Understanding how the 2019-2020 budget really impacts us
By Weston Ryan, Principal at Pigot Miller Wilson
Let’s take a breath.
Despite being bombarded with the heavy artillery of Budget articles and commentary generated from the release of the 2019-2020 Federal Budget last night, let’s pause a moment. Budget night is not too relevant to us ordinary souls.
This little article tries to eke out the initiatives that may come to fruition.
Budget announcements must be drafted into Bills, introduced to the Parliament, pass both Houses and the scrutiny of Standing Committees, then finally be signed off by the Governor General all before they become law. Frequently this process takes years.
Once an election is called, any Bills which have not passed into legislation are prorogued (meaning legislation lapses and the process starts for the new Government).
With two Parliamentary sitting days left, it will take a getaway driver to deliver the Bills, which have bipartisan support and manage to pass both Houses, to Yarralumla for the Governor General to sign off on.
On that note, let’s breakdown what’s been announced.
Energy Assistance Payment
The Government has undertaken to pay $75 to qualifying single people and $125 to qualifying couples as a one-off payment to assist with their energy bills. With a bit of luck, you won’t have spent it when your electricity bill comes in. Qualifying people will generally be those in receipt of Veterans’ or Social Security support.
Personal tax rates
Having put company tax cuts in place in previous years, the Government has now announced reductions for Personal taxpayers. The main changes aren’t scheduled to kick-in until the 2023 financial year so let’s not get too excited.
Instant asset write-off
The instant asset write-off is to be increased to $30k and extended to businesses with an annual turnover of up to $50m. Small business have had the benefit of a $20k instant asset write-off for several years. Small businesses can claim a deduction in the year of purchasing an asset for under $20k net of GST. It’s been an extremely popular initiative. However I wouldn’t be buying on the basis of receiving a deduction until the ink is dry on the Governor Generals signature and the legislation is in place.
Taxpayers who have borrowed from their private companies have been waiting for clarity on the treatment of those loans. After Budget night, they will have to wait a bit longer. Don’t expect any relief for loans made before 1997 which were quarantined under the current legislation. Whichever Party wins the election will be coming after those funds.
If your tax planning is based on getting your money “under the table”, you can also expect both Parties to pursue initiatives to harness the Black Economy. This Budget will force people with Australian Business Numbers to lodge tax returns (regardless of whether they have earned more than the tax-free threshold) and to update their details annually.
Extra resources have also been provided to extend the operation of the Tax Avoidance Taskforce. Employers using sham contracting arrangements to misrepresent employment relationships can expect to receive scrutiny.
Primary producers and tourism operator’s luxury car tax cut
Primary producers and tourism operators who are currently eligible for a refund of up to $3k in luxury car tax on 4WD and AWD vehicles, will be eligible for refunds of up to $10k on vehicles acquired after 1 July 2019. There may be some argy-bargy between the Government and the Opposition on this one with Labour touting initiatives for electric vehicles. In any case, the election will be decided before the changes are scheduled to come in.
Businesses in targeted industries will be eligible for grants of up to $4k to hire apprentices (Bakers, Bricklayers, Carpenters and Plumbers) and the Apprentices will be eligible for grants of up $2k when they hit key milestones. Teachers who work in very remote areas for four years (or the part-time equivalent) will have their HELP debt relating to their teaching qualifications waived. Don’t expect to see any legislation on this one before the next Federal election.
The above is essentially a summary of key initiatives presented by the Government in this budget. Now it’s time to wait to see what comes to fruition. Stay tuned!
For further information visit the official Budget website, click here.
Here’s a breakdown of what you need to know about the 2019-2020 Federal Budget impact on your personal finances
On Tuesday 2 April, the Federal Government handed down its Budget for the 2019-2020 financial year. This is the first Budget delivered by Treasurer Josh Frydenberg and will be the final Budget before the next Federal Election.
The theme of this year’s Budget is ‘A stronger economy and a secure future’. According to the Treasurer, the measures in this year’s Budget will not only lower personal taxes and return the Budget to surplus, they also help older Australians continue contributing to super and provide tax breaks for small-to-medium businesses.
