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October 9, 2019

Treasury Law Amendment for super measures moves forward

The Treasury Laws Amendment (2018 Superannuation Measures No.1) Bill 2019 has passed both Houses of Parliament and reached royal assent on 2 October 2019. First announced in the 2018-19 Budget, the Bill allows eligible individuals, whose income exceeds $263,157 and have multiple employers, to nominate wages from certain employers to not be subject to the superannuation guarantee (SG).

Individuals with more than one employer, who expect that their compulsory super contributions will exceed the annual concessional contributions cap for a financial year, will be able to apply for an exemption certificate to release some of their employers from their SG obligations. Individuals will still need to receive SG payments from at least one employer.

From 16 October 2019, eligible individuals will be able to download an application form from the ATO. The application will need to be submitted at least 60 days before the start of the quarter in which you wish to receive the exemption. The lodgment period for the quarter commencing 1 January 2020 has been extended. Applications lodged on or before 18 November 2019 will be accepted.

The application form provides the Commissioner of Taxation with the information required to make an assessment. This includes which employers the exemption certificate will apply to and the quarter in the financial year for which the exemption is sought. Exemption certificates may be issued for multiple quarters within a financial year but cannot cover more than one financial year. Employees will need to talk to their employers before making an application as this arrangement and any changes to payments will need to be negotiated.

Breaking down business industry codes

A business industry code (BIC) is a five-digit code you include on relevant tax returns and schedules that describes your main business activity. BICs come from the Australian and New Zealand Standard Industrial Classification (ANZSIC) codes and are added to by the Australian Tax Office (ATO) for tax return reporting purposes.

Employers must use the correct business industry code on their tax returns to ensure their return is lodged in the right category. Using the correct code for your business helps to reduce the risk of being incorrectly targeted for compliance activities, avoids processing delays and ensures employers receive services and information relevant to their business type.

The business industry code describes the main activity of the business. This can change over time if your business diversifies its products and services. The code is broken down into sections:

September 30, 2019

Consequences of late SMSF annual returns

From 1 October 2019, if an SMSF is more than two weeks overdue on any annual return lodgment due date and hasn’t requested a lodgment deferral, the ATO will change their status on Super Fund Lookup (SFLU) to ‘Regulation details removed’. This status will remain until any overdue lodgments have been brought up to date.

On the first business day of each month, the new process will update SFLU depending on the situation:

By having a status of ‘Regulation details removed’, APRA funds won’t roll over any member benefits to the SMSF and employers won’t make any super guarantee (SG) contribution payments for members of the SMSF. While the fund’s status is ‘Regulation details removed’, members should alert their employer to make any SG payments into the employer’s default super fund or a fund of the member’s choice.

SMSF trustees who don’t think they can meet lodgment requirements should call, before the due date, to seek a deferral to lodge.

Claiming travel expenses relating to rental properties

When making a claim in regards to your residential rental property, there are specific circumstances for when you can and cannot claim travel expenses. The law about claiming travel expenses for rental properties changed in July 2017. In the last year alone, the ATO received more than 70,000 incorrect claims for travel to and from residential rental properties.

A residential property is defined as land or a building that is either occupied as a residence or intended for and capable of being occupied as a residence. Owning one or several rental properties is not usually considered to be in the business of letting rental properties, with receiving income from letting property to a tenant being considered a form of investment rather than a business.

Entities that can claim travel expenses are:

For those who are eligible to claim travel expenses, claims can be made on the following:

September 24, 2019

Returning to work after accessing your super

Retirement isn’t necessarily a permanent thing as even the best-laid plans can collapse when circumstances change. The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) has found the most common reasons retirees return to employment are financial necessity and boredom. But what does this mean when you have already dipped into your superannuation funds? Depending on your circumstances, there are rules regarding how you can return to work after retirement.

For those who genuinely retired with no intention of ever returning to work but found that circumstances required them to, you can return provided that you work on a casual basis up to 10 hours per week. By meeting this requirement, you can still access your super whilst working, however, additional contributions made to your account after you met the definition of retirement will be preserved until you meet another condition of release.

In the event you access your super after an employment arrangement comes to an end once reaching age 60, you are able to work in a new position as soon as you like, provided the first arrangement ended. In this event, you will have access to the benefits that became available as a result of your first employment arrangement coming to an end.

When you turn 65, you don’t have to be retired or satisfy any special conditions to get full access to your super savings. This means you can continue working or return to work if you have previously retired, provided you complete the work test requirements before going back. If you return to work and earn more than $450 a month, your employer will be required to make superannuation contributions at the current rate of 9.5% until you reach age 75 where you can still work but receive no further super contributions, either voluntary or from your employer.

Are you meeting the Active Asset Test?

