Tag: Income Tax

The Tax Advantages of Superannuation

Superannuation is a concessionally taxed environment as follows  

* Superannuation earnings (such as interest, dividends, rent etc.) are taxed at 15% when your account is in accumulation mode (i.e. not in pension mode). These earnings are tax-free when your account is in pension mode. By contrast, investment earnings on assets (such as shares, property, term deposits etc.) held outside of superannuation are taxed at your marginal tax

* Capital gains made by superannuation funds are likewise taxed at 15% when your account is in accumulation mode. Where a CGT assets supports a pension, any capital gain made when those assets are sold is tax-free. Any capital gain made by your superannuation fund is reduced to 10% (a 33% discount) where that asset has been held for 12 months or more.  Although this is a lesser discount than the 50% discount available to trusts and individuals, this is negated by the base CGT superannuation taxation rate of 15%.

Therefore, as well as making provision for your retirement, by contributing to superannuation you can also enjoy the above tax concessions. From 1 July 2017 all individuals up to age 75 can claim an income tax deduction for personal superannuation contributions. Before this date, you could only claim a deduction for your personal contributions where less than 10% of your assessable income, your reportable fringe benefits and your reportable employer superannuation contributions (e.g. salary sacrifice contributions) for the year were from being an employee – this was known as the 10% Rule. This rule prevented most employees from claiming a tax deduction for this type of contribution. However, under the new rules, to claim a deduction, the following requirements must be met:

* Age – All individuals under the age of 65 are eligible. Those aged 65 to 74 meet the superannuation ‘work test’ (work for at least 40 hours in a period of not more than 30 consecutive days in the financial year in which you plan to make the contribution). For those aged 75, the contribution must be made no later than 28 days after the end of the month in which you turn 75. Older taxpayers are ineligible.

* Minors –  If the individual is under 18 at the end of the income year in which the contribution is made, they must derive income in that year from being an employee or carrying on a business.

* Complying Fund – The contribution must be made to a complying superannuation fund.

* Notice Requirements – To claim the deduction you must provide your superannuation fund with a Notice of intention to claim a deduction form before you lodge your tax return in respect of that financial year.

Superannuation is also a great asset protection strategy. If a person becomes bankrupt, they may lose most (or all) of their assets. However, the Bankruptcy Act provides that the interest of the bankrupt in a regulated superannuation fund at the time of the commencement of the bankruptcy is not ‘property’ that can vest in their trustee in bankruptcy to be divided among creditors. Furthermore, if the superannuation fund pays a lump sum to a bankrupt (though not a pension) after the date of the bankruptcy, this money is also not divisible among creditors.

 

PAYGW TAX VARIATION

We have all heard about businesses varying their PAYG instalments on their Activity Statement if their business and investment income for the current year is expected to be less than anticitpated. However, the opportunity also exists for salary and wage earners to vary downwards the amount of PAYG tax deducted by their employer each pay cycle. The main purpose of varying the rate or amount of PAYG withholding is to ensure that the amounts withheld during the income year better align with your year-end tax liability if you are a taxpayer who has significant deductible expenses throughout the year which may be the case for:  

  • Property owners who are hightly negatively geared; and
  • Taxpayers, such as salespeople, who have large travel expenses and other costs. 
By having less PAYG deducted, you are improving your cash flow. Rather than having to wait until year end to receive a sizeable tax refund, the refund is effectively flowing through to you in each pay cycle. You then have control over this money earlier than you otherwise would and can use it to invest or discharge your everyday expenses etc. If you think you may fall into this category of having large deductible expenses, then you should complete a PAYG withholding variation form which is availbale on the ATO website. http://www.ato.gove.au or consult your tax advisor. 

WARNING 
Before employing this strategy, be aware if the deductions you anticiapated having during the year do not materialise, or indeed, your untaxed income (such as rent, interest, dividends etc.) is higher than you anticipated for the year, you may end up with a tax bill when you lodge your return. 

Immediate Deduction for SBE Start-up Expenses

IMMEDIATE DEDUCTION FOR SBE START-UP EXPENSES

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.
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