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Can Winning the lottery this affect your age or disability pension?

Congratulations! Winning the lottery is an exciting moment that many people dream about, but it's important to consider how it may impact your Age Pension.

As a pensioner, you may already be familiar with the various conditions, eligibility requirements, and tests that can affect the amount of pension you receive. Winning the lottery can add an additional layer of complexity to the equation, especially because there are two different types of winnings you can receive: a lump sum amount or a set-for-life arrangement where you receive a regular monthly payment for an extended period.

Let's take a closer look at how each type of winnings can impact your Age Pension:

Lump Sum Amounts

If you receive a lump sum through winnings or gambling, it is not treated as income by Services Australia (Centrelink). However, it could still affect your pension rate if it causes your bank account balance and total assets to exceed the asset limit.

For example, if your winnings amount to a lump sum of $1,000,000 and your current assets already exceed that amount, you would likely be pushed over the asset limit and your pension would cease. On the other hand, if you only won a smaller amount, such as $10,000, the increase to your overall assets would be much smaller, and your pension rate may not be affected at all.

Set-For-Life Amount Over Time

The periodic payments of a set-for-life winning are treated as income by Services Australia (Centrelink). They are assessed each time they are paid, for the duration of the winnings.

For example, if you were the only winner of the Division 1 prize for the Set For Life Lottery in Australia, you would receive $20,000 per month for twenty years. These monthly payouts are tax-free, but they could have a significant impact on your Age and disability Pension. If you receive $20,000 per month for 20 years, it would effectively eradicate your Age and disability pension.

Even if you win a smaller amount, such as $5,000 per month, it can still significantly reduce the amount you or your partner may receive due to the Age and disability pension income test. The Age and disability pension income test uses the gross income of both partners, even if one of the partners does not receive a pension.

In summary, winning the lottery can have a major impact on your Age and disability Pension, depending on the type of winnings you receive and what you do with the money. If you are a pensioner who has won the lottery, it is important to consider these factors and seek financial advice to ensure that you are maximizing your Age and disability Pension while also enjoying your winnings at AWTS we charge a fixed rate to file your age pension documents and we guarantee you will receive at least 50c in a pension, if you don't receive it, we don't get paid.

New Year’s Business tax resolution often involve improving our health or personal habits, but why not include keeping on top of your business tax obligations for your business in 2023? Here are five tax resolutions to help you stay on track:

5 Must Keep Business Tax Resolution you need this year!

Determine If You’re In Business

If you are earning income from a hobby, you may already be considered in business for tax purposes. To determine if you are in business, identify all relevant activities you are conducting and ask yourself the following questions:

Do you intend to be in business?

Do you intend and have a prospect of making a profit from your activities? Is the size or scale of your activity enough to make a profit? Are the activities repeated and continuous? Are your activities planned, organised, and carried out in a business-like manner? The more of these questions you answer yes to, the more likely it is that your activities are considered a business.

Keep Business Details and Registrations Up to Date

A definite Business tax resolution

If you’re a director of an Australian company, apply for a director ID. Keep your Australian Business Number (ABN) details up to date, as emergency services and government agencies use this information to support businesses during disasters. Additionally, if you expect to earn over $75,000 this financial year, you must register for Goods and Services Tax (GST).

Keep Accurate and Complete Records

Good record-keeping helps you manage your business and its cash flow. Keep track of all income and expenses, including invoices, receipts, and bank statements. This will make it easier to complete your tax return and claim all relevant deductions.

Determine If Personal Services Income (PSI) Rules Apply to You

A definite Business tax resolution

Click here for Business Personal Services income

If you earn income mainly from your skills or efforts as an individual, you may be subject to the PSI rules. These rules affect how you report your income and the deductions you can claim. If your accountant told you to set up a company to invoice one client, you may be governed by these rules.

Take Care of You and Your Business

Small businesses have faced many challenges in the past few years, so it’s crucial to be prepared. Consult with your advisers, take their advice seriously, and look into grants and programs that can assist your endeavours.

By making these tax resolutions a priority, you can ensure your business stays compliant and financially healthy.

We wish you all the best and hope you’re on track to thrive in 2023. When the fireworks have faded, know that we're always available to support businesses just like yours.

Participants involved with the NDIS are assisted to live independently and plan out their ongoing future, including their home and living goals. The NDIS Housing in Superannuation can provide support to accessing housing for these individuals, but availability is often limited due to high demand.

NDIS Housing in Superannuation

Using your Self Managed Super Fund to invest in an NDIS property is a mid-to-long-term investment that could supplement your super to fund the retirement you want and deserve.

