Professionals Australia Member Tax Guide

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1 Professionals Australia Member Tax Guide

2 Table of contents Page Welcome 4 What s new in Tax rates 7 Income 10 Employment income 10 Super pensions, annuities and government payments 11 Investment income 12 Business, partnership and trust income 13 Foreign income 14 Deductions 15 Professionals Australia membership dues 15 Books, periodicals and digital information 15 Cost of managing tax affairs 16 Income protection insurance 16 Interest charged by the ATO 16 Mobile phone, internet and home phone expenses 16 Personal super contributions 18 Seminars, conferences and education workshops 18 Vehicle and travel expenses 18 Clothing, laundry and dry-cleaning 26 Gifts and donations 27 Home office expenses 28 Interest, dividend and other investment income deductions 29 Self-education expenses 30 Tools and equipment 31 Deductions for specific professions Engineers, IT 32 Calculating depreciation/decline in value 33 Capital Gains Tax 35 Exemptions 35 When CGT occurs 35 Calculation of capital gains and losses 36 Calculating capital gains 36 Companies in liquidation 38 Small business CGT concessions 38 Types of small business CGT concessions 39 2

3 Page Offsets and rebates 40 Dependents 40 Health insurance rebate 40 Income thresholds 41 Net medical expenses 41 Senior Australians 42 Super related tax offsets 42 Tax planning 44 Transferring income to another taxpayer 44 Mortgage offset account 45 Reduce assessable income 45 Increase the amount of tax deductions from assessable income 45 Change the timing 45 Trusts and companies 45 Salary packaging 46 Concessional Benefits 47 Superannuation 47 Motor Vehicles 47 Car Parking 47 Professional Subscriptions 47 Low Interest Loans (Employer provided) 47 "Deductible" Fringe Benefits 47 Negative gearing 48 Property 48 Deductions 48 Features and risks 50 Superannuation 52 Tax Deductibility of Member Contributions 52 Self Employed or Unsupported Eligible Persons 52 Government Super Contributions 52 Superannuation Guarantee Levy 53 Member Advantage Portable Superannuation for Professionals 53 Alienation of Personal Services Income 53 Growing your super salary sacrificing super 54 Personal super contributions 54 Complaints 56 3

4 Welcome We are pleased to present the Professionals Australia Tax Guide for members. We hope that it provides you with valuable support and assistance in the preparation of your income tax return for the tax year ended 20 June The first thing to note is that your Professionals Australia membership should be claimed as a work expense which can save you up to 30 per cent on membership each year (see page 15). As a summary guide, this publication highlights the major factors and rules for the 2014/15 tax year. It is important to note that the income tax legislation is detailed, everyone s situation is different and you should seek appropriate professional advice where necessary. If you are in doubt about your tax return or tax in general, contact your accountant or visit the Australian Tax Office website Each year changes occur to key rules and determinations, this guide aims to alert you and explain the nuances of the financial year. It is important to refer to previous year guides if you are completing a tax return for another year. While every care has been taken to ensure that the information is correct, Professionals Australia carries no responsibility for the application of this information. Alternatively, if you need specific or further advice, or assistance, in the preparation of your income tax return, please contact your accountant or contact our partner Matchett Partners on Additionally, if you are looking for more information on salary packaging and other tax related issues, we encourage you to access our salary packaging guide and calculator on our website (only available to members) - Professionals Australia offers a range of guides on topics as diverse as management, remuneration, career planning and resume writing to transitioning to retirement. Visit our website for more information: Good luck, may you have a bountiful return this year. 4

