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9 Key Items To Discuss Before Lodging Your Tax Return

Lodging your tax return for the 2021-22 financial year?

As registered tax agents, we are able to assist you with the process of lodgement to ensure your compliance with the requirements of the ATO.

To ensure that your return is correct, here are our top nine key items to be aware of.

COVID-19 Support Payments/Natural Disaster Payments

Did you receive either a COVID-19 support payment or a natural disaster payment from the government to assist you in trying times? You need to check whether or not what you received needs to be included in this year’s return, as there may be different tax treatments depending on the payment (e.g COVID-19 Disaster Payment is not taxable).

COVID-19 Tests

If you are claiming a deduction on Rapid Antigen Tests for work-related purposes, you need to be certain that they are eligible. That is, from 1 July 2021, to claim a deduction for the cost of a COVID-19 test, you must:

You can only claim a deduction for the COVID-19 tests you paid for that were used by you to determine whether you may attend or remain at work.

Working From Home Expenses

If claiming work from home expenses in this year’s return, you can calculate it through the temporary shortcut method (all-inclusive), fixed-rate or actual cost methods (as long you meet eligibility & record-keeping requirements of the method that you chose. You also need to make sure that you don’t add additional expenses that are already included when using the temporary shortcut or fixed rate methods.

Record-Keeping

Make sure you have the correct records to back up your deduction claims as no receipts, logbooks or diary entries means no deduction.

Bank Interest

Your bank interest statement is one of the records that the Australian Tax Office uses to pre-fill your return with high-certainty data – however, sometimes this isn’t ready as soon as your return is. This is because it is up to your bank to provide the ATO with this information for their pre-fill service, and some smaller banks may not be able to complete this until after July. As this is high-certainty data, it is data that can cause the ATO to red flag your return for audit purposes if it does not match what their records say if you elect to fill it. If you make changes to any bank interest pre-fill information where there is a certainty indicator, you’ll need to provide a reason for the adjustment.

Crypto & NFT Assets

Don’t get caught out by the ATO by trying to be clever with crypto & NFTs as it is not worth it in the long run.

Any capital gains or losses on disposal of crypto assets (coins, tokens and non-fungible tokens) during the 2021–22 financial year will need to be declared. If you received staking rewards or airdrops, make sure to include these as ordinary income. If you are in the business of trading crypto, income tax will also apply.

Rental Property Income

Did you receive any income from your rental property throughout the financial year? This needs to be reported in their return. This includes income from short-term rental arrangements, insurance payouts and bond money that was retained.

Late Lodgement 

If you have an outstanding tax return due as of 30 June, your tax return due date is 31 October 2022 (if lodging through a tax agent/accountant). If all overdue prior year tax returns are lodged by 31 October, the tax return for the financial year will be due according to the normal lodgement program.

Delayed Lodgement 

If you are lodging your tax return through an accountant and an exceptional or unforeseen situation occurs that impacts the process, don’t panic. Depending on the issues they may face, your accountant may be entitled to a lodgement program deferral or a supported lodgement program. We are able to discuss our options with the ATO to ensure the impact on you is minimised.

When it comes to your tax return, consulting with us is always a recommended course of action. As your trusted advisor, we are the mediators between you and the ATO when it comes to your tax return and any issues that may arise.

Posted on 1 August '22, under tax. No Comments.

The Tricks & Traps Of The Work-Related Expense

Are you up to date and aware of what you can and can’t claim on your tax return this year? Brushing up on the three rules of work-related deductions can make tax time a lot easier.

In order to be able to claim a deduction for a work-related expense on your tax return, you must meet the following golden rules of the Australian Taxation Office (ATO).

  1. The money must have been spent by you and you were not reimbursed by your employer for it.
  2. The expenses must directly relate to earning your income.
  3. There must be a record to prove the expense (such as a receipt)

These need to be claimed in the Work-related expense section of your tax return.

