23rd Sep, 2023
Movement may be afoot on the complex issue of individual tax residency in Australia. In 2019, the Board of Taxation released a report which contained a proposed model for modernising individual residency. The new framework was designed to simplify the tax system and reduce compliance costs for individuals and employers.
The model proposed uses a two-step approach of primary tests and secondary tests. Apart from the government official test, which would replace the Commonwealth superannuation test, the main primary “bright line” test will be the 183-day test, in which a person who is physically present in Australia for 183 days or more in any income year would be considered an Australian tax resident.
One of the secondary tests proposed would require an individual to be physically present in Australia for a minimum of 45 days in an income year before commencing residency, or a maximum of 45 days in an income year before ceasing residency. However, due to various global factors (eg the COVID-19 pandemic), the government is seeking views on whether this 45-day threshold is still appropriate and whether there are any circumstances where days spent in Australia should be disregarded for this threshold.
In addition to the 45-day threshold, the proposed secondary test includes the factor test, which focuses on four specific types of connection an individual may have to Australia. Any individual whose circumstances meet any of the four factors will be deemed to have a stronger connection to Australian than someone who does not.
The Federal Government is now soliciting public feedback on the proposed model before making a decision about whether to proceed with the changes.
23rd Jul, 2023
As the financial year draws to a close, it’s time to start thinking about whether your year-end tax planning is in order. Tax planning requires consideringyour income and deductions for the whole financial year, as well as you’ve met your obligations – for example, whether you’ve made tax-related elections on time and prepared other appropriate documentation and records. Here are some key considerations for this tax time.
The shortcut method of claiming a rate of 80 cents per hour worked from home is no longer available – the measure was temporarily introduced during the COVID-19 pandemic and ended on 30 June 2022.
Instead, you can now claim deductions using the revised fixed-rate method, at a rate of 67 cents per hour, as long as you incur deductible expenses while genuinely carrying out work from home, and keep appropriate records, like timesheets for your work hours and receipts for the expenses.
If your work from home doesn’t meet these conditions, you won’t be able to rely on the fixed-rate method and will need to calculate and apportion the actual expenses. You can also simply choose the actual expenses method if it suits your situation better.
The fixed-rate method covers work-related costs like electricity/gas, stationery, your mobile/landline phone and internet. If you use the fixed-rate method you can’t also claim additional deductions for any of these categories. Depreciation of furniture and equipment (eg if you buy a desk, computer and printer for work) may be calculated separately (and in addition) to the fixed rate.
The ATO has flagged rental properties and holiday homes as an area of particular focus for this 30 June.
It’s important to remember that the ATO receives information from sources like sharing economy platforms, rental bond agencies and state and territory revenue authorities that enables it to detect under-reporting of income and inappropriate deduction claims.
The immediate deduction for the cost of eligible depreciating business assets that has been available under the temporary full expensing concession since 2020 is coming to an end. To access the concession, your business must use the depreciating asset or have it installed ready for use by 30 June 2023.
From 1 July 2023, an immediate deduction will only be available to small business entities (with aggregated turnover less than $10 million) for assets costing less than $20,000.
Subject to certain rules being satisfied, corporate tax entities may be entitled to claim a refundable tax offset by carrying back a tax loss arising in the 2022–2023 income year to one or more of the four previous income years (that is, as far back as 2018–2019).
For an employer to be entitled to a deduction for superannuation contributions, the contribution must be received by the fund on or before 30 June. The super guarantee contribution rate increased to 10.5% of an employee’s ordinary time earnings from 1 July 2022.
Individuals wishing to claim a deduction for personal contributions must provide their fund with a notice of intention to claim a deduction and have that acknowledged by the fund before the earlier of the day the individual’s tax return is lodged and 30 June of the next income tax year.
01st May, 2022
FBT is generally seen as a relatively slow-moving and quiet area of tax law. But Budget day this year saw some movement at the FBT station, specifically regarding COVID-19 tests provided to staff, and also car parking benefits.
The 2022–2023 Federal Budget included a measure, now passed into law, to make costs for taking a COVID-19 test to attend their workplace tax-deductible for individuals from 1 July 2021.
COVID-19 tests, including rapid antigen tests (RATs), provided by employers to employees are considered benefits under the FBT regime.
However, by allowing for an individual tax deduction, the new measure also allows for the operation of the “otherwise deductible” rule to reduce the taxable value of the benefit to zero. The result? By introducing a specific individual income tax deduction, employers would also not have to pay FBT.
Neat solution. Well, apart from the catch: employeelevel declarations could be required when the provision of a RAT is a property fringe benefit (that is, legal ownership of the item passes from the employer to the employee).
Where a RAT is provided as an expense reimbursement or residual benefit, an employer-level declaration is available (that is, one declaration signed by the public officer on behalf of each employing entity lodging an FBT return to declare that there is no private use).
In case collecting hundreds or thousands of employeelevel paper declarations is not how you’d like to spend
your time, we see three options at this stage:
As a reminder:
The scope of the term “commercial parking station” is therefore fundamental to determining if an employer has taxable car parking benefits.
Broadly, a commercial parking station is one where car parking spaces are, for payment of a fee, available in the ordinary course of business to members of the public for all-day parking.
The ATO issued a ruling in 2021 that no longer applied the interpretation that car parking facilities with a purpose other than providing all-day parking (usually charging significantly higher rates) are not commercial parking stations. This was to apply from 1 April 2022.
