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1 140 Greenhill Road, Unley South Australia 5061 // T: // F: // E: Autumn 2014 Top Ten Tax Tips Are Your CGT Records Up to Date? Finding and Claiming Unclaimed Money PAYG Withholding for Individuals Private Health Insurance Rebate Changes Welcome to Mortgage Broker Superannuation Updates Changing Accounting Systems The Evolving World of Trusts Expert Panel of Property Professionals Kennedy Arts Prize Launch FROM OUR AUDIT DIRECTOR On behalf of all the Partners and staff, welcome to another edition of the Kennedy Newsletter, the first for Since our last publication we have experienced a change of Federal Government, whilst most recently seen Labour retain State Government with a minority of seats in the lower house. The Federal Budget is only a matter of weeks away and the Prime Minister went to the Federal election promising no new taxes, to rein in the budget debt and deficit and to undertake a full and comprehensive review of the current taxation system including the GST. I can honestly say that it is anyone s guess what the Federal Budget will contain and where the cuts to spending will land. One thing is certain, we will continue to keep you, our valued clients and subscribers, fully informed of the Federal Budget outcomes on the night with our special budget edition newsletter. The Partners and Staff at Kennedy & Co would like to wish you happy and safe Easter break. Steve Russo Director

2 TEN TOP TAX TIPS 1. Get Organised: Get on top of your tax early rather than later, still too many people leave their tax until just before the deadline. Get your tax refund back from the ATO so you can invest it elsewhere or pay of your debts. Even if you know you have tax payable we can still prepare your tax return and defer the lodgement until the latest possible date. 2. Small Business Asset Write-Off: New rules mean that a small business can get an immediate deduction for new assets that cost less than $1,000. This immediate deduction will improve your cash flow as you don t have to wait for these items to depreciate over time for your deduction. 3. Update your logbook if needed: You may be able to claim greater deductions if you are using your motor vehicle for work regularly. Logbooks must span 12 weeks and will help keep track of your business and private use percentage. Completed logbooks should be no more than 5 years old. Please contact our office if you require one. 4. Use a credit card or eftpos for your tax deductible expenses: The ATO now recognise bank & credit card statements as proof of claim for individual tax payers, this means that receipts are not needed for items on these statements. 5. Consider salary sacrificing: This is a great way to contribute your beforetax pay to your superfund which has a 15% tax rate instead your marginal tax rate which could be as high as 45%. To achieve any tax saving your taxable income must be above $37,000. Please note for those with an adjusted taxable income of over $300,000, super contributions will be taxed at 30% rather than 15%. 6. Superannuation Contributions: If you earn less than $46,920 and you contribute to super you may be eligible for the super co contribution. For every dollar you contribute from your after-tax income the Government will put in up to 50 cents, to a maximum of $ Home Office Costs: If you work from home you can claim home office costs such as a portion of your telephone, internet, stationery, computer equipment and printers. If you keep track of the hours you work from home you can even claim a set rate of 34 cents per hour deduction for electricity, gas & deprecation of furniture. 9. Obsolete Stock: For small business, outdated or obsolete closing stock may be increasing your assessable income. If you have obsolete stock you should consider writing it off so that you can claim a tax deduction or give it an appropriate value so closing stock on hand isn t overstated. 10. Private Health Insurance: Check your private health insurance rebate eligbibility. See article on page Call Us! We may be able to find additional deductions or offsets to decrease your tax payable and our fees are tax deductible as well. 2 // KEN*NOTES // AUTUMN 2014

