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Federal Budget 2019 - How will it impact you and your business?

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The Federal Budget has been delivered and has focused on infrastructure and essential services spending as well as income tax relief for low and middle income earners and business tax relief. Unsurprisingly (on the eve of a federal election), the budget is a somewhat safe and uneventful one, and rather than containing any major changes to the current tax base, has focused on minor tweaks and changes to what we already have.

As with all Budgets, these are announcements only and have not been legislated. The details are still to be worked through, and both Houses of Parliament need to pass legislation before the announcements take effect. Parliament won’t consider these announcements until after the Federal election, expected in May this year, so more than normal, the passage from announcement to legislation is uncertain.

The key tax (personal and business related) and superannuation highlights of last night’s Budget are summarised below:-

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Fringe Benefits Tax (“FBT”)

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FBT

The FBT year ends on 31 March 2019 and each employer is required to calculate their liability for FBT. Where a liability for FBT exists, an annual return is required to be lodged and any tax paid by 21 May 2019. However, if the return is lodged electronically by a Tax Agent the due date of lodgement is 25 June 2019 while the payment due date is 28 May 2019.

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Tax Policies Of The Major Political Parties

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In our May 2018 special edition newsletter, we discussed the tax policies of the major political parties in Australia at that time. This was back when newspapers and online media were fervently covering the major issue being proposed by the Labor party; that of cancelling tax refunds arising from excess imputation (or franking) credits.

As the Federal election is drawing ever nearer (and the prospect of a change in Government seems ever more likely!) we thought that we should revisit some of the more significant policy proposals as some of you may be substantially affected by them if they become law (and could apply from 1 July this year!)

Bob Deutsch Senior Tax Counsel of the Taxation Institute of Australia recently said “The next Federal election is looming as one of the most important elections in recent times particularly having regard to the differences between the two alternatives on tax policy.”

We have summarised the major parties tax policies for you and given some brief explanations in each of the following links:

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StewartBrown 2019 Land Tax newsletter

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Welcome to the Special Land Tax edition of our client newsletter for January 2019 where we hope to keep you informed of the important land tax compliance issues affecting owners of land in Australia.

Click here to download the newsletter.

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.

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info@stewartbrown.com.au


StewartBrown Advisory Pty Ltd
ABN: 19 143 011 750
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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

Adelaide Office

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

Adelaide, SA, 5000
Tel: (08) 8229 2280
Fax: (08) 8229 2288
info@stewartbrown.com.au

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