If the expense was for both work and private purposes, you only claim a deduction for what was the work-related use. You cannot claim a deduction if your employer pays for or reimburses you for any of these costs.

These work-related expenses may include:

If the ATO believes that your employer may reimburse you for your expenses they may ask your employer directly.

You may be able to claim other work-related deductions for expenses you incur in the course of earning your income. These are claimable in your tax return as an ‘Other work-related expense’.

Common claims in this section of the tax return include:

When it comes to working from home expenses, you need to be careful of what you claim. To claim your working from home expenses you must:

You can claim a deduction for the additional running expenses you incur as a result of working from home.

Running expenses are expenses that relate to the use of facilities within your home and include:

You can’t claim a deduction for the following expenses if you’re an employee working at home. These include

If your employer pays you an allowance to cover expenses, you can claim a deduction for the expense. However, you must include the allowance as income in your tax return.

You may also be able to claim a deduction for other expenses you incur that don’t relate to your work or income-producing activities. These are claimable in your tax return at the specific expense category (where available) or as an ‘Other deduction’.

Common claims in this section include expenses, such as

If you require assistance with ensuring that your individual income tax return is correctly lodged, a registered tax agent should be consulted (such as us). We’re equipped with the knowledge and tools to help you through this process.

Posted on 11 July '22, under tax. No Comments.

Cash In Hand Compliance Concerns For Businesses & Individuals Alike

If your business earns a part of its income in cold, hard cash, be prepared to have the Australian Taxation Office’s eyes on you this tax time.

To protect honest, compliant Australian businesses, the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) has placed a strong emphasis on targeting the cash and hidden economy (known to be a part of the shadow economy).

For example, they may be keeping a close eye on a sole trader electrician, whose reported earnings over the financial year versus their actual spending isn’t adding up. Or perhaps you have a side hustle (such as freelancing or selling plants at the market), and earn some cash-in-hand alongside your full-time job’s income.

The ATO will be watching these businesses and individual traders that deal predominantly in cash, with a focus on those that:

When out visiting cash-only businesses, the ATO will be working in unison with local authorities and industry associations to ask questions and discuss:

If the ATO comes across a business that is doing the wrong thing or failing to meet its obligations, they have a duty to take action. This may result in the business facing an audit and possible prosecution.

Its imperative that you are fulfilling your obligations and know where you stand, particularly with;

If you do make a mistake upon completing your tax return but make a voluntary disclosure detailing your errors, the ATO will work with you to rectify this and create a solution.

Posted on 20 June '22, under tax. No Comments.

ATO Warns Against GST Fraud Attempts

Registering for an ABN and applying for GST refunds when you don’t own a business or are not eligible is fraud.

The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) has identified a significant number of GST refund fraud attempts, totalling an estimated $850 million to around 40,000 individuals. This fraud involves predominantly participants inventing fake businesses to claim false refunds.

Sophisticated risk models deployed by the ATO, coupled with intelligence received from banks including through the AUSTRAC-led Fintel Alliance and the Reserve Bank of Australia, identified a recent spike in suspicious refunds. Currently, the ATO has stopped $770 million in payments from being issued.

The fraud involves offenders inventing fake businesses and Australian Business Number (ABN) applications, many in their own names, then submitting fictitious Business Activity Statements in an attempt to gain a false GST refund.

Currently, this fraudulent activity has been circulating as online advertising and content, particularly on social media and their platforms. 

Reminders For The Community

What This Means For Businesses:

Were You Involved?

The ATO is urging anyone already involved to come forward now on a voluntary basis rather than face tougher consequences later. They will be recouping the funds, and there will likely be a better outcome for you if you approach them first. 

People who have participated in this fraud may have unwittingly followed advice they have read online, claiming to help access a loan from the ATO, or receive other financial government support such as a disaster payment.

However, for others where there was nothing accidental or unintentional about setting up a fake business in their own name and seeking an unearned refund, harsher penalties could be faced.