5 What's new in Before you start your tax preparation, note these important changes. Mature Age Worker Tax Offset You can no longer claim the Mature Age Worker Tax Offset (MAWTO) in your tax return. Previously, to be eligible for the offset you needed to be an Australian resident, be born before 1 July 1957, and receive income from working (within certain limits). This means that the tax return was the last return that you can claim the offset, so you won t be able to claim it in your tax return. Abolition of the Dependent Spouse Tax Offset You can no longer claim the Dependent Spouse Tax Offset (DSTO) in your tax return. In addition, a person who is eligible for the zone, overseas civilian or overseas forces tax offset will, from 1 July 2014, only be entitled to claim for a dependent (incl. a spouse) that is an invalid or cares for an invalid. If you have claimed the DSTO by reducing the tax withheld by your employer during the year, this may result in you having an amount to pay when you lodge your tax return. You'll need to give an updated TFN declaration to your employer for to increase the tax they deduct from your pay. Phase out of the Net Medical Expenses Tax Offset The Net Medical Expenses Tax Offset is being phased out. In most cases, you will only be eligible to claim the offset this year if you received it in your tax assessment. This is the final year you can claim it. This does not apply to you if you had medical expenses relating to disability aids, attendant care and aged care. You can continue to claim the offset for these expenses until 30 June Temporary Budget Repair Levy As part of the Federal budget the Government introduced a Temporary Budget Repair Levy. Individual taxpayers with a taxable income of more than $180,000 per year will have had additional tax withheld by their employer, starting from 1 July The levy is payable at a rate of 2 per cent of each dollar of a taxpayer s taxable income over $180,000. It applies to both residents and non-residents from 1 July In some cases the levy is payable even if you have a taxable income of $180,000 or less. If the levy applies to your income, it will generally appear on your Notice of Assessment you receive after you lodge your 2015 tax return. Small business concessions The law changed with effect from 1 January 2014 to reduce the instant asset write-off threshold from $6,500 to $1,000 and remove the special depreciation rules for motor vehicles. Tax concessions for small business In the 2015 Budget, the Government announced its intention to allow small businesses with an aggregate turnover of less than $2 million to immediately deduct assets they start to use or install ready for use, provided the asset costs less than $20,000. The small business simplified depreciation pool will apply to assets costing $20,000 or more. The measure is applied to assets acquired from 7.30pm on 12 May 2015 until 30 June

6 Changes for Some changes won t affect your 2015 tax return but they may impact you from 1 July Private health insurance From 1 July 2015, the income thresholds used to calculate Medicare levy surcharge (MLS) and Private health insurance (PHI) rebate will be frozen for three years. This may result in people with incomes just below each threshold moving into a higher income threshold if their income increases. This means, if: You have private health insurance, your rebate percentage entitlement may decrease; You do not have the appropriate level of private hospital cover, you may have to pay the Medicare levy surcharge or your surcharge may increase. No increase to the tax-free threshold The tax cuts due to commence 1 July 2015 will no longer apply. This means that the tax-free threshold remains at $18,200 and the second marginal tax rate remains at 32.5%. 6

7 Tax rates Tax rates applicable to Australian residents for 2014/15 The basic tax scale and marginal rates for the financial year have been in place for three financial years, however from 1 July 2014 the top marginal tax rate of 45% for incomes over $180,000 has the 2% Temporary Budget Repair Levy added to it (for 3 years from 1 July 2014), raising it to 47%. Additionally in , the basic Medicare levy percentage rate has been increased by 0.5% (to 2%). Resident Tax Rates 2014/15 Taxable Income $ 0 18,200 Nil Tax Payable $ 18,201 37,000 19c for each $1 over $18,200 37,001 80,000 $3,572 plus 32.5c for each $1 over $37,000 80, ,000 $17,547 plus 37c for each $1 over $80, ,001+ $54,547 plus 47c for each $1 over $180,000 NOTE: These rates do not include the Medicare Levy. Medicare levy Medicare gives Australian residents access to health care and is partly funded by taxpayers who pay a Medicare levy of 2.0% of their taxable income (this has risen from 1.5% in 2013/14). It should be noted that there is relief from the Medicare Levy for low income earners whose taxable income is $20,542 or less. A phasing-in applies to reduce the Medicare Levy where taxable income exceeds $20,542 but does not exceed $24,167. Medicare Levy exemption applies in respect of a family whose total taxable income does not exceed $40,431 with phasing-in applicable of $3,713 for each additional dependent. The Medicare Levy low income threshold for those who qualify for Senior Australians Tax Offset pension age is $32,279. This will ensure pensioners do not pay Medicare when they do not have an income tax liability. Medicare Levy Surcharge If you and all of your dependants do not have an appropriate level of private patient hospital cover for the full year, you may be required to pay the Medicare levy surcharge, depending on your income. To determine the rate of surcharge that applies, use your income for Medicare levy surcharge (MLS) surcharge purposes. This is different to the income test for the Private Health Insurance rebate (see Offsets and rebates section). The Medicare levy surcharge is income tested against the MLS income tier thresholds. The family income threshold is increased by $1,500 for each Medicare levy surcharge dependent child after the first child. The MLS income thresholds for , , and are: You can visit the ATO s online Medicare Levy Surcharge calculator to determine your liability: https://www.ato.gov.au/calculators-and-tools/income-for-medicare-levy-surcharge/ What is included in income for MLS purposes? If you have a spouse, your combined income for MLS purposes will be used. 7

