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How to spot a fake loan

2018-05-17 11:05:47 admin

When shopping around for a personal loan, it is wise to be conscious of any potential scammers that may try and offer you a deal that sounds too good to be true.

Though a loan may look legitimate from a first glance, there are various tell-tale signs to watch out for to spot a fraudulent loan.

When applying for a loan, be wary if your lender:
– does not evaluate your credit report before approving your loan
– calls or emails you to advise that you are a candidate for a loan
– asks for an initial fee to be wired to a local or international bank account
– offers a low-interest rate
– approves an amount that is higher than you require or applied for
– emails you from a personal email address (i.e., hotmail or gmail)
– sends correspondence using an email address where the company name is misspelt
– gives you an immediate deadline to accept the loan
– has not provided a legitimate address

It is essential to ensure the company you are dealing with is legitimate. Find their number from an independent source and then call them. Never call a number provided in an email as the scam artist may be impersonating a legitimate institution.

To be more adept at identifying a fraudulent loan and to avoid being scammed, never solely rely on the advice of a lender. It is always better to do independent research before you finalise your decision.

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Why your business needs a mission statement

2018-05-17 11:04:36 admin

A compelling mission statement will give your small business the purpose it needs to grow. In just a few clear and succinct sentences the statement should announce your driving business strategy.

However, it is not enough to merely generate a statement and slap it on your website. A mission statement will do little to impact your business unless you take active measures to embed its ideology into the workplace culture.

Apply your mission statement as a guiding principle when making any strategic decisions at management level.

This approach will influence you and your team to plan long-term by focusing core strategies on things that will remain constant, rather than those that will not.

Invest all your time and energy into things that are always changing, like technologies or the competition, and you will continuously need to revise your core strategies.

It is critical to use your driving purpose to form long-term strategies for your business that way they will still be relevant in five years from now.

While impacting the way you create strategies at a management level, the guiding principle must also influence how your staff complete their everyday tasks. In this way, the ideology can be embraced at every level in the workplace.

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How the new super measures will apply to SMSFs

2018-05-17 11:03:41 admin

The Government has introduced new measures to allow SMSF members to access their super for their first home or make contributions to their super from the sale of downsizing their home.

SMSFs should be aware of the following:

Downsizing
From 1 July 2018, SMSF members who are 65 or over and exchange a contract of sale of their main residence may be eligible to make a downsizer contribution of up to $300,000 into their super without affecting their total super balance or contributions cap for the year.

This contribution will count towards the transfer balance cap and be taken into account for determining eligibility for the age pension.

SMSF members do not have to purchase another home to access this measure. However, the contribution can only be made once; it cannot be used for the sale of a second main residence.

The First Home Super Saver Scheme
SMSF members looking to get into the property market can now use some help from their SMSF under the First Home Super Saver Scheme.

As of 1 July 2018, SMSF members over 18 years of age can apply to release their voluntary concessional and non-concessional contributions made from 1 July 2017, along with associate earnings to purchase their first home.

Voluntary contributions made since 1 July 2017 of up to a maximum of $15,000 from any one financial year, or $30,000 across all years can be applied for.

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Focus on work-related car expenses

2018-05-17 11:01:57 admin

The Tax Office has flagged work-related car expenses as a concern this tax time.

The ATO is targeting those who make mistakes or deliberately lodge false claims. Examples include:
– Claiming things they are not entitled to, i.e., private trips such as work to home travel.
– Making claims for trips that did not occur.
– Claiming expenses that their employer has already reimbursed them for.

Advancements in data-matching technology allow the ATO to match individuals with peers in similar occupations, earning similar amounts of income. Analytics is also used to identify claim patterns, i.e., over 800,000 people claimed exactly 5,000 kilometres under the cents per kilometre method last year.

The best way to avoid making a mistake include:
– only making a car claim if you paid for the expense yourself and were not reimbursed;
– it was directly related to earning your income; and,
– you must have a record to support the claim.

An example of a legitimate car claim is travelling between work sites or between jobs as part of your job.

Before you submit a car claim, consider if your employer would agree you needed to undertake the trips as part of your job. Employers may be contacted if your claim raises a red flag.

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Morning habits matter

2018-05-11 09:35:58 admin

How do you like to begin each day?

The daily routines of successful entrepreneurs prove that ‘when’ and ‘how’ you choose to start your morning significantly impacts the rest of your day in the office.

Incorporating positive habits into your morning routine will help to increase your productivity and creativity throughout the day, and lead to a healthier and balanced lifestyle.

Regular sleep patterns
Consistently sleeping 7 to 8 hours every night is fundamental to leading a healthy lifestyle. As an entrepreneur, you may deal with long days at the office, and it is important to give your body and mind the most appropriate amount of time to refuel each night.

