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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  • records of payments withheld from suppliers who do not quote an Australian business number (ABN);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!

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

Call 0407 361 596 Aust and also get FREE “Avoid these GST mistakes” – There’s 18 that the Tax Office see regularly – Get them right!

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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!

Get a FREE 30 min answer to your query, and FREE ongoing email or phone support – No-one offers as much! Call and you also get FREE “Avoid these GST mistakes” – There’s 18 that the Tax Office see regularly – Get them right!

Email info@accountkeepingplus.com.au or call 0407 361 596 Australia


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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.

Need help? Not sure? Call for FREE 30min advice / strategy session today! 0407 361 596 Aust

***BEFORE you BUY ask us for a competitive software price BELOW retail – No obligation!

You also get FREE 30 min to assist in setting up your company in the software, and FREE ongoing email or phone support – no-one offers as much! Call and you also get FREE “Avoid these GST mistakes” – There’s 18 that the Tax Office see regularly – Get them right!

Email info@accountkeepingplus.com.au or call 0407 361 596 Australia


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Business Tips – How to Achieve Business Success

Business Tips – How to Achieve Business Success

How to Achieve Business Success

As Business owners we all look for tips on how to achieve business success – and there is a lot of “advice” out there! So what do some of the ones who have achieved 6 and 7 figure incomes and wealth advise?

Brian Tracey expounds the concept of SMART Goals and says there are 7 SMART Goals that are key to achieve business success. He writes –

The method of SMART goals (an acronym for the 5 steps of specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-based goals) is one of the most effective tools used by high achievers to reach their business goals consistently.

The “SMART” model of goal setting:

S = Specific

M = Measurable

A = Achievable

R = Relevant

T = Time-bounded

Once your business goals are SMART, break down each goal into a specific, clear tasks and activities needed to accomplish your goals. It’s important to periodically review your goals and make adjustments if necessary. Goal setting for your small business is an essential tool for business success.

Accomplish Business Success

To accomplish business success, develop the habit of negotiating more effectively to get higher prices when you sell and lower prices when you buy. A good negotiator can save or gain 10%, 20% and more on every financial transaction. Set SMART goals that each dollar saved or gained is additional money that you can put away to accumulate and grow in your financial fortress account. Develop the habit of asking for higher prices when you are selling and asking for lower prices when you buy. Set SMART goals and develop frugal living skills. Ask for lower interest rates. Ask for better terms and conditions. Ask for immediate payment when you sell and ask for deferred payment when you buy. Ask repeatedly. Ask pleasantly. Ask courteously. Ask expectantly. Ask confidently. But don’t be afraid to ask. Ask for what you want, and if you don’t get it, ask for something else. When people make a lot of money quickly, as the result of success in the stock market, breakthrough, a business success or an invention, the story gets into the newspapers and magazines. But this is precisely because great financial success in a short time is so unusual.

SMART Goals for Business Success

  1. Make a decision today that you are going to accumulate more than a million dollars in the years ahead. Write it down as  one of your SMART goals, make a plan, and then do something toward achieving it every single day.
  2. Conduct a complete financial analysis on your life; determine your net worth, your income and expenses, and your future possibilities by setting SMART goals.
  3. Open a special financial fortress account and begin putting money into it at every opportunity; never spend this money on anything except investing and growth.
  4. Get your financial life organized, with proper estate planning and insurance, with a family limited partnership to protect your assets.
  5. Begin practicing frugal living by saving a fixed percentage of your income each month; practice the wedge theory and save 50% of every increase from this day forward.
  6. To create business success and investigate before you invest; learn every detail of the business, and be sure you thoroughly understand how your money is to be used and how it will be returned.
  7. Practice frugal living habits in all expenditures; never buy new if you can buy used, never pay full price if you can negotiate something better, delay all major expenditures until you have had ample time to think about them. 
“Go out and buy yourself a five-cent pencil and a ten-cent notebook and begin to write down some million dollar ideas for yourself.” (Bob Grinde)

Loral Langemeier writes about success by hitting many home runs

When I was talking to a member of my community at one of my recent Big Table events, he asked me:

How do you and your partners hit so many home runs?

Now, he was obviously talking about “business home runs.”

My partners and I routinely get big returns on our investments. Heck, we’re in the process of selling an oil investment now that’ll net us each at least a 40% return.

We make stuff happen like that all the time. Big-time moves that give us a big-time return.

Investments, buying franchises, partnering for JV’s, trading, rental properties…big bucks coming in through multiple avenues.

For those who think Live Out Loud is my only lifeline, you couldn’t be more wrong, honey.

Yes, spreading  financial and wealth education is the mission my team and I carry out through Live Out Loud, but it’s only one of the cash cows I have in my stable.

And when you’re succeeding or you seem to be making all the right moves, people always want to know how.

“How do you do it, Loral? What’s your secret sauce?”

I’ll tell you:

The reason me & my partners hit home runs in what we do is because we hit singles EVERY DAMN DAY.

My partners and I take a hell of a lot of swings to hit our big-time returns.

The reason we succeed so much is because we go up to bat every single day and swing like our lives depended on it.

That’s it.

Not secret insider information that you don’t know or a magic trick that’s reserved for a certain social class.

We just do it.

And that’s the problem with too many of you out there – you waste so much time pondering how the successful keep succeeding, how the rich keep getting richer and what they’ve been blessed with that you haven’t…

The only big secret is that to hit a home run you gotta take the bat off your shoulders and swing!

You gotta take swings, take chances, take risks.

Yeah, you’ll strike out a few times…

Yeah, some swings you think are home runs will end up being singles…

But once you start swinging often and hitting singles on the regular, you bang out home run deals more & more.

Stop talking about, stop thinking about it, stop analyzing it …

Just mitigate your risks as much as possible and take your best swing.

The worst that can happen is you miss. Learn from your whiff and take a stronger swing next time.

The biggest thing holding so many of you back (and maybe you reading this blog) isn’t failure – it’s the fact that you’re not even swinging….

Where are you at?

What works for you – are the tips by experts above working for you?

Comment below!

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

Call 0407 361 596 Aust and also get FREE “Avoid these GST mistakes” – There’s 18 that the Tax Office see regularly – Get them right!