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Business Tax Tips – Can I claim Home Office Expenses?

Business Tax Tips - Can I claim Home Office Expenses?

Business Tax Tips – Can I claim Home Office Expenses?

Many clients ask “Can I claim Home Office Expenses?” There is great information on the ATO website, and links for more info and a cool expense calculator, as part-reproduced here –

If you are a sole trader and your home is also your place of business you can claim tax deductions for a portion of the costs of owning, maintaining and using your home for this purpose. When you sell your home you may be liable for capital gains tax.

If you operate a business at or from your home, you may be able to claim a deduction for some of the expenses relating to the area you use for business purposes.

These expenses can be divided into two broad categories:

  • Occupancy expenses (such as mortgage interest or rent, council rates, land taxes, house insurance premiums);
  • Running expenses (such as gas and electricity, phone, decline in value of plant and equipment, decline in value and cost of repairs to furniture and furnishings, cleaning).

As for motor vehicles, if you are carrying on a home-based business you can claim the cost of trips between your home and other places if the travel is for business purposes.

Generally, you can ignore a capital gain or loss you make when you sell your home, unless you have used any part of it for business purposes.

Next step:

Home office expenses calculator

Disclaimer:

  •  All outcomes provided by this calculator are based on the information you provide and the deduction rates available at the time of calculation. You should use the outcomes as an estimate and for guidance purposes only;
  • You need to self-assess your eligibility and entitlement to a deduction for home office expenses before using this calculator.

Warning – Capital Gains Tax on Sale of Home

Be aware that if you claim home expenses for business, then Capital Gains Tax may apply if you sell the home.

The ATO explains further (and gives examples there)  –

Generally, you can ignore a capital gain or loss you make when you sell your home. However, you may have to pay CGT when you sell your home if you have used any part of it for business purposes.

CGT will not apply if any of the following apply:

  • You operate your business from a rented home;
  • You do not have an area specifically set aside for your business activities;
  • You operate your business through a company or trust.

In most cases, the portion of any capital gain on your home that is taxable is the same as the portion for which you could claim a deduction for interest. Generally, this is based on the floor area of your home you have set aside for business, for example 10%.

You do not have to pay CGT for those periods you did not use your home for your business.

If you have a capital gain because you use your home for business purposes, you may be able to apply one or more of the small business CGT concessions to reduce your capital gain.

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Business Tax Tips – Research shows how to increase revenue for small business especially start-ups

Business Tax Tips – Research shows how to increase revenue for small business especially start-ups

Research shows how to increase revenue for small business especially start-ups

If a 21% chance of increasing revenue / sales was possible by working with your accountant / advisor – would you do it?  Rose Powell reports on a survey in SMEs can make better use of their accountant to boost their bottom line“For the third of business owners who worked with an accountant as an advisor, one in five (21%) saw a rise in their revenue over the last year”.

Rose wrote – “Small business operators who used their accountant as a business advisor last year were 31% more likely to see an earning uplift, according to … research from the 2013 MYOB Business Monitor.

The vast majority of the 1005 business owners surveyed, 89% used an accountant last year.

Only 32% of owners reported having an advisory or consultative relationship with their accountant, compared with the 57% whose relationships were for compliance only, such as tax return completion or GST reporting.

Just 11% did not have an accountant.

For the third of business owners who worked with an accountant as an advisor, one in five (21%) saw a rise in their revenue over the last year.

Adam Ferguson, general manager of the accountants division at MYOB, told StartupSmart that using an accountant as an advisor was especially valuable for start-up companies.

‘The start-up phase of a business is very different to when it’s up and running. In that phase, your accountant can help with things like creating a business plan, applying for business loans, building out your business case,’ says Ferguson.

For start-ups who are already in operational phase, the increasing use of cloud accounting systems enables accountants to provide feedback and ask the right questions about compliance and cash flow.

Ferguson says cloud accounting means compliance is no longer a year-end process, and increasingly a monthly one. This makes them well placed to advise on cashflow questions.

‘An accountant can play a key role in helping a start-up, reporting on cash flow on a more regular basis, and understanding the dynamics that drive cashflow,’ says Ferguson.

The report found companies that worked with an accountant as an advisor were less concerned about attracting and retaining customers, and were more likely to increase their overall investment in their business strategies.

