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Business Tax Tips – Instant asset write off 2017 – $20,000 claim limit ends 30 June 2017

Business Tax Tips – Instant asset write off 2017 - $20,000 claim limit ends 30 June 2017

Instant asset write off 2017 – $20,000 claim limit ends 30 June 2017

If you are a small business (aggregated turnover of less than $2 million) contemplating buying machinery or equipment, be aware that these are final months of the $20,000 instant asset write-off 2017.

With a final date of 30 June 2017, you may consider bringing forward any planned asset investments to the next few months – particularly in this current low interest-rate environment.

The ATO says

Small businesses can immediately deduct assets costing less than $20,000 purchased since 7.30pm 12 May 2015.

You can use the new threshold amounts in claiming deductions in your 2015 and 2016 income tax returns.

The deduction is claimed in the income year in which the asset is first used or installed ready for use.

What’s changed?

The instant asset write-off threshold has increased to $20,000 (up from $1,000). This allows you to immediately deduct the business use portion of a depreciating asset that costs less than $20,000.

The changes apply

  • To assets acquired after 7.30pm on 12 May 2015 until 30 June 2017
  • On a per asset basis, so several assets each costing less than $20,000 would qualify
  • To new and second hand assets.

Assets that cost $20,000 or more (which can’t be immediately deducted) will continue to be deducted over time using a small business pool.

The low pool value threshold will also increase to $20,000. This means that an immediate deduction is available if the pool balance is less than $20,000 at the end of an income year.

What’s not included?

There are a small number of assets that aren’t eligible for accelerated depreciation, for example horticultural plants that have specialised depreciation rules.

Record keeping

Just like any other business asset, you’ll need to keep records to support any claims for a deduction.

Find out about:

Simplified depreciation for small business where we read –

You can choose to use the simplified depreciation rules if you have a small business with an aggregated annual turnover (the total normal income of your business and that of any associated businesses) of less than $2 million.

Under these rules, you:

  • Immediately write-off – deduct their full cost in the year you buy them – most depreciating assets that cost less than $20,000* each that were bought and used, or installed ready for use from 7.30pm (AEST) on 12 May 2015 until 30 June 2017
  • Pool most other depreciating assets that cost $20,000 or more in a small business asset pool and claim
  1. A 15% deduction in the first year (regardless of when you purchased or acquired them during the year)
  2. A 30% deduction each year after the first year
  • Write-off the balance of your small business pool at the end of an income year if the balance – before applying any other depreciation deduction – is less than $20,000.

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Business Finance 101 – What is the difference between Current and Non-Current Liabilities?

Business Finance 101 – What is the difference between Current and Non-Current Liabilities?

What is the difference between Current and Non-Current Liabilities?

Businesses have liabilities – payments that are to be paid soon or later (long term) they are divided into Current and Non-Current.

Current Liabilities are obligations due to be paid within 12 months or less of the date of a company’s balance sheet and will require the use of a current asset (eg money in bank) or will create another current liability if paid by debt or loan.

Current liabilities are usually listed in the following order:

  1. Credit cards and overdraft accounts, loans less than 12 months;
  2. Accounts payable (trade creditors);
  3. The remaining current liabilities such as payroll taxes payable, superannuation, income taxes payable, interest payable and other accrued expenses.

Often, all the parties who are owed current liabilities are called creditors. In special situations, a legal arrangement may be created that gives preference and then those parties are called secured creditors. The majority of creditors are known as unsecured.

Non-Current Liabilities are liabilities that are to be paid over more than 12 months – typically business or vehicle loans and financing such a Chattel Mortgage. Others include Long Service Leave Accruals, and Directors Loans.

Is the business solvent? One overall method that is used to determine if a business is trading in a solvent manner, is to check if the Current Assets are more than Current Liabilities. The amount of current liabilities is used in financial ratios – such as:

  • Working capital (current assets minus current liabilities) and the company’s;
  • Current ratio (current assets divided by current liabilities).

These give an indication of the company health.

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Cashflow Tips – How does Team-Building affect the Business Cashflow game?

Cashflow Tips – How does Team-Building affect the Business Cashflow game?

Cashflow Tips – How does Team-Building affect the Business Cashflow game?

Did you realise the effect of your team on your cashflow and profitability – and how team-building affects your business cashflow?

You know it when you get bad service from a business from a low-caring shop assistant – did you enjoy the experience so that you will go back? Unlikely!

YOUR team is an important, dynamic unit working together to achieve success in accomplishing a goal.

So – what determines how effectively a team will work together?

Lots of things. To create an autonomous, hard-working, high-producing group of individuals is challenging, and there are many factors that will influence your team’s success.

