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Beware of Australian Taxation Office (ATO) impersonation scams

The ATO warns taxpayers to be alert to malicious scammers who are using increasingly sophisticated methods and technology to impersonate the ATO.

         

 

A new tactic on the rise is “spoofing”, where scammers mimic a legitimate ATO phone number caller ID to call or send SMS messages, or mimic a legitimate email domain to send emails.

SMSs and emails may ask you to click on a link and provide your personal details to get a “refund” from the ATO. Scammers may also say you need to pay a (fake) tax debt. The ATO warns that these scammers may intend to steal not only your money, but also your identity by using your personal information.

If you’re not sure whether a communication is really from the ATO, don’t respond, don’t click any links and don’t open any attachments. Quickly hang up.  You could call us.  Alternatively, call the ATO’s scam hotline on 1800 008 540 to check its legitimacy.

 

On form of protection (if you remember) is that ANY communication with the ATO is via us – your tax agent.

 

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Australia by the Numbers

The following data is used to make decisions that effect every Australian's life.

         

 

Please click on the following link to see all this interesting information. The areas covered are:

  • Overview
  • Markets
  • GDP
  • Labour
  • Prices
  • Money
  • Trade
  • Government
  • Business
  • Consumer
  • Housing
  • Taxes
  • Climate

 

Access all this data here.

 

 

tradingeconomics.com/australia

 

 

 

 

 

 

‘Visible, valued and owned’: ATO outlines super priorities for new year

The ATO has renewed its commitment to making sure super is “visible, valued and owned” in 2020, naming consolidation of member accounts and reducing the incidence of SG non-payment as some of its key priorities for the coming year.

         

 

In a recent statement published to the ATO website, ATO deputy commissioner James O’Halloran said the regulator would keep an eye on ensuring the implementation of any reforms in the super space were “fit for the future” in terms of the impact they would have on practitioners going forward.

“Just like many of our readers, we’re in the business of turning concepts into reality; the implementation of any major reform must not only be designed to be ‘fit for purpose’ but also ‘fit for the future’,” Mr O’Halloran said.

“Or to put it another way, super is about people and their future. So, we’ll keep the client experience front and centre of all we do, because we know our approach and actions impact your members’ plans for their investments and their retirement.”

Mr O’Halloran added that the ATO would continue to scrutinise employers around SG non-payment in the new year, a process that had been made easier by the rollout of the Single Touch Payroll system over the course of 2019.

“Aided by the introduction of Single Touch Payroll and fund event-based reporting, we now have an unprecedented level of ‘visibility’ of super information at the account and transaction level and we’re increasingly using this capability,” he said.

Mr O’Halloran also touched on the introduction of myGovID as a key achievement for the year that would continue to roll out in 2020.

“We’ve recently launched myGovID, the federal government’s digital identity solution which aims to transform how Australians interact with government,” he said.

“It will be faster and easier to prove who you are when accessing government online services.”

He added that while the ATO “can’t predict the next wave of reform”, it would focus on ensuring super was “visible, valued and owned” by Australians in the coming year.

 

 

Sarah Kendell 
30 December 2019
accountantsdaily.com.au

 

 

Introductory Rates & Interest Free Periods

Consumers are enticed to transfer balances owing on credit cards, but need to be aware of all the costs, not just the benefits.

         

 

During the promotion period:-

  • a lower interest rate may apply, and/or
  • fees, and charges may be lower, or may be waived altogether

The credit provider must take care that consumers are not misled about the details of the offer – The Corporations Act, the ASIC Act and National Consumer Credit Protection Act, are in place to ensure a balanced message and consumers have a realist impression of the overall costs.

If an advertisement includes details of a discounted interest rate, or discounted/waived fees, the advertisement must also make clear with equal prominence, the period for which the discounted rate applies.

The advertisement must also state what the interest rate revers to after the promotional period.

Pose yourself questions such as:-

  • can I pay off the debt during the promotional free period?
  • will the rate after the promotional period be higher than the current rate?
  • can I change my habits to avoid future credit cards interest?