Having a self-managed superannuation fund gives you the ability to leverage your super by borrowing money from a lender to be able to make more sizable investment purchases, such as NDIS Property.

The rules and regulations around using your SMSF to purchase NDIS property can be quite complicated.

An SMSF can borrow money to purchase a house and land package as long as it is purchased together in one transaction (a one-part contract) as a single acquirable asset where the asset is identified up front as vacant land with a completed house on it.

There are specific considerations to consider to determine whether or not the investment property can be purchased through your SMSF.

Location & Demand

The property must be in an area with high rental demand (typically considered as anywhere within a 50-kilometre radius of an Australian capital city or a 35-kilometre radius of a major city).The areas generally fall into these areas and have a vacancy rate of 1% or below (meaning that the rental demand for investors is there).

Bank Approval

The property purchased through your SMSF must be ideally as new as possible as it needs to be approved by the bank. This is because the property must be positively geared (income from the rent should be higher than the outgoings on the property). At the very least it should have a neutral cash flow (meaning the incomings and outgoings are relatively even).

No Personal Gain From The Property

The last criterion is that you can’t see any personal gain from your investment property. This includes:

Some risks can accompany using your SMSF (Self-Managed Super Fund) to invest in NDIS property – the number one is cash flow. Your loan repayments will come from your SMSF. Sufficient income into your SMSF (including NDIS Rent from the tenant/s) needs to be ensured to make the repayments.

Some ongoing costs can come with using your SMSF to purchase a property. These may include:

When you retire, there will be two options available to you with the property.

  1. Continue to receive rent on your investment property as your pension-based income, or

In short, using funds from your SMSF to purchase an NDIS investment property is not the same as a regular SMSF property investment loan. Doing so should consider guidance from professional advisers and careful planning.

PAYG Instalments

Pay-as-you-go (PAYG) instalments are regular tax prepayments on your business and investment income.

They’re a way to offset your tax bill at the end of the financial year by paying regular instalments. This way, you should not have a large tax bill when you lodge your tax returns.

If your financial situation has changed, your expected tax may also change. This means your current PAYG instalments may add up to more or less than your tax at the end of the year.

When Do You Have To Pay PAYG Instalments?

If you are an individual (including a sole trader) or trust, you will automatically enter the PAYG system if you have all of the following:

A company or super fund will automatically enter the PAYG installments system if any of the following apply:

PAYG Varying Instalments

You can vary your Pay as you Go if you think your current payments will result in you paying too much or too little tax for the income year. Variations must be made on or before the payment due date (28 days after the end of each quarter, generally).

You do not have to vary your PAYG instalments at all. It will not change how much income tax you pay for the year.

After you lodge your tax return, if your installments were:

Your varied amount will apply for all your remaining installments unless you make another variation before the end of the income year.

You might need to vary your PAYG instalments if the 2022 floods or other disasters impacted you.

If you cannot pay your installment amount, you should still lodge your instalment notice and discuss a payment arrangement with the ATO. You may wish to obtain advice from a tax agent on whether you should vary your instalments.

What is PAYG Instalments and who are they for?

PAYG instalments are amounts you pay to the ATO in advance, based on your expected tax liability for the current financial year. These instalments are generally required if you are self-employed or run your own business, or if you receive other income (such as rental income or capital gains) that is not subject to PAYG withholding.

The ATO uses your previous year’s tax return or an estimate of your current year’s income to calculate your expected tax liability and the amount of your instalments. You can choose to pay instalments on a quarterly or annual basis, depending on your preference.

If you pay more instalments than your final tax liability, you will receive a tax refund at the end of the financial year. If you pay less, you will need to pay the balance at tax time.

In summary, PAYG withholding is a tax collection system for employees, while PAYG instalments are a tax collection system for individuals who are self-employed or receive other income. Both are used to offset your tax bill at the end of the financial year.

Next year’s tax return may look slightly different to previous years for low and middle-income earners, with Ending the Low-Middle Income Tax Offset (LMITO).

It has been confirmed that the 2021-22 income year will be the final year for the LMITO to be applied to returns, and it will not be available for future income years.

How Did The LMITO Work?

Ending LMITO acts as an offset, meaning that it reduces the tax you pay (known as your tax payable) on your taxable income. Your taxable income is your total income minus any deductions you claim.

In your 2021-22 tax return, nothing additional needed to be completed for you to receive the low and middle-income tax offset. If your taxable income is $18,201 or more, the Australian Taxation Office works out how much tax you need to pay based on what you have earned.  

The low and middle-income tax offset is not a cash refund. If you didn’t pay any tax during the year, you wouldn’t get the low and middle-income tax offset.