8 Your income for MLS purposes is the sum of the following items for you (and your spouse, if you have one): taxable income (including the net amount on which family trust distribution tax has been paid) reportable fringe benefits (as reported on your payment summary) total net investment losses (includes both net financial investment losses and net rental property losses) reportable super contributions (includes reportable employer super contributions and deductible personal super contributions) if you have a spouse, their share of the net income of a trust on which the trustee must pay tax (under section 98 of the Income Tax Assessment Act 1936) and which has not been included in their taxable income exempt foreign employment income (if you or your spouse had a taxable income of $1 or more and received such income) If you (or your spouse) are 55 to 59 years old and received a super lump sum, reduce income for MLS purposes by any taxed element of the lump sum, other than a death benefit, that does not exceed your (their) low rate cap. Income thresholds and MLS rate for Unchanged Tier 1 Tier 2 Tier 3 Singles $90,000 or less $90,001 - $105,000 $105,001 - $140,000 Families $180,000 or less $180,001 - $210,000 $210,001 - $280,000 Medicare levy surcharge rate 0% 1% 1.25% 1.5% $140,001 or more $280,001 or more For families, the income thresholds increase by $1,500 for each MLS dependent child after the first. Employment Termination Payment Rates (ETP) An ETP is a lump sum payment made as a consequence of the termination of an employee s employment. Common examples of ETPs are: Golden handshakes; Unused rostered days off; Amounts in lieu of notice; and Genuine redundancies. As a result, the circumstances and documentary evidence surrounding the payment is critical. It is highly recommended that if this situation applies to you, you read the ATO publication Tax table for employment termination payments, found here https://www.ato.gov.au/individuals/working/in-detail/leaving-a-job/taxation-of-terminationpayments/?page=10#whole_of_income_cap The maximum tax rates can apply to the taxed element of the post 30 June 1983 component of an ETP (any pre 30 June 1983 component is tax-free). Where the rate of tax would otherwise be less than the relevant maximum, then the actual rate applies and the specified maximum is irrelevant. Medicare levy is added to whatever rate (other than nil) is applicable. The ETP cap amount for the 2014/15 income year is $185,000 (indexed annually). The whole of income cap amount for the 2014/15 income year is $180,000. This amount is not indexed. This cap is reduced by the other taxable payments you receive in the income year. For example, salary or wages that you have been paid. 8

