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What is Cyber Insurance? 

Contact Sean Kenny to find out how Cyber Insurance can help protect your business from the costs associated with a data breach or malicious action. (posted 20/8/2020)

WorkCover releases important information on legislative amendments effective 1 July 2020 (posted 20/7/2020)

New ATO Home Office Guidelines (posted 8/4/2020)

The ATO has announced a temporary simplified short cut method claim for individual taxpayers working from home due to the Coronavirus pandemic. The NTAA has kindly provided this helpful summary.

ATO and TPB announce crackdown on COVID-19 tax rorts (posted 7/4/2020) 

TPB board member Debra Anderson has said that a rule of thumb is that if a business owner was seeking to change something they would normally do in order to obtain the stimulus, then they were doing the wrong thing. She went on to say that those trying to work around the system to obtain extra payments will not 'outsmart' the Tax Office because of the data analytics systems in place. Teams at the TPB and the ATO have been set up to look specifically at stand-out data.

Fairwork Australia's Coronavirus and Workplace Laws - guidance (posted 3/4/2020)

Modern Awards to be varied in response to the COVID-19 crisis - quick summary (posted 2/4/2020)

Do you have a Discretionary Trust? Does it hold residential land in NSW? 

Well, if it does you may need to review and amend the Trust Deed to accommodate proposed changes.

The State Revenue Further Amendment Bill 2019 (NSW) was introduced before the NSW Parliament on October 22, seeking to amend legislation relating to duties and land tax. So what?

Well, if you have a discretionary trust and you're located outside NSW, under the Duties Act 1997 and the Land Tax Act 1956 (NSW) a foreign trustee will be liable to pay a surcharge transfer duty and surcharge land tax on the acquisition and holding of residential land owned by the trust for which it is trustee in NSW.

These proposed changes specify that the trustee of a discretionary trust is taken to be a foreign trustee, unless the trust prevents a foreign person from being a beneficiary of the trust. A discretionary trust is taken to have done this if:

  • no potential beneficiary of the trust is a foreign person (the no foreign beneficiary requirement); and
  • the terms of the trust are not capable of amendment in a manner that would result in there being a potential beneficiary of the trust who is a foreign person (the no amendment requirement).

So what does all that mean?

It means that a discretionary trust deed that complies with the requirements will be exempt from (or may be entitled to a refund of) purchaser duty and surcharge land tax payable in respect of residential land acquired or held by the trust.

The NSW OSR's interpretation of compliance is yet to be seen, but there are transitional arrangements for trust deeds amended BEFORE 31 December 2019. Therefore it's recommended that discretionary trusts that hold or intend to hold, residential land in NSW conduct an immediate review of the trust deed.

Information kindly provided by ACIS.

published 19/11/2019

Claiming Kilometres using a logbook ... close enough is not good enough ... so rules the ATO

A recent case between a taxpayer and the ATO has highlighted the importance of completing a logbook correctly if you want to claim deductions for car expenses using the logbook method. 

The logbook method is used by those who claim more than 5000 business kilometres - under that, the simpler method to use is the cents-per-km method.

So, if you want your logbook to be considered valid by the ATO make sure that:

  • you show the date the journey began and ended 
  • you show the odometer readings at the start and end of the journey
  • you accurately record the number of kilometres travelled.

Further, for the first year in which you're claiming car expenses, the logbook must be meticulously kept for a continuous 12-week period.

So, once again, the importance of accurate and careful record keeping is highlighted!

Reid v Commissioner of Taxation [2019] AATA 4624 (12 November 2019) 

published 19/11/2019

REMINDER from the ATO - new thresholds now apply for study or training loans (STSL)

If you have an employee who has indicated they have a study or training loan on their Tax file number declaration or Withholding declaration form, you may need to withhold an extra amount from their pay to cover compulsory repayments at the end of the financial year.

Further to our BLOG back in July, please be advised that the ATO has issued a reminder to employers that  from 1 July 2019, the new minimum repayment threshold is $45,881. This means that employees who have previously earned below the threshold may now need to make compulsory payments for the first time.

Be sure to let your employees know they need to declare their study or training loan to avoid bill shock at the end of the financial year. This could mean that your existing employees may need to complete a new Tax file number declaration or Withholding declaration form to ensure they have answered to the study or training loan question correctly. 

published 28/8/2019

Stay Smart Online Issues a warning about tax time myGov and ATO scams .... again

Tax time is here, and with that comes a surge in scammers impersonating trusted brands like myGov or the ATO - with the goal being to trick you into giving them money or almost worse still, your personal details. These scams can come through as emails, text message and fake myGov login pages.

