National minimum wage increased by 3.3% to $18.29 per hour.

Fair Work announces significant changes for casual workers.

New Departing Australia Tax implemented from 1 July 2017.

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A Video Update from
Bryant & Bryant

ATO Tax Deduction Warning

It’s that time of the year again where businesses and individuals around the country send off their tax returns, and this year, the ATO has warned businesses and individuals not to rort the work-related deductions system. The ATO will be using real-time data to compare each individual claim against others in their profession and income bracket, to identify higher than normal claims for travel, internet, and self-education expenses. If you’re unsure about what you can claim this tax-time, arrange an appointment with us.

 Upcoming Key Dates

14 August
Lodge PAYG withholding payment summary annual report for large withholders whose annual withholding is greater than $1 million and payers who have no tax agent or BAS agent involved in preparing the report.
21 August
Lodge and pay July 2017 monthly activity statement.
25 August
Lodge and pay quarter 4, 2016–17 activity statement – if you lodge electronically.
28 August
Lodge and pay quarter 4, 2016–17 superannuation guarantee charge statement – quarterly if the employer did not pay enough contributions on time. Employers who lodge a superannuation guarantee charge statement  quarterly can choose to offset contributions they paid late to a fund against their super guarantee charge for the quarter. They still have to pay the remaining super guarantee charge. Note: The super guarantee charge is not tax deductible. Lodge Taxable payments annual report – building and construction industry.
21 September
Lodge and pay August 2017 monthly activity statement.
30 September
Lodge PAYG withholding payment summary annual report if prepared by a BAS agent or tax agent. If a payer has only closely held payees and their tax agent helps prepare their report, they may be eligible for a concession to lodge this report by the due date of their tax return. Lodge Annual TFN withholding report 2017 if a trustee of a closely held trust has been required to withhold amounts from payments to beneficiaries.

Watch Out for Tax Time Scams

The ATO is warning people to be on the lookout for increasingly sophisticated scammers who are imitating genuine ATO phone numbers to catch people out. According to the ATO, 48,084 scams were reported between July and October last year. Already this year, the tax office has received more than 17,000 scam reports, with 113 Australians handing over $1.5 million to scammers. If you receive an email or an automated phone call that seems suspicious, call the ATO immediately to find out if it’s genuine or not.

Australia’s New “Netflix Tax”

Australians have started paying more for their home entertainment, apps, video games, e-books and software, with the introduction of the GST to digital downloads. Consumers who enjoy services such as Netflix, Google Android apps and Amazon e-books are likely to feel the pinch as these companies raise their prices to cover the tax boost.

New Departing Australia Superannuation Payment Tax Rate For Working Holiday Makers

A new Departing Australia Superannuation Payment tax rate was introduced and implemented on 1 July for Working Holiday Makers. The new tax means businesses will need to identify whether a staff member was a Working Holiday Maker when processing the application. If a payment is made on or after 1 July and includes amounts attributable to super contributions made while the member held a Working Holiday Maker visa, you'll have to apply the Departing Australia Superannuation Payment Working Holiday Maker tax rate of 65 percent. If this sounds like something that might affect your business, speak with us!

Contractor or Employee?

The difference between a contractor and an employee is not always clear cut. The courts and tax office take a number of factors into account when determining the actual status, such as hours worked, superannuation, method of payment and leave to name a few. Any written agreement stating the nature of the relationship is certainly relevant, but it’s not conclusive, and should not be relied solely upon. Both employers and contractors need to be fully aware of their situation as serious penalties are involved with sham contracting arrangements. Find out more here.

"Holiday home" included in tax concession test

A taxpayer company has been unsuccessful before the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) in a claim to secure the capital gains tax (CGT) concessions for small businesses.

In this case, the AAT affirmed the Commissioner's decision that the taxpayer did not satisfy the "maximum net asset value" test for the purposes of qualifying for the concessions. The AAT found that the individual who controlled the company could not exclude from the test his interest in a Queensland property, which he claimed was used for "personal use and enjoyment".

TIP: The small business CGT concessions are intended to offer small business taxpayers a range of unique tax concessions. However, despite being targeted towards taxpayers who typically have less complicated affairs, the rules are riddled with complexities that may not appear obvious at first glance.

Each concession has its own particular rules. However, there are two basic conditions for the relief - either the taxpayer is a small business entity (SBE) or is a partner of a partnership that is an SBE, or the taxpayer satisfies the maximum net asset value test. If you have any questions, please contact our office.

Small business benchmarks catch out florist

The AAT has recently dismissed an appeal by a florist against the Tax Commissioner's decision to issue income tax and GST assessments following an ATO audit of her florist business.

The taxpayer had reported that the cost of goods sold in her business represented 83% of her reported business income. The ATO had selected the taxpayer for audit because this figure was outside what it considered to be the industry benchmark range of between 44% and 54%.

In this case, the taxpayer was unable, due to a lack of evidence, to prove to the AAT that the assessments were excessive.

TIP: The Tax Commissioner has warned that businesses operating outside the relevant benchmarks could be subject to ATO review and/or audit, and where the businesses do not have adequate records to substantiate their performance, the ATO will make a default assessment using the appropriate small business benchmark.

Businesses may want to consider reviewing their record-keeping practices and assess whether they are at risk of an audit. Please contact our office for further information.

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