 

There is no substitute for careful reading or asking for a second opinion from your accountant before you sign up.

 

 

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Our Advent calendar for 2019

On behalf of all our staff we wish our clients a Merry Christmas, Happy New Year and a great holiday period.

Come back each day for an inspirational quote or poem about Christmas, summer and life in general from some of the great writers and poets.

(Please click on the image to open the Advent Calendar and then click on a date)

           

 

 

Tax Office sounds warning on 8 types of super schemes

The Australian Taxation Office has earmarked a number of superannuation and SMSF schemes it says are under additional scrutiny for their ability to enable taxpayers to evade laws around superannuation and tax rules.

         

 

There are a number of warning signs associated with illegal super schemes that Australians interested in SMSFs must be aware of.

Taking part in an illegal super scheme could see you penalised financially, disqualified from being a trustee and having to wind up your SMSF, or even spending time behind bars.  

The Australian Taxation Office has now highlighted eight separate types of superannuation schemes that are attracting its attention for all the wrong reasons. These are:

Related-party property development ventures

While an SMSF can invest directly or indirectly in property development ventures, the Tax Office said “extreme care must be taken”.

Some arrangements can give rise to significant income tax and superannuation regulatory risks, such as the potential application of the non-arm’s length income provisions and breaches of regulatory rules about related-party transactions.

Non-concessional cap manipulation

Non-concessional cap manipulation sees individuals and some SMSF members “deliberately exceed their non-concessional contributions cap with a view to manipulating the taxable and non-taxable components of their superannuation account balances”.

Granting legal life interest over commercial property to SMSFs

This is done by SMSF members or other related entities to divert rental income so it can be taxed at a lower rate without full ownership of the property ever transferring to the SMSF.

Dividend stripping

In this scenario, shareholders in a private company transfer ownership of their shares to a related SMSF so that the company can pay franked dividends to the SMSF with the purpose of stripping profits from the company in tax-free form.

Some limited recourse borrowing arrangements (LRBAs)

Where these arrangements aren’t consistent with a genuine arm’s length dealing.

Personal services income

Where an individual — with an SMSF often in pension phase — diverts income earned from personal services to the SMSF so it is concessionally taxed or treated as exempt from tax.

 

The next two arrangements being monitored by the ATO relate to the new super caps and restrictions that apply as a result of the super changes that came into effect on 1 July 2017:

Improper use of multiple SMSFs

The ATO said having multiple SMSFs does not ordinarily raise compliance issues, but the establishment of additional SMSFs intended to manipulate tax outcomes would.

The example provided was a switching of each respective fund between accumulation and retirement phases.

Inappropriate use of reserves

In the past, many existing reserves “arose legitimately from legacy pensions that are no longer available”, the Tax Office has conceded.

However, there are now very limited appropriate circumstances where new reserves would be established and maintained in SMSFs.

Structures using reserves designed to bypass super balance and transfer balance cap measures will attract scrutiny.

 

To prevent falling prey to foul play and super schemes that are illegal, the ATO has asked taxpayers to make sure they are receiving ethical professional advice when undertaking retirement planning.

It emphasised the importance of seeking a second opinion from a trusted and reputable expert, especially where in doubt.

 

 

Grace Ormsby 
25 November 2019 
accountantsdaily.com.au

 

Don’t forget sharing economy income

Money that you earn from “gig” jobs through platforms like Uber, Airtasker and Airbnb, such as transporting passengers or renting out a room or house, counts as your assessable income.

           

 

This means you must declare it on your tax return.  And, be aware the platform sends the income details direct to the Australian Taxation Office for their data matching surveillance.

Depending on your gig activities and expenses, you may also be able to claim deductions related to this type of income, but it’s important to keep evidence to support your claims.  Smart taxpayers tell their tax agent well before year end.

 

 

AcctWeb

 

Impress your friends with your knowledge!!