3 ARE YOUR CGT RECORDS UP TO DATE? It is important to keep all the appropriate records for the Capital Gains Tax (CGT) to be ready for future disposal. This allows you to correctly calculate your capital gain or loss and eliminate the risk of having to pay unnecessary tax. It is never too late to start to organise the appropriate records for the CGT event as you may be able to acquire the required documentation from various sources. For example if you bought shares in a company, your stockbroker or the share registry is likely to have the required information. These records need to be kept for at least five years after the disposal of the asset. However, if you have made a net capital loss to be carried forward, you may have to keep the records longer. You should generally keep these records until you have applied the loss against a future capital gain. The records kept need to include the nature of the transaction, as well as the date and the parties involved in the transaction. Types of records that may be required for calculating CGT are: Contracts and receipts for acquistions and sales of assets; Records of agent, accountant, brokerage, advertising and legal costs; Details of interest accrued or borrowed relating to the asset; and Receipts for cost of maintenance, repairs and modifications of the asset; Kennedy & Co can assist you in reconstructing your cost bases should they be complex and over an extended period of time. Please contact us to discuss. FINDING AND CLAIMING UNCLAIMED MONEY There is close to $700 million of unclaimed money in lost shares, bank accounts and life insurance policies, and some of it could be yours. In South Australia alone there is $24 million of unclaimed money. The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) has a free Unclaimed Money Search tool at where you can find out if you have any unclaimed money, and how much may be unclaimed. If you find your name on the search tool and the money is from a bank account or life insurance policy, you will need to contact the relevant institution, who will then arrange to have the funds released from ASIC. If you find unclaimed shares, you will need to complete a claim form and forward certain documentation regarding the investment to ASIC. Please do not hesitate to contact us should you require our assistance. 3 // KEN*NOTES // AUTUMN 2014

4 PAYG WITHHOLDING FOR INDIVIDUALS The Pay As You Go (PAYG) withholding system ensures employers withhold amounts from your salary and wages to ensure that you can meet your end of year tax obligations. When commencing a new job it is required that a TFN declaration form is completed and within it you may choose to claim the tax-free threshold. The taxfree threshold for an Australian resident for the financial year is $18,200. Claiming the tax-free threshold simply means that your employer will take into account the tax-free threshold when calculating how much tax will be withheld from your wage. When You Have More Than One Employer Where you have two or more employers it is strongly recommended that you claim the tax-free threshold from your primary source of income and any additional income should be withheld at the higher no tax-free threshold rate. You should only claim the tax-free threshold with both employers if you know that your combined income from both jobs is below the tax-free threshold of $18,200. Variations - Can You Benefit? The Commissioner of Taxation may, in specific circumstances, vary the amount of PAYG withholding tax employers are required to withhold from your salary. The main purpose of PAYG withholding variations is to ensure that amounts which are withheld from salary and wages are sufficient to meet each individual s end of year tax liability. PAYG withholding variations are beneficial for individuals who understand their tax position and if they receive larger than normal tax refunds. For many of our clients who have negatively geared rental properties, they may expect significant refunds when their tax return is lodged. If a variation is accepted by the Commissioner, the amount of tax taken out of each pay period is reduced, increasing the amount received each pay period. As a result, the PAYG Withholding Variation effectively allows for your end of year tax refund to be claimed during the year. Should you wish to vary your employer PAYG Withholding, please contact our office to discuss whether it would be beneficial in your situation. WELCOME TO OUR MORTGAGE BROKER As Kennedy & Co continues to expand its portfolio of services we would like to welcome Esteban Mesa, our new licensed Mortgage Broker. Mortgage Brokers negotiate with banks, credit unions and other credit providers to arrange loans. With so many different lenders and credit providers to choose from, Mortgage Brokers play a key role in doing the legwork for you. Brokers can help you find suitable loan packages, arrange special deals and offer you expert advice at every step of the way. If you are planning to purchase a new property, or have not reviewed your loan in recent years, or feel you could be paying too high interest rates then it is time to book an appointment with Esteban Mesa our Mortgage Broker here at Kennedy & Co. 4 // KEN*NOTES // AUTUMN 2014

5 PRIVATE HEALTH INSURANCE REBATE CHANGES The introduction of the income testing of the Private Health Insurance rebate has now been in operation since 1 July 2012 and as preparers of income tax returns for individuals and families, we have seen the impact this has had on the net tax payable or refund due for them. Briefly, the changes included income testing the rebate against new income thresholds. This means the level of your rebate now depends on your annual income, age and the number of dependent children you have. Some taxpayers elected to prepay their premium to avoid a reduction in their rebate due to income testing. This option is no longer available. We set out below the facts and figures that may impact you. Please note however, that in view of the recent change in government there may be a review and perhaps the opportunity to abolish the means test on the 30% Private Health Insurance Australian Government Rebate, however this may not occur for several years. What are the New Income Thresholds The income thresholds for are: Singles Couples. Families INCOME THRESHOLDS No Change Tier 1 Tier 2 Tier 3 Less than $88,000 Less than $176,000 $88,001 - $102,000 $176,001 - $204,000 $102,001 - $136,000 $201,001 - $272,000 $136,001 + $272,001 + For families with children the thresholds are increased by $1,500 for each dependent child after the first. Single parents and couples with dependent children are also subject to the family thresholds. Which Level of Rebate will Get I get in the Financial Year This table shows the rebate you ll be eligible to receive in the financial year. AUSTRALIAN GOVERNMENT REBATE No Change Tier 1 Tier 2 Tier 3 Under 65 30% 20% 10% 0% % 25% 15% 0% % 30% 20% 0% It would be prudent to contact your health insurance provider and advise you do not wish to claim the private health insurance rebate to avoid repaying this amount on your income tax return. 5 // KEN*NOTES // AUTUMN 2014