If you become involved in this arrangement, you need to speak with the ATO now. They will be able to support you with a range of self-help options. You may be able to correct it yourself, the ATO may be able to assist you, or you may be referred to a trusted advisor like a tax agent (such as us) to help you.

Posted on 30 May '22, under tax. No Comments.

Your Work-Related Tax Deduction Checklist For This Year’s Tax Return Made Easy

The end of the financial year is coming up next month (30 June), and you may be looking for ways in which you could make tax savings in this year’s tax return. This could be through tax deductions, expenses that you could make now for your work purposes or even with tax offsets introduced by the government. Whatever your tax situation, we’re equipped and ready to help you navigate the tricks and traps of income tax returns.

Upon completing a tax return, individuals are entitled to claim deductions for expenses that are directly related to their income. These can come in a variety of forms, but must usually be work-related to be claimable. 

There are three requirements individuals must meet to be able to claim a work-related deduction:

If an expense was for work and private purposes, individuals can claim a deduction for the work-related portion.

Here are some common types of deductible expenses taxpayers like employees and rental property owners can claim this financial year:

Home Office Expenses

The past year may have seen you working more from home or remotely than ever before, and setting up a home office may have incurred a number of additional expenses. Some of the expenses that you may be able to claim as tax deductions include

With home office equipment, you may be able to claim either:

Unless you meet very specific requirements, you probably will not be able to claim for home expenses, such as mortgage interest, rent and rates, or the cost of general household items. 

If you plan to use the temporary ATO approved ‘shortcut method’ (80 cents per hour for all additional running expenses) to claim your deductions, you cannot claim any other expenses for working from home for that period. If you purchased a desk to use when working from home for example, you cannot claim a deduction for that separately as it is covered by the 80 cents per hour work rate. The deadline for this method of calculation is 30 June 2022 (unless it is extended). 

Clothing Expenses

Individuals can make a claim for work-related clothing expenses including compulsory, non-compulsory and registered uniforms, occupation-specific and protective clothing, and expenses associated with work-related clothing, such as dry cleaning, laundry and repair expenses.

Self-education Expenses

Individuals can prepay self-education items before the end of the income year, including:

–        course fees (not HECS-HELP fees), student union fees and tutorial fees

–        stationery and textbook purchases

Other Work-related Expenses

Individuals can prepay the following expenses before 1 July 2022:

–        union fees

–        seminars and conferences

–        subscriptions to trade, professional or business associations

–        subscriptions to magazines and newspapers

If you are looking for assistance in working out potential expenses that you could incur prior to the end of the financial year, have queries about your claims or just want to prepare for 30 June 2022, start a conversation with us now. We are tax planning professionals ready and willing to help. 

 

Posted on 10 May '22, under tax. No Comments.

Car Parking Benefit Readdresses FBT Definition, Employers To Benefit

It’s getting closer to the time that FBT returns need to be lodged, so it’s important to understand that there may be a change to the FBT liability of your business when it comes to one employee benefit.

Car parking as an FBT benefit is provided on a particular day when, between 7.00am and 7.00pm:

However, a car parking benefit provided in respect of an employee is exempt where:

Redefining a ‘commercial parking station’ to revisit a prior concept associated with the application of fringe benefits tax may make the perks of coming into the office a little more appealing to employees.

FBT applies to parking provided by employers to their employees where there is alternative parking available commercially available.

Prior to the recent ruling, there was a previous understanding that car parks that effectively charge penalty rates for all-day parking (to encourage shorter stays) would not represent genuine alternative parking arrangements for commuters, and should not trigger FBT liabilities as a result. However, the recent ruling has overturned this, which means that any alternative paid parking would trigger the liability.

This ruling came into effect on 1 April 2022.

This recent ruling on how car parking is treated as an FBT liability should assist in reducing the potential FBT burden on some employers (which should assist them in turn in incentivising employees back into the workplace with benefits).

