One of the largest claims made by business and by employees for that matter is the use of a vehicle for business or work related purposes. Much of the claim relates to depreciation on the cost of the vehicle. As technology continues to advance and with data sharing amongst authorities becoming more prevalent, the ATO together with each of the State motor vehicle registry departments have announced that they have developed a data matching program to assess the overall taxation compliance of individuals and businesses when buying or selling vehicles.
Details will be requested by the ATO from the States when a vehicle has been transferred or has been newly registered and where the purchase or transfer price exceeds $10,000.
This data is going to allow the ATO to do a range of compliance audits on taxpayers in relation to Fringe Benefits Tax, fuel scheme claims as well as legal ownership of vehicles impacting the entitlement to make a claim for a tax deduction or under declaring income if a vehicle is sold. The ATO advised in their press release that they anticipate this will impact around 2 Million taxpayers per year that acquire or transfer vehicles.
The takeaway this week is to ensure that if you are purchasing, selling or having a vehicle transferred for business or work related purposes that you ensure the correct entity is the registered owner of the vehicle and that any cost base used for making a claim uses the true cost of the vehicle adjusted for the luxury car tax limit or that the selling price is accurately recorded with any GST correctly accounted for.
1 July Employers with less than 20 employees should start transition to Single Touch Payroll (STP)
Single Touch Payroll (STP) is a new way of reporting tax and super information to the ATO.
If you are using a solution that offers STP reporting, such as payroll or accounting software, you will send your employees’ tax and super information to the ATO each time you run your payroll and pay your employees.
The information is sent to the ATO either directly from your software, or through a third party – such as a sending service provider.
If you have a software provider, they can tell you more about the type of STP solution they offer. For a list of available STP solutions visit the //api.gov.au/productregister/
The Government’s proposed Superannuation Guarantee (SG)
Amnesty will not proceed. To recap, the SG amnesty was to be available for the
12-month period from 24 May 2018 to 23 May 2019. To get the benefits of the
Amnesty (set out below) employers must have during this 12-month period
voluntarily disclosed any SG underpayments that existed in the past (going as
far back to when SG commenced in 1992). For an employer, the tax benefits of
the amnesty were:
* The administration component of the SG
Charge (SGG) would not be payable (this is a $20 per employee, per quarter, for
whom there is an SG Shortfall)
* Part 7 penalties would not be applied. This
can be up to 200% of the SG Charge that is payable (note that SG Charge
includes the SG Shortfall that is owed to employees)
* All catch-up payments made during the
12-month amnesty period were to be tax deductible.
By contrast, under the current law, when SG has been
underpaid or paid late, the SG Charge that must paid to the ATO is not
deductible, and late contributions that an employer has made to an employee’s
superannuation fund and has elected to offset against their SG Charge liability
are also not deductible.
With Parliament having been prorogued for the Federal
Election, the legislation to enact the Amnesty (which is opposed by the Labor
Party) will not pass into law. Therefore, employers who disclosed SG shortfalls
during the Amnesty period will be subject to the current law and not enjoy the
Amnesty concessions, irrespective of any assurances offered by ATO employees at
the time employers made disclosures. The ATO have however indicated that it
will exercise its discretion and not apply Part 7 penalties to these employers.
The Part 7 penalties aspect of the SG Charge regime did not require a change to
legislation as the discretion to waive penalties already sits with the ATO.Going forward, with super funds now reporting to
the ATO more regularly (at least once per month), we would strongly urge all
employers to pay SG on time and in full by the quarterly cut-off dates
In the Budget on Tuesday, the Government announced that
it would increase the instant asset write-off threshold to $30,000 and extend
it to medium sized businesses (those with an aggregated annual turnover of less
than $50 million).
This, and the earlier change announced in January (to
extend the write-off threshold to $25,000) passed both Houses of Parliament
yesterday and is now law (subject to the formality of Royal Assent).
The amendments mean there will be three tiers in the
2018/2019 financial year:
threshold for depreciable assets that are acquired and installed ready for use
before 29 January 2019. Only available for businesses with an aggregated
turnover less than $10 million.