Here are 6 considerations to help you get started.

1-   Begin With the Right People

Know what you are looking for. When recruiting to your team, look for candidates who match your organizational culture. If you’re adding to an existing team, you might consider getting team members to help with the selection of a new recruit. While group cohesiveness has an effect on group performance, any group that works productively will suffer less turnover because they have enjoyed success. Look for people who will help to balance your team professionally.

2-   Be SMART About Goal-Setting

Without goals, teams are aimless. Prepare your team for success with a clear objective, and be sure to attach a value to the goal. Without seeing the value in the work they are doing, a team will lack the motivation to succeed. In goal-setting make your goal SMART:

  • Specific: Your goal must be well-defined so that the team’s direction is clear. Ask: Where do we want to end up? What steps will we need to take to get here?
  • Measurable: In order to measure their degree of success, a team needs precise objectives (amounts and dates). Be specific. If you describe your goal in general terms, such as “Increase sales” without indicating by how much or by when, it’s unlikely you’ll get the results you want.
  • Attainable: Be realistic. Aim too high (set a goal that your team has no hope of achieving) and you will only demoralize your team and eat away at their confidence. Make sure to state how and why you think a goal is attainable.
  • Relevant: Goals should be aligned with your vision of success, and relevant to the direction you want your team to take.
  • Time-Bound: Success will come that much quicker if you have a deadline.

Arrange to have your team revisit their goals regularly. The pursuit of achievement is ongoing, and reminders will help to keep things on track. Encourage open discussion about the team’s progress.

3-   Define Roles Clearly

Without goals, it’s impossible to establish meaningful, valuable roles for team members; in their absence, team member accountability becomes an issue, as do overlap and time-wasting. Clearly defined roles make it easier for each team member to set their own goals for accomplishing work effectively and for making a strong contribution to the larger goal. It is important that each team member accept the role and responsibilities of their own role, and those of their counterparts. You might consider explaining why each team member has been selected, so that their value to the team is clearly established. Clear roles help to:

  • Identify knowledge, skill and capability needed (helps you hire the right people)
  • Determine what resources and strategies are required for success and determines who will be sharing these (helps you get the proper tools to the right people)
  • Eliminate confusion, establish boundaries, and reduce overlap (so a member can focus time and energy on learning/ performing a specific task)
  • Identify any weakness that threatens efficiency and any need for training, support or reassignment

Perhaps the most important role on a team is the team leader. A quality leader who will value the ideas and opinions of its members and hold team members accountable will influence engagement (and efficiency).

4-   Build an Atmosphere of Cooperation

Efficient teams co-operate. In this environment, team goals are of utmost importance and team members support each other in working toward these goals. A member will be measured by their contribution to achievement. Have processes and protocols in place to promote co-operation. Consider the following:

Team charter: A charter defines how work will be done. It is created by the team, for the team. All members should be expected to contribute. The team charter addresses how work will be done. It deals with topics such as:

  • Purpose (A team that understands how a job will align with your organization’s key objectives and strategies is more likely to produce exceptional work. Reinforce corporate values, and business objectives.)
  • Duration and Time Commitment (Ask: How long will this take? What time is required?)
  • Scope (How big is too big?)
  • Stages of development (deliverables)

Communication: This is the most important factor in successful teamwork. The most effective teams exist where members are able to share information and expertise openly with their team, and with their organization as well. Personal expression must not be undervalued. (Points are listed to consider…)

Conflict resolution: Conflict is part of learning to work well together. It is powerful, and can contribute to a team’s success or be its undoing. Deal with conflict quickly. Where a team is relatively uniform in experience, problems may be resolved more quickly than where a team’s members differ widely in experience and approach to problem-solving. If team members cannot resolve an issue, they should have prompt guidance. Encourage openness, and have a method of feedback so that concerns can be brought to your attention. Be responsive.

Team-building: Enable your team to perform their job well. The degree to which you need to invest in team building depends on the size of the team, and member turnover. The dynamics of a team will change with the coming and going of members, and in either circumstance, you want your team to adjust, and continue to be productive. Help them build strong team systems and processes so that work goes on uninterrupted.

5-   Define Expectations

Performance expectations are, basically, the ‘Rules of Engagement’ for team work. They govern professional issues. Be clear about what contributions are expected from individual team members, and consider presenting these expectations to each prospective member during their interview to help assure that you will be working on the same page. These expectations should be laid out in your organizational policies and procedures.

Team expectations should be concrete and directly related to the achievement of team goals. They define how a team will work to achieve their goals.