6 SUPERANNUATION CONTRIBUTION UPDATES As governments continue to tinker with the superannuation system we thought it timely to remind you of some of the more recent changes: Contribution Caps The concessional (tax deductible) contributions caps for year ending 30 June 2015 are as follows: Age at 30 June $35,000 $35, $25,000 $35,000 Less than 49 $25,000 $30,000 The non-concessional (non tax deductible) contributions cap for all ages for year ending 30 June 2015 is $150,000. This only applies to individuals under 65 unless the work test has been satisfied. For those aged under 65 there is also the ability to bring forward two future years of caps into the current year, resulting in a maximum cap of $450,000. Tax Rates for High Income Earners For those with an adjusted taxable income of over $300,000, super contributions will be taxed at 30% rather than 15%. There are still significant tax savings to be made as this is still much lower than the top marginal tax rate of 46.5%. Super Contributions Tax Rebate for Low-Income Earners The low-income earners rebate provides workers with an adjusted taxable income of less than $37,000 with a superannuation contribution tax rebate of up to $500. This is to compensate them for paying a higher tax rate in their superfund than as an individual. We note that the government plans to scrap this rebate. SUPERANNUATION BEWARE OF EXCEEDING CONTRIBUTIONS LIMITS With contribution caps being reduced it is much easier for people to accidentally exceed these caps and be stung by a large tax bill. If you exceed your concessional contributions cap you will be required to pay an additional 31.5% tax on top of the 15% already paid by the superfund. If you exceed the non-concessional cap you will be taxed at 46.5% on any excess, and if you exceed your concessional cap, the excess also gets counted towards the nonconcessional contributions caps and can result in a tax rate as high as 93%. Example: Fred Bloggs (aged 65) makes concessional contributions of $45,000 in 2014 ($10,000 above the cap) and $150,000 in non-concessional contributions. The tax Fred is required to pay is: Normal super tax $45,000 x 15% $6,750 Excess Concessional Contributions Tax $10,000 x 31.5% $3,150 As mentioned above, the excess ($10,000) also counts towards his nonconcessional contributions cap, meaning he has made $160,000 in nonconcessional contributions. Excess Non-Concessional Contributions Tax $10,000 x 46.5% $4,650 Total Tax $14,550 Fred has effectively paid a tax rate of 93% on his excess contributions of $10,000. This excess contribution has cost him $9,300 leaving only $700 in super. If he was taxed on this in his own name it would has resulted in a maximum tax payable of $4, // KEN*NOTES // AUTUMN 2014

