retirement age, while for a modest lifestyle, a couple would need at least $690,000.iv

A modest lifestyle means being able to afford everyday expenses such as basic health insurance, communication, clothing and household goods but not going overboard. The difference between a modest and a comfortable lifestyle can be significant. For example, there is no room in a modest budget to update a kitchen or a bathroom; similarly overseas holidays are not an option.

The rule of thumb for a comfortable retirement is an estimated 70 per cent of your current annual income.v (The reason you need less is that you no longer need to commute to work and you don’t need to buy work clothes.)

Building your nest egg

So how can you build up a sufficient nest egg to provide for a good life in retirement? There are three main sources: superannuation, pension and investments/savings. Superannuation has the key advantage that the money in your pension is tax free in retirement.

Your superannuation pension can be augmented with the government’s Aged Pension either from the moment you retire or later when your original nest egg diminishes.

Your income and assets will be taken into account if you apply for the Age Pension but even if you receive a pension from your super fund, you may still be eligible for a part Age Pension. You may also be eligible for rent assistance and a Health Care Card, which provides concessions on medicines.vi

Money keeps growing

It’s also important to remember that the amount you accumulate up to retirement will still be generating an income, whether its rentals from investment properties or merely the growth in the value of your share investments and the accumulation of money from any dividends paid.

You can also continue to add to your superannuation by, for instance, selling your family home and downsizing, as long as you have lived in the home for more than 10 years.

If you are single, $300,000 can go into your super when you downsize and $600,000 if you are a couple. This figure is independent of any other superannuation caps.vii

Planning for a good life in retirement often require just that – planning. If you would like to discuss how retirement will work for you, then give us a call.

Retirement Standard – Association of Superannuation Funds of Australia
ii Life expectancy, 2020 – 2022 | Australian Bureau of Statistics (abs.gov.au)
iii https://www.superannuation.asn.au/media-release/retiree-budgets-continue-to-face-significant-cost-pressures
iv https://www.superannuation.asn.au/resources/retirement-standard/
https://www.gesb.wa.gov.au/members/retirement/how-retirement-works/cost-of-living-in-retirement
vi Assets test for Age Pension – Age Pension – Services Australia
vii Downsizer super contributions | Australian Taxation Office (ato.gov.au)

Federal Budget 2024-25: Tax Implications

Major tax cuts were the centrepiece of the Albanese government’s third Federal Budget, even though the changes have already been announced and legislated.

Small businesses can breathe a sigh of relief, with the popular $20,000 instant asset write-off hanging on for another year and a valuable bill rebate on the way to help with the burden of high energy bills.

Tax cuts for everyone

From 1 July 2024, all 13.6 million Australian taxpayers will receive a tax cut, with the average taxpayer’s tax bill being $1,888 (or $36 a week) lower.

Under the new rules, the lowest tax rate reduces from 19 per cent to 16 per cent, with the 32.5 per cent marginal tax rate reducing to 30 per cent for individuals earning between $45,001 and $135,000.

The current 37 per cent marginal tax rate will be retained for people earning between $135,001 and $190,000, while the existing 45 per cent rate now applies to income earners with taxable incomes exceeding $190,000.

Low-income earners (under $45,000 p.a.) are the biggest winners from the changes. A single taxpayer with a taxable income of $40,000 who pays $4,367 in tax in 2023 24, would have received no benefit from the original Stage 3 tax plan, but now receives a tax cut of $654.

Boost for tax compliance

On the revenue side, the Budget includes savings of $2.5 billion in tax receipt measures through a crackdown on the shadow economy, fraud, and tax avoidance.

Taxpayers can expect the ATO to continue its recent tougher stance, with technology upgrades to enable better identification and blocking of suspicious activities in real-time and a new compliance taskforce focussed on recovering lost revenue and stopping fraudulent refunds.

Foreign residents will pay an additional $600 million over the next three years due to strengthening of the capital gains tax rules applying to this group.

Law change for old tax debts

However, one controversial measure, labelled ‘robotax’ by the media, may be abandoned, according to the Budget papers.

The ATO had been calling in historical tax debts, some accrued more than a decade ago, saying it had no choice under current laws. But the government now intends to change the tax law to give the ATO discretion about whether to collect the individual, small business, and not-for-profit debts.

Instant asset write-off retained

The deadline for the $20,000 instant asset write-off will be extended to 30 June 2025, allowing small businesses with annual turnovers of less than $10 million to immediately deduct eligible assets.

In addition, $23.3 million will be spent boosting adoption of eInvoicing to help improve small business’ cash flow and productivity.

Relieving energy bill pressure

Direct relief for small business energy bills will come in the form of a $325 rebate, while there will also be new funding for reforms to help businesses find their best electricity contract.

Assistance for smaller entities

With trading conditions remaining difficult, small business will receive $641.4 million in new targeted support. This includes $10.8 million to extend both the NewAccess for Small Business Owners program providing free mental health support and the free phone-based Small Business Debt Helpline.

An additional $25.3 million will be provided to expand the Payment Times Reporting Regulator and help improve payment times.