Offsets are not used to reduce your Medicare levy & Medicare levy surcharge (if there is any). The LMITO did not affect this part of your tax return.

Ending LMITO, what this means for you?

While the LMITO will not be available for the 2022-23 income year, the Low Income Tax Offset (LITO) may still be available (pending any further rulings or changes). This will automatically applied by the ATO after you lodge your tax return next year.

The amount of the low-income tax offset (LITO) you receive will depend on your taxable income.

If your taxable income is:

Consulting with a tax agent or professional like us can be of great assistance for tax returns and preparation for the coming year, particularly regarding any offsets or deductions you may be eligible for. Why not start a conversation with us today?

Book an appointment here

More details on the LMITO

What a daunting time of the year, tax time, personal taxes have a deadline and so do businesses who have taxes to lodge.

Tax Deadlines for Individuals in 2021 and 2022

For personal taxes: if you have a job and work for someone on a salary or wages, you are subject to a time restriction when lodging each years taxes. For you, you must lodge before 31 October 2021, however, this is if you have never or don’t have a tax agent linked to your TFN (Tax File Number).

If you have a tax agent and you use an accountant registered with the tax agent board (search here) if they are TAB registered accountants, then your personal taxes are dues on the 14 May 2022, the extension is always granted to accountants and their clients by the tax agent board.

Tax Deadlines for Businesses in 2021 and 2022

For business taxes: the same will apply regardless of the entity type, some larger corporations have further extensions please speak to your accountant. When you are lodging your GST and BAS statements you have one month or 28 days after the date the BAS, GST and PAYG is due. If you have more than one year’s tax return late the maximum fine for a personal tax return not lodged can be fined a maximum $770 per calendar year. As we specialize in the late lodgment of tax returns, our software goes back to 1999.

If you haven’t lodged since 1999 or any years between 1999 and 2022 we are here to assist you to lodge them all in one day with our simple process, please speak to us here, SMS us on 0488 854 200.

Tax Deductions Limits

The way we work is changing, and for many people working from home is the new normal. Deductions working at home allows for a huge amount of flexibility plus there are numerous ways to deduct home office costs in your tax return.

Many people don't know they are able to claim Deductions Working at home and often miss out on valid deductions. But it's important to make sure you stay within the rules to avoid being penalised for making a mistake.

The most common errors are: claiming too high a work-related proportion for a particular type of expense, claiming something that shouldn't be claimed at all or simply not keeping records to substantiate the expense.

If you work from home (either part-time or full time) then some portion of the home office expenses may be claimed as a tax deduction. Deductions working at home, if you set up your home office in a room that is shared or has a dual purpose (such as a living or dining room), you can only claim the expenses for the hours you had exclusive use of the area.

What are the rules for Deductions Working at home?

If your home is your place of work and you have an area set aside exclusively for work activities, you may be able to claim both occupancy and running expenses. If you carry on your work or business elsewhere (such as an office) but do some work at home occasionally, you cannot claim occupancy expenses even if you have a home office area set aside.

Home office expenses you might be able to claim include:

The table below shows the deductions you can claim for the three ways you can work at home:

What you can claim How you work 
 Home is your place of business or work and you have a home work areaHome is not your place of business but you have a home work areaYou work at home but you don't have a home work area
Occupancy expenses
Cost of owning or renting the house
YesNoNo
Running expenses
Cost of using a room (such as gas or electricity)
YesYesYes
Business phone costsYesYesYes
Decline in value of office plant and equipment (such as desks, chairs and computers)YesYesYes
Depreciation of curtains, carpets, light fittings, etcYesYesNo

How much can I claim, Deductions Working at home?

There's no maximum amount that you can claim. Provided that the amount you're claiming is calculated in accordance with the rules and that you have the necessary substantiation to back up your claim, you can claim whatever you're entitled to.

Methods of claiming, Deductions Working at home.

Receipts or other written records/evidence

In making home office deductions, ensure that you can substantiate all expenditure claims through receipts of diaries. This includes:

Australian Tax Office rate per hour

As an alternative to keeping such records, you can use a fixed rate of 52 cents per hour for each hour that you work from home to allow for home office expenses. Under this method, you can also include the decline in the value of office equipment (such as computers and faxes) but not furniture. In this case, you are unable to make additional claims for individual items.

The following costs are not deductible as part of home office expenses:

The ATO has implemented a shortcut method to cover the period from 1  March to 30  June 2020. During this time you claim a deduction for $0.80 per hour of documented work, and this covers all deductible running expenses. But note that, if you use this method, you cannot claim any other expenses for working from home for that period.

