By now, Christmas and New Year seem like a distant memory, even though it probably also feels like it was only a few days ago!
How are your results so far?
Have you hit the ground running following a thought out plan, are you are just reacting to whatever is happening around you?
Our experience tells us that businesses and investors that have a plan or framework within they make their decisions, on average have much better results than those that just “wing it” or “go with the flow”.
I’ve even come across business owners whose attitude was “the economy will turn” – besides placing the responsibility on something other than themselves, that sounds more like hope than a plan!
If you aren’t sure what you need to do in order to improve your situation, contact us to arrange a time to discuss your current position and what your goals are. From there we can help you map out a plan, or put you in touch with relevant professionals within our network who can provide specific advice on areas such as:
- Wills and estate planning
- Superannuation and retirement planning
- Property investment
Are You Taking On A New Employee?
Are you thinking about taking on an employee, but you’re not sure what you have to do? Some key issues to consider:
Can you take on an employee?
Whether you’re starting, running or growing your business, you can take on an employee. It doesn’t matter what structure you operate either. You will need to review your cash flow to make sure you can afford it, and to understand the impact to your cash flow.
What kind of employment are you offering?
You should consider how busy the job you need to fill will be, and how long you think you’ll need to employ someone for. Employing people using different working arrangements can keep your workplace flexible while also meeting your business needs.
Is your worker an employee or a contractor?
To work out your obligations as an employer, you need to know if your workers are employees or independent contractors. Most workers will be employees, and will only be independent contractors in limited circumstances. There are different definitions for workers’ compensation insurance and payroll tax, so it is important to get it right. Try the ATO’s Employee/Contractor Decision Tool to determine the status of your works for tax and super.
Can your employee legally work in Australia?
As an employer, it is your responsibility to make sure your workers can legally work in Australia. This includes employees you source from a contractor or labour hire company, for both paid and unpaid work. Use the Department of Immigration and Border Protection’s free Visa Entitlement Verification Online system to check if someone is allowed to work in Australia.
Are you paying the correct wages and entitlements?
There are 10 minimum employment standards that you must provide to all employees. They are called the National Employment Standards (NES). An employee’s minimum wages, including penalty rates and overtime, will come from the award or registered agreement that covers their employment. You can’t use or include any conditions in an employment contract, enterprise agreement or other registered agreement that:
- provide a pay rate that is lower than the rate in the relevant award
- are less than the national minimum wage or the NES
- exclude the NES altogether
Penalties can apply if you fail to meet the NES in any way.
Do you need Workers Compensation Insurance?
As an employer, you must have insurance to cover workers if they are injured at work or become ill due to their work. This is known as workers’ compensation insurance. Workers’ compensation is covered by legislation in each state and territory. More details can be found at WorkCover Queensland.
What else do I need to consider?
Other issues to consider include:
- What tax do you need to deduct from your employee’s pay?
- What are your superannuation obligations?
- What are your workplace health and safety obligations?
- Do you need to register for portable long service leave? (building/construction and commercial cleaning industries)
- What are your record keeping requirements?
- What are your employee’s rights under anti-discrimination laws?
If you have any doubts about any of the above, contact us at Value Beyond to discuss what action you might need to take.
New Smoke Alarm Laws
Starting from 1 January 2017, new laws apply to fitting smoke alarms to dwellings which includes houses, townhouses and units. This is particularly relevant The new laws state that smoke alarms in the dwelling must:
- be photoelectric (AS 3786); and
- not also contain an ionisation sensor; and
- be hardwired to the mains power supply with a secondary power source (i.e. battery); and
- be interconnected with every other smoke alarm in the dwelling so all activate together.
Smoke alarms must be installed on each storey:
- in each bedroom; and
- in hallways which connect bedrooms and the rest of the dwelling; or
- if there is no hallway, between the bedrooms and other parts of the storey; and
- if there are no bedrooms on a storey at least one smoke alarm must be installed in the most likely path of travel to exit the dwelling.
These laws apply from:
1 January 2017 – new dwellings and dwellings being substantially renovated
1 January 2022 – dwellings being sold, leased or an existing lease is renewed
1 January 2027 – existing dwellings that don’t fit the earlier dates
ATO Data Matching For Online Activity
The ATO are collecting data from financial institutions and online selling sites for their credit and debit card, online selling, and ride-sourcing data programs. The data will include:
- The total amount of credit and debit card payments businesses received
- Online sellers who have sold at least $12,000 worth of goods or services
- Payments made to ride-sourcing drivers from accounts held by the ride-sourcing facilitator.
The ATO will match this data with information provided in the taxpayer’s tax returns, activity statements and other records. It will help them identify businesses that need help and those that may not be reporting all their income or meeting their registration, lodgement or payment obligations.
What does this mean for me?
If you are earning income from services such as Uber and Airbnb, selling goods online through platforms such as eBay and Gumtree, or take payments via credit card processing facilities, then you need to ensure that you are declaring this income and paying GST where applicable.
If you have been earning income from these sources but are not sure if you are meeting your obligations, contact us at Value Beyond to review your situation and make any necessary adjustments to your tax lodgements.
How Good Is Your Excuse For Lodging Late?
Over our time we’ve heard some good excuses (as well as some quite legitimate reasons I might add) as to why tax returns are lodged late. But can you top these excuses from British taxpayers?!
Each year HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) receives a number of unusual excuses why Self Assessment (SA) customers didn’t complete their tax return on time.
- My tax return was on my yacht, which caught fire.
- A wasp in my car caused me to have an accident and my tax return, which was inside, was destroyed.
- My wife helps me with my tax return, but she had a headache for ten days.
- My dog ate my tax return…and all of the reminders.
- I couldn’t complete my tax return, because my husband left me and took our accountant with him. I am currently trying to find a new accountant.
- My child scribbled all over the tax return, so I wasn’t able to send it back.
- I work for myself, but a colleague borrowed my tax return to photocopy it and lost it.
- My husband told me the deadline was the 31st March.
- My internet connection failed.
- The postman doesn’t deliver to my house.
The reasons above were all used in unsuccessful appeals against HMRC penalties for late returns.
“Blaming the postman, arguing with family members and pesky insects – it’s easy to see that some excuses for not completing a tax return on time can be more questionable than others. Luckily, it’s only a small minority who chance their arm.” If you do find yourself falling behind, let us know how we can help you get back on track. The other key thing is to be in contact with the ATO – it is always better to talk to them first before they catch up with you!
ATO Seminars For Small Business
The ATO have 30 events scheduled for February and March 2017, on Tax Essentials and Record Keeping, and these events are across multiple locations.
If you are interested in these events, visit the ATO Website for a list of the events, and then click on the links to register yourself to attend.