Usually these scams will say you're entitled to a tax refund or that you need to pay a debt. They are also made to look very real through the sophisticated use of myGov and ATO logos, information and even email addresses which makes it easy for anyone to fall victim.

In June 2019, the ATO received 6,444 reports of tax-time scams that impersonated the ATO. Emails with links to fake myGov login pages were the biggest email scam in that month.

The rollout of Single Touch Payroll (STP) has meant that many more people would have set up myGov accounts in recent times (in order to access their income statements - which have replaced payment summaries), so we all need to be alert and switched on to these scammers and their capers.

Visit Staysmartonline for more tips to stay safe online this tax time.

MAJOR ATO system outage 

The ATO's online systems experienced an unplanned outage on Tuesday morning (4/6/2019), with its tax professionals portals, online service for agents, PLS service, and superannuation services all going down.

The ATO has  advised that practitioners will not need to seek deferrals for the late lodgement or payment on 5 June as a result of the outage.

Update: The ATO has since restored all online services as of Wednesday morning. Agents will not need to seek deferrals if they are unable to meet the 5 June finalisation date for Income Tax Lodgement as a result of yesterday's disruption. 

posted 5/6/2019

Get Set for EOFY 2019

Things to think about:

  • QBOMYOB and XERO have all prepared EOFY/Small business Checklists to help clients prepare for and process EOFY matters - and finalise payroll;
  • Be sure of your rental property claims and check if unsure because the ATO is auditing and has found that 9 out of 10 claims have been wrong; and
  • The ATO has ramped up their data matching program so be careful with claims and make sure you declare income from the sharing economy(car sharing etc).

posted 5/6/2019

Tax scammers are active - StaySmartOnline has issued an urgent warning

Scammers are sending pre-recorded messages from what appear to be legitimate ATO numbers (this is called spoofing) claiming that you have a debt with the ATO, and if you don't call to arrange payment, a warrant for your arrest will be issued.

Don't be fooled by this scam. A legitimate ATO call will always appear as a private number – and the ATO never uses pre-recorded messages. Further, they will never threaten arrest or demand immediate payment.

We ask you to stay vigilant and never provide any personal details to someone who's called you.

If you receive a pre-recorded message claiming to be from the ATO …Hang up. 

If you have any concerns about the authenticity of the contact, call the ATO's official scam line on 1800 008 540. For more information about these threat-based scams, visit StaySmartOnline.

posted 4/4/2019

Extended Liability for SGC, PAYGW and GST - what you need to know

The government has progressed legislation which will extend the penalties and enforcement measures applying to SGC, PAYGW and GST – including imprisonment!

For full details click here, but the amendments highlight the need for company directors to ensure their current and future assets are protected if the ATO were to make a claim against them personally.

posted 28/3/2019

 

Compulsory Two-Step Authentication is here!

2SA UPDATE

Starting 10/10/2018, XERO has advised that they will be informing all remaining customers who are invited into an AU Xero file and have not yet enabled 2SA that:

  • from Tuesday 16/10/2018 they will see a screen that prompts them to set up 2SA;
  • on a rolling basis, between Tuesday 30/10/2018 and Friday 23/11/2018, 2SA will become compulsory on logins - in accordance with the mandatory requirement from the ATO.

Whilst 2SA can feel like an annoying measure, keeping up with best-practice security is a vital part of staying safe and responsible in business.  Nearly all data breaches start with compromised passwords, and cyber attacks & hacking attempts on small business are a sad reality these days.

XERO has a 2SA home page where you can find information and videos on how to set up 2SA - including video instructions for iPhone, Android and desktop. Posted 9/10/2018


From 11/9/2018, XERO has advised that they will be enforcing 2SA as part of their commitment to security and in support of tighter requirements and recommendations from the Australian Tax Office. To assists its users, Xero has established a range of resources to explain the importance of 2SA and help make set up simple - see here for more. MYOB, too, is enforcing 2SA on its software logins and their information can be accessed at MYOB 2FA.

StaySmartOnline recommends using 2FA wherever possible and AppleID and social media platforms such as Facebook are also encouraging its use.

The Turn It On website provides details on which websites and apps offer the option to use 2FA and gives instructions on how to set it up. Posted 20/9/2018


My Health Record
This year, you will get a My Health Record unless you opt out. The opt out period is from 16 July 2018 to 15 October 2018. It is interesting to note in the My Health Records Legislation who the System Operator is authorised to disclose My Health Record information to. 


Single Touch Payroll
For some quick and easy information, ADP (a large payroll service provider) has a dedicated site with resources available to view here. posted 8/8/2018


 

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