9 Taxation of Superannuation Fund Income From 1 July, 1988 a concessional rate of tax of 15% was introduced on all taxable contributions made to superannuation funds provided that the funds are complying superannuation funds. Non-complying funds are taxed at the top marginal rate (2014/15 47%). In addition the net investment income of complying funds is also taxed at 15%, and CGT applies to disposals of assets by all superannuation funds (with a 1/3 discount for assets held for more than 12 months), approved deposit funds and pooled superannuation trusts made after 30 June, The cost base of the assets held by the superannuation fund for the purpose of determining taxable gains on disposal, is whichever of the original cost or the market value at 30 June, 1988 yields the lower capital gain or capital loss. An individual is liable to excess concessional contributions tax of 31.5% if their concessional contributions for the year exceed the concessional cap for that year. The cap is $25,000 for 2014/15 for all taxpayers aged up to 59 years and $35,000 for taxpayers aged 60 years or more. Concessional contributions are generally contributions that are deductible to the contributor e.g SG contributions, employer contributions made under salary sacrifice arrangement and deductible contributions made by a self-employed person. Children s Tax Rates For the year ending 30 June 2015, children s tax rates applied to persons under 18 years. They do not apply to these exceptions, if they were; working full time, or had worked full time for three months or more in the income year (ignoring full-time work that was followed by full-time study),and; intending to work full time for most or all of the income year, and; not intending to study full time in the income year; entitled to a disability support pension or rehabilitation allowance, or someone was entitled to a carer allowance to care for them; permanently blind; disabled and were likely to suffer from that disability permanently or for an extended period; entitled to a double orphan pension and received little or no financial support from relatives, or unable to work full-time because of a permanent mental or physical disability and received little or no financial support from relatives; or the main beneficiary of a special disability trust. The income on which the special rates of tax apply, the eligible assessable income, is the total assessable income less the excepted income. Children s Tax Rates 2014/15 Up to $416 $417 to $1,307 Nil + 66% over $416 Over $1,307 Nil 47% (45% + 2%) of the total amount of income. Note that children are not entitled to the low income rebate. 9

10 Income Income tax is paid on money you receive, such as salary and wages, Centrelink payments, investment income from rent, interest and dividends, and profits from selling shares or property. You can reduce the amount of tax you pay by claiming certain deductions that are directly related to earning your income. Your tax may be further reduced if you are eligible for certain tax offsets or government rebates. When do you need to lodge an income tax return? Your income is declared on your tax return each year. You must make sure it is accurate and complete. Resident taxpayers whose taxable income during the financial year ended 30 June 2015 exceeds the nontax threshold of $18,200 must generally lodge an income tax return. All returns prepared by taxpayers must be lodged by 31 October If you are unable to lodge the return by the due date you should write to the ATO asking for an extension of time to lodge, giving reasons, before the due date for lodgement. If a taxpayer has a business or professional income schedule to complete, the income tax return must be lodged electronically. Income you must declare You must declare income from: Employment; Super pensions, annuities and government payments; Investment income (including interest, dividends, rent, and capital gains tax); Business, partnership and trust income; Foreign income; and Any income from compensation or insurance payments, discounted shares under employee share schemes, prizes and awards. Employment income Employment income is money you receive from working. Regardless of whether you have one job or more, are full time, part-time or casual you need to make sure all of your employment income is included on your tax return. Salary and wages The most common type of employment income is salary and wages. Salary and wages includes: Your normal weekly, fortnightly or monthly pay Commissions Bonuses Money for part-time or casual work Parental leave pay Payments from: o an income protection policy o a sickness or accident insurance policy o a workers compensation scheme. 10

