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Convincing Commonwealth Bank scam scrapes victims’ card data

Australian wealth has grown since GFC, while Aussies suffer

Inexperience and the economy threaten SMSFs


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A Video Update from
Forrester Korfiatis

Is your payroll system compliant?

In the wake of recent wage theft scandals at Woolworths and Rockpool, it’s more important than ever to ensure your payroll system is compliant with up-to-date regulations.  For years, some of Australia’s largest companies, including Coles, McDonald’s and KFC paid their workforce below award rates – it’s estimated that more than 250,000 workers were underpaid billions.  The complexity of Australia’s workplace laws is partly to blame, according to the Business Council of Australia.  To navigate penalty rates, allowances, minimum wages, tax, superannuation, pay slips and more, visit fairwork.gov.au or speak to your accountant to ensure you’re compensating your staff and in compliance with the law.

UPCOMING KEY DATES

December 2019

1 December

Pay income tax for taxable large/medium taxpayers, companies and super funds. Lodgment of return is due 15 January 2020.

Pay income tax for the taxable head company of a consolidated group with a member deemed to be a large/medium taxpayer in the latest year lodged. Lodgment of return is due 15 January 2020.

Pay income tax for companies and super funds when lodgment of the tax return was due 31 October 2019.

21 December

Lodge and pay November 2019 monthly business activity statement.

January 2020

15 January
Lodge tax return for taxable large/medium entities as per the latest year lodged (all entities other than individuals), unless required earlier.

Payment for large/medium entities with a 15 January due date is: 1 December 2019 – for companies and super funds
For trusts – as stated on their notice of assessment.

Lodge tax return for the taxable head company of a consolidated group (including a new registrant) that has a member who has been deemed a large/medium entity in the latest year lodged, unless the return was required earlier. Payment was due 1 December 2019.

21 January

Lodge and pay quarter 2, 2019–20 PAYG instalment activity statement for head companies of consolidated groups.

Lodge and pay December 2019 monthly business activity statement except for business clients with up to $10 million turnover who report GST monthly and lodge electronically.

28 January

Make quarter 2, 2019–20 super guarantee contributions to funds by this date.

Employers who do not pay minimum super contributions for quarter 2 by this date must pay the super guarantee charge and lodge a Superannuation guarantee charge statement – quarterly (NAT 9599) by 28 February 2020.

31 January

Lodge TFN report for closely held trusts if any beneficiary quoted their TFN to a trustee in quarter 2, 2019–20.

Australian wealth has grown since GFC, but the average Aussie suffers

Over the past 12 years, Australia’s total wealth has grown by a total of approximately $4.2 billion, a jump of over 90 percent.  However, the average Australian’s wealth has diminished.  According to a recent study conducted by Roy Morgan, the median wealth adjusted for the consumer price index (CPI) has diminished by 2.2 percent.  The lowest 10%of Australians saw their total wealth increase by just 4% – from negative $20,000 to negative $19,000.  The top 10% of Australians now hold 47% of the country’s net wealth.  One of the reasons the wealthiest have seen their assets grow so much is because of population growth, and the associated flow of money into the property market, which is driving most of the increase in Australia’s wealth.

Convincing Commonwealth Bank scam scrapes victims’ card details

If you’re a Commonwealth Bank customer, be sure to thoroughly read any emails from the bank.  A new email scam has been sent to recipients from Commonwealth Bank Australia, and uses a series of safety features to steal data from users.  The body of the email says that “irregular activity” has been detected on their account and their account has been restricted, with a link provided to “restore access”.  The convincing landing page is branded with Commonwealth Bank’s logo and login-page layout.  If you receive this email, do not click on any links.  Delete the email immediately.  Your bank will always ask you to go to their website directly by typing their URL into your web browser address field, as a precautionary security measure.  To report a scam, or learn about other scams, visit scamwatch.gov.au.

New public holiday proposed for Australian mental health

A New South Wales-based consumer advisory group, Being, has called for a new public holiday to recognise sick days for mental health.  The WHO has officially named burnout an occupational syndrome, and ‘Presenteeism’ – where workers come into work despite feeling unwell, whether physically or mentally – costs the Australian economy more than $34 billion every year, according to the Centre for International Economics.  Being would like to see World Mental Health Day, which is on October 10, made a public holiday in Australia from 2020.  The mental health advisory group is also calling for workplaces to make policies that allow for workers to take mental health days off work any time of the year.  Hidden mental health episodes can become acute or chronic, sometimes leading to suicidal ideation and attempted or actual suicide.  According to the 2007 National Survey of Mental Health and Wellbeing, 45 percent of Australians will have a common mental disorder in their lifetime.

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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SYDNEY NSW 2000

Ph: +612 9231 5050


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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