2. $25,000 threshold for assets first used or
installed between 29 January 2019 and 2 April 2019. Only available for
businesses with an aggregated turnover less than $10 million.
threshold for assets first used and installed after the 2 April budget
announcement and before 1 July 2020. Available for businesses with a turnover
of less than $50 million.
Going forward, all businesses with a turnover under $50
million are now eligible for a write-off of $30,000. This will be available
under 30 June 2020.
To get the taxation benefit of this in the current financial year, you will need to have the asset installed ready for use on or before 30 June 2019.
Following is a brief summary of some of the headline Budget measures.
Asset Write-Off Boosted and Expanded – Two key changes have been made:
o The write-off
has been extended to medium-sized businesses (those with an aggregated annual
turnover of less than $50 million.
o The threshold
has been increased to $30,000.
Therefore, subject to legislation, businesses with an
aggregated turnover of less than $50 million will be able to immediately deduct
purchases of eligible assets costing less than $30,000 that are purchased and
then first used, or installed ready for use, from Budget night (2 April 2019)
to 30 June 2020.
on Unpaid Tax and Super by Larger Businesses – The Government will provide more
than $40 million to the ATO to recover unpaid tax and Superannuation Guarantee
owed by larger businesses.
Strengthening ABN Rules – This measure imposes new compliance
obligations on ABN holders to retain their ABN. From 1 July 2021, ABN holders
with an income tax return obligation will be required to lodge their income tax
return and from 1 July 2022 confirm the accuracy of their details on the
Australian Business Register annually.
Sham Contracting – The Government will provide more than $9 million to
establish a dedicated unit within the Fair Work Ombudsman to address sham
contracting. This is where employers seek to avoid statutory obligations and
employment entitlements (such as paid leave and superannuation) by
misrepresenting employer/employee relationships as independent contracts.
PERSONAL TAX CHANGES
Tax Cuts by Increasing Tax Offset – Subject to the passage of legislation, tax
relief will be granted to individuals via the non-refundable low and middle
income tax offset (LMITO). The LIMTO will increase from a current maximum of
$530 per year to $1,080. Further, the base rate will increase from $200 to $255
per year for 2018/2019 through to 2021/2022. Depending on your level of income,
the changes will benefit individuals as follows:
o The LMITO will
now provide a reduction in tax of up to $255 for taxpayers with a taxable income
of $37,000 or less.
taxable incomes of $37,000 and $48,000, the value of the offset will increase
at a rate of 7.5 cents per dollar to the maximum offset of $1,080.
o Taxpayers with
taxable incomes between $48,000 and $90,000 will be eligible for the maximum
offset of $1,080.
o For taxable
incomes of $90,000 to $126,000 the offset will phase out at a rate of 3 cents
The LMITO will be enjoyed straight after individuals
lodge their income tax returns for the above years.
Tax Cuts via Rate and Threshold Changes – The following changes are slated for
future income years:
o From 1 July
2022, an increase to the top threshold of the 19% personal income tax bracket
from$41,000 to $45,000.
o From 1 July
2022, an increase in the low income tax offset (LITO) from $645to $700.
Deductible Gift Recipients (DGRs) Approved – The following organisations have
been granted DGR status from 1 July 2019 to 30 June 2024: Australian Academy of
Law, China Matters Limited, Foundation Broken Hill Limited, Motherless
Daughters Australia Limited, Superannuation Consumers Centre Limited, and The
Headstone Project (Tasmania) Incorporated. The Government will also establish a
deductible gift recipient (DGR) general category to enable Men’s Sheds and
Women’s Sheds to access DGR status from 1 July 2020.
* Removal of Work Test for Certain Taxpayers –
The current superannuation work test will be removed for people aged 65 and 66
from 1 July 2020.
* Extending Eligibility for the Bring-Forward
Cap – From 1 July 2020, access to the bring-forward cap will be extended from
taxpayers aged less than 65 years of age to those aged 65 and 66.
* Increase to Age Limit for Spouse
Contributions – The age limit for spouse contributions will increase from 69 to
75 from 1 July 2020.