11 Allowances and other employment income You may receive other payments in connection with your employment such as: allowances, such as car, travel, clothing and laundry tips, gratuities and payments for your services consultation fees and payments for voluntary services jury attendance fees If you received a travel allowance or overtime meal allowance paid under an industrial law, award or agreement, you don't have to include it on your tax return if it meets all of the following: it was not shown on your payment summary it does not exceed the Commissioner's reasonable allowance amount you spent the whole amount on deductible expenses. Lump sum payments There are two common types of lump sum payments. When you leave a job, you may receive a lump sum payment for unused annual and long service leave. Specific information on Employment Termination Payments can be found here: https://www.ato.gov.au/individuals/working/indetail/leaving-a-job/taxation-of-terminationpayments/?page=4#employment_termination_payments The second is a lump sum payment in arrears for money owed to you from an earlier income year. Both of these lump sum payments are assessable in the year you receive them. Reportable fringe benefits and super contributions Other employment-related income includes: reportable fringe benefits given to you by your employer, such as a work car for private purposes, a cheap loan or free private health insurance; and reportable super contributions made on your behalf by your employer. You don't have to pay tax on these items but they are used to work out whether you are eligible to receive a range of government benefits and tax offsets. Super pensions, annuities and government payments You must declare income you received from pensions paid to you as a super income stream, annuities and some government payments. Pensions A pension is a series of regular payments made as a super income stream (this does not include government payments such as the age pension). These payments may be made by: an Australian super fund, life assurance company or retirement savings account (RSA) provider a fund established for the benefit of Commonwealth, state or territory employees and their dependants (such as the Commonwealth Superannuation Scheme and the Public Sector Superannuation Scheme) as a result of another person's death (death benefit income stream). Your super income stream payments will have different components. You need to include the following components on your tax return: a taxed element the part of your benefit on which tax has already been paid in the fund an untaxed element the part of your benefit that is still taxable because tax has not been paid in the fund. 11

12 You do not need to declare the tax-free component on your tax return. Annuities An annuity is usually a series of regular payments to you by a life insurance company in return for a lump sum payment. Most annuities have both taxable and tax-free components. Government payments You must declare Government payments such as the age pension, carer payments, Austudy, Newstart and youth allowance on your tax return. Some government payments are exempt from income tax but you still need to declare them on your tax return. This information is used to work out whether you are eligible to receive a range of government benefits and tax offsets. The payments are: Investment income disability support pension (if you are below the pension age) child disability allowance carer adjustment payment Veterans' Affairs disability pensions and allowances. You generally need to declare investment income whether or not it's paid directly to you or through distributions from a partnership (such as a share club) or a trust. Interest If you're an Australian resident and you receive interest, you must declare it as income. Interest income includes: Dividends interest earned from financial institution accounts and term deposits; interest earned from children's savings accounts if you opened or operated an account for a child and the funds in the account belonged to you, or you spent or used the funds in the account; interest we paid or credited to you; life insurance bonuses (you may be entitled to a tax offset equal to 30% of any bonus amounts included in your income) interest from foreign sources (you may be entitled to a tax offset for any tax paid on this income). A dividend can be paid to you as money or other property, including shares. If you are paid or credited with bonus shares, the company issuing the shares should provide you with a statement indicating whether the bonus shares qualify as a dividend. Dividend income is usually paid from a: listed investment company public trading trust corporate unit trust corporate limited partnership (in the form of a distribution). Some dividends have an imputation or franking credit attached, which you must also declare on your tax return. If a company pays or credits you with dividends that have been franked, you'll generally be entitled to a franking tax offset. 12

13 Rent You must declare the full amount of any rent and rent-related payments that you receive, or become entitled to, on your tax return. Such payments include: rental bond money if you become entitled to retain it - for example, because a tenant defaulted on the rent or because of damage to your rental property requiring repairs an insurance payout to compensate you for lost rent a letting or booking fee a reimbursement for deductible expenditure, such as an amount from a tenant to cover the cost of repairing damage to your rental property (where you would include the whole amount you receive from the tenant in your income and claim a deduction for the cost of the repairs). If you receive goods and services in lieu of rent, you must work out and declare the monetary value. Co-ownership If you own a rental property jointly or in common with another person, or if you have an interest in a partnership that carries on a rental property business, include only your share of rent and expenses on your tax return. Managed investment trusts You must show any income or credits you receive from any trust investment product on your tax return. This includes income or credits from a: Capital gains cash management trust; money market trust; mortgage trust; unit trust; and managed fund, such as a property trust, share trust, equity trust, growth trust, imputation trust or balanced trust. Generally, your capital gain is the difference between your asset's cost base (what you paid for it) and your capital proceeds (what you received for it). You can also make a capital gain if a managed fund or other unit trust distributes a capital gain to you. A capital gain is treated as part of your total income and not taxed separately. Business, partnership and trust income The net income you receive from carrying on a business is assessable income and you need to declare it on your tax return. Income you receive as an individual running a business If you are an individual running a business you must declare the income that you earn from your business on your own tax return using a separate business schedule. You don't need to lodge a separate tax return for your business. Income from a partnership While a business partnership doesn't pay tax on its income, it must lodge a partnership tax return declaring all income earned and all deductible expenses. It will also show how the net income or loss has been distributed between the partners. 13