Here are some of the announced 2019-2020 Federal Budget changes which might affect you. However, it’s important to remember these are only proposals at this stage, and each proposal will only become law once it’s passed by Parliament. Additionally, if there is a change of Government at the Federal Election, these proposals may be changed or removed from the next and subsequent Budgets.
- Immediate tax cuts for low-to-middle income earners
- Extension to the personal income tax cuts that were announced in last year’s Budget
- Increase to the Medicare Levy low-income threshold
- No work test for voluntary contributions by people aged up to 66
- Bring-forward rule extended to people up to 66
- Spouse contributions extended to people aged up to 74
Social security, health and aged care:
- One-off Energy Assistance Payment for social security pension recipients
- Increased access to diagnostic imaging and higher Medicare rebates
- Funding for 10,000 extra home care packages and 13,500 residential care places
- Extension of Commonwealth Home Support Programme
Immediate tax cuts for low-to-middle income earners
The Low and Middle Income Tax Offset (LMITO) was introduced in last year’s Budget as an addition to the Low Income Tax Offset (LITO). The LMITO will increase for individuals and families, starting from the current financial year, with eligible low-to-middle income earners receiving a payment after submitting their tax return.
The base rate for the LMITO will increase from $200 to $255 and the maximum payment will increase from $530 to $1,080.
From 1 July 2022, both offsets will be replaced by a single low-income tax offset.
What this could mean for you
If you are eligible to receive the Low and Middle Income Tax Offset, you can expect to receive a payment amount after you submit your next tax return.
For more information about the proposed changes to tax offsets, speak to your accountant or financial adviser.
Extension to personal income tax cuts
Over the next five years, many Australians will receive a decrease to their income tax rate in one of three ways:
- The upper threshold for the 19% marginal tax rate will increase from $37,000 to $45,000.
- The 32.5% marginal tax rate will reduce to 30%.
- The 37% marginal tax rate will be abolished (this change has already been legislated).
These changes will be progressively rolled out between now and 1 July 2024, as shown in the table below.
What this could mean for you
These measures are intended to ease the cost of living by reducing the income tax rate for many Australians, to varying degrees. The Government estimates that 94% of tax-paying Australians will pay 30% tax or less from 1 July 2024.
For more information about the proposed changes to tax thresholds, speak to your accountant or financial adviser.
Increasing the Medicare Levy low-income threshold
The Government will increase the Medicare Levy low-income thresholds for singles, families, and seniors and pensioners from the 2018-19 income year.
What this could mean for you
You won’t be charged the Medicare Levy if your taxable income is below the following thresholds:
No work test for voluntary contributions by people aged up to 66
The Government will update the superannuation contribution rules to allow people aged 65 and 66 to make voluntary contributions to superannuation without meeting the work test. Voluntary contributions include after‑tax (non-concessional) contributions, tax-deductible (concessional) contributions, voluntary employer contributions and spouse contributions.
What this could mean for you
If you are aged 65–74, current rules only allow you to make voluntary superannuation contributions if you have been gainfully employed for 40 hours over 30 consecutive days during the financial year or qualify for a new work test exemption taking effect from 1 July this year. With the Age Pension age scheduled to increase to 67 from 1 July 2023, this change effectively allows individuals to continue making voluntary super contributions until Age Pension age, whether they are still working or not.
Bring-forward rule extended to people up to 66
The Government will update the superannuation contribution rules to allow people aged under 67 to make three years’ worth of after-tax (non-concessional) contributions in a single year. Under current contribution caps, that would enable under-67-year-olds to contribute up to $300,000 in one year.
What this could mean for you
Currently, you must be under 65 during a financial year to use the bring-forward rule. This change enables 66 and 67 year old’s to boost their super in preparation for retirement, provided they meet other eligibility criteria. In particular, you can only make non-concessional contributions if your total super balance on 30 June, before the financial year when you make the contribution, is under $1.6 million.
Spouse contributions extended to people aged up to 74
Under the proposed changes, individuals will be able to contribute to their spouse’s superannuation where the receiving spouse is under age 75. In addition, if the receiving spouse is aged 65 or 66, they will no longer need to meet a work test. The work test will continue to apply if the receiving spouse is aged 67 or over.