The first sitting of Parliament for 2019 wrapped up last week. While legislation to extend the Single Touch Payroll reporting regime to all employers passed into law (just awaiting Royal Assent), there are a couple of other measures that remain unlegislated which could impact your business. With the full Parliament only expected to sit for three more days (April 2 – 4) until an Election is called, there are now serious doubts surrounding whether these measures will pass into law. In view of this, we put forward the following suggested approach in the meantime:
The legislation to enact this measure is still before the Senate. To recap, the Superannuation Guarantee Amnesty was to be available for the 12-month period from 24 May 2018 to 23 May 2019. To get the benefits of the Amnesty (set out below) employers must during this 12-month period voluntarily disclose any Superannuation Guarantee underpayments that exist in the past (going back to when Superannuation Guarantee commenced in 1992).
For an employer, the tax benefits of the Amnesty are:
* The administration component of the Superannuation Guarantee Charge (SGG) is not payable (this is a $20 per employee, per quarter, for whom there is an SG Shortfall)
* Part 7 penalties will not be applied. This can be up to 200% of the SG Charge that is payable (note that SG Charge includes the SG Shortfall that you owe to employees)
* All catch-up payments that you make during the 12-month Amnesty period will be tax deductible.
By contrast, under the current law, when superannuation has been underpaid or paid late Superannuation Guarantee Charge that must paid to the ATO is not deductible, and late contributions that an employer has made to an employee’s superannuation and has elected to offset against their SG Charge liability are also not deductible.
If an employer is contemplating disclosing past superannuation shortfalls specifically to get the benefits of the Amnesty (including claiming a deduction for your late contributions) then it may be prudent to hold off until such time that the Amnesty actually becomes law (if at all). We will keep you apprised of the passage of the legislation through Parliament. However, with only a few sitting days remaining for this Parliament, and with the Opposition opposed to this measure, there are serious doubts about it becoming law.
Irrespective of the Amnesty however, all employers should consider coming forward to disclose and pay past shortfalls to get their Superannuation Guarantee affairs in order. The Government is committing more resources to this area – including requiring Superannuation Funds to report more regularly to the ATO (at least once each month) – therefore non-complying employers may be more easily detected going forward.
Enhancing the Instant Asset Write-Off
Legislation to expand and extend the Small Business Instant Asset Write-Off is still before the House of Representatives. This Bill seeks to extend the write-off by 12 months until 30 June 2020 (currently set to expire on 30 June 2019) and increase the threshold by $5,000 to $25,000; with the increase backdated to 29 January 2019. If passed into law, this would mean that there would be two thresholds for 2018/2019 as follows:
* $20,000 (for assets installed ready for use between 1 July 2018 and 28 January 2019), and
* $25,000 (for assets installed ready for use between 29 January 2019 and 30 June 2019.
Irrespective of the whether the legislation passes into law, it is important to have perspective. You are only getting back the tax rate on the asset, not the full value of the asset. This is the same as the old law where the write-off threshold was $1,000 You don’t get any extra cash than you would otherwise have received under the old rules – you simply get it sooner. Consequently, you should not let tax distort or blur your commercial instincts – as you don’t get any extra cash than you would otherwise have under the old rules, you should continue to only buy assets that fit within your business plan.
Smaller employers (those with 19 or less employees) must commence reporting via Single Touch Payroll (STP) from 1 July 2019 after legislation passed Parliament this morning (12/02/2019).
The STP regime revolutionises the way employers report payroll information to the ATO. In essence, STP is a new reporting mechanism whereby employers report employee payments (such as salary and wages, allowances etc.) and PAYG withholding to the ATO directly through their STP solution (e.g. upgraded Standard Business Reporting-enabled software) at the same time they pay their employees. To be clear, no additional reporting is required – just a new method of reporting.
Standard business reporting-enabled software (SBR-enabled software) is essential to reporting under STP. Employers must adopt an STP solution by the due date. Solutions will vary depending on an employer’s current payroll processes.