Rising early
Many high-profile entrepreneurs make a habit of always rising early. Getting out of bed provides more hours in the day to achieve your goals. Consistently rising early helps to form a disciplined routine.

Morning workouts
Waking up earlier allows time to exercise in the morning. Working out as soon as you wake up is a great way to get moving and start your day on a high. Studies show that consistent exercise can boost brain activity better than coffee and other caffeinated drinks, giving you a higher level of focus throughout the day.

Eating breakfast
Breakfast matters. Your mind and body require nutrients to keep running until lunchtime. Eat a healthy and nutritious breakfast after you complete your exercise routine. This will help you to avoid becoming tired or irritable at work.

Remember, consistency is essential.

No same morning routine is right for everyone, but the best routines are the ones that are followed every day.

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Budget 2018: living stronger

2018-05-09 07:31:14 admin

The Government is focused on encouraging older Australians to better grow and secure their personal retirement funds.

Retirees exempt from work test
An exemption from the work test will be established to allow retired Australians aged between 65-74 who have total super balances below $300,000 in their first year that they do not meet the work test criteria, to make voluntary payments into their superannuation funds.

Retirement income strategy
Superannuation trustees will now be required to produce a retirement income strategy for their superannuation fund members. This is due to new amendments to the Superannuation Industry (Supervision) Act 1993.

The Government is also set to revise the Corporations Act 2001 to ensure providers of retirement income products will supply standardised and simplified reporting to assist with more informed decision making.

Pension Work Bonus
Increase in funding to the Pension Work Bonus will mean that pensioners can now receive up to $300 per fortnight before their pension payments are affected. The Bonus will also cover self-employed individuals, who will be entitled to receive up to $7,800 per year without reducing their pension payments.

Funding for older workers program
Additional funding will be provided over four years to form the Skills Checkpoint for Older Workers program, starting from 2018-19. This measure will focus on supporting employees aged 45 to 70 to remain working for longer.

Improved skills for mature age Australians
Funding will be provided over the next five years to help mature age individuals to remain up to date with changing and new skills needed to remain relevant in their workplace.

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Budget 2018: creating a level-playing field

2018-05-09 07:29:15 admin

The Government will continue its commitment to strengthen the economy by focusing on improving its integrity measures to create a fairer level-playing field for all.

Funding new ATO enforcement
Additional funds will be allocated from the Budget over four years to fund a new ATO enforcement strategy to tackle the black economy. Through this measure, the ATO will implement new mobile strike teams, stricter auditing and a Black Economy Hotline for Australians to report black economy and illegal phoenix activities.

Cash payment limit
The Government will commence with a restriction on cash payments made to businesses for goods or services of up to $10,000 from 1 July 2019. Payments over $10,000 must be made via an online banking system or cheque unless payments are with financial institutions or consumer to consumer non-business transactions.

No tax-deductibility for non-compliant payments
From 1 July 2019, the Government is keeping a closer eye on those businesses that try to claim deductions for any payments made to their employees that do not comply with current regulations. Deductions for payments from a business to a contractor will also be disallowed if the contractor does not have an ABN and the business does not withhold any PAYG monies, despite the withholding requirements applying.

Reforms to combat illegal phoenixing
Corporations and tax laws will be strengthened with further measures to prevent illegal phoenix activities. Those measures will include changes to:
– introduce new phoenix offences for individuals who run or open the door to illegal phoenixing;
– stop directors incorrectly backdating resignations to avoid liability or prosecution;
– control the power of related creditors to vote on the appointment, removal or replacement of an external administrator;
– expand the Director Penalty Regime to GST, luxury car tax and wine equalisation tax (to make directors personally liable for company’s debts); and
– allow the Tax Office to restrict refunds for outstanding tax lodgements.

Personal income tax
The ATO will receive further funding from 1 July 2018 in a bid to strengthen compliance activities on individual taxpayers and their tax agents. This funding is set to provide new compliance activities, a stronger audit presence and prosecutions, improve education and guidance materials, pre-filling of income tax returns and enhance real time messaging to tax agents and individual taxpayers. This measure is set to prevent over-claiming of any entitlements, including tax deductions by higher risk taxpayers and their agents.

Black economy package
The Taxable Payments Reporting System (TPRS) will expand to include security providers and investigation services; road freight transport; and computer system design and related services. Businesses required to report payments to contractors to the Tax Office must keep information from 1 July 2019, with the first annual report due by August 2020.

Tax and superannuation debts
The Budget implements a further range of strategies to improve debt collections revenue and time taken for debts to be collected. This measure is set to deter individual taxpayers from gaining an unfair advantage over individuals paying their fair share of tax and super.