Examples

Method 1: Actual running expenses

Betty has the following home office running expenses, including energy expenses that have been calculated using electricity authority hourly costs per appliance. The figures are based on four weeks of diary entries.

  Deduction amount – this year $Deduction amount – future years (assuming similar use) $
Decline in value of deskValue $350 over 10 years35.0035.00
Decline in value of chairValue $150 over 1 years150.00Nil
Electricity for 60W ceiling light0.7c per hour for 10 hours per week for 48 weeks3.363.36
Electricity for computer1c per hour for 10 hours per week for 48 weeks4.804.80
Electricity for heating/cooling9c per hour for 10 hours per week for 48 weeks43.2043.20
Total deductible amount 236.3686.36

Method 2: Rate per hour

Using this method, Betty is able to use a simple and quick calculation for her expenses: 52 cents per hour for 10 hours per week for 48 weeks = $249.60.

Note:  Method 1 gives a greater deduction for Betty this year because of the immediate write-off of a chair costing less than $300. However, Method 2 will allow greater ongoing deductions with a simpler calculation assuming that future use and electricity costs remain similar.

Remember – if you are not sure if you can claim an expense, keep the receipt and we will ensure that we claim all allowable deductions and rebates for you whilst preparing your tax return.

This information is intended as a guide for Australia Wide Tax Solutions clients. All actual detail and circumstances differ, please discuss your situation with our registered tax agents. Remember – if you are not sure if you can claim a Deductions Working at home, keep the receipt and we will ensure that we claim all allowable deductions and rebates for you whilst preparing your tax return.

With another Christmas celebrated and already showing up on our waistlines, a common topic of conversation for many of us in January is our New Year resolutions.

Whether it’s a pledge to give up smoking, get to the gym more often, or start (yet another) healthy eating regime, New Year resolutions usually have a self-improvement or healthy living focus. But what about your finances? A healthy financial situation is just as important to your well-being as a healthy diet and exercise regime. Here are a few New Year resolution suggestions for your finances that could make a big difference to your financial health in 2017 and beyond. If one of these appeals to you, please give us a call as we’d love to help you achieve your financial New Year resolutions this year.

“I will make a proper budget and stick to it.”

Did your credit card debt go up or down in 2016? Spending more than you earn is surprisingly easy to do and having to pay exorbitant credit card interest on all of your purchases just makes matters worse. The secret to turning this situation around is to create a proper budget for yourself and stick to it. It’s also a good idea to include repayments on your credit card as a weekly expense in your budget outgoings, so you can work on getting your debts paid off as well.

To create a realistic budget, list all of the things you need to spend money on and how much they cost. The amount you have left over each week is the amount you can afford to spend on the things you want, put into your savings account, or use to pay off your debts sooner. It’s also important to review your budget regularly to see how you are tracking.

If you have multiple credit card debts, or a variety of debts, you may find managing your budget a challenge as a large part of your income may be lost on interest payments. This kind of situation is frequently referred to as a ‘debt trap’. Talk to us about consolidating your debts to reduce your interest payments and make your financial situation more manageable.

 “I will make an effort to achieve my saving goals.”

The ability to save money consistently is a talent that everyone should cultivate. It’s particularly important if you’re saving a deposit for your first home, as a lender will take your savings history into consideration when deciding if you are eligible for a home loan.

If you are the kind of person who finds it hard to stick to a budget, can’t resist impulse purchases, or indulges in ‘retail therapy’, then you may like to consider installing an app on your mobile phone that supports your efforts to save. ASIC’s MoneySmart website offers a variety of excellent free apps designed to help you manage your finances:

“I will stop wasting my money on rent.”

For many people, choosing to rent a property instead of buying one boils down to a lifestyle choice. It may be more affordable to rent a property in a location where you enjoy living, than it is to buy one. But the consequence of this choice is that when property prices rise, you are potentially missing out on some significant capital gains that could be important to your financial well-being later on in life.

What’s more, the money you spend on rent is wasted – you are potentially paying off someone else’s investment when you could be paying off a property of your own. So the question is: do you have enough money for a deposit?

If you have been saving regularly and have some money in the bank, now is a great time to take stock of what kind of property you may be able to afford this year. Just give us a call and we’ll be happy to sit down with you and help you work it out!

Getting on the property ladder may mean that you have to consider a location where you can afford to buy, rather than a location where you prefer to live. It may mean giving up your short commute home from work, or easy access to your friends and family, favourite bars, shopping venues and cinemas. But with property prices rising steadily, the long-term benefits could have a significant impact on your future financial security and retirement lifestyle, so it could be worth it to act now.