What this could mean for you
Currently, for you to make a spouse contribution, your spouse must be under age 70 at the time of the contribution and must meet the work test if they are aged between 65 and 69. This change enables you to make spouse contributions for a further five years, giving you more opportunities to equalise your superannuation balances while potentially claiming a tax offset.
Social security, health and aged care
One-off Energy Assistance Payment for social security pension recipients
Social security pension recipients will receive a one-off Energy Assistance Payment to help with increased power bills. The payment will be $75 for singles and $125 for couples, and will be exempt from income tax.
What this could mean for you
If you receive an Age Pension, Disability Support Pension, Carer Payment, Parenting Payment Single, or certain payments from the Department of Veterans’ Affairs, such as the Service Pension or War Widow(er)s Pension, you could be eligible for a one-off payment by the end of the 2020 financial year.
Increased access to diagnostic imaging and higher Medicare rebates
The Government will provide $309 million to improve access to diagnostic imaging, with $199 million provided to increase patient rebates for items on the Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) from 1 July 2020. Additionally, the Government has allocated $187 million to increasing patient rebates for 119 General Practitioner service items.
What it could mean for you
For patients, these measures could help to make medical services more accessible and affordable, with fewer out-of-pocket costs. For medical practitioners and imaging providers, they provide an end to the rebate freeze originally introduced in 2013 and extended in 2016.
Funding for 10,000 extra home care packages and 13,500 residential care places
The Government will provide $724.8 million over five years from 2018-19 to fund improvements in residential and home care services, including a one-off increase to the basic subsidy for residential aged care recipients, 13,500 additional residential aged care places, and 10,000 additional home care packages.
What this could mean for you
These measures continue efforts in recent Budgets to reduce waiting times for both home care packages and residential care places, as well as subsidising the cost of providing residential care. As at 31 December 2018, around 74,000 Australians were in the queue for a home care package, down from more than 100,000 a year before. If you or a family member are in this situation, these measures could help provide more choice and enable you to access services sooner.
Extension of Commonwealth Home Support Program
The Government will provide $5.9 billion to extend funding for the Commonwealth Home Support Program (CHSP) until 30 June 2022. Funding is currently due to cease on 30 June 2020.
What this could mean for you
The CHSP contributes to essential home support services, including Meals on Wheels, personal care, nursing, domestic help, home maintenance, and community transport. If you or a family member rely on these services to continue living independently, this funding extension will provide further support over the next few years.
- A new $3.9 billion Emergency Response Fund to help agribusinesses recover from natural disasters.
Education and skills
- $525.3 million to help modernise the vocational training sector, including funding up to 80,000 new apprenticeships.
- $93.7 million over four years for scholarships to study in regional Australia.
- $10 million over four years to help educate Australian children, parents and teachers on cyber-safety.
- Abolition of the $3.9 billion Education Investment Fund to finance the new Emergency Response Fund.
Health and aged care
- A planned $5 billion investment over 10 years in the Medical Research Future Fund, including $614 million for rare cancers and diseases, $220 million for cardiovascular health, $605 million for clinical infrastructure and $150 million for stem cell research.
- $737 million for mental health over seven years, including $461 million for youth mental health services.
An additional $2 billion for the Government’s Climate Solutions Fund.
Important information: This document contains general advice. It does not take account of your objectives, financial situation or needs. You should consider talking to a financial adviser before making a financial decision. This document has been prepared by Count Financial Limited ABN 19 001 974 625, AFSL 227232, (Count) a wholly-owned, non‑guaranteed subsidiary of Commonwealth Bank of Australia ABN 48 123 123 124. Count Wealth Accountants® is the business name of Count. Count advisers are authorised representatives of Count. Information in this document is based on both current and proposed regulatory requirements and laws as at 3 April 2019, which may be subject to change. While care has been taken in the preparation of this document, no liability is accepted by Count, its related entities, agents and employees for any loss arising from reliance on this document. Count is registered with the Tax Practitioners Board as a Registered Tax (Financial) Adviser. However your authorised representative may not be a Registered Tax Agent. Consequently, tax considerations are general in nature and do not include an assessment of your overall tax position. You should seek tax advice from a Registered Tax Agent.