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Budget 2018: living longer

2018-05-09 07:27:17 admin

The Government is introducing a series of new measures designed to help Australians keep a greater portion of their superannuation savings pie.

Insurance opt-in
Insurance within super may not be suitable for everyone, particularly young people and those with low balances. From 1 July 2019, insurance will be offered on an opt-in basis for members with low balances of less than $6,000; members under the age of 25; and members who have not received a contribution in 13 months and are inactive. The changes intend to protect low balances from being entirely eroded and reduce incidences of duplicate cover.

Reuniting lost super
The ATO will have the ability to reunite all inactive superannuation accounts where the balances are below $6,000 with the member’s active account as of 1 July 2019. This will benefit those with inactive low balance accounts, i.e., low-income earners, young members and seasonal workers.

Protecting your super
The Government is banning exit fees on all super accounts to enable Australians to consolidate their super accounts on a more affordable basis. Additionally, a three per cent annual cap on passive fees charged by super funds on accounts with balances below $6,000 will protect those with low balance accounts to grow and maintain their nest egg.

Avoiding unintentional cap breaches
From 1 July 2018, individuals whose income exceeds $263,157 and have multiple employers will be able to nominate that their wages from certain employers are not subject to the Superannuation Guarantee (SG). This will assist in avoiding unintentional breaches to the $25,000 annual concessional contributions cap due to multiple compulsory SG contributions.

Member limit increase
Self-managed super funds and small APRA funds will have the opportunity to increase the maximum number of allowable members from four to six as of 1 July 2019.

Integrity of personal deductible super contributions
From 1 July 2018, additional funding will be allocated to the ATO aimed at improving the integrity of processes for claiming personal superannuation contribution tax deductions. This will enable the ATO to develop a new compliance model and undertake additional compliance and debt collection activities.

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Budget 2018: building resilience

2018-05-09 07:25:58 admin

The 2018 Federal Budget is built on the back of a historically strong post-mining boom Australian economy, triggering fairly conservative changes to tax policy. The Budget’s strategy is to provide sustainable tax relief to those in the workforce, stimulating spending and encouraging businesses to invest in creating jobs.

Individuals
The Government is introducing a seven-year Personal Income Tax Plan to make tax lower, fairer and simpler. The plan is affordable and consistent.

The first step is to lower taxes for low and middle-income earners, thereby increasing disposable incomes to help take the pressure off household budgets. From 1 July 2018, the Government will introduce the Low and Middle Income Tax Offset, a non-refundable tax offset of up to $530 per annum to Australian resident low and middle-income taxpayers.

The second measure in the plan will tackle bracket creep. From 1 July 2018, the Government will increase the top threshold of the 32.5 per cent personal income tax bracket from $87,000 to $90,000.

The top threshold of the 32.5 per cent personal income tax bracket will increase from $90,000 to $120,000 from 1 July 2022.

The third phase of the Government’s Personal Income Tax Plan will simplify and flatten the personal tax system by eliminating the 37 per cent tax bracket entirely. From 2024-25, the 37 per cent tax bracket will be abolished to protect middle-income Australians from bracket creep over their working life. This will also allow working Australians to take on additional work and seek advancement without increased tax consequences. This strategy suggests the Government’s confidence in a buoyant economy and increased future wages growth.

The increase in Medicare levy from 2 to 2.5 per cent indicated in last year’s Budget will no longer proceed. In addition, the Medicare levy low-income thresholds will be increased for singles, families, seniors and pensioners from the 2017/18 income year.

Businesses
The $20,000 instant asset write-off has been extended for small businesses to 30 June 2019, providing more opportunity for them to reinvest in their business and replace or upgrade their assets. While the extension is a welcomed measure for small businesses; it may prove to be a standard feature with the Government facing difficulty trying to eliminate it in the future.

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Upcoming deadline for SMSF 2016-17 returns

2018-05-03 10:45:12 admin

Self-managed super fund (SMSF) trustees are reminded that the deadline for their 2016-17 annual return is fast approaching.

The extended due date for annual SMSF returns is 30 June 2018. As the due date falls on a Saturday, the ATO is allowing returns to be lodged the next business day, Monday 2 July 2018, without penalty.

The extension also applies to reporting the 30 June 2017 value of any retirement phase income stream to the ATO using the transfer balance account report (TBAR).

To remain compliant, SMSF trustees are encouraged to ensure they have all the right records and engage with an SMSF auditor for their annual SMSF audit.

Trustees are also reminded that this is the last chance to elect transitional CGT relief for eligible SMSFs. If electing this relief, trustees must do so prior to the due date.

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