In effect, this would bring facilities like shopping centre car parks and hospital car parks into the definition of a “commercial parking station”. For employers with only that type of parking within a one-kilometre radius, the consequences were significant, potentially bringing previously non-taxable employer-provided car parking within the scope of FBT.
The Federal Government has announced it will be undertaking consultation with the intent of restoring the previously understood application of FBT to car parking fringe benefits, which is closer to the original policy intent of the car parking FBT provisions. The readjusted definition would then apply from 1 April 2022 instead.
01st May, 2022
Because of the financial impacts of COVID-19, trustees of a self managed superannuation fund(SMSF), or a related party of the fund, may provide or accept certain types of relief, which may give rise to contraventions of the super laws. Some trustees may also have been stranded overseas because of travel bans, which can affect their fund’s residency status.
In recognition of these issues, the ATO is offering support and relief to SMSF trustees for the 2019–2020, 2020–2021 and 2021–2022 income years.
This generally includes not taking any compliance action against an SMSF and not requiring the SMSF auditor to report related contraventions in the following areas:
14th Apr, 2022
The availability of temporary full expensing of depreciating assets for business has been extended for another year until 30 June 2023. This measure was originally introduced in 2020 as a part of the Federal Government’s COVID-19 business rescue package, aimed at encouraging business investment by providing a cash flow benefit. As originally introduced, the measure was due to end on 30 June 2022.
Businesses with an aggregated turnover below $5 billion or those that meet an alternative eligibility test can deduct the full cost of eligible depreciating assets of any value that are first held and first used or installed ready for use for a taxable purpose from 6 October 2020 until 30 June 2023.
For small business entities with an aggregated turnover of less than $10 million, the temporary full expensing of depreciating asset rules has been effectively replaced with simplified depreciation rules for any assets first held and used or installed ready for use for a taxable purpose between 6 October 2020 and 30 June 2023. This means that the full cost of eligible depreciating assets, as well as costs of improvements to existing eligible depreciating assets, can be fully deducted.
Not all costs relating to assets qualify for temporary full expensing. For example, building and other capital works, as well as software development pools do not generally qualify. Second-hand assets that would otherwise meet the eligibility conditions also do not qualify for temporary full expensing if the entity that holds them has an aggregated turnover of $50 million or more.
Special rules also apply to cars, where the temporary full expensing is limited to the business portion of the car limit.
31st Mar, 2022
The Government announced two support measures for small businesses (aggregated annual turnover less than $50 million) in the form of a 20% uplift of the amount deductible for expenditure incurred on external training courses and digital technology.
External training courses
An eligible business will be able to deduct an additional 20% of expenditure incurred on external training courses provided to its employees. The training course must be provided to employees in Australia or online, and delivered by entities registered in Australia.
Some exclusions will apply, such as for in-house or on- the-job training.
The boost will apply to eligible expenditure incurred from 7:30 pm (AEDT) on 29 March 2022 until 30 June 2024.
The boost for eligible expenditure incurred by 30 June 2022 will be claimed in tax returns for the following income year. The boost for eligible expenditure incurred between 1 July 2022 and 30 June 2024, will be included in the income year in which the expenditure is incurred.
An eligible business will be able to deduct an additional 20% of the cost incurred on business expenses and depreciating assets that support its digital adoption, such as portable payment devices, cyber security systems or subscriptions to cloud-based services.
An annual cap will apply in each qualifying income year so that expenditure up to $100,000 will be eligible for the boost.
The boost will apply to eligible expenditure incurred from 7:30 pm (AEDT) on 29 March 2022 until 30 June 2023.
The boost for eligible expenditure incurred by 30 June 2022 will be claimed in tax returns for the following income year. The boost for eligible expenditure incurred between 1 July 2022 and 30 June 2023 will be included in the income year in which the expenditure is incurred.
The Budget papers confirm the Treasurer’s earlier announcement that companies will be allowed to choose to have their PAYG instalments calculated based on current financial performance, extracted from business accounting software (with some tax adjustments).
The commencement date is “subject to advice from software providers about their capacity to deliver”. It is anticipated that systems will be in place by 31 December 2023, with the measure to commence on 1 January 2024, for application to periods starting on or after that date. There are no details yet as to what tax adjustments will be required (although presumably this will involve a reverse, modified form of tax effect accounting).
The Budget papers confirm the Treasurer’s earlier announcement that the GDP uplift factor for PAYG and GST instalments will be set at 2% for the 2022–2023 income year. The papers state that this uplift factor is lower than the 10% that would have applied under the statutory formula.
The 2% GDP uplift rate will apply to small to medium enterprises eligible to use the relevant instalment methods (up to $10 million annual aggregated turnover for GST instalments and $50 million annual aggregated turnover for PAYG instalments) in respect of instalments that relate to the 2022–2023 income year and fall due after the enabling legislation receives assent.
The Government has extended the measure which enables payments from certain state and territory COVID-19 business support programs to be made non-assessable, non-exempt (NANE) income for income tax purposes until 30 June 2022. This measure was originally announced on 13 September 2020.
Consistent with this, the Government has made the following state and territory grant programs eligible for this treatment since the 2021–2022 Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook:
The changes are part of an ongoing series of announcements which will continue to have effect until 30 June 2022.