We’re here to help!
All businesses with one or more employees, no matter the size, must report their employees’ tax and super information to the ATO through a digital reporting system known as Single Touch Payroll (“STP”), reporting from 1 July 2019.
Recording from our STP webinar on Thursday 21st March, 2019
STP effectively changes the way employers report their employees’ tax & superannuation information to the ATO. From 1 July 2019, employers are required to electronically send all employees’ tax and superannuation information to the ATO each time there is a ‘Pay Event’ (each time employees and superannuation contributions are paid).
According to the ATO, there are approximately 90,000 micro-businesses who don’t use any software to operate. Because of this, experts are comparing this legislation to that of when GST was first implemented.
Larger employers, those with 20 or more employees, have already been using this system for a year and this ultimately brings all employers into the same reporting requirements. Reporting digitally will also save you time reconciling wages and reduces other reporting requirements currently in place.
For your employees, they will be able to easily access their information, normally detailed on their payment summary, by logging into their myGov account.
Overall, STP is simple and will simplify processes but it needs preparation.
There are a range of options available to businesses of all sizes. Major accounting software providers (including Xero & MYOB), have developed solutions and have rolled out offerings to meet STP requirements while taking into consideration the needs of small to micro-businesses.
Not sure of what to do? Contact pmwPartners and we’ll get you STP ready.
Want to know more?
Visit the ATO website links below for further information about Single Touch Payroll.
- Single Touch Payroll for employees
- News, events and resources
- Reporting through Single Touch Payroll
Already registered for automated payroll?
You’re half way there! Contact your pmwPartners Customer Relations Manager to get you STP ready.
Emergency Drought Relief Assistance
The NSW Government has announced a $500 million Emergency Drought Relief Package to help farmers manage the effects of the current drought.
Below is a summary of the assistance available and some links to further information.
The three major elements of the $500 million Emergency Drought Relief Package are:
- $190 million for Drought Transport Subsidies;
- $100 million to cut the cost of farming by waiving fees and charges; and,
- $150 million to bolster the Farm Innovation Fund (FIF) infrastructure program.
The package also includes funding for:
- Counselling and mental health;
- Critical services in regional communities including transporting water and drought related road upgrades and repairs; and,
- Animal welfare and stock disposal.
As always, we’re here to help. Do give us a call on 02 6362 1966 if you need help processing your application or understanding the emergency measures available to you.
To stay informed on the most up to date information as it comes to hand, visit the NSW Drought Hub at https://www.dpi.nsw.gov.au/climate-and-emergencies/droughthub
NSW EMERGENCY DROUGHT TRANSPORT SUBSIDIES
(available from 6 August 2018)
The NSW Government will offer a subsidy of up to $20,000 per eligible farm business for the transporting costs of fodder, water to a property for stock, stock to and from agistment and stock to sale or slaughter.
Some of the criteria for this assistance is:
- Covers 50% of the full cost of transport up to a maximum of $5 per kilometre and 1,500 kilometres per journey. The maximum subsidy per journey would be $3,750
- Subsidy can be back dated to 1 January 2018
The full list of guidelines is available here:
Contact NSW RAA for more information on 1800 678 593 or visit https://www.raa.nsw.gov.au/assistance/emergency-drought-relief
WAIVERS ON GOVERNMENT FEES AND CHARGES
Local Land Services
All LLS Rates for all landholders in 2019 will be waived, including general rates and rates for Animal Health, Pest Animals and Pest Management, the Meat Industry Levy and costs of Routine Stock Moving Permit and Stock Identification.
This waiver will apply automatically – no application required.
Contact Local Land Services for more information on 1300 795 299
Fixed Water Charges in Rural & Regional Areas
The fixed charge component of water licences issued by Water NSW will be waived for licence holders in rural and regional NSW. The water usage fee component will still apply to all water users.
This waiver will apply automatically – no application required.
Contact Water NSW on 1300 662 077 https://www.waternsw.com.au/
Farm Innovation Fund – Waiver of interest charges prior to 30 July 2018
All existing Farm Innovation Fund customers who had submitted applications on or before 30 July 2018 will have applicable interest charges for 2018 and 2019 financial year refund applied and processed automatically.
