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FBT Hot Spots

With the start of the Fringe Benefits Tax year looming on 1 April, businesses are being urged to review their Fringe Benefits Tax (FBT) position.

FBT liabilities can trap unwary businesses, some of whom don't recognise that there can be a tax consequence from providing benefits to staff such as entertainment.

It is important to understand there can be implications from seemingly straight-forward business activities across income tax and GST, as well as FBT.

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Surviving a Crisis: Coronavirus and Beyond

Empty restaurants and retail stores were one of the first signs of the devastating impact the coronavirus on Australian business.

Within a few months, the virus, now called COVID-19, has gone from being a largely unknown medical condition to one that threatens to impair Australian and global economic growth.

We explore the impact on business and the importance of planning for setbacks beyond your control.

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Client Cyber Alert

Client Cyber Alert

Avoiding Cyber Fraud

As society warms to the idea of online shopping, increased credit card use and internet banking, you may be aware that online hacking and fraud is on the increase. By following the steps below, you can help reduce your risk.

To Wright Partners.

If I provide instructions to Wright Partners to act for me, then: Read more…

ATO Targets ‘Lifestyle’ Assets

The ATO has requested insurance policy information from 30 insurers for lifestyle assets such as yachts, thoroughbred horses, and fine arts.

The review, expected to impact 350,000 taxpayers, reaches from the 2015-16 to 2019-20 financial years, revealing assets that previously may not have been disclosed or underreporting of income. "If a taxpayer is reporting a taxable income of $70,000 to us but we know they own a three million dollar yacht then this is likely to raise some red flags," Deputy Commissioner Deborah Jenkins said.

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Alerts to Protect SMSFs from Fraud

A new system alerting SMSF trustees of changes made to their SMSF will roll out this month. The ATO will alert trustees by text and/or email when changes are made to bank details, electronic service address of the fund, the authorised contact and members.

Trustees need to notify the ATO within 28 days of key changes to the fund including a change in trustees, directors of the corporate trustee, members, contact details, address and fund status.

Bushfire Support and Assistance

Ten million hectares, lives lost, wildlife on the brink, billions in lost revenue and clean-up costs. For many, returning life to normal is a long way off this summer. We summarise the help available to those impacted by the bushfires.

What we can do for you

If you are impacted by bushfires, we can help. Many will need to lodge economic loss claims to ensure that the true value of what they have lost is recognised. We will help with these claims pro-bono. And, of course, to work with the Australian Tax Office (ATO) on disaster relief requirements.

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Late last year, legislative changes were made that exclude non-residents from accessing the main residence exemption. The retrospective changes directly impact foreigners and expats whose main residence is in Australia or overseas. We explore the impact.

CGT and the main residence exemption

Capital gains tax (CGT) applies to gains you have made on the sale of capital assets. Unless an exemption or exclusion applies, or you can offset the tax against a capital loss, any gain you made on an asset is taxed at your marginal tax rate. The tax triggers when a 'CGT event' occurs. For residential property, the 'CGT event' is generally the date the contract is signed.

The main residence exemption prevents CGT applying to your family home (the home you treat as your main residence). If the home was your main residence for only part of the time you owned it, or if you use your home to produce income for example, you use part of the home as business premises or rent out part of the property), then a partial exemption may be available.

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The Super Guarantee Timing Trap for Employers

How employers are being caught out by the timing of superannuation guarantee payments.

Employers can generally only claim a deduction for superannuation contributions in the income year in which the contribution is made. Super contributions are made when the payments are received by the trustee of a complying superannuation fund.

It's not uncommon for employers to be caught out by timing problems, many in the belief that the contribution has been made at the point the payment is made rather than when it is credited to the superannuation fund provider's account. Many forms of electronic transfer however are not guaranteed to be automatic or next day. BPay for example may take up to 2 days, a delay that is often not factored in.

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Employees with multiple employers can now opt-out of superannuation guarantee from all but one employer.

Employers are required to pay 9.5% superannuation guarantee for all eligible employees. But what happens if you are an employee with multiple employers? Until recently, these compulsory payments meant some employees risked unintentionally breaching their concessional contributions caps. New laws however provide a potential solution.

Legislation that passed Parliament late last month allows an employee to apply to the Commissioner of Taxation for an employer shortfall exemption certificate to opt-out of the SG system for specific employers. This certificate prevents their employer from having a superannuation guarantee shortfall if they do not make superannuation contributions for the period covered by the certificate.

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Bushfire Relief from ATO Obligations

The ATO has provided relief from lodgement compliance and payment obligations for those impacted by the bushfires. An automatic two month deferral for activity statements lodgements and payments due has been provided to those in affected postcodes.

Taxpayers can also call the ATO directly to request further assistance, such as requesting extra time to manage tax debt or lodgements, help finding lost documentation such as Tax File Numbers, reconstructing tax documentation, fast tracking refunds, interest free periods, and remittance of penalties or interest charged during the crisis.

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