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Getting to know your credit score

Your credit score is an important number in your life as it can affect many financial aspects of your life. The three-digit number is a representation of your credit history, based on an analysis of your credit file, that helps a lender determine your credit worthiness. When an individual applies for a loan, such as a mortgage or car loan, the provider will use a credit score to help them decide whether to lend the money, the amount to lend and the interest rate.

An individual’s credit score is calculated by credit reporting agencies who collect financial and personal information and document it on a credit report. The information is then used to calculate your credit score. Areas agencies assess are;

A credit score is rated on a five-point scale with the position of your credit score on the scale helping lenders work out how risky it is for them to lend to you. The scale goes excellent, very good, good, average and below average.

To prevent a negative credit score, individuals should try to spread applications over a larger amount of time; lower credit card limits; ensure their credit card is paid in full each month; and pay their rent, utilities and other loans on time.

Posted on 18 September '19, under money. No Comments.

Hiring working holiday makers

In Australia, there are approximately 100,000 working holiday makers employed each year. Any employer can hire working holiday makers provided they meet the requirements to do so. Employers must confirm the working holiday maker has a valid visa subclass, either 417 (Working Holiday) or 462 (Work and Holiday).

Register:
Employers will need to register to apply the 15% working holiday maker tax rate and declare they are aware of the obligations associated, including complying with the Fair Work Act 2009. Working holiday makers can’t claim the tax-free threshold and must provide their tax file number (TFN). Employers who do not register must withhold tax at 32.5% from every dollar earned up to $87,000 and foreign resident withholding rates apply to income over $87,000. Those who do not register may be subject to penalties.

Working holiday maker tax rate:
Once registered, employers can withhold 15% from every dollar that a working holiday maker earns up to $37,000. Tax rates change for amounts above this. The tax rate applies to all payments made to working holiday makers, including salary and wages, termination payments, unused leave, back payments, commissions, bonuses and similar payments.

Super payments:
Eligible workers are entitled to receive super payments from their employers. When leaving Australia, working holiday makers can apply to have their super paid to them as a Departing Australia Superannuation Payment (DASP). The tax on any DASP made to working holiday makers on or after 1 July 2017 is 65%.

Posted on 18 September '19, under business. No Comments.

Super for different visas

Australian employers are required to pay super to their employees when they earn $450 a week or meet specific criteria based on age or industry. Employer requirements can get confusing however when dealing with international workers or sending employees overseas. Here are the requirements employers must follow when handling super payments to workers with different visas.

Temporary residents:
Temporary residents working in Australia may be eligible to receive super from their employer. Eligibility criteria are the same as it would be for a permanent Australian resident, you must be 18 years or older and have been paid $450 or more (before tax) in a month. Working holiday makers holding a 417 (Working Holiday), 462 (Work and Holiday) or an associated bridging visa can access the super paid as a departing Australia superannuation payment (DASP).

Employees working overseas:
For an Australian employee sent to work overseas, their employer must continue to pay super contributions in Australia for them. The other country may require the employer or employee to pay super there as well if Australia does not have a bilateral agreement with that country. To gain exemption from the super payment in the other country, the employer needs to show the authorities in the other country a certificate of coverage gained from the ATO.

Posted on 18 September '19, under super. No Comments.

New industries included under TPAR 

The taxable payment reporting system (TPRS) has extended to further businesses that provide particular services and those that pay contractors to provide the service. The extension was approved on 1 July 2019.

Road freight services, information technology services and security, surveillance and investigation services will now have to lodge taxable payments annual report (TPAR), even if those services only make up part of the business. Contractors can include subcontractors, consultants and independent contractors.

For these businesses, the first TPAR will be due on 28 August 2020. This will be for payments that have been made to contractors in the 2019–20 financial year for providing the relevant services. Business owners will now need to keep records of contractor payments made from 1 July 2019.

Exemptions from TPRS reporting obligations apply if payments received are less than 10% of the entity’s GST turnover in the following industries:

Businesses that are not required to lodge should complete a TPAR Not Required to Lodge form for the ATO to update their records, preventing any unnecessary follow up.

Posted on 18 September '19, under tax. No Comments.

When do you need an ABN?

An Australian business number (ABN) is a unique 11-digit number that the Australian Business Register issues to all businesses, identifying your business to the community and government whilst also making it easier to keep track of business transactions for tax purposes.

While it is compulsory for businesses with a GST turnover of $75,000 or more to have an ABN and to be registered for GST, businesses with a GST turnover of less than $75,000 can still apply for an ABN and may choose to register for GST.

You are entitled to an ABN if you are carrying on or starting an enterprise in Australia. An enterprise includes activities done in the form of a business, as well as acting as the trustee of a super fund, operating a charity and renting or leasing property. Features of a business include:

Posted on 10 September '19, under business. No Comments.

Salary sacrificing super

Contributing extra to your superannuation is a good way to boost your retirement funds. One of the ways you can add more to your super is through salary sacrificing. Salary sacrifice is an arrangement with your employer to forego part of your salary or wages in return for your employer providing benefits of a similar value, meaning your employer will redirect some of your salary or wages into your super fund instead of to you.