Nuisance tariffs abolished

From 1 July 2024, 457 nuisance tariffs will be abolished by the government to cut business compliance costs.

New funding to expand the government’s Digital ID system is designed to lower the administration burden for small businesses storing identification data on their customers and employees.

Anti-money laundering crackdown

The Budget includes $168 million over four years to pay for reforms to Australia’s anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing regime. Tighter rules are expected to result in lawyers, accountants and real estate agents being required to undertake due diligence on their customers and report any suspicious activities. Information in this article has been sourced from the Budget Speech 2024-25 and Federal Budget Support documents.

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

Finding grants to help your business

Many small business owners are feeling the pinch after the tough years of COVID and high inflation, but receiving a business grant could be the helping hand you need.

If you know where to look, some extra dollars from the federal or your state/territory government could make all the difference between merely getting by and a flourishing business.

What grants are available?

Grants for small businesses range from a few hundred dollars to around $10,000. Some also provide support with securing loans, business introductions, or mentoring services.

The best place to start searching for a business grant is GrantConnect, a free database listing all Australian Government grant opportunities currently open to applicants.

Another important resource is the business.gov.au Grants and Programs Finder tool, which can help you find grants, funding and support from Australian Government agencies.

The government’s Australian Small Business Advisory Services program delivers tailored advice on adopting digital tools to save time and money, and to help expand your business. Businesses with fewer than 20 full-time (or equivalent) employees, as well as sole traders are eligible.

Tech companies can check out the government’s Landing Pads program. This helps tech businesses expand into new markets by providing valuable market insights, expansion strategies, network introductions and venture capital contacts.

Each state and territory offers a range of grants to encourage local businesses. Grants vary between states, so check the online database listing the programs for your state/territory to see if any are suitable for your business.

The NSW Government for example, has a searchable Grants and Funding database highlighting financial incentives for businesses, such as payroll tax rebates for employing apprentices and trainees and the $1,000 SafeWork rebate.

In WA, the Grants Assistance and Programs Register includes both national and local grants, including the New Industries Fund: Innovation Booster Grant and regional Local Capability Fund.

For Victorian-based small businesses, check out the government’s Grants and Programs online database.

If you haven’t found a suitable grant or program, another potential source of information is Grants Hub. Although you need to register for access, you can try it out for 14 days for free.

Read the fine print

When ‘free’ money is up for grabs there is always fierce competition, so it’s important to put in a strong application.

The process will be different for each grant, making it essential to read all the information provided before getting started. Also, check that you meet the criteria, as applications will only be considered from businesses meeting the eligibility requirements.

It’s important to tailor your application to meet the grant requirements and check you prepare all the required documentation. This needs to be in the specified format.

Applying for a grant can be time-consuming, so start early and don’t leave it until the last minute to get your documentation together.

Where to start

There are private operators who offer to find business grants for a fee, but details of government grants are freely available on GrantConnect and Business.gov.au, or your state government’s website.

Small business and industry associations sometimes offer grants, so it may also be worth checking the relevant one for your business.

An easy way to find additional funding opportunities can also be to talk to us, as we can help you with government tax programs, such as the small business tax write‑off.

If the grant application process seems too time-consuming, consider hiring someone to help. While a consultant can write your application, grants are awarded on merit and using one will not give you any special access or consideration.

If you need help with finding or applying for a business grant, call our office today.

Navigating FBT and your obligations

Businesses looking to attract and retain staff often provide employee benefits, on top of salary, as a way to sweeten the deal.

Many of these benefits (but not all) can have potential tax consequences – known as fringe benefits tax (FBT) – so it is important to weigh up the effect on your business.

FBT is separate to income tax and is calculated on the value of the benefit provided to the employee. Employers must work out the amount of FBT they owe each year and lodge a return.

It is worth noting that the FBT year is not the same as the financial year. It runs from 1 April to 31 March.

What to report

Most fringe benefits must be reported to the ATO. Some examples of benefits include: the use of a company car outside of work; free parking; gym membership; payment of school fees; tickets or vouchers for concerts, meals or movies; and living accommodation.

Some benefits do not need to be reported and do not incur FBT.i These include a number of benefits provided to employees working in remote areas, such as living assistance.

Other fringe benefits that are exempt from tax include work-related items such as portable electronic devices, computer software, protective clothing and tools of trade.

If the taxable value of an employee’s fringe benefits for the FBT year (1 April to 31 March) is less than $2,000, no reporting is required.

In adding up the fringe benefits, the ATO says you will need to make sure you include the employee’s part of any benefits they share with other employees as well as the value of any benefits provided to the employee’s associates, such as their partner.

Doing the numbers

For each employee, you’ll need to calculate their ‘reportable fringe benefits amount’ (RFBA) by multiplying the total taxable value of the benefits provided by an ATO ‘gross-up rate’.

The Type 1 gross-up rate is used where a GST credit entitlement is applicable to the benefit. The Type 2 gross-up rate is used where there is no GST credit entitlement applicable to the benefit. (For the FBT year ending 31 March 2023, the Type 1 rate is 2.0802 and the Type 2 rate is 1.8868.)