14 Each partner must declare their individual share of the partnership's net income or loss in their individual tax return, whether or not they have actually received the income. For capital gains tax (CGT) purposes, each partner owns a proportion of each CGT asset and calculates a capital gain or capital loss on their share of each asset. It is the individual partners who make a capital gain or capital loss from a CGT event, not the partnership itself. Income from a trust Like a partnership, a trust is not a separate taxable entity but the trustee is required to lodge a tax return for the trust. Generally, the beneficiaries of the trust declare the amount of the trust's income to which they are entitled in their own tax return and pay tax on it. This is the case even if the beneficiaries did not actually receive the income. An exception to this is that you don't need to declare a trust distribution if family trust distribution tax has already been paid. Foreign income If you're an Australian resident for tax purposes, you are taxed on your worldwide income, so you must declare any foreign income in your income tax return. Foreign income includes: foreign pensions and annuities; foreign employment income; foreign investment income; foreign business income; and capital gains on overseas assets. As your foreign income may also be taxed in the source country, it is potentially subject to double taxation. To overcome this, Australia has a system of credits and exemptions and has signed tax treaties with more than 40 countries, including all our major trade and investment partners. If you're not an Australian resident for tax purposes, you are only taxed on your Australian-sourced income, so you generally don't need to declare income you receive from outside Australia in your Australian tax return. 14

15 Deductions When completing your tax return, you're entitled to claim deductions for some expenses directly related to earning your income. To claim a work-related deduction: You must have spent the money yourself and weren't reimbursed; It must be related to your job; and You must have a record to prove it. If the expense was for both work and private purposes, you can only claim a deduction for the work-related portion. Deductions you can claim fall into the following categories and are explained in detail in this section: Professionals Australia membership dues; Books, periodicals and digital information; Cost of managing tax affairs; Income protection insurance; Interest charged by the ATO; Mobile phone, internet and home phone expenses; Personal super contributions; Seminars, conferences and education workshops; Vehicle and travel expenses; Clothing, laundry and dry-cleaning; Gifts and donations; Home office expenses; Interest, dividend and other investment income deductions; Self-education expenses; Tools, equipment and other equipment; Deductions for specific professions; and Calculating depreciation/decline in value of assets. Professionals Australia membership dues Your Professionals Australia subscription should be claimed as a work expense it can save you up to 30 per cent on membership each year. Make sure you also claim any other subscriptions to professional societies relevant to your employment (e.g. Institute of Engineers). The ATO accepts that union subscriptions will be adequately substantiated if they are shown on payment summaries or pay slips for members who pay their Professionals Australia subscription by payroll deduction. These deductions may still appear as APESMA on your payment summaries they can still be submitted. However, if you require clarification please contact Professionals Australia s Membership team or by Books, periodicals and digital information If the item cost less than $300 you can claim an immediate deduction where it satisfies these requirements: It is used predominantly for earning income rather than income from carrying on a business. It is not part of a set of assets acquired in the same income year that costs more than $300. It is not one of a number of identical or substantially identical items acquired in the same income year that together cost more than $300. If the item cost more than $300, or is part of a set that cost more than $300, you can add it to your professional library and claim a deduction for the decline in value. 15

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