Contact NSW RAA on 1800 678 593 for more information https://www.raa.nsw.gov.au/assistance/emergency-drought-relief
Class 1 Agricultural Vehicle Registration Costs
Class 1 Agricultural vehicles will be exempt from the next annual registration charge.
Contact Service NSW for more information on 13 77 88 https://www.service.nsw.gov.au/news/registration-relief-farmers
OTHER ASSISTANCE AND LOANS
There are many support measures in place by way of Drought Concessional Loans, Farm Management Deposits, Rural Financial Counselling Services and Farm Debt Mediation.
For Farm Innovation Fund, NSW Farm Debt Mediation & availability of loans please Contact NSW RAA for more information on 1800 678 593 or visit NSW RAA
For Rural Financial Counselling Services please go to http://www.agriculture.gov.au/ag-farm-food/drought/assistance/rural-financial-counselling-service for help.
Our team at PMW Partners are available to help you navigate what is available to you and with the paperwork requirements to achieve your financial assistance, call us on 02 6362 1966 for more information.
EOFY18. The 2018 tax year has just finished and regulatory reporting is just beginning with tax returns, financial statements, payroll tax and more. At PMW we’re looking forward to getting all that sorted for you.
This is a big post dedicated to getting you organised and on your way.
Completing your records
Receipts and recording
Every claim, every transaction, every assumption must be recorded one way or another to ensure the item is proved, is accurate and is relevant to your financial and taxation reporting. This guide will highlight some of the actions necessary to get you underway for:
What you remember today may not be remembered tomorrow. So…Why wait until tomorrow.
We invite you to get started now, and if you have questions then of course we are just a phone call away.
We have a detailed checklist for you to download and complete on our website. When we are ready to commence your return, just supply it to us. It will be an excellent precursor to delivering our service.
Please follow this link to go direct to the Individual ITR form.
The document will ask you – PAYG summaries, Health Insurance Statements, Dividend Information, Receipts for expenditure (by category).There are even some basic tables that can be completed as well. In relation to gathering records here are some tips:
Access your bank records online and it should provide you with total interest earnings and charges on accounts and loans. This can typically be printed or saved as a csv or excel file and sent to us.
Shares and Investment
Dividend statements, contract notes for buy and sells, trust distribution notices are best just to be given to us ,or if you would like to jump into our financial planning then investment summaries are just part of the service.
If you have property investment then your rental summaries, expense records and detailed repairs invoices for new assets and repairs would be great. Our new product My Prosperity will in the future be the best rental property tool you ever had but in the meantime the information form on our site will provide a good directive of what you need to provide.
The most common item of expense to claim and involves running costs, depreciation, interest and insurances. Some expenses such as fuel and oil are claimed using an estimate using the make of your vehicle and the kilometres travelled. Make sure have a log book less than 5 years old and provide an estimate of your annual business or work related distance travelled and we will work it out from there.
Make sure you get the odometer reading for your vehicle at 30 June as soon as possible.
If you don’t have expense receipts it may be best to just claim on a kilometres travelled basis assuming you have a deductible purpose.
Working from Home
If you work from home, as a minimum, please provide us with an estimate of how many hours you work per week from home and what items of equipment you may use. For more detailed home use patterns it is best to speak to us for guidance.
Things you may have purchased
Computers, printers, modems, other electronic devices, tools of trade, vehicles etc – simply provide the invoice, receipt or contract and some detail on why you bought it and how you paid.
These actions do not override any essential planning strategies. These are to ensure you are ready to close the year, start a new one based on a good line in the sand, and finalise that regulatory reporting.
If you have bank reporting, let us know straight away. Banks assess you on how effectively you meet your obligations and annual reporting is a crucial one. Making sure everyone is on target to deliver is not something to be left to the last minute.
Knowing the turnover of all your businesses, is important for us both as the rules may change if the combined revenues are big enough.
Bill it, collect it
The lifeblood of a business is earning and getting paid for its goods and services. For retailers this is relatively easy but for services, construction and progressive supply businesses income recognition, measurement and close off is crucial.
