16th Dec, 2021
The ATO has announced the extension of its Medicare exemption statement data-matching program. This program has been conducted for the last 12 years, and has now been extended to collect data for the 2021 through to 2023 financial years. It is estimated that information relating to approximately 100,000 individuals will be obtained each financial year.
If you live in Australia as an Australian citizen, a New Zealand citizen, an Australian permanent resident, an individual applying for permanent residency or a temporary resident covered by a ministerial order, then you are eligible to enrol in Medicare and receive healthcare benefits. However, this also means you need to pay Medicare levy at 2% of your taxable income to partly fund the federal scheme.
The Medicare exemption statement (MES) is a statement that outlines the period during a financial year that an individual was not eligible for Medicare. It can be obtained from Services Australia. Individuals who are not eligible for Medicare will then be exempt from paying the Medicare levy in their tax returns.
The information that will be obtained as part of the ATO’s extended data-matching program includes MES applicants’ identification details, entitlement status and approved entitlement period details.
In previous years of this data-matching program, the ATO was able to verify around 87% of the Medicare exemptions claimed in individual tax returns without needing to contact the taxpayers directly. However, the remaining 13% of taxpayers (around 11,000 individuals) who claimed Medicare exemptions were subjected to ATO review.
16th Dec, 2021
Recently, the ATO has noticed that some larger and wealthier businesses have mistakenly claimed small business capital gains tax (CGT) concessions when they weren’t entitled. By incorrectly applying the concessions, these businesses were able to either reduce or completely eliminate their capital gains. The ATO has urged all taxpayers that have applied the small business CGT concessions to check their eligibility. Primarily, this means that the business should meet the definition of a CGT small business entity or pass the maximum net asset value test.
Australia’s tax law provides four concessions to enable eligible small businesses to eliminate or at least reduce the capital gain on a CGT asset, provided certain conditions are met.
To be eligible to apply these CGT concessions, the business must have a maximum net asset value of less than $6 million. Failing that, the business must qualify as a “CGT small business entity”. That is, it must be carrying on a business, and have an aggregate turnover of less than $2 million.
The CGT asset that gives rise to the gain must be an active asset, which just means it is an asset used in carrying on a business by either you or a related entity. Shares in a company or trust interests in a trust can also qualify as active assets.
Once the basic conditions are satisfied, your small business can choose to apply one or all of the four CGT concessions provided the additional conditions to each concession is also met. Meeting all the conditions means that the concessions can be applied one after another, in some cases eliminating the entire capital gain.
16th Dec, 2021
The ATO has issued an alert warning taxpayers that it is investigating certain arrangements where entities on-sell luxury cars without remitting the requisite luxury car tax (LCT) amount.
Businesses and individuals who sell cars valued over a certain threshold (the luxury tax threshold) in the course of their business are subject to luxury car tax (LCT). This is a requirement if your business is registered or required to be registered for GST. LCT doesn’t just apply to instances where a dealer is selling a car to an individual or a business – it also applies in instances where a business sells or trades in a car that is a capital asset.
If you’re the seller of a luxury car, whether or not it’s within your usual course of business, you’re required to charge LCT to the recipient, report the associated LCT amount in your BAS and remit it to the ATO by your BAS payment date. You can’t legitimately avoid LCT by selling a luxury car to an employee, associate, or employee of your associate for less than market value, or by giving it away. The LCT value of the car in those situations will always be the GST-inclusive market value.
The ATO is currently investigating arrangements where a chain of entities that progressively on-sell luxury cars have improperly obtained LCT refunds and evaded remitting LCT. Usually, in this arrangement, one of the entities claims a refund of LCT while creating a consequential liability to another entity in the supply chain. One or more of the participating entities down the chain will then not correctly report and pay their LCT liabilities. Finally, these entities will be liquidated to thwart ATO compliance or recovery action.