Other FBT benefits that employers may be able to claim back on in their FBT return could include COVID-19 related benefits (such as office equipment, technology, etc), company cars, meals, entertainment, living away from home allowances, and more. As a result of the impact

If you need assistance with preparing your FBT return for lodgement, consult with a professional as soon as possible so that we can assist you with preparing your return.

Posted on 18 April '22, under tax. No Comments.

COVID Deductions Rely On Work-Related Purposes (So Here’s What You Might Be Able To Claim)

People across different industries may have different items for work that they can claim a deduction on their tax returns for, but this season may see a few common occurrences across individual tax returns for 2022.

On your individual tax return this year, you may notice a few expenses pertaining to COVID-19-related purchases, such as masks, hand sanitisers and RATs tests that you may be able to claim (depending on your circumstances). These deductions may have specific conditions and requirements that must be met, and failure to comply may result in the Australian Taxation Office disallowing these claims.

Masks and hand sanitiser are claimable deductions for those who have required them to work in their industry (e.g. retail, hospitality, education). This is because they can be claimed as PPE (Personal Protective Equipment), but they must be directly connected to how you earn your income (for example, many State governments mandated at various points last year that hospitality workers were required to wear masks while working). If your place of employment did not provide this PPE to you, and you had to purchase it yourself, it may be claimable.

Rapid Antigen Tests (RATs) however, must be purchased for a work-related purpose. There have been plans to specifically allow deductions for Covid-19 tests such as RATs by the Government to be claimed on individual tax returns.

This legislation is scheduled to be introduced on 1st July to specifically address this, but a COVID-19 RAT test can still be claimable if it is for a work-related purpose. This is the critical point to understand. It is a claimable deduction in this instance because it has been purchased for a work-related reason, or to be able to attend your place of work.

When claiming a deduction, it is important that you keep accurate records (such as receipts) to provide evidence of your purchase, and that these purchases weren’t reimbursed by your employer. If they were reimbursed, you will not be able to claim it back.

If you were working from home during 2021, you may be able to claim back some of the expenses related to this. One of the ways that you may be able to do so is through the ‘shortcut method’. This method allows you to claim 80 cents per hour for each hour worked from home (from 01 March 2020 to 30 June 2022). Importantly though, this includes everything – you don’t need to make other claims for work from home items such as phone, internet, stationery or furniture/equipment depreciation separately.

Depending on your circumstances, choosing the wrong method means you could cheat yourself out of big dollars on your tax return. Discuss your situation with your trusted tax agent so that you can understand what exactly is required from you in the lead up to tax return time.

Posted on 28 March '22, under tax. No Comments.

Common GST Mistakes That You Might Be Making In Your IAS

GST is an area that commonly has mistakes made in it – mistakes that can be costly and require additional measures to correct it if they aren’t caught in time.

Many small business owners continue to make errors when claiming GST credits in their GST returns or Business Activity Statements.

A vast majority of these errors are easily avoidable and often relate to the over-claiming of GST credits. Here are the top ten common GST mistakes that can be made (and what you might be encountering yourself).

If you find that a mistake was made on a previous activity statement, the ATO says you are able to:

If you find this process is too time-consuming or too difficult to complete yourself, the best way to ensure that you remain compliant and avoid making these mistakes is to contact a registered BAS agent for assistance.

Posted on 7 March '22, under tax. No Comments.

End Of FBT Year Is Approaching – Do You Know What Benefits You’re Giving Your Employees?

As a part of your employees’ employment contracts, do they receive benefits such as a car space, gym membership or even a car to drive?

These are what’s known as fringe benefits, which is a ‘payment’ to an employee that takes a different form to salary or wages. This incurs a specific kind of tax separate from income tax known as fringe benefits tax, which is based on the taxable value of the fringe benefits provided. FBT applies even if the benefit is provided by a third party under an arrangement with the employer.

Knowing what is and what isn’t deemed as a fringe benefit will assist you in working out what you might provide to your employees as a benefit for working with you.