Expect team members to:

  • Contribute (do their work)
  • Communicate with each other
  • Cooperate (support each other)…

It is very important to the success of your team that you enforce expectations. Make sure that you treat everyone fairly (without favoritism), and that you welcome and accept observations from team members about performance issues. Poor performance must be effectively addressed for team members to feel supported, and so to manage potential conflict. Team members must be held accountable for achieving goals and meeting expectations for the team to be effective.

6-   Recognize Good Work

Effective team members perceive their service to the team as being valuable to their organization, and to their own careers as well. Reward the results of their efforts. To attract and retain motivated and effective workers, your organization must invest in a culture that promotes improvement, and has a means for capturing individual contributions. Recognize and reward individual successes and team successes as well. Learn what keeps your team members motivated. You might consider the following:

  • Profit-Sharing (Share the wealth!)
  • Skills development (training, conferences, webinars)
  • Opportunity (promotion)…

Never let good performance go without recognition, and follow-up. If you or your team see good performance from an individual contributor, they should be sure the individual is both recognized and rewarded.

Effective teams benefit from front-end investment. Spend time structuring a work environment to foster success, and you will be more likely to see your team flourish. Recognize that you are part of the team (even if you are apart). Invest in your relationship with team members, and seek to build trust and loyalty by being accessible, supportive, and responsive. Reward good performance and deter poor performance. Review processes and procedures regularly. Take comments and criticisms, and allow yourself, and your team to grow towards success.

Condensed from http://www.corporatechallenge.com.au/blog/how-build-effective-workplace-team

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Bookkeeping – Quick tip – Don’t use “Miscellaneous” or “Sundry” all the time for Miscellaneous expense in the accounts

Bookkeeping – Quick tip – Don’t use “Miscellaneous” or “Sundry” all the time for Miscellaneous expense in the accounts

Bookkeeping – Quick tip – Don’t use “Miscellaneous” or “Sundry” all the time for Miscellaneous expense in the accounts

If you use a “Miscellaneous Expense” or “Sundry” account, it can indicate lazy bookkeeping. It is also no help when you or the bank reads your Profit & Loss! What is in that account will be the question!

It is better to use the closest correct expense account or to add a new account to better capture the expense type. Also use the memo in the transaction, to fully describe the expense, and invoice number if not using purchases. The more detail you put in now, then you won’t have to sift through your papers later to find out what the expense was, or dig out a copy for your accountant (or the taxman)!

Need help? Not sure? Call for FREE 30min advice / strategy session today!

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Business Tax Tips – Keeping Records and Receipts for Business Expenses

Business Tax Tips – Keeping Records and Receipts for Business Expenses

Keeping Records and Receipts for Business Expenses

The ATO (Australian Tax Office) gives good instructions on keeping records and receipts for Business Expenses.

At Record Keeping for Small Business it says –

By law your records must:

  • explain all transactions;
  • be in writing (electronic or paper);
  • be in English or in a form that can be easily converted;
  • be kept for five years (some records may need to be kept longer).

If you don’t keep the right tax records, you can incur penalties.

How to keep records –

You can keep invoicing, payment and other business transaction records electronically or on paper. The principles are the same for each, but keeping electronic records will make some tasks easier.

With the right electronic record-keeping software you can:

  • automatically tally amounts and provide ready-made reports;
  • produce invoices, summaries and reports for GST and income tax purposes;
  • keep up with the latest tax rates, tax laws and rulings;
  • report certain information to us online;
  • save on physical storage space;
  • back up records in case of flood, fire or theft.

If you intend to use a bookkeeper or accountant, get their advice about the best system for you – choose a system you can understand and operate easily.

Record keeping

Generally, for tax purposes, you must keep your records in an accessible form (either printed or electronic) for five years.

Basic records tells us

Some of the basic records you may need to keep are:

  • governing documents (for example, constitution, rules, trust deed);
  • financial reports (for example, financial statements, annual budgets, reconciliations, audit reports, accounts payable and accounts receivable);
  • cash book records of daily receipts and payments;
  • tax invoices and income tax records, such as debtors and creditors lists, stocktake records and motor vehicle expenses;
  • records relating to employees (for example, TFN declarations, pay as you go (PAYG) withholding, superannuation and fringe benefits provided);
  • records of payments withheld from suppliers who do not quote an Australian business number (ABN);
  • banking records (for example, bank statements, deposit books, cheque books, bank reconciliation);
  • grant documentation (for example, when funding will be received, when acquittals need to be made, application deadlines);
  • registration, certificates and accompanying documents to regulators (for example, ATO, Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission, and state regulators);
  • contracts and agreements (for example, cleaning, maintenance and insurance contracts, finance or lease agreements);
  • copies of reviews of entitlement to tax concessions;
  • records to help prepare tax statements and returns.