- Close the tills
- Review the work complete, or is at a progress billing stage
- Get it billed
- Process credit notes and cliams
- Get your progression stages and profit recognition right and tight
- Evaluate potential losses and claims
- Evaluate the collectability of work in progress, and be conservative
- Close complete jobs
- Make sure those bad debts have been properly written off
- Reconcile your ledger to the trial balance
Stock is more than raw material and finished goods
- Stocktaking is essential to measuring what has been spent but not yet sold. This should be done now if stock is more than $5,000.
- Raw materials and finished goods are a crucial part of stock and so often work in progress is the poor cousin with few businesses having any way of assessing it, yet, it could be one of the biggest numbers in the financial records. Call us to discuss what to do here as it needs some specialised attention.
- Identify slow moving or scrapped items and write them down to a recoverable amount
- Ensure your costs of production are included and you know what your terms of trade are, to ensure stock movements are correctly dealt with.
Creditors and other expenses
- Creditors must be processed before approval
- Claim all credit notes (immediately every time)
- Close creditor recognition at 14 days post end of period to allow for as many as possible
- Review expenditure patterns and recognise creditors not yet received or billed (an accrual)
Wages & payroll
- Ensure all wage categories and deductions have been identified and correctly set up
- Reconcile the PAYG summary data to the trial balance
- Ensure FBT reportable benefits are known
- Prepare PAYG Statements
- Prepare Contractor Schedule of Payments
- Complete Payroll Tax Reports if required
- Lodge Annual Records
- Roll the payroll year
- Ensure you are Single Touch Payroll ready (20+ employees)
The bank function
- Process all transactions via feeds or manually
- Review outstanding cheques and deposits for aging and potential cancellation and re-issue
- Process all unclaimed monies
- Reverse all suspended expense payment runs
- Reconcile bank
Depreciable assets, finance arrangements and miscellaneous balances can be closed later however please supply copies of invoices of documents for new assets, sold assets and new or completed finance arrangements. these will be processed as part of the year end function.
Protection against regulatory reviews
A lot of change is occuring with technologies, and the information sharing between businesses and the government agencies is massive and will go a big step further with single touch payroll and the need to fund new budget promises. Any business and individual with interests other than as a salary and wage earner will at some point in the near future be involved in some form of review program. Yes there are many forms of review with the desk audit being one of the most invasive and hence, costly.
We have arranged for audit insurance to be available to our clients and we urge you to consider this. Please be assured while it has a cost this particular service is a non profit making service we at PMW Accountants & Advisors provide. This is done to provide you with the potential to protect you against costs of dealing with and defending actions by state and federal regulators.
Ask us about further details now.
Single Touch Payroll – Final Call
For employers with 20+ employees
It is finally here and for any employer with less than 20 employees your turn will come next year unless you volunteer to report under the current regime.
- Employers will now report payroll and superannuation information direct to the ATO via Xero, MYOB and other accounting system or payroll service providers.
- This is done on a real time basis, i.e when you run the payroll
- This information can be updated at a later time via an update process
- There is a 12 month no penalty concession available unless notified that option no longer exists
Bear in mind that, while this concession is available, there can be potential reviews and actions that may cause other investigations to the business and or employees.
It is prudent to actively manage payroll particularly with director and related party amounts to ensure unusual variations do not apply without good reason. We are happy to discuss this further with you.
It is also fair to expect that this regular supply of information is likely to play a significant role in the government managing the massive social security and child support system, this being something employees may have a particular interest in.
The Super Amnesty
The government recently announced an amnesty for employers to catch up on their superannuation guarantee obligations from 24 May 2018 to 23 May 2019. No penalties will be applied during this period and is off the back of the introduction of the single touch payroll system noting that many employers may be adversely affected.
For those employers with cash flow issues this is an important opportunity to rely upon but also to ensure no late payment issues occur in the future as Single Touch Payroll will be the red rag to the bull.
We fully expect the banks financing programs will also look at this information moving forward and we urge all employers to be aware and prepare.
For more information and to discuss your tax plans further, please call us at PMW Accountants & Advisors on 02 6362 1966.