Avoid the rush: Get ready for June 30

It seems like June 30 rolls around quicker every year, so why wait until the last minute to get your finances in order?

With all the disruption and special support measures of the past two years, it’s possible your finances have changed. So it’s a good idea to ensure you’re on track for the upcoming end-of-financial-year (EOFY).

Starting early is essential to make the most of opportunities on offer when it comes to your super and tax affairs.

New limits for super contributions

Annual contribution limits for super rose this financial year, so maximising your super contributions to boost your retirement savings is even more attractive.

From 1 July 2021, most people’s annual concessional contributions cap increased to $27,500 (up from $25,000). This allows you to contribute a bit extra into your super on a before-tax basis, potentially reducing your taxable income.

If you have any unused concessional contribution amounts from previous financial years and your super balance is less than $500,000, you may be able to “carry forward” these amounts to further top up.

Another strategy is to make a personal contribution for which you claim a tax deduction. These contributions count towards your $27,500 cap and were previously available only to the self-employed. To qualify, you must notify your super fund in writing of your intention to claim and receive acknowledgement.

Non-concessional super strategies

If you have some spare cash, it may also be worth taking advantage of the higher non-concessional (after-tax) contributions cap. From 1 July 2021, the general non concessional cap increased to $110,000 annually (up from $100,000).

These contributions can help if you’ve reached your concessional contributions cap, received an inheritance, or have additional personal savings you would like to put into super. If you are aged 67 or older, however, you need to meet the requirements of the work test or work test exemption.

For those under age 67 (previously age 65) at any time during 2021-22, you may be able to use a bring-forward arrangement to make a contribution of up to $330,000 (three years x $110,000).

To take advantage of the bring-forward rule, your total super balance (TSB) must be under the relevant limit on 30 June of the previous year. Depending on your TSB, your personal contribution limit may be less than $330,000, so it’s a good idea to talk to us first.

More super things to think about

If you plan to make tax-effective super contributions through a salary sacrifice arrangement, now is a good time to discuss this with your employer, as the ATO requires documentation prior to commencement.

Another option if you’re aged 65 and over and plan to sell your home is a downsizer contribution. You can contribute up to $300,000 ($600,000 for a couple) from the proceeds without meeting the work test.

And don’t forget contributing into your low-income spouse’s super account could score you a tax offset of up to $540.

Get your SMSF shipshape

If you have your own self-managed super fund (SMSF), it’s important to check it’s in good shape for EOFY and your annual audit.

Administrative tasks such as updating minutes, lodging any transfer balance account reports (TBARs), checking the COVID relief measures (residency, rental, loan repayment and in-house assets), and undertaking the annual market valuation of fund assets should all be started now.

It’s also sensible to review your fund’s investment strategy and whether the fund’s assets remain appropriate.

Know your tax deductions

It’s also worth thinking beyond super for tax savings.

If you’ve been working from home due to COVID-19, you can use the shortcut method to claim 80 cents per hour worked for your running expenses. But make sure you can substantiate your claim.

You also need supporting documents to claim work-related expenses such as car, travel, clothing and self-education. Check whether you qualify for other common expense deductions such as tools, equipment, union fees, the cost of managing your tax affairs, charity donations and income protection premiums.

Review your investment portfolio

After a year of strong investment market performance, now is also a good time to review your investments outside super. Benchmark your portfolio’s performance and check whether any assets need to be sold or purchased to rebalance in line with your strategy.

You might also consider realising any investment losses, as these can be offset against capital gains you made during the year.

If you would like to discuss EOFY strategies and super contributions, call our office 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.

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.