7 SUPERANNUATION Fortunately, there are now a few strategies available to avoid these excess contributions taxes as detailed below: Once off-refund of excess concessional contributions If you exceeded your cap in the 2013 tax year you are able to apply for a refund of the excess contribution made into your superannuation fund. This refund can only be done ONCE and only up to a limit of $10,000. The refund will still be taxed, but only at your marginal tax rate plus an interest charge rather than up to 93%. From 1 July 2014 the excess concessional contribution will automatically be added back to an individual s personal tax return and assessed at their marginal tax rate. Contributions reserving Subject to the SMSF s trust deed, the alternate strategy is to park any June contribution into a reserve account within the fund. This means that any contribution received in June in one financial year in excess can be reserved for 28 days and the excess will be counted towards the contribution cap in the subsequent financial year. It is worth noting that the contribution is assessable for tax purposes in the year paid into the fund at 15%. As for contribution cap purposes, it counts in the year in which it is allocated. This is quite a complex strategy and can only be applied in specific circumstances. For further information please do not hesitate to contact Elijah Fieg at this office. SUPERANNUATION FOR EMPLOYERS The superannuation guarantee has now risen to 9.25%. All employers should check that they are paying super at this new rate as stiff penalties may apply for not paying the correct amounts. All employees should also check that their employer is paying the correct rate so that they are not missing out on their entitlements. The super guarantee is scheduled to rise to 9.5% on 1 July 2014 and progressively rise to 12% by 1 July We note that the government plans to defer the next increase by two years. SUPERSTREAM Superstream is a new initiative which aims to standardise superannuation payments and reporting. Employers with more than 20 employees must apply the standards from 1 July For businesses with fewer than 20 employees, the compulsory application is deferred to 1 July To comply with superstream, employers will need to make all super payments electronically and send details of the payment transaction to the superfund. Most software packages will be sending out an update prior to 30 June 2014 that will enable reporting of the correct data. We do note that the payroll upgrades may not be compatible with older versions of software and as such you may need to upgrade your payroll software. As an alternative to software, employers can use a clearing house, where an employer makes a single payment a provider (the clearing house) who then distributes the payment to the individual superfunds. For businesses (fewer than 20 employees) there is a free clearing house through the Department of Human Services. Other employers should contact their default superannuation provider as many will provide this clearing house service free of charge. Should you require any further information, please do not hesitate to contact Elijah Fieg of this office. 7 // KEN*NOTES // AUTUMN 2014

8 DO YOU NEED TO CHANGE ACCOUNTING SYSTEMS? The well known brands MYOB and QuickBooks are market leaders in providing accounting software for (most) small businesses in Australia. However, these entry level solutions find it difficult to scale upwards to suit growing businesses. Research has shown that growing businesses sometimes prolong their move to more suitable software, which in turn encourages ongoing duplication of work and numerous workarounds. If you re currently using MYOB or QuickBooks, and all or some of the points below sound familiar, then it could be time to review where you re at. Poor Reporting. Need operational functionality including Manufacturing, Job Costing or Service Management. Use of multiple spreadsheets to maintain information perform critical business functions. Custom developed in-house systems that link in to their back-end systems. Poor Inventory Management. Old Technology. Software is more than 20 years old and becoming unstable on modern technology platforms. The business has expanded and now needs divisional reporting Can t do internet transactions such as electronic banking or online orders. Kennedy & Co have collaborated with Accounting,ERP and Payroll software specialists PBT to offer a free 1 hour consultation to review your current system and highlight any alternatives that may be available.. If you are unsure, complete the Online Business Software Health Check and someone from Kennedy & Co will contact you. THE EVOLVING WORLD OF TRUSTS The laws involving the taxation of trusts, and in particular discretionary trusts, have been undergoing substantial legislative changes and Taxation Commissioner Interpretations within the last few years. What needs to be done before 30 June? All trustees of discretionary trusts who should distribute income by way of a resolution must do so by the end of the income year (being 30 June). This resolution will determine who is assessed on the trust s distributable income for income tax purposes. Trustees need to review their 2013/14 estimated distributable income and determine which beneficiaries will be receiving a distribution from the trust and what portion of the trust s income each beneficiary will be presently entitled to by 30 June Trustee resolutions are commonly prepared as minutes of a meeting. The ATO s position is that trustee resolutions must be completed by 30 June. While the ATO position may be subject to interpretation, the prudent approach is to ensure that resolutions are recorded in writing before 30 June or earlier if your deed says so, to avoid any potential issues arising. 8 // KEN*NOTES // AUTUMN 2014

