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[av_heading heading=’The News Brief_20201007′ tag=’h1′ style=’blockquote modern-quote modern-centered’ subheading_active=’subheading_below’ show_icon=” icon=’ue800′ font=” size=’6vw’ av-medium-font-size-title=” av-small-font-size-title=” av-mini-font-size-title=” subheading_size=’20’ av-medium-font-size=” av-small-font-size=” av-mini-font-size=” icon_size=” av-medium-font-size-1=” av-small-font-size-1=” av-mini-font-size-1=” color=’custom-color-heading’ custom_font=’#000000′ icon_color=” margin=’0′ margin_sync=’true’ padding=’0′ icon_padding=’10’ link=’manually,http://’ link_target=” id=” custom_class=” av_uid=’av-kfxfevpy’ admin_preview_bg=’rgb(34, 34, 34)’][/av_heading]

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[av_heading heading=’Tax concessions and FBT exemptions announced’ tag=’h1′ style=” subheading_active=” show_icon=” icon=’ue800′ font=” size=” av-medium-font-size-title=” av-small-font-size-title=” av-mini-font-size-title=” subheading_size=’15’ av-medium-font-size=” av-small-font-size=” av-mini-font-size=” icon_size=” av-medium-font-size-1=” av-small-font-size-1=” av-mini-font-size-1=” color=” custom_font=” icon_color=” margin=” margin_sync=’true’ padding=’10’ icon_padding=’10’ link=’manually,http://’ link_target=” id=” custom_class=” av_uid=’av-kfxffquu’ admin_preview_bg=”][/av_heading]

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Treasurer Josh Frydenberg has announced that the small business entity turnover threshold will now be increased to $50 million, up from $10 million.

The measure, to be outlined in Tuesday’s federal budget, will allow 20,000 businesses to access 10 tax concessions previously available only to small businesses, at a cost of $105 million to the government’s bottom line.

From 1 April 2021, eligible businesses will be exempt from the 47 per cent fringe benefits tax on car parking and multiple work-related portable electronic devices, such as phones or laptops, provided to employees.

Businesses will also be able to immediately deduct certain start-up expenses and Australian government agency payments associated with starting a new business, such as professional, legal and accounting advice. The measure is set to apply retrospectively from 1 July 2020.

From the next financial year, eligible businesses will be able to access simplified trading stock rules, remit pay-as-you-go (PAYG) instalments based on GDP adjusted notional tax, and settle excise duty and excise-equivalent customs duty monthly on eligible goods. 

In addition, from 1 July 2021, the Commissioner of Taxation’s power to create a simplified accounting method determination for GST purposes will be expanded to apply to businesses below the $50 million aggregated annual turnover threshold.

Eligible businesses will also have a two-year amendment period apply to income tax assessments for income years starting from 1 July 2021, a reduction from the current four-year amendment period. 

The government will also outline a plan to remove the 47 per cent FBT on retraining provided by employers to employees who have been made redundant or are facing redundancy, to help them obtain a different role in the company. 

The measure will apply to all businesses, with hopes that it will encourage training and reskilling for future work.

The government will also look to consult on allowing an individual to deduct education and training expenses they incur themselves where they are not related to their current employment.

“These changes will help more Australians find work as part of our plan for economic recovery,” Mr Frydenberg said.
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[av_heading heading=’House prices bounce in September, except for continued falls in Melbourne and Sydney’ tag=’h1′ style=” subheading_active=” show_icon=” icon=’ue800′ font=” size=” av-medium-font-size-title=” av-small-font-size-title=” av-mini-font-size-title=” subheading_size=’15’ av-medium-font-size=” av-small-font-size=” av-mini-font-size=” icon_size=” av-medium-font-size-1=” av-small-font-size-1=” av-mini-font-size-1=” color=” custom_font=” icon_color=” margin=” margin_sync=’true’ padding=’10’ icon_padding=’10’ link=’manually,http://’ link_target=” id=” custom_class=” av_uid=’av-kfxflvbv’ admin_preview_bg=”][/av_heading]

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House prices have fallen nationally over September, but rose everywhere except the two big markets of Melbourne and Sydney.

CoreLogic’s national home price index showed a 0.1 per cent fall last month, but that was entirely driven by a 0.9 per cent slide in Melbourne and a 0.3 per cent decline in Sydney.

Outside those two big cities, the other capitals posted increases, as did most markets outside the metropolitan areas.

However, Sydney and Melbourne account for around 40 per cent of the nation’s homes and more than half the home values, meaning their declines pulled the overall index slightly lower.

CoreLogic’s head of research for Australia Eliza Owen said that, even in the falling Sydney and Melbourne markets, there are green shoots for the property market emerging in spring.

“There’s been a really interesting turn in market sentiment over September,” she said.

“We’ve started to see a lift in consumer sentiment, typical auction clearance rates, new listings are finally starting to rise — up about 9 per cent over the month.”