Accountant or Bookkeeper – Employers who use an Accountant or Bookkeeper to process their pays will simply rely on them to provide an STP solution (SBR-enabled software) by the deadline. Even where an Accountant or Bookkeeper does not process employer payroll, employers may turn to them for advice around how they can become STP-compliant.
Software Upgrades – If an employer uses commercial payroll software, then they should contact their software provider as the deadline nears and ensure that they offer an updated Standard Business Reporting-enabled version of the software. Major software houses have this software available.
In-House Method – If an employer uses an in-house method of payroll or manual method (such as paying employees by EFT and manually providing them with pay-slips and Payment Summaries)…then they will likely need to adopt STP-compliant payroll software. Such employers may lean heavily on their Bookkeeper or Accountant when installing this software, and may need upfront training. Alternatively, they may choose to outsource their payroll to a payroll service provider such as a payroll bureau, or an Accountant or Bookkeeper.
The ATO is acknowledging that there are a significant number of smaller employers who do not use any type of payroll software when processing the pays each week/fortnight etc. Consequently, micro businesses (employers with 1 to 4 employees) will not be required to adopt/buy payroll software in order to comply with Single Touch Payroll (STP) reporting. Whilst for most employers their STP solution will be adopting STP-compliant software, micro-businesses will according to the ATO be provided with different STP compliance options. Speaking on a recent ATO webcast, ATO Assistant Commissioner, John Shepherd confirmed this:
“You won’t need to buy payroll software, that’s why we’re looking for those alternate solutions- some of which might be an app, something that’s fit for purpose to get the STP information in but is easy to use, doesn’t take much time and doesn’t cost that business money to do so ,” said Mr Shepherd.
“We’ve spoken to some different banks and the possibilities around as people pay staff through internet banking being able to submit the single touch pay run information at the same time and we expect that to be part of the list of options that come forward over the next 12 months.
“There are obviously lots of other benefits from using payroll software but we’re not saying for STP that you need to go out and buy a product to do STP.”
MYOB and Xero and other major software houses have already developed these low cost STP-solutions for micro-business. You should contact your Accountant or Bookkeeper for further guidance in this area.
The extension of the $20,000 instant asset Write-Off has now been passsed into law.
PASSED In the May 2018 Federal Budget the Government announced an extension to the Small Business Instant Asset Write-Off that was originally introduced from 1 July 2015. Under the Budget announcement, the Write -Off was to be extended until 30 June 2019 (it was to expire 30 June 2018). On 12 September 2018, The Treasury Laws Amendment (Accelerated Depreciation for SmallBusiness Entities) Bill 2018 was passed by the Parliament into law to give effect to this 12-month extension.
More info? In our exclusive Members Area, watch the Webinar on Instant Asset Write-off (under the useful links tab) and read the full article in your November/December 2018 Bi-Monthly Newsletter, page 15.
NOT a member? Join today for exclusive access to articles, webinars, videos & publications on Saving Tax! Call today on 1800savetax (1800 728 3829) for a special offer for first time subscribers. //mytaxsavers.com.au/what-do-i-get/
This allows taxpayers who are not in business or are a Small Business Entity (SBE) (turnover of less that $10 million) to immediately deduct certain expenses relating to the proposed structure or operation of a business. The expenses must relate to a business that is proposed to be carried on, including certain Government fees and charges and costs associated with raising capital, where these expenses would otherwise be deductible over five years. Eligible expenses generally fall into two categories:
Expenditure on advice or services relating to the structure or operation of the proposed business.
Payments to Australian Government agencies.
Allowing SBE’s to deduct their start-up expenditure in the year it is incurred provides them with a cash-flow benefit. The deductions are brought forward rather than spread out over a number of years. Cash-flow is one of the main killers of start-up businesses.
TAX TIP Given that the threshold increase is backdated to 1 July 2016, if your business incurred these expenses but failed to claim them in full in the 2016/2017 tax return, you may wish to amend that return.
Subscribers – for the full article on all SBE Opportunities please log-in to your Members Area, July/August Newsletter, page 17. Not a Subscriber? Call us on 0755264933 and we can set you up!