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The JobMaker Guide

Access the new Wright Partners JobMaker Guide to find out if you are eligible and how to apply.

31 December 2020 is the last day you can apply to access your superannuation early under the COVID-19 early access measures. The ATO has warned that those wanting to access their superannuation pre-Christmas will need to complete the application by 11 December 2020.

The ability to access up to $10,000 of your super is available to those that have been made redundant, have had their working hours reduced by more than 20%, and have been adversely financially impacted by COVID-19. If you are not in financial hardship you should not access your superannuation. The application process through myGov is a self-assessment process that you are responsible for. Penalties of up to $12,000 may apply for providing false or misleading information.

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Extended December JobKeeper Deadlines

The ATO has extended the JobKeeper monthly business declaration deadline for the month of December until 28 January 2021 (from 14 Jan 2021). This applies to the JobKeeper fortnights ending on 6 December 2020 and 20 December 2020.

The deadline for meeting the minimum wage condition for the JobKeeper fortnight ending on 3 January 2021 has been extended to Monday, 4 January 2021.

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2021 Risks & Opportunities

With the borders between the State and Territories all but open and 2021 in sight, there is a hunger for a return to 'normal'. The recent Westpac-Melbourne Institute Index of Consumer Sentiment articulates this desire to 'get on with things'; sentiment reached its highest level since November 2013 and Christmas spending is expected to be consistent with previous years.

However, the Reserve Bank of Australia cautions that the recovery will be uneven and drawn out and GDP is not expected to return to pre-pandemic levels until the end of 2021. The risks are not limited to the pandemic but Australia's geopolitical relationships, notably with our largest trading partner, China.

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APRA Reveals $34.4bn Super Early Release

Over $34.4bn has been released from Australian Superannuation Funds under the COVID-19 early release scheme, the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority revealed. The figures, which do not include self-managed super funds, show the deep impact of the scheme on superannuation balances. 3.3 million initial applications and 1.3 million subsequent applications were received by funds.

JobKeeper Clawback Begins

At the recent Senate Estimates hearing, Jeremy Hirschhorn, the ATO's Second Commissioner, stated that $120 million in JobKeeper payments had been clawed back from those either deliberately seeking to rort the system or who had made reckless mistakes. Mr Hirschhorn went on to say that there did not appear to be widespread fraud across the Government's stimulus measures and most mistakes were honest. In the cases identified so far, JobKeeper had not been clawed back from employers making honest mistakes but these employers were prevented from making future claims.

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Tax Table Reminder

The 2020-21 personal income tax cuts announced in the Federal are now law. Employers need to ensure that the tax withheld from employee salaries is correct. The ATO has published updated tax tables that apply from 13 October 2020. Employers have until 16 November 2020 to implement the changes.

Refunds for Tax Losses

If your company has made a loss, you may be able to claim a tax refund for tax previously paid on profits.

In the 2020-21 Federal Budget, the Government announced that businesses with turnover under $5bn* will be able to offset any losses made between 2019-20 and 2021-22 against previously taxed profits between 2018-19 and 2020-21.

The loss carry-back rules enable a company to offset tax losses against profits taxed in a previous year, generating a refundable tax offset. The amount carried back can be no more than the earlier taxed profits, limiting the refund to the company's tax liabilities in the profitable years. The company can choose to carry-back a loss or carry it forward. That is, tax losses for the 2019-20, 2020-21 or 2021-22 income years can either be:

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Tax Deductions for Investing in Your Business

Stimulating investment is high on the Government's agenda. To encourage spending, the 2020-21 Budget introduced a measure that allows businesses with turnover under $5bn* to immediately deduct the cost of new depreciable assets and the cost of improvements to existing assets in the first year of use. This means that an asset's cost will be fully deductible in the year it's installed ready for use, rather than being claimed over the asset's life. And, there is no cap on the cost of the asset.

When it comes to second-hand assets the rules are a bit different depending on the size of the business. Businesses with an aggregated turnover under $50 million can claim an immediate deduction for the cost of second-hand assets under the new measures.

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