Tampon Tax to be axed

The AFCA opens for business

Government proposes changes to working holiday visas

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Tampon Tax To Be Axed

Tampons and sanitary pads will no longer attract the 10% consumption tax, after Australia’s treasurers unanimously agreed to remove the feminine hygiene products from the G.S.T. legislation.  This change follows an almost two-decade push to remove the G.S.T. from the items, after they were controversially included in the 1999 Howard government decision to introduce a goods and service tax to Australia.  While this move is expected to cost around $30 million annually, it removes what many see as an unfair penalty on women, when condoms and lubricants had always been exempt from G.S.T.  This long-awaited change is expected to come into place in January 2019.


December 2018
1 December
Pay income tax for taxable large/medium taxpayers, companies and super funds. Lodgment of return is due 15 January 2019.
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 2019.
Pay income tax for companies and super funds when lodgment of the tax return was due 31 October 2018.

21 December
Lodge and pay November 2018 monthly business activity statement.
January 2018
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 2018 – for companies and super funds
For trusts – as stated on their notice of assessment.

Note: You cannot request an agent assessed deferral from this date or assume a later date for lodgment on the basis that the taxpayer will be non-taxable in the current year.
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 2018.

21 January

Lodge and pay quarter 2, 2018–19 PAYG instalment activity statement for head companies of consolidated groups.
Lodge and pay December 2018 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, 2018–19 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 2019.

Note: The super guarantee charge is not tax deductible.

31 January
Lodge TFN report for closely held trusts if any beneficiary quoted their TFN to a trustee in quarter 2, 2018–19.

Casuals Can Apply For Permanent Positions

The Fair Work Commission has ruled that from October 1 2018, casual workers who are covered under the national system can ask their employers for permanent positions if they’ve worked in their job for 12 months or more.  This ruling only applies to casual workers who’ve worked regular hours for at least one year and ensures that their application for a permanent position is taken seriously by their employer.  The employer can still refuse this request but must have reasonable grounds for doing so.  This change has the potential to make a world of difference to many casual workers, regardless of the award they’re working under.

Australian Building Approval Falls Heavily

Australian building approvals slumped in August, declining by 9.4%, following a 4.6% fall in July.  There’s now little doubt that residential construction activity in the period ahead will be greatly reduced compared to the levels seen in recent years.  During August, approvals to build private sector homes fell 1.9% to 9,572 while those to build dwellings excluding houses — predominantly units — slumped by 17.2% to 6,788.  From a year earlier, approvals in both categories fell by 4.4% and 23.7% respectively.

Working Holiday Visa Changes

Backpackers will be able to stay in Australia for longer under changes the federal government is proposing in a bid to help our farmers.  Backpackers would be able to stay for up to three years from July 2019, rather than two, if they complete six months of regional work during their second year in the country. The proposed changes have been welcomed by industry leaders who say the new rules will make the Working Holiday Maker visa program more attractive by allowing visa holders to stay longer and have increased work flexibility. AUSVEG, the peak industry body for vegetable growers, has also praised the government for the changes which will help Australian growers manage their labour struggles.

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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