‘Once you’ve got your cash flow healthy, it becomes a question of how to use that and where to invest that to grow my business,’ says Ferguson.

Over half, 53%, said they found their accountant advisor provided useful advice on how best to manage the money that flows through their businesses.”

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Business Tax Tips – Reconciling GST accounts in the Balance Sheet and GST Reports – How to understand

Business Tax Tips – Reconciling GST accounts in the Balance Sheet and GST Reports – How to understand

Reconciling GST accounts in the Balance Sheet and GST Reports – How to understand

A client was reconciling the GST accounts: Collected & Paid amounts on the Balance Sheet and GST reports, and wanted to know –

  1. The end of year Balance Sheet shows a different amount to the GST Accrual (& Cash) reports.  Why?            
  2. They thought that the GST Liabilities section of the Balance Sheet gets automatically updated when you enter a Spend Money purchase or raise a Sales invoice.  Is this the case?
  3. Or do we have a classification issue in our MYOB account set ups that we need to fix?

The answer is – the amounts in the GST accounts should reflect the way the transactions are created, and depend on whether cash recording (cheques and deposits or cash receipt sales) or accrual recording is used (invoice sales and purchases or bills).

Cash transactions recognise revenue sales and expenses when actual CASH is received and paid, ie when paid. The GST accounts will have the exact GST amount for each transaction, as and when paid or received.

Accrual transactions recognise revenue sales and expenses when the TRANSACTION occurs, not when paid. The GST accounts will have the GST  from the invoice or purchase.

If you report tax amounts for a period, keep in mind the way transactions are entered, as the GST on sales and the GST on purchases will not be picked up if reporting on Cash basis, and are not paid in the time frame. If they were paid, they would appear in the report.

Always check on screen the GST detail reports to see what transactions are picked up for the period, and after checking, if ok, PRINT to keep a record, then print the GST/Tax summary report.

The balance of the tax accounts also changes, as we post the amount reported to the ATO to them, reducing/increasing the account to reflect what is reported and paid (or refunded). So a tax payment during the period reported also changes the Balance Sheet amount. Look through the detail of the transactions in the tax accounts, and see what has occurred.

See also Cash and Accrual – will there be Debtors (Accounts Receivable – AR) and Creditors (Accounts Payable – AP)?

And for a quick summary of the reports suggested to check and use to prepare a BAS, go to MYOB – Aust. BAS Checks Reports & Entries

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Bookkeeping – Motor Vehicle Assets – How to set up cars in accounting records

Business Tax Tips / Bookkeeping – Motor Vehicle Assets – How to set up cars in accounting records

Business Tax Tips / Bookkeeping – Motor Vehicle Assets – How to set up cars in accounting records

Client emailedOur Company bought 2 cars  –

  • Holden Cruze for $16,700.00 includes GST/stamp duty/transfer fee          
  • Barina for $12,888.00

We traded in the company car – Holden Commodore for $3000 and the wife’s car for $1500. Daniel has not claimed the $1500 but gave it to the business.

Now both ’new’ cars belong to the company.

Invoice for Holden Cruze is $16,700.00

The $4,500 trade in was netted out of the purchase of the Barina so the invoice is

($12,888- $4,500) $8,388.00 net.

We have in our accounts:-

MV @ cost                             18539.37

MV Accum Depn                  15412.00

Please advise. Thank you.

How to EnterTo keep things simple, we need to set up some new accounts (“NA”) for each motor vehicle, and new accounts for the loans on each car – it is then easiest to leave the final reconciliation and adjustments to your accountant year end.

I assume the 2 MV accounts are only for the Commodore and no other cars. It is good practice to create new accounts for EACH vehicle so the accountant can reconcile at year end with ease!

Separate the Rego (and Insur if included in the deal) from the $16,700 (or you can leave for accountant at year end to pick up).

AKP Case Study*Is the Loan a Chattel Mortgage? – Can mention type of loan in account name as well

Monthly payments – for simplicity, allocate from bank to NA Liability MVeh Loan Fin Co Name (the new finance account).

The old car accounts – Asset MVehicle @ Cost Commodore, and the MV Accum Dep can be left for the accountant to calculate and adjust at year end, in case there are other adjustments he needs to do.

