Crowdfunding tax guidance raises questions over gratuities, specialty donations

With the Uber-GST stoush mostly settled, the Tax Office has offered an olive branch to another high-profile disruptive economy -crowdfunding – in the form of provisional tax guidance that promises things will change if they need to.

Historically the Tax Office’s stance on crowdfunding has been narrow but definitive. Late last year, the regulator said crowdfunding activities would likely incur GST liabilities if they involved exchanging goods for donations. It’s common that ‘promoters’ (the individuals asking for donations) offer ‘funders’ prizes for their contributions and the Tax Office saw that occurrence as a taxable consideration. That applied only to goods, though.

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Single Touch Payroll questions answered: Have your say

When the Single Touch Payroll initiative was first floated at the end of 2014, it was touted as a tool that would eliminate several red-tape producing processes and do away with the need for many reporting demands presently dumped on small business owners.

It is called “single touch” because the interactive online tool is intended to fulfil all business reporting obligations (payment summaries, superannuation contributions, pay-as-you-go withholding and so on) “at the touch of a single button” the government announcement said.

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Avoid ineligible R&D Tax Incentive claims

The Tax Office warns that it is working closely with AusIndustry to identify taxpayers involved in aggressive R&D Tax Incentive arrangements.

The ATO says some claims made for the R&D incentive have been negligent on the compliance requirements generally expected when making a claim, with some other instances even bordering on tax avoidance and fraud.

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If you think the taxman is wrong, here’s what you can do

You are allowed to disagree with the Tax Office, if they have disagreed with your self-assessment of your tax position.

If you believe your tax assessment is incorrect, the first step is straight forward and pretty informal. You contact us and we start making enquiries; you may need to provide us with extra information to help. If we believe the assessment is wrong we can lodge an amendment with the Tax Office (see our post Making an amendment to your tax return).

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Making an amendment to your tax return

Once we have lodged your 2014-15 tax return and forwarded your notice of assessment to you saying that everything is as discussed, you may realise that something has been left out of your tax return or accidentally included an extra deduction. You might be left wondering “how do I amend my tax return?”.

The Australian tax system is based on “self assessment”, which means the Tax Office generally takes your word, under our guidance, and bases its assessment on the information provided. But if it subsequently becomes apparent that something is wrong, there is an option to make it right.

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More of the Federal Budget’s small business concessions now have certainty

Our post-budget wrap up looked at many of the announcements affecting small business with the “Growing Jobs and Small Business” package announced by the government on budget night. You can read more about the small business concessions at business.gov.au.

Now the legislation that many small business owners will be glad to see in place has made it through Parliament.

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