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Boosts for small business technology investment and skills and training.

Corporate regulator cracks down on unlicensed advisers.

Scammers targeting victims through money recovery scams.


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A Video Update from
Letizia Palmer

Corporate Regulator Cracks Down on Unlicensed Advisers

ASIC has cracked down on unlicensed financial advisers on social media, known as 'finfluencers '. These social media content creators are followed by roughly one third of young people on social media, and they often discuss money, budgeting, and investing, without holding a financial services licence.
 
ASIC has now released guidelines that make it clear that unlicensed finfluencers could face five years' jail time or fines of more than $1 million if they talk about stocks, investment funds, or financial products.
 
The guidelines also ban unlicensed finfluencers from sending followers to financial products for the purpose of trading.
 
Finfluencers cannot rely on disclaimers on posts, or an exemption that applies to media commentators. Greg Yanco, Australian Securities and Investments Commission's executive director of market supervision, said that “safe areas of providing information are about what is a share, and what are the different types of investments you can make."
 
Cryptocurrency isn’t covered on the new guidelines, as cryptocurrency is an unregulated and unregistered financial product. This means social media users need to be aware of "pump and dump" crypto scams on social media, where someone artificially inflates the share price of a stock or cryptocurrency by talking it up in order to increase trading. Once the price increases, scammers then sell the shares at an inflated price.

Upcoming Key Dates

15 May
 
Lodge 2021 tax returns for all entities that did not have to lodge earlier (including all remaining consolidated groups), and are not eligible for the 5 June concession.
 
Due date for companies and super funds to pay if required.
 
Note: Individuals and trusts in this category pay as advised on their notice of assessment.
 
21 May
 
Lodge and pay April 2022 monthly business activity statement.
Final date to add new FBT clients to your client list to ensure they receive the lodgment and payment concessions for their fringe benefits tax returns.
 
Lodge and pay Fringe benefits tax annual return if lodging by paper.
 
26 May
 
Lodge and pay eligible quarter 3, 2021–22 activity statements if you or your client have elected to receive and lodge electronically.
 
28 May
 
Lodge and pay quarter 3, 2021–22 Superannuation guarantee charge statement - quarterly (NAT 9599) 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.
 
5 June
 
Lodge tax return for all entities with a lodgment due date of 15 May 2022 if the tax return is not required earlier and both of the following criteria are met:
non-taxable or a credit assessment in latest year lodged
non-taxable or receiving a credit assessment in the current year.
 
Note: This includes companies and super funds but excludes large/medium taxpayers and head companies of consolidated groups.
 
Lodge tax returns due for individuals and trusts with a lodgment due date of 15 May 2022 provided they also pay any liability due by this date.
 
Note: This is not a lodgment due date but a concessional arrangement where failure to lodge on time (FTL) penalties will not apply if you lodge and pay by this date.
 
21 June
 
Lodge and pay May 2022 monthly business activity statement.
 
25 June
 
Lodge and pay 2022 Fringe benefits tax annual return for tax agents if lodging electronically.
 
30 June
 
Super guarantee contributions must be paid by this date to qualify for a tax deduction in the 2021–22 financial year.
 
Note: If any of your clients receive Child Care Subsidy and Family Tax Benefit payments from Services Australia, the client and their partners must lodge their 2020–21 tax return by 30 June 2022, regardless of any deferrals in place. See Services AustraliaExternal Link for more information.

Boosts for Small Business Technology Investment and Skills and Training

As part of the 2022–23 Budget, the Australian Government announced it will support small business through new measures in technology investment and training.
 
Firstly, small businesses will be able to deduct an additional 20% of the cost incurred on business expenses and depreciating assets that support their digital adoption, such as portable payment devices, cyber security systems, or subscriptions to cloud based services.
 
An annual $100,000 cap will apply to each qualifying income year. Businesses can continue to deduct expenditure over $100,000 under existing law.
 
This measure will apply to expenditure incurred in the period commencing from 7:30pm AEDT 29 March 2022, until 30 June 2023.
 
Small businesses will also be able to deduct an additional 20% of expenditure incurred on eligible training courses provided to employees. This measure will apply to expenditure incurred in the period commencing from 7:30pm AEDT 29 March 2022, until 30 June 2024.
 
For assistance with claiming either the technology investment or training expenditure boost, arrange an appointment with one of our advisors.   


Scammers Targeting Victims Through Money Recovery Scams

There has been a recent spike in reports of money recovery scams, so Scamwatch has warned people to be aware of uninvited offers of help to recover money for an up-front payment.
 
These scams target people who have already lost money to a previous scam by promising to help victims recover their losses after paying a fee in advance. Australians have lost over $270,000 to these scams so far this year.
 
Scammers target previous scam victims and pose as a trusted organisation such as a law firm, fraud taskforce, or government agency. They may have official looking websites and use fake testimonials from other victims they have ‘helped’.
 
As well as an up-front payment, victims are often asked to fill out fake paperwork or provide identity documents. Scammers may also request remote access to computers or smart phones.
 
Another tactic being used by scammers is to contact people by phone or email who haven’t actually been a victim of a scam, and convince them that they’ve unknowingly been involved in one and are entitled to a settlement refund.
 
The ACCC advises that if you receive one of these calls or emails out of the blue, either hang up the phone or delete the email and ignore any further contact.

Super to Cover More Employees

From 1 July 2022, employers will need to pay super to employees who earn less than $450 per month, provided they meet other eligibility requirements. This change expands super guarantee eligibility so employees can receive super regardless of how much they earn.
 
1 July 2022 is just around the corner, so make sure your payroll and accounting systems have been updated so you can correctly calculate your employees' super guarantee payments. Your digital service provider may be able to assist with further information on how and when they will implement software changes to reflect the new requirements.

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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Disclaimer: This is not advice. Information provided in this bulletin may be in the form of summaries and generalisations - it may omit detail that could be significant in a particular context or to your personal circumstances. You should not act solely on the basis of material contained in this bulletin. Before you start any transactions, you should obtain appropriate professional advice relevant to your particular circumstances. Links to third-party websites are inserted for your convenience, but do not constitute endorsement of material at those sites or any associated product or service. Changes in legislation may occur quickly and we therefore recommend that our formal advice be sought before acting in any of the areas. The information in this bulletin is provided on the basis that all persons accessing the bulletin undertake responsibility for assessing the relevance and accuracy of its content.

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