Knowing this information is a 'must have' for this Christmas break.

         

 

Please click on the following link to see all this interesting information. The areas covered are:

  • Overview
  • Markets
  • GDP
  • Labour
  • Prices
  • Money
  • Trade
  • Government
  • Business
  • Consumer
  • Housing
  • Taxes
  • Climate

 

Access all this data here.

 

 

tradingeconomics.com/australia

Salary sacrificing and the superannuation guarantee

Employers should take note of the new rules that became law on 28 October 2019, regarding the application of compulsory superannuation guarantee to salary sacrificed superannuation amounts.

         

 

From 1 January 2020, where an employee salary sacrifices part of their salary into superannuation contribution benefits, these superannuation contribution amounts will be subject to further 9.5 per cent superannuation contributions. Employers who currently contribute the 9.5 per cent superannuation guarantee based on the cash salary only will need to update their systems to comply with the new law by 1 January 2020.

We also note that where the arrangements between the employer and the employee is such that superannuation contributions (including salary sacrifice contributions) are quoted on top of a remuneration package (rather than within the package), and the employer doesn’t currently contribute based on the full cash plus salary sacrifice contributions package, then those employers will have additional costs from 1 January 2020. We recommend that employers review all salary sacrifice arrangements for impacts for compliance with the new law.

For example: Remuneration $100,000 per annum (excluding superannuation guarantee contributions). Employee salary sacrifices $10,000 into superannuation; therefore, $100,000 remuneration is made up of $90,000 cash salary and $10,000 benefits. Prior to 1 January 2020, the employer was only obligated to contribute superannuation guarantee on the cash salary of $90,000 (which at 9.5 per cent is $8,550). From 1 January 2020, the employer will be required to contribute superannuation guarantee based on the full remuneration of $100,000 p.a. (which at 9.5 per cent is $9,500 (being an increase of $950 p.a.) (in addition to the $10,000 salary sacrifice contributions).

Further, the new law also ensures that salary sacrificed superannuation does not count towards an employer’s compulsory superannuation contributions obligations.

For example: Remuneration $100,000 p.a. (excluding superannuation guarantee contributions). Employee salary sacrifices $10,000 into superannuation; therefore, $100,000 remuneration is made up of $90,000 cash salary and $10,000 benefits. Prior to 1 January 2020, the employer could effectively make no additional superannuation contributions, because the salary sacrificed contributions of $10,000 count as employer contributions. That is, the employer is treated as meeting its obligations, as 9.5 per cent of $100,000 = $9,500, and $10,000 in superannuation contributions have been made (due to the employee’s salary sacrificed amounts). From 1 January 2020, the employer will be required to contribute superannuation guarantee based on the full remuneration of $100,000 p.a. (which at 9.5 per cent is $9,500) (in this case, this is an increase of $9,500 on top of the $10,000 salary sacrifice contributions).

Please note that this new law only applies to salary sacrifice amounts that constitute superannuation contributions. It is our understanding that the new law does not apply to other salary sacrificed items.

Reference: Treasury Laws Amendment (2019 Tax Integrity and Other Measures No. 1) Bill 2019

Judy White, BDO Australia 
08 November 2019 
accountantsdaily.com.au

 

Why so much super “stuff” this year?

New rules mean that insurance coverage will be cancelled on “inactive” superannuation accounts from 1 July 2019, unless the fund member informs the fund in writing that they want to keep the insurance.

         

 

Also, where an inactive account has a low balance (under $6,000) the fund will have to send that super to the Australian Taxation Office for “consolidation and safekeeping”.

If you haven’t made contributions or rolled over your super in the past 16 months, no matter what your balance, it’s important to check in with your fund now to keep your account active and maintain the insurance you want.

The new law also bans super funds from charging exit fees when you want to leave the fund, which should make it easier to change and consolidate your super accounts when you need to.

Life insurance within superannuation can be cheaper.  If you are in doubt whether you should have it, why not ask your dependents?

 

 

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