9 THE EVOLVING WORLD OF TRUSTS Distributing to Minors It is important to note that the effective tax free threshold for minors (including offsets) is only $416, so there is less scope to include minors in the distributions was previously the case. In addition, distributing to minors may create several risks that you may not have considered. The first risk is an over distribution risk as any distribution over the $416 will be taxed at 46.5%. If an income tax amendment is required depending on the terms of the deed the amendment may be applied proportionately, increasing the minor s taxable income. This may push them over $416 threshold. In addition, distributing to minors effectively provides the minor with an asset. Upon attaining age 18 the minor is legally able to call upon the amount or future spouses of your children may seek to claim significant balances in matrimonial settlements. This risk can be mitigated by applying school fees and the relevant costs against the loan account. The past practice of having children gift the loan account to their parents may not be effective and may pose a tax avoidance risk. Should your current Trust Deed be amended? The need to vary a Trust Deed may be dependent on: Clauses within the current deed Does it provide a streaming provision? Does it allow for amendments to the deed? Does it define income and capital? the types of income receipts received by the trust; and the tax status of beneficiaries. The need to review your deed is also dependent upon the type of income that the trust generates. If you have any of the following circumstances it is important to seek our advice: A negatively geared investment property is sold in the current year; You have a significant capital gain; You wish to stream classes of income to certain beneficiaries. Streaming is specifically allocating a class of income, for example distributing franked income to individual one and capital gain to individual two; If the income generated by the trust is significant; or If you wish to distribute income to a minor. The use of corporate beneficiaries Tax Ruling 2010/3 Income tax: Division 7A loans: trust entitlements has dramatically reduced a trusts ability to distribute income to a company. Historically the company may not have called upon its beneficiary entitlement and the trust would be able to invest the income or use in part of its operations. The tax ruling provides the commissioner s views on the circumstances where a private company has a present entitlement with a trust and the Division 7A consequence of that loan. If an amount is distributed to a corporate beneficiary it must be put on commercial terms or be repaid prior to the lodgement of the following years company income tax return. If the amount isn t repaid or put on commercial terms prior to this date a deemed dividend results. A deemed dividend is an unfranked dividend to the shareholder. Please contact us should this be relevant to your circumstances. 9 // KEN*NOTES // AUTUMN 2014

10 140 Greenhill Road, Unley South Australia 5061 T: // F: // E: EXPERT PANEL WITH PROPERTY PROFESSIONALS FREE EXPERT ADVICE Do you have questions about property? Are you bored searching the internet to find differing opinions? Tired of sitting through seminars? The property professionals, comprised of an accountant, mortgage broker & property planner, property lecturer and property investor & manager, are the perfect solution to answer all your property related questions. Get answers from the people you can trust with the Property Expert Panel. Whether you re considering investing in a property, have just started to dabble with investment properties, or you have a large successful portfolio, this is your opportunity to question people with the expertise and know-how to answer your questions. This free Kennedy & Co run seminar will be held at the Adelaide Meeting and Conference Centre 180 Port Road Hindmarsh on 6 May 2014 from pm. To register please call Michelle Hogg on or kennedy.com.au Registrations close on 28 April KENNEDY ARTS FOUNDATION KENNEDY ARTS PRIZE LAUNCH AND FUNDRAISER To help launch the Kennedy Prize, a new $25,000 art prize for Beauty, nearly 100 business executives, guests and volunteers filled the brand new arts space at Stomping Ground Studios and enthusiastically joined in the fundraising activities whilst enjoying Mitolo wines and Coopers beer. In the spirit of art creation guests took photos on their smart phones which were digitally printed at the venue for a mini art prize. Over 50 people entered the competition with some fantastic photos, including entries from the strong Kennedy & Co. contingent that came along in support. Just over $5,000 was raised on the night through the kind and generous support of our guests. The Kennedy Arts Foundation would like to thank Kennedy & Co for all their support and in particular Antoinette Tatarelli, Nicole Peterson, Linda Ciampa, Stephanie Musolino, Carmen Connelly and Trudy Cornish who volunteered throughout the evening providing much needed and appreciated help. To see photos of the launch and the artworks created by our guests visit our website at or our facebook page at JARGON BOX MAKING SENSE OF YOUR ABC S IN BUSINESS ATO Australian Taxation Office CGT Capital Gains Tax ETP Employment Termination Payments FBT Fringe Benefit Tax ASIC Australian Securities & Investment Comm PAYG Pay As You Go SGC Super Guarantee Contributions TFN Tax File Number PLEASE NOTE This newsletter is for the general information and exclusive benefit of clients and associates of Kennedy & Co. It contains brief comments not intended to be the basis for decision making nor to be taken as a substitute for specific advice. Please contact Kennedy & Co to discuss any matters that may be relevant to your individual situation. 10 // KEN*NOTES // AUTUMN 2014 All Rights Reserved. E&OE Kennedy & Co 2014

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