Examples Of Items That Are Fringe Benefits

Examples Of Items That Are Not Fringe Benefits

The following are not fringe benefits:

Employees don’t have to worry about paying the tax on these items, but it is an area of concern that employers need to be careful of. Employers must self-assess their FBT liability for the FBT year (which ends 31 March) and lodge an FBT return.

Employers can generally claim an income tax deduction for the cost of providing fringe benefits and for the FBT they pay. However, there are ways in which you may be able to reduce your liability when it comes to FBT.

These methods include:

FBT exemptions can sometimes be changed by the Australian Taxation Office (ATO), which can affect your FBT liability.

One such change was the FBT Retraining & Reskilling Exemption. Under this change, if you are an employer who is providing to their employees who are redundant (or soon to be made redundant) a benefit that encompasses training or education.

The exemption can be applied to retraining and reskilling benefits provided on or after 2 October 2020. This exemption is not to be included in your 2022 FBT return or in your employee’s reportable fringe benefits amount. If you have already lodged your 2021 FBT return though and paid any FBT owing, you can amend your 2021 FTB return to reduce the FBT paid for retraining and reskilling that is exempt.

It’s advisable to consult with a tax agent (such as us) if you need to amend an FBT return (as we are equipped with the tools and skills to negotiate what can be a tricky area filled with complexities and traps). Now’s the best time to speak with us about your FBT liability, what you might need to include in your return and more. Start a conversation with us today.

Posted on 14 February '22, under tax. No Comments.

Business Activity Statements – How To Take The Sting Out Of The Quarterly Payment

Been hearing a lot about business activity statements, and feeling more than a little pressure?

Kicking off the new year for your business shouldn’t be shrouded in the darkness that can be a looming BAS. But how can you be certain that your business is prepared?

To start with, demystifying the BAS might alleviate some of that anxiety and pressure your business may have been facing. Essentially, a business activity statement (BAS) is a government form that all businesses must lodge to the Australian Tax Office (ATO). All businesses registered for GST need to lodge a business activity statement (BAS). This can be done with the assistance of a registered tax agent or BAS agent.

A BAS is a summary of all the business taxes you have paid or will pay to the government during a specific period of time. You may lodge your BAS monthly, quarterly or annually (depending on the size of your business you may not have the annual or quarterly option) or may do so through your tax/BAS agent.

When lodging your BAS, you need to include these payments within it:

A BAS is issued by the ATO either monthly or quarterly. A form needs to be lodged with the ATO and payment made to the ATO by the due dates as follows:

(as registered tax agents we are given an extension to most of these deadlines)

You may instead be eligible to submit an Instalment Activity Statement (IAS). In the IAS, the ATO tells you every quarter what your GST instalment amount is and where applicable your PAYG instalment amount is.  Essentially, the IAS is a form that is similar to the BAS, but simpler in that you do not have to be concerned about GST and some other nominated taxes.

Businesses that are not registered for GST and individuals who are required to pay PAYG instalments or PAYG withholding (such as self-funded retirees) use this form to pay PAYG.

IAS provides a little more flexibility in the arrangement as the instalments are advised by the ATO on what you need to pay to cover your liabilities.

You may be able to vary those amounts if you feel that the advised instalments are too much or not enough to cover your liabilities. You may also be able to pay the amount in one lump sum at the end of the year. Before changing the amount due, or the timing of the payment, it’s best to consult with us (or your registered BAS agent) for additional advice to suit your circumstances.

Preparing For Your BAS

Your IAS and BAS can be used to assist in monitoring your business finances. Though you only need to lodge these every quarter, waiting until the due date to get all of the information you require for the statements may cause you to miss out on critical observations (such as how much you may actually owe the ATO).

Daily tracking of your income and expenses can assist in calculating your GST and other liabilities on your BAS, and allows you to ensure that there won’t be any nasty surprises waiting for you.

Here are some tips on how you can prepare for your BAS or IAS this quarter

Posted on 24 January '22, under tax. No Comments.

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