This calculation grosses up the pre-tax income the employee would have had to earn to buy the benefits themselves.

FBT and salary sacrifice

Benefits provided to employees through salary sacrificing may also attract FBT.

Under a salary sacrificing arrangement, an employee agrees to forgo part of their salary in return for benefits of a similar value, such as more super or a car. As a result, the employee pays less income tax and the employer pays FBT on the benefits provided.

Extra super contributions made under a salary sacrificing arrangement are not subject to FBT and are treated differently. They are considered employer contributions and are taxed in the super fund.

Claiming deductions

Employers can claim income tax deductions for the FBT they are required to pay. You can also claim an income tax deduction and GST credits for the cost of providing the fringe benefits.

The ATO provides some suggestions for reducing FBT liability. For example, employers do not incur an FBT liability if you give an employee a benefit they would have been able to claim as an income tax deduction if they had paid for it. Your FBT liability can also be reduced if the employee contributes towards the cost.

Fringe benefits can be a valuable and strategic tool in your recruitment and retention toolbox. We can help you understand and comply with the reporting requirements and be clear about the impact of FBT on your business.

Fringe benefits tax – a guide for employers | Legal database (ato.gov.au)

Market movements and review video – April 2024

Stay up to date with what’s happened in markets and the Australian economy over the past month.

Expectations of interest rate cuts later this year in Australia and the United States fuelled activity in the markets last month.

Australian shares reached a new record high at the end of the month, driven by mining shares with gold, iron ore and lithium all rebounding.

US markets also reached new highs during March, leaving the benchmark index up more than 10 percent so far in 2024.

Click the video below to view our update.

Please get in touch if you’d like assistance with your personal financial situation.

Insurance is a sound investment

Managing risk is an essential part of investment strategy to reduce the potential for losses.

Risk is not just associated with investing though – life can throw a curve ball or two and insurance is one way to manage risk in a broader context.

It’s a matter of weighing up your risks and thinking about what you would do if the worst happened. Could you afford to build a new house, buy a new car or support your family if you became too ill to work?

Various insurance products or self-insurance can help to mitigate these types of risks.

Underinsurance

While many Australians have some form of life insurance through their superannuation, the level of cover is rarely sufficient. The standard offering within the super framework is well below what your family need to live comfortably should you die or lose your ability to earn an income.

A Financial Services Council report, estimates that as many as one million Australians are underinsured for death and total permanent disability (TPD) and 3.4 million for income protection.i

Rice Warner estimates that insurance cover for a 30-year-old with dependents should equal eight times the annual family income for life insurance, four times the family income for TPD and 85 per cent of the family income for income protection. The default superannuation offering falls well short of this figure.ii

Home and contents

But it’s not just life insurance. There is also a fair amount of underinsurance in home and contents.

With the growing incidence of bushfires, floods and storms, protecting your home and possessions with insurance is more important than ever.

The biggest mistake is insufficient cover to rebuild your property particularly with the recent surge in building costs. You should also consider the costs associated with demolition and removal of debris, the cost of architects and builders and the need to find alternative accommodation while your home is being rebuilt.

It is important not to head for the cheapest policy as this may well fail to meet your needs. Read the product disclosure statement to make sure the cover delivers exactly what you need.

Health and travel

Health insurance and travel insurance are also important considerations.

You will pay a Medicare Levy surcharge if you do not take out private health insurance and have a taxable income above $93,000 for singles or $186,000 for a family, couple or a single parent (increased by $1,500 for each dependent child after the first child). This starts at 1 per cent of your taxable income and goes up to 2.5 per cent. So, it is worthwhile weighing up whether taking out private health insurance is the better option.iii

When it comes to travel insurance, if you can’t afford it, you can’t afford to travel overseas, according to the Federal Governments Smart Traveller website.iv The cost of medical care in other countries can be exorbitant and you may need to be transported back to Australia. The expenses can be enormous.

Of course, travel insurance can also help to compensate for cancelled or delayed trips and lost luggage.

Self-insurance alternative

An alternative to taking out an insurance policy is to self-insure. That means putting money aside regularly to build up a big enough fund to help keep a roof over your head or replace a vehicle.v

The upside is that these funds are yours and, properly invested, can grow over time. The downside is that you may not have enough money together when a disaster happens.

Insurance can be the difference between successfully recovering from an event and changing your life forever. If you would like to discuss your insurance needs, call us.

https://fsc.org.au/resources/2537-fsc-australias-life-underinsurance-gap-research-report-2022/file page 18
ii https://www.ricewarner.com/life-insurance-adequacy/
iii https://www.ato.gov.au/individuals-and-families/medicare-and-private-health-insurance/medicare-levy-surcharge/medicare-levy-surcharge-income-thresholds-and-rates
iv https://www.smartraveller.gov.au/before-you-go/the-basics/insurance
https://www.investopedia.com/terms/s/selfinsurance.asp