“I will review all of my financial accounts, including my home loan”

When was the last time you stopped to think about how much money you are paying on fees every year for your mortgage, bank accounts, credit cards and superannuation plans? Most people would be horrified to discover exactly how much money they lose every year in fees and charges across their financial accounts – so it definitely pays to review them regularly and cancel any unnecessary accounts you hardly ever use and don’t really need.

For example, the fees and charges you pay on your superannuation accounts can be quite high and they often go unnoticed. Over the years, these fees and charges may add up to make a big difference to the balance of your super on retirement. The fact is, if you have more than one superannuation account, you are paying double the fees you need to pay! Consider consolidating all your super accounts into one as soon as you can.

The same rule applies to your credit cards. How many do you really need? What are you using them for? If you have more than one, it may be a good idea to transfer all of the balances to one card using a free balance transfer offer. This not only has the potential to save you a significant amount of money on fees, it could also save you some money on interest and perhaps, help you to pay off your credit card balances sooner. Don’t be tempted to keep all of the old cards though, remember to cancel them as soon as you make the balance transfer.

If you have a mortgage, now is a good time to look at which features and benefits it provides, and if you are using them. Do you really need them? Is your home loan the most suitable for your current financial goals? If not, talk to us so we can see if you could be saving on fees, getting a more favourable interest rate or accessing the loan features you need!

We can help you achieve your financial New Year resolutions

Our role is to help you arrange your credit and finance to maximise the money you have. We’re here to help you save on interest wherever possible. Whether it’s time for a home-loan-health check on your existing mortgage, or you would like to find out how much you can afford to spend on buying a property, you’ll find our expertise and support invaluable in helping you to achieve your goals. We are even willing to help you find better ways to manage your debt and plan to build wealth for your future.

Financial success means setting some financial goals and making a step-by-step plan to reach them. With a credit and finance professional on your team, you are much more likely to get where you want to be. If you would like to buy a property in 2017, then we can help you achieve your goal by assisting with everything from setting your purchasing budget and getting pre-approval on your home loan, to supplying you with insightful property market data so you can locate the right home to buy more quickly.

Make sure your New Year is a happy one by talking to us about getting on top of your finances. It is one New Year resolution you’ll find very easy to keep! Call us to make a time today.

It was the Reserve Bank's first meeting in 2017, as the board does not meet in January.

The decision came as absolutely no surprise, with all 72 economists surveyed by Reuters expecting the cash rate to stay at 1.5 per cent.

The relatively new Reserve Bank governor, Philip Lowe, writing just his fourth post-meeting statement, took a very neutral stance on the future direction of the cash rate.

"Taking account of the available information, and having eased monetary policy in 2016, the board judged that holding the stance of policy unchanged at this meeting would be consistent with sustainable growth in the economy and achieving the inflation target over time," he concluded.

The bank is sticking with its forecasts for economic growth to come in around 3 per cent, brushing off the economic contraction recorded in the September quarter GDP figures, released in December.

Citi's economists interpret this as a strong signal that interest rates will remain on hold for an extended period.

"With inertia in both guidance and forecasts, the earliest possibility of a live RBA meeting won't be until the May 7 board meeting, which will be after the first quarter 2017 CPI [inflation] result and after three more labour force reports," the bank's analysts wrote in a note.

"Our central case remains no change in rates this year, but that the market is under-pricing the risk of easing."

Rising dollar a concern for RBA, but 'unperturbed' on housing

However, this outlook could be complicated were the Australian dollar to build on its recent strength.

"The depreciation of the exchange rate since 2013 has also assisted the economy in its transition following the mining investment boom," the governor noted.

Further rises in the Australian dollar, towards and past 80 US cents, could potentially provoke the RBA into cutting interest rates to try and lower the currency and sustain export competitiveness.

One widely cited constraint on the possibility of further rate cuts is the strong price growth in Australia's two biggest housing markets - Sydney and Melbourne.

On that front, the governor made a lot of factual observations, but drew no conclusions about what the state of the housing market meant for monetary policy setting.

Although he appeared relatively relaxed about the effectiveness of the banking regulator APRA's measures to avert excessive risky home lending.

"With leverage increasing, supervisory measures have strengthened lending standards and some lenders are taking a more cautious attitude to lending in certain segments," Dr Lowe added.

RBC economist Michael Turner observed that the governor, "sounded relatively unperturbed on developments in the housing market."

 

There are two other Reserve Bank events on this week that are more important than the rates meeting.

On Thursday night, RBA governor Philip Lowe will deliver his first speech for 2017 at an economics dinner in Sydney.

On Friday morning, the RBA will release its latest quarterly Statement on Monetary Policy, which should give a clearer indication of the outlook for interest rate movements this year.

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