And also further down that page –

Invoices you receive

A tax invoice of more than $75 (excluding GST) must contain enough information to allow key information to be clearly determined, for example, your supplier’s ABN. Otherwise, you generally need to withhold 46.5% from your payment to the supplier.

If you receive a document from a supplier that is missing key information, you may still be able to treat the document as a tax invoice if the document makes clear that it is intended as a tax invoice and the missing information can be obtained from other documents issued by the supplier.

You cannot claim a GST credit in an activity statement unless you have a tax invoice. If you obtain a tax invoice later, you can claim the GST credit in the activity statement for the tax period in which you obtain the tax invoice.

Tax invoices are not required if the GST-exclusive value of the sale is $75 or less. However, you should have some documentary evidence to support all GST credit claims.

(NOTE – The only thing is this is under the Non-Profit section!)

In the Business Section we read –

Allowable deductions

Most expenses you incur in running your business are tax deductible. You claim these deductions in the annual tax return for your business or, if you’re a sole trader, in your personal tax return.

What you can claim

You can only claim expenses that are directly related to earning your assessable income.

If you make a purchase or use an asset for both business and private purposes, you can only claim a deduction for the business portion of the expense. If you use an item in your business for only part of a year, you may need to restrict your claim to the period it was used for the business.

What you cannot claim

You can’t claim a deduction for the goods and services tax (GST) component of a purchase if you can claim it as a GST credit on your business activity statement. You also can’t claim:

  • private or domestic expenses, such as childcare fees or clothes for your family;
  • expenses relating to income that is not taxable, such as money you earn from a hobby;
  • expenses that are specifically non-deductible, such as entertainment and parking fines.

Expenses you can claim in the year you incur them

Working or operating expenses you incur in the everyday running of your business – such as office stationery, renting office premises, and salaries or wages – are called revenue expenses.

You can generally claim a deduction for most revenue expenses in the same income year you incur them, including:

  • advertising and sponsorship costs;
  • bad debts;
  • bank fees and charges;
  • business motor vehicle expenses (see Motor vehicle expenses);
  • business travel expenses (see Business travel expenses);
  • clothing expenses (corporate wardrobes and uniforms, and occupation-specific and protective clothing);
  • depreciating assets that cost less than $1,000 if you are a small business (between 1 July 2012 and 31 December 2013, the threshold was $6,500) (see Depreciating assets);
  • education, technical or professional qualification expenses;
  • electricity expenses;
  • fringe benefits – the cost of any fringe benefit provided and the fringe benefits tax on the benefit;
  • home office expenses when your home is used as a business premises (see Running your business from home);
  • insurance premiums, including accident or disability, fire, burglary, professional indemnity, public risk, motor vehicle loss of profits insurance, or workers’ compensation;
  • interest on money borrowed for income tax obligations, employer super contributions, or late payment or lodgment of tax – or to produce assessable income or purchase income-producing assets;
  • land tax on business premises;
  • legal expenses, such as those incurred defending future earnings, borrowing money, discharging a mortgage or obtaining tax advice;
  • losses from a previous year (see Claiming tax losses);
  • luxury car lease expenses;
  • stationery expenses;
  • costs for running a commercial website, such as site maintenance, content updates and internet service provider fees;
  • parking fees;
  • public relations expenses;
  • phone expenses;
  • rates on business premises;
  • registered tax agent and accountant fees;
  • renting or leasing a business premises;
  • repairing and maintaining income-producing property (see Repairs, maintenance and replacement expenses);
  • salaries, wages, bonuses or allowances (see Salary, wages and super);
  • small-value items costing $100 or less;
  • subscription costs for business or professional journals, information services, newspapers and magazines;
  • costs for sunglasses, sunhats and sunscreen when your business activities require outdoor work;
  • super contributions for employees, and some contractors paid primarily for their labour (see Salary, wages and super);
  • tax-related expenses, such as –

– having a bookkeeper prepare your business records

– preparing and lodging tax returns and business activity statements

– objecting to or appealing against your assessment

– attending an ATO audit

– obtaining tax advice about your business

  • tender costs, even if the tender is unsuccessful
  • trading stock, including delivery charges
  • transport and freight expenses
  • travel expenses for relocating employees
  • union dues and periodical subscription fees to trade, business or professional associations
  • water expenses on business premises.

Are Receipts Under $75 required to KEPT??

According to the ACCC (Australian Competition and Consumer Commission)

Businesses must always give you a receipt or proof of purchase for anything over $75. If they don’t, ask for one. You also have the right to request a receipt for anything under $75 and the receipt must be given within seven days of asking.