For other examples of entering MV assets in the accounts, see –

Quickbooks – How to go about setting Chattel Mortgage up and accounting for the monthly payments in Quickbooks.

Another Asset Example – How to enter assets in the books

How do I show liabilities for the total borrowed including interest, not just the principle/asset amount?

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Business Tax Tips – Reducing Red tape in Australia

Business Tax Tips – Reducing Red Tape In Australia

Reducing Red Tape In Australia

Did you know there is a current 4 year plan where the ATO is working hard at reducing red tape in Australia for tax payers?

The ATO says at Reducing red tape Reforms to the Australian Taxation Office

In the 2015–16 Budget, the Government announced it will provide funding over four years to deliver an improved experience for clients in their dealings with the Australian Taxation Office (ATO).

Red tape will be reduced and future administrative savings delivered through investment in three foundational initiatives: a digital by default service for provision of information and making payments, improvements to data and analytics infrastructure and enhancing streamlined income tax returns through the my Tax system for taxpayers with more complex tax affairs.

The package of service improvements supports the Government’s commitment to reduce red tape and forms part of the Government’s digital transformation agenda.

This measure delivers on the Government’s election commitment.

Click for links with information on the legislation

A detailed website on tracking the initiative is https://www.cuttingredtape.gov.au/  – It says –

The Government has committed to reducing the cost of unnecessary or inefficient regulation imposed on individuals, business and community organisations by at least $1 billion a year. An important part of this commitment is the development of a Framework to review the performance of Commonwealth regulators.

This Framework isn’t just for regulators. It will benefit business and the community, including individuals. Find out more.

What are YOUR thoughts and experiences? Comment below! Call for FREE 30min advice / strategy session today!

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Business Tax Tips – Small Business Tax Breaks To Help Your Business – 2017-18 Budget

Business Tax Tips – Small Business Tax Breaks To Help Your Business – 2017-18 Budget

Small Business Tax Breaks To Help Your Business – 2017-18 Budget

There are (still proposed) small business tax breaks to help your business soon to be finalised. From the ATO website, here are details of proposed changes to tax and superannuation legislation and policy, and how the ATO proposes to administer the changes. From the ATO website –

Budget 2017–18

The Government handed down the 2017–18 Budget on 9 May 2017, with several proposed changes to tax and superannuation laws. Below is a list of the announced measures. You can access the Budget papers here: budget.gov.au

The Treasury Laws Amendment (Enterprise Tax Plan) Bill 2016External Link has been passed by both houses, but is not yet law. The proposed Bill will do the following:

In the 2016–17 Budget, the Government announced that it intended to progressively reduce the corporate tax rate from 30 per cent to 25 per cent. These changes were outlined in the Enterprise Tax Plan 2016 Bill. Amendments were made to this Bill by the Senate on 31 March 2017. The amendments were accepted by the Government and received Royal Assent on 19 May 2017.

Treasury Laws Amendment (Enterprise Tax Plan No. 2) Bill 2017 was introduced to the House of Representatives on 11 May 2017 to increase the scope of which corporate entities would be eligible for the lower corporate tax rate in future years.

The corporate tax rate is reduced from 28.5% to 27.5% for the 2016–17 income year for small business entities. The aggregated turnover threshold to qualify as a small business has been increased from $2 million to $10 million.

In 2017–18 the threshold increases from $10 million to $25 million and in 2018–19 to $50 million. From 2017–18, corporate entities eligible for the lower tax rate will be known as base rate entities, i.e. the small business definition will remain at $10 million from 2017–18 onwards while the base rate entity threshold will continue to rise. Click for more info.

In the 2016-17 Budget, the Government announced an increase to the small business entity turnover threshold from $2 million to $10 million. From 1 July 2016, business with a turnover of less than $10 million will be able to access a range of concessions which are currently only available to business entities with a turnover of less than $2 million.

The current $2 million turnover threshold will be retained for access to the small business capital gains tax concessions.

Access to the unincorporated small business tax discount will be limited to entities with turnover less than $5 million.

We will accept tax returns as lodged during the period up until the outcome of the proposed amendment is known. Once the outcome of the proposed amendment is known taxpayers will need to review their positions back to their 2016-17 income year.