These arrangements are concerning because they can result in luxury cars being sold without income tax and GST obligations being met. For example, luxury cars could be sold to end-users at more competitive prices with generally higher profit margins, disadvantaging legitimate businesses in the market that are meeting all their tax obligations.
16th Dec, 2021
Directors of corporate trustees of self managed superannuation funds (SMSFs) should be aware that the director identification regime is now in force. Depending on when you became a director, the deadline for application is either November 2022 or within 28 days of the appointment. The application process itself is easy and can be done online through the new Australian Business Registry Services (ABRS). Once you receive it, your 15-digit identification number will be permanently linked to you even if you change companies, stop being a director, change your name or move interstate or overseas.
The director ID regime was implemented as a way to prevent the use of false or fraudulent director identities, make it easier for external administrators and regulators to trace directors’ relationships with companies over time, and identify and eliminate director involvement in unlawful activity, such as illegal phoenix activity.
To apply for your director ID, you first need to set up myGovID, which is different to myGov. The myGovID is an app that you need to download onto your smart device and confirm your identity in using standard documents (drivers licence, passport, etc). You’ll then be able to log on to a range of government services, including the online director ID application with the ABRS.
To complete the director ID application, you need to provide additional information such as your tax file number (TFN), residential address, and/or details from two additional specified documents to verify your identity, such as: bank account details; ATO notice of assessment; super account details; a dividend statement; Centrelink payment summary; or PAYG payment summary.
Once you receive your director ID, you need to pass it onto the record-holder of the corporate trustee, which may be the company secretary, another director, a contact person or an authorised agent of the company.
If the corporate trustee changes or you become the director of another company, you will need to pass on this information to the new corporate trustee or the other company.
16th Nov, 2021
The ATO has recently issued an alert warning taxpayers against disguising undeclared foreign income as gifts or loans from related overseas entities, including family and friends. It says it has continued to encounter situations where Australian resident taxpayers have derived amounts of income or capital gains offshore that are assessable, but the taxpayers have failed to declare the amounts in their income tax returns.
The ATO will now be looking closely at arrangements where taxpayers are aware of their residency status and the tax implications that flow from it, but attempt to avoid or evade tax of their foreign assessable income by disguising amounts as either gifts or loans from a related overseas entity.
If family or friends who live overseas have provided a genuine monetary gift or loan to you or your business, you should keep as much supporting documentation as possible about it. This is because if there is any uncertainty about whether particular amounts are genuine gifts or loans, the ATO will form a view based on all of the available evidence.
Contemporaneous and complete records should include detailed financial records, full loan documentation, formal identification of the giver and any declarations they made about the money in their country of residence. A deed of gift or a statutory declaration may not be accepted as conclusive evidence.
Inheritances also count as “gifts”. If you receive an inheritance from overseas, a certified copy of the person’s will or a distribution statement for the estate should be a part of your recordkeeping.
16th Nov, 2021
A new data matching program designed to identify and address non-compliance with tax and super obligations is under way in relation to government payments for the 2018–2019 to 2022–2023 income years. It covers most services that the Commonwealth Government pays third-party program providers to deliver.
The ATO will obtain data from Comcare, the Department of Health, the National Disability Insurance Agency, the National Indigenous Australian Agency, the Department of Home Affairs, the Department of Veterans’ Affairs and the clean energy regulator. This will add to the information the ATO currently receives from government entities through the taxable payments annual report (TPAR).
This means that contractors, subcontractors and consultants in any type of business structure (sole trader, company, partnership or trust) that receive payments from government under these agencies’ programs may be subject to extra scrutiny.
It is estimated that 36,000 service providers will be captured under this program each financial year. Of that number, approximately 11,000 will be individuals and the rest will be companies, partnerships, trusts and government entities.
TIP: If you’re a service provider under one of the affected government programs, you should ensure you’re meeting all your registration and lodgment obligations. We can help review your records and correct any problems so you don’t get a surprise letter from the ATO.