A receipt or proof of purchase must include the:

  • supplier’s name and ABN or ACN;
  • date of supply;
  • product or service;
  • price.

In Summary –

So the ATO doesn’t mention under $75 receipts for business, only for Non-Profits,

and the ACCC says over $75 a receipt is Required!

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Business Finance 101 – Liability vs debt – What is the difference?

Business Finance 101 – Liability vs debt – What is the difference?

Liability vs debt – What is the difference?

What is the difference between liability and debt? Often, people use liability and debt when they mean the same thing.

For an example, in the debt-to-equity ratio, debt usually means the total amount of liabilities. In this case, debt includes short-term such as overdrafts and credit cards and long-term loans and bonds payable, and normally also includes accrued wages and utilities, income taxes due, and other liabilities.

In other words, sometimes debt is means all obligations…all amounts owed…all liabilities.

However, other times, the word debt is used more narrowly to mean only the formal, written financing contracts such as short-term loans payable, long-term loans payable, and bonds payable – example, hire-purchase, equipment finance, etc.

So look further, to know WHAT is being used – be clear!

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Cashflow Tips – Claiming Business expenses – Consider what you want to achieve

Cashflow Tips – Claiming Business expenses – Consider what you want to achieve

Cashflow Tips – Claiming Business expenses – Consider what you want to achieve

We see many business financial situations, working on the business books in different industries. Commonly the owner is told by fellow business owners and often accountants, to be claiming business expenses as much as you can to reduce profit and pay little tax. That is sensible, and the Australian Tax Office (ATO) website encourages tax minimisation that is lawful (but not tax avoidance by manipulation if false claims etc).

However, while assisting with the debt collection and client payment allocation to correct invoices (one service we provide – we tailor to what the client needs) and while working on one client’s books, I notice quite a few personal transactions like F&V and Meats, that they want to claim as staff/office expenses, but aren’t aware that it looks like the accountant is allocating them as NON-DEDUCTIBLE – it would be hard to justify as “office or staff” amenities to the ATO so often as well!

Additionally, IKEA and paint and Bunnings can be legitimate office Repair and Maintenance, but if purchased while your business is closed, it could look suspicious.

So be aware that it looks like the accountant is not going to claim some things for you any way, and that is probably safer for you also, in case of ATO audit.

Cashflow Tips – Claiming Business expenses – Consider what you want to achieveOften, really isn’t much value to try claiming as much as possible as business expense (from what I have seen other businesses do) and as we often hear them say they do.

WHY?

  • If there is an audit it can be denied and reversed and fines imposed – the ATO website is clear that only business-related expenses are claimable
  • The other thing is low profit can inhibit funding if required in the future via bank overdraft or venture capital, or partner investor – Not all will really look into the real detail. And if you want/have to sell, you need to show 3 good years of good profit – otherwise who would want to buy it?
  • Doing a year-end” Directors bonus” to reduce profit shows a clear easy message to potential bank or financiers. I have done that in earlier years – it clearly says you are profitable, but reduces the profit legitimately, so less company tax needs to be paid, and can be done declared after the year end!

It needs to be discussed with the accountant, but even they miss-understand the disadvantage of claiming lots of expenses to reduce profit, and the harm to your future financing and wealth potential.

I have seen that if you want to borrow or expand, it is better to have clean accounts, and take bonus wages if extra Profit and money is there, as wages are fully deductible, and don’t need to be explained or justified as some transactions such as mentioned above, may need to.

And you will also know that a good wage for you and your wife is better when you want to re-finance or borrow for an investment property in the future. The brokers I work with (and even in my own situation this year) have a hard time explaining to lenders the true story – most do not understand business and Profit and Loss (especially “Extra expenses” claimed on the business)

Yes you need to improve your home, and you need to do that, but it doesn’t bring in income like an investment property will.

The quicker you access more property or other investments, the earlier you set yourself up for better wealth later, by passive capital growth.

I wish I had that shown to me 10-20 years ago, but no-one did, and I realise only a few see how it can work or how to make it work – owners and accountants alike.

You may be in a good position to be able to get an investment property with your incomes, and growing business turn-over. But if you load up non-business expenses it gives the accountant more work, looks like they may not claim it all any way so it wastes their time, it makes extra work for a broker to convince a bank you are very profitable etc so they are comfortable to lend to you as a low risk to them (which is what they aim for!)

So consider the bigger picture – you may be able to do more, but that is up to you and when you have the time/interest to look into it.

Just my observations of other business people and how most limit the possibilities.

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