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Analysis of Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook: Impact on the aged care sector

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On 17 December 2018 the Government provided its Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook update for the 2018/19 year. In making the announcement it also included several measures that impacts directly on the aged care sector.

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ATO Targeting Work-From-Home Expenses this Tax Time

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Working From Home

The Tax Office has earmarked home office expenses as a key focus area this tax time, citing a lack of education contributing to a high amount of mistakes, errors, and questionable claims.

According to the ATO a record $7.9 billion in deductions for ‘other work-related expenses’ were claimed by 6.7 million taxpayers last year, with the Tax Office noticing a rise in expenses related to working from home. With increasing numbers of employees working from home, extra costs related to home office could be deductible, but the ATO advise they are seeing some taxpayers either over-claiming and/or claiming private expenses which are not tax deductible.

They cite increasing evidence that many taxpayers don’t know what they can and cannot claim. In particular, they are seeing some taxpayers claiming expenses they never paid for, expenses their employer reimbursed, private expenses and expenses with no supporting records. While acknowledging that costs incurred as a direct result of working from home can be legitimately claimed, the ATO have noticed taxpayers making claims for all sorts of private expenses.

Apparently a very common issue is people claiming the entire amount of an expense (like their internet or mobile phone), not just the extra part related to their work. An ATO spokesperson advises “If working from home means sitting in front of the TV or at the kitchen table doing some emails, it’s unlikely that you are incurring any additional expenses. However, if you have a separate work area, then you can claim the work-related portion of running expenses for that space. Employees cannot generally claim occupancy-related expenses like rent, mortgage repayments, property insurance, land taxes and rates.”

The ATO have revealed that over $53 million in errors had been corrected in the first two months of tax time in 2018, stemming from “simple mistakes” such as not declaring all income or over-claiming deductions. If you are unsure about what you might be able to claim please contact our office to discuss further.

Security Alert: BSB & Account Number Changes

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Scam Alert

If you are ever asked to change or update a BSB and Account number as a result of an email received from a supplier or known associate, it is critical that you verbally validate this request as well.

Reports to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) and Australian Cybercrime Online Reporting Network (ACORN) about scams of this sort have exposed over $22.1 million in funds being transferred from businesses to scammer accounts during 2017.

Our top tips to avoid incurring financial loss to scammers are:

  1. Always verbally check the BSB and Account number changes using a trusted phone number. Confirming a change via email is not a secure method of validation.
  2. Scammers often pose as executive staff members to direct employees to make urgent payments. Once again, always verbally validate these requests using a trusted phone number.
  3. If you are unable to contact the requestor, contact the recipient bank to confirm if the BSB and Account number match the name on the account.

For more information on how to protect your business speak to your StewartBrown Partner of Manager and/or contact your bank.

This threat is real and should not be taken lightly! A client of our firm recently experienced this scam and unfortunately lost out financially because of it. Be vigilant and train your staff to be on the alert.

Employer Financial Subsidies Available - Check Your Eligibility

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Employer Subsidies

A wage subsidy is a financial incentive of up to $10,000 (GST inclusive) to help eligible businesses hire new staff.

Employers can access a wage subsidy if they:

  • have an Australian Business Number (ABN)
  • have not previously received a wage subsidy for the same person
  • are not an Australian, state or territory government agency
  • offer a job that is expected to be ongoing and for an average of 20 hours per week over the six months of the wage subsidy agreement
  • offer a job that complies with employment standards for the position - for example, is suitable work and pays as a minimum the national award wage.

Employers can access a wage subsidy if they:

  • work that displaces an existing employee
  • commission-based, subcontracting or self-employment positions and
  • work for an immediate family member.

Employment service providers will make flexible payments to eligible employers over six months. Employees who are Indigenous Australians have immediate access to wage subsidies of up to $10,000 if all eligibility requirements are met. The following table summarises what subsidies are available to employers:

Wage subsidy type Eligible age range Subsidy available
Restart 50 years of age and over Up to $10,000
Youth Bonus 15-24 years of age Up to $10,000
Youth 25-29 years of age Up to $6,500
Parents Any age Up to $6,500
Long Term Unemployed Any age Up to $6,500

Wage subsidies are available to eligible participants in jobactive, Transition to Work (TtW) and ParentsNext Intensive Streams. The Restart Wage Subsidy is also available to participants in Disability Employment Services (DES) and the Community Development Programme (CDP).

All wage subsidy placements must average at least 20 hours per week over the 26 week wage subsidy period. Employment must also comply with National Employment Standards.

Jobs can be full time, part time or casual. Apprenticeships and traineeships are also eligible to attract a wage subsidy.

Each wage subsidy is targeted to assist those who need it most. Please talk to an employment services provider to check your eligibility. A list of employment services providers can be found at: www.jobsearch.gov.au/service-providers or by calling the Jobseeker Hotline on 13 62 68 or the National Customer Service Line on 1800 805 260.

June 2018 Aged Care Sector Reports Released

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The StewartBrown June 2018 Aged Care Financial Performance Survey (ACFPS) incorporates detailed financial and supporting data from over 974 residential aged care facilities and over 24,952 home care packages across Australia. The quarterly survey is the largest benchmark within the aged care sector and provides an invaluable insight into the trends and drivers of financial performance at the sector level and at the facility or program level.

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Chatswood, NSW, 2067
Tel: (02) 9412 3033
Fax: (02) 9411 3242
info@stewartbrown.com.au


StewartBrown Advisory Pty Ltd
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Level 2, Tower 1,
495 Victoria Avenue

Chatswood, NSW, 2067
Tel: (02) 9412 3033
Fax: (02) 9413 4202
info@stewartbrown.com.au

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StewartBrown
ABN: 63 271 338 023
Level 1,
104 Frome Street

Adelaide, SA, 5000
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Fax: (08) 8229 2288
info@stewartbrown.com.au

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