Personal superannuation changes you need to know about

Let’s talk about superannuation – it’s one of our favourite topics!

Okay, you might not get as excited about superannuation as we do. But there are a number of recent changes to the tax treatment of super that we think you should be aware of.

To help you get the most out of your retirement savings and avoid any unexpected pitfalls, we’ve outlined some of the major developments here.

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Keeping a vehicle log book – plus your free template

When claiming work-related car expenses, many people miss maximising their claim due to poor record keeping.

Inadequate records can also cost dearly if you are audited by the Australian Tax Office (ATO).

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2017-18 Federal Budget: Personal Taxes and Medicare

Personal taxes

The option of claiming a standard tax deduction for work expenses has long been talked about, in the hope of simplifying personal tax returns. It was speculated to be delivered in this year’s Federal Budget, however was not to be.

The 2017-18 Budget also contained no changes to the personal income tax rates and thresholds. This means that the Temporary Budget Repair Levy (2% on incomes over $180,000) will still expire at the end of the 2016-17 financial year.

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Tax and the sharing economy

There are more and more sharing economy, or collaborative consumption, websites and apps hitting the market in Australia and they are making their way from the big cities into the Tasmanian market. With the holiday season upon us, short-term vacation rentals through apps like Airbnb and Stayz will be in full swing. And now that Uber has arrived in Hobart – just in time for the silly season – Tasmanians and our tourists are embracing the ride-sourcing phenomenon.

But before you decide to rent your house out for summer with Airbnb or earn some extra money driving for Uber, you need to consider the tax implications – you may need to pay GST and income tax on your earnings and you may be liable for CGT down the track.

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2016-17 Federal Budget delivers tax relief for middle income earners

An increase in the middle tax bracket from $80,000 to $87,000 is long overdue and works to overcome the significant bracket creep issues of recent years.

 Gareth Atkins, Synectic

From 1 July 2016, the government will increase the 32.5% personal income tax threshold from $80,000 to $87,000.

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Work-related travel expenses: Why are they on the ATO’s radar?

Many people, as employees, get their tax returns wrong in relation to claiming work-related travel expenses.

The absence of hard and fast rules can makes claiming travel expenses difficult. Often the deductibility of such costs can depend on the nature of employment, the amount of time spent away from home, and whether an allowance has been received to cover the costs.

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Rental properties: claiming for “repairs” or “improvements”

The ATO is focusing on claims that investment property owners make for repairs to rental residences that it deems to in fact be “improvements”.

The scenario where investment properties have work done on them often happens shortly after the property is purchased, and has led to the term “initial repair” being commonly used when discussing the tax implications of such property works.

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No more zone tax offset for FIFOs

In the 2015-16 federal budget, the government announced that it will exclude “fly-in-fly-out” and “drive-in-drive-out” workers from claiming the zone tax offset (ZTO) where their normal residence is not within a “zone” (access the Australian zone list here).

The measure was not passed by Parliament until late in 2015, but it is now law, effective from July 1, 2015. Anyone who may have looked at making a claim under the ZTO next tax time may need to review their eligibility. Contact us if you would like assistance.

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Is the new home you are building exempt from CGT?

There is a concession in the CGT rules that can allow you to treat a property as your “main residence” even though it does not yet have a habitable dwelling. Under the concession you may be able to receive the CGT exemption while you are still building.

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Tax Office targets expats who claim non-resident status

The Tax Office has sent letters to people living overseas who have made claims as non-residents for tax purposes. We strongly recommend that expats consult with their tax professional prior to responding to the letter as international tax matters further compound the already complex tax rules.

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