The salary sacrificed amounts count towards your concessional contributions cap, in addition to your employer’s compulsory contributions such as super guarantee payments and salary-sacrificed amounts sent by you to your employee’s super fund. The annual concessional contributions cap is $25,000 for everyone and these salary sacrifice contributions are taxed at a maximum rate of 15%. If you have more than one fund, all concessional contributions made to all of your funds are added together and counted towards the concessional contributions cap. Concessional contributions in excess of these caps are subject to extra tax.

Salary-sacrificed amounts are paid from pre-tax salary so they don’t count as non-concessional contributions and will not be considered a fringe benefit if the super contributions are made to a complying super fund. Individuals should also consider whether the amount sacrificed will attract Division 293 tax. This tax applies when you have an income and concessional super contributions of more than $250,000. Division 293 tax levies 15% tax on taxable contributions above this threshold.

Posted on 10 September '19, under super. No Comments.

What is a CGT event?

Capital Gains Tax (CGT) events occur when an individual or company makes a capital gain or capital loss by selling or disposing of an asset they own. The timing of a CGT event is quite important, as it determines which income year an individual will report the capital gain or capital loss, and may affect how their tax liability is calculated.

CGT events can happen when:

When a CGT asset is disposed of, the CGT event usually takes place when a contract for disposal is entered into or when an individual is no longer the owner of the asset. Cases where a CGT asset is lost or destroyed, the CGT event will happen when the owner of the asset receives compensation for the loss/destruction or when the loss is discovered/when the destruction happened.

Posted on 10 September '19, under tax. No Comments.

Spring clean your finances

When it comes to your money, whether it be loans, insurance, savings or superannuation, having a ‘set and forget’ attitude can be detrimental to your long term finances. Checking in on the different aspects that make up your finances every now and then to see if they need freshening up is a good way to ensure you are getting the most out of your money.

Your budget:
Since a person’s income and expenses will change over time, making sure your budget is up to date can help keep track of your spending and calculate how long it will take to reach your savings goal. This is also impacted more by day to day and surprise expenses you may incur so regular assessment will better your planning.

Your savings:
Spring is the perfect time to reconsider the type of savings product you currently have and whether the return you receive on your savings is at the best rate out there. For those with a term deposit that is about to mature, consider whether there is another savings account that pays higher interest or if another term deposit is a better option.

Your superannuation:
To get to know your superannuation better this Spring, find your latest super statement and check the following:

Posted on 3 September '19, under money. No Comments.

Are they an employee or a contractor?

Employers that incorrectly treat employees as contractors can face hefty penalties and charges as well as claims for entitlements and superannuation contributions. Even if employers are only hiring someone for a few hours or a couple of days at a time, it must be established whether they are employees or contractors to get tax and super requirements right.

When hiring an individual, it is the details within the working agreement or contract that determines whether they are a contractor or employee for tax and super purposes. The agreement or contract the business has with the worker can be written or verbal.

Workers such as apprentices, trainees, labourers and trades assistants are always treated as employees. In most cases, apprentices and trainees are paid under an award and receive specific pay and conditions. Employers must meet the same tax and super obligations as they would for any other employees of the business.

Companies, trusts and partnerships are always contractors as an employee must be a person. If a company, trust or partnership has been hired to work, then it is a contracting relationship for tax and super purposes. The people who actually do the work may be directors, partners or employees of the contractor.

Sham contracting arrangements, where an employer attempts to disguise an employment relationship as an independent contracting arrangement, are illegal and breach the Fair Work Act 2009. Employers who engage in sham contracting arrangements can face serious penalties for contraventions of these provisions. The courts may impose a maximum penalty of $54,000 per contravention.

Posted on 3 September '19, under business. No Comments.

Diversification requirements for SMSFs

The ATO has identified approximately 17,700 SMSFs where investment strategies may not meet the requirements under regulation 4.09 of the Superannuation Industry Supervision Act (SISA). Records show these SMSFs may hold 90% or more of funds in one asset, or a single asset class.

Diversification aims to maximise an individual’s return by investing in different asset classes that react differently to the same event. Although it does not guarantee avoiding a loss, diversification is an important component of reaching long-term financial goals while minimising risk. This can help to control a super fund’s risk, as the better performing asset classes will help offset the others that aren’t performing very well. Diversification also provides the super fund with the opportunity for long-term growth, as the portfolio is exposed to asset classes with strong growth potential.

SMSF trustees that don’t have the appropriate blend of different asset classes in their fund risk their portfolio experiencing increased and unnecessary volatility. Well-diversified SMSFs include all the major asset classes including cash, fixed interest, shares and property.

To help ensure an SMSF is properly diversified, consider the exposures the fund currently has to the major asset classes and assess how diversified the fund is. Trustees must then engage in the process of working out which asset classes the fund requires to be properly diversified.

Posted on 3 September '19, under super. No Comments.

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