To qualify for small business CGT concessions, an asset must meet the conditions of the Active Asset Test to apply. An asset is considered active when you own it and it is used or held ready for use in relation to a business. You can also have an intangible active asset if it is inherently connected with a business you carry on.

An active asset of yours has been held for a certain amount of time, based on how long you have owned the asset and the test period to meet the requirements of the Active Asset Test. The test period begins when you acquired the asset, and ends at the earlier of

Assets owned for over 15 years need to have been held for at least 7.5 years within the test period and assets owned for 15 years or less need to have been held for at least half of the test period to satisfy requirements.

When the assets are shares or trusts, passing this basic active asset test is not enough to qualify for CGT concessions. In addition, the asset will need to pass a further test, called the 90% test, to determine whether it is to be counted as an active asset or not. The test is satisfied if CGT concession stakeholders in the company or trust in which the shares or interest are held have a total small business percentage in the entity claiming the concession of at least 90%.

The periods in which the asset is active does not have to be continuous, however, they must total the minimum periods specified. An asset does not need to be active just before the CGT event.

September 18, 2019

Super for different visas

Australian employers are required to pay super to their employees when they earn $450 a week or meet specific criteria based on age or industry. Employer requirements can get confusing however when dealing with international workers or sending employees overseas. Here are the requirements employers must follow when handling super payments to workers with different visas.

Temporary residents:
Temporary residents working in Australia may be eligible to receive super from their employer. Eligibility criteria are the same as it would be for a permanent Australian resident, you must be 18 years or older and have been paid $450 or more (before tax) in a month. Working holiday makers holding a 417 (Working Holiday), 462 (Work and Holiday) or an associated bridging visa can access the super paid as a departing Australia superannuation payment (DASP).

Employees working overseas:
For an Australian employee sent to work overseas, their employer must continue to pay super contributions in Australia for them. The other country may require the employer or employee to pay super there as well if Australia does not have a bilateral agreement with that country. To gain exemption from the super payment in the other country, the employer needs to show the authorities in the other country a certificate of coverage gained from the ATO.

New industries included under TPAR 

The taxable payment reporting system (TPRS) has extended to further businesses that provide particular services and those that pay contractors to provide the service. The extension was approved on 1 July 2019.

Road freight services, information technology services and security, surveillance and investigation services will now have to lodge taxable payments annual report (TPAR), even if those services only make up part of the business. Contractors can include subcontractors, consultants and independent contractors.

For these businesses, the first TPAR will be due on 28 August 2020. This will be for payments that have been made to contractors in the 2019–20 financial year for providing the relevant services. Business owners will now need to keep records of contractor payments made from 1 July 2019.

Exemptions from TPRS reporting obligations apply if payments received are less than 10% of the entity’s GST turnover in the following industries:

Businesses that are not required to lodge should complete a TPAR Not Required to Lodge form for the ATO to update their records, preventing any unnecessary follow up.

September 10, 2019

Salary sacrificing super

Contributing extra to your superannuation is a good way to boost your retirement funds. One of the ways you can add more to your super is through salary sacrificing. Salary sacrifice is an arrangement with your employer to forego part of your salary or wages in return for your employer providing benefits of a similar value, meaning your employer will redirect some of your salary or wages into your super fund instead of to you.

The salary sacrificed amounts count towards your concessional contributions cap, in addition to your employer’s compulsory contributions such as super guarantee payments and salary-sacrificed amounts sent by you to your employee’s super fund. The annual concessional contributions cap is $25,000 for everyone and these salary sacrifice contributions are taxed at a maximum rate of 15%. If you have more than one fund, all concessional contributions made to all of your funds are added together and counted towards the concessional contributions cap. Concessional contributions in excess of these caps are subject to extra tax.

Salary-sacrificed amounts are paid from pre-tax salary so they don’t count as non-concessional contributions and will not be considered a fringe benefit if the super contributions are made to a complying super fund. Individuals should also consider whether the amount sacrificed will attract Division 293 tax. This tax applies when you have an income and concessional super contributions of more than $250,000. Division 293 tax levies 15% tax on taxable contributions above this threshold.

What is a CGT event?

Capital Gains Tax (CGT) events occur when an individual or company makes a capital gain or capital loss by selling or disposing of an asset they own. The timing of a CGT event is quite important, as it determines which income year an individual will report the capital gain or capital loss, and may affect how their tax liability is calculated.

CGT events can happen when:

When a CGT asset is disposed of, the CGT event usually takes place when a contract for disposal is entered into or when an individual is no longer the owner of the asset. Cases where a CGT asset is lost or destroyed, the CGT event will happen when the owner of the asset receives compensation for the loss/destruction or when the loss is discovered/when the destruction happened.

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