For what to do if the law is enacted or if it is not, click here

In the 2016–17 Budget, the Government announced an increase to the tax discount for unincorporated small businesses incrementally over 10 years from 5 per cent to 16 per cent.

From 1 July 2016, the tax discount will increase to 8 per cent, remain constant at 8 per cent for eight years, then increase to 10 per cent in 2024–25, 13 per cent in 2025–26 and reach a new permanent discount of 16 per cent in 2026–27.

The increases will coincide with staggered cuts in the corporate tax rate for certain entities to 25 per cent. The current cap of $1,000 per individual for each income year will be retained.

The tax discount applies to the income tax payable on the business income received from an unincorporated small business entity. The discount is provided by way of a small business income tax offset which you claim in your individual tax return.

From 1 July 2016, the discount will be extended to individual taxpayers with business income from an unincorporated business that has an aggregated annual turnover of less than $5 million.

Administrative treatment

The ATO will accept all tax returns as lodged during the period up until the law change is passed by Parliament.

What to do if the law is passed or not, click here.

For a list of all the Measures, click here.

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Business Tax Tips – GST and Hire Purchase

Business Tax Tips – GST and Hire Purchase

GST and Hire Purchase

Many businesses acquire assets such as equipment by entering into hire purchase or leasing agreements to pay for and use the equipment over a period of time rather than paying the full cost up front. Then also they need to know how GST applies. Here is some information from the ATO website to explain –

How does hire purchase work?

Under a hire purchase agreement, you:

  • Purchase goods through instalment payments;
  • Use the goods while paying for them;
  • Do not own the goods until you have paid the final instalment.

Where the supply of goods to you under a hire purchase agreement is a taxable supply, the price you pay for the goods includes GST. If you use the goods in your business, you can generally claim a GST credit.

You treat a hire purchase agreement as a stand-alone sale or purchase in a tax period – that is, the same rules apply as they would for any sale and purchase of goods under an ordinary sale agreement. A hire purchase agreement is not treated as a sale or purchase made on a progressive or periodic basis.

Paying GST on hire purchases

If you enter into a hire purchase agreement on or after 1 July 2012, all components of the supply made under the agreement are taxable, whether or not the credit component is separately disclosed. Any associated fees and charges, such as late payment fees incurred under the terms of the hire purchase arrangement, are also subject to GST.

If you enter a hire purchase agreement before 1 July 2012, and the supplier:

  • Separately identifies and discloses the interest charge to you, you don’t have to pay GST on the interest as it is a financial supply;
  • Doesn’t separately identify and disclose the interest charge to you, you must pay GST on the total amount payable under the contract.

The interest charge is ‘disclosed‘ to you if the supplier tells you any of the following in the hire purchase agreement:

  • The dollar amount of the credit charge;
  • The interest rate;
  • The formula or formulas used to work out the credit charge amount;
  • Any other information sufficient to work out the credit charge amount.

A hire purchase agreement entered into before 1 July 2012 continues to be treated in this way even if there’s a subsequent change to the agreement, provided the change doesn’t result in a new agreement. That is, the supply of a separately disclosed credit component will continue to be an input taxed financial supply.

Claiming GST credits on hire purchases

If you account for GST on a NON-CASH (accruals) basis

You can claim the full GST credit on your hire purchase agreement in the tax period when either:

  • You make your first payment;
  • A tax invoice is issued to you, provided you haven’t already made your first payment.

For agreements entered into before 1 July 2012, you claim a GST credit only for the principal component of the agreement, not the credit component.

If you account for GST on a CASH basis

For hire purchase agreements entered into on or after 1 July 2012, you can claim input tax credits up front instead of waiting until each instalment is paid, in the same way as you would if you accounted for GST on a non-cash basis. As all components of a hire purchase agreement entered into on or after 1 July 2012 are subject to GST, you can claim one-eleventh of all components, including the credit component and any associated fees and charges that have been subject to GST under the agreement.

For hire purchase agreements entered into before 1 July 2012 you can claim one-eleventh of the principal component of each instalment in the period you pay it. If the supplier provides regular accounts or statements that show the principal and interest components for each instalment, you must use that information to work out GST credits in the relevant tax period. If you don’t know the principal component for each instalment, you need to take reasonable steps to find out from the supplier.

See some working examples further down the page at the ATO site HERE

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