While it might seem counter-intuitive that property prices are rising during a pandemic that has triggered Australia’s sharpest recession in 90 years, Ms Owen said the role played by cheap mortgages should not be overlooked.

“Negative economic shocks also bring lower interest rates,” she said.

“When that credit is cheaper, it means that people who do still have their jobs and income intact might be more inclined to make that decision to purchase property as the debt is quite cheap at the moment.”
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[av_heading heading=’Getting an alternate documentation loan’ tag=’h1′ style=” subheading_active=” show_icon=” icon=’ue800′ font=” size=” av-medium-font-size-title=” av-small-font-size-title=” av-mini-font-size-title=” subheading_size=’15’ av-medium-font-size=” av-small-font-size=” av-mini-font-size=” icon_size=” av-medium-font-size-1=” av-small-font-size-1=” av-mini-font-size-1=” color=” custom_font=” icon_color=” margin=” margin_sync=’true’ padding=’10’ icon_padding=’10’ link=’manually,http://’ link_target=” id=” custom_class=” av_uid=’av-kfxfwuyp’ admin_preview_bg=”][/av_heading]

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As we know, all borrowers have different circumstances and that’s why there is never a one size fits all approach when it comes to lending.

For the majority of full-time employees with a good credit history, you will likely have a range of options and be able to look at a regular home loan.

To access a regular home loan, you might only need three months of payslips or two years of tax returns. Generally speaking, regular home loans are a lot more stringent and that’s why we see some regular home loans with very low interest rates.

Unfortunately, for the self-employed and business owners, it’s not always possible to present two years of tax returns or payslips. For these types of borrowers, there are other avenues to getting finance for a home, one of which is by providing alternative documents (alt-docs).

Lenders that offer alt-doc loans will normally require three months’ worth of personal bank statements and six months’ worth of business activity and business bank statements, or potentially even an accountant’s declaration.

Given the borrowers’ income is not as black and white as a PAYG employee, interest rates will normally be higher, while there might also be higher loan application fees and setup costs.

It is important to note that just because you might be self-employed or a business owner, you don’t automatically need to go for an alt-doc loan. If you’re able to produce two years of tax returns and have a good credit history, then you should be able to qualify for a regular home loan at lower interest rates.

However, if your business has recently seen a large increase in revenue and you want to access a larger loan, then it might be worth looking at an alt-doc loan. Similarly, if you’ve had credit issues in the past that you’ve been able to turn around, then an alt-doc loan might work for you.

There are also a few myths out there, surrounding alt-doc loans. The main one is that you can get a loan with no documentation at all. Those days are long gone and you will need to be able to prove that you have the means to service the repayments. The second myth is that the big banks don’t take on these types of loans. In many instances, the major banks are able to look at lending to people without the full documentation, given they have the size and diversity to handle different amounts of risk.

Once again, the key is to talk to a mortgage broker who can quickly understand your personal circumstances and match you with the right solution for your needs.
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[av_heading heading=’Victoria SME grants now income tax free’ tag=’h1′ style=” subheading_active=” show_icon=” icon=’ue800′ font=” size=” av-medium-font-size-title=” av-small-font-size-title=” av-mini-font-size-title=” subheading_size=’15’ av-medium-font-size=” av-small-font-size=” av-mini-font-size=” icon_size=” av-medium-font-size-1=” av-small-font-size-1=” av-mini-font-size-1=” color=” custom_font=” icon_color=” margin=” margin_sync=’true’ padding=’10’ icon_padding=’10’ link=’manually,http://’ link_target=” id=” custom_class=” av_uid=’av-kfxfyjlu’ admin_preview_bg=”][/av_heading]

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Apart from Victoria, where businesses are working towards a staged reopening plan, the ATO has begun reaching out to businesses in other parts of the country as part of its debt intervention activity restart after such compliance work took a back seat in light of the pandemic.

“We are just starting to re-engage with debt clients,” said ATO assistant commissioner Sylvia Gallagher at the Accountants Daily Strategy Week.

“As you would know, we haven’t really done a lot in terms of debt, and not in Victoria but for the rest of Australia, we want to make sure that people are starting to get back on track and we don’t want people to be in a worse position later on.

“We are starting a really soft re-engagement on debt to make sure we are just talking to people to understand where they are at, what their situation is, and just offering support is essentially what we’re doing so that people understand the support that is available to them.”

The confirmation comes after the ATO flagged the restart in early July, with the profession urging the Tax Office not to go “too hard, too early”.

The restart also follows an indication from the ATO that it would recommence audit activity by October, having previously redeployed its auditors to help with the rollout of COVID-19 stimulus measures.

Ms Gallagher also re-emphasised the ATO’s commitment to adopting a sympathetic and understanding approach to its compliance activities, confirming that it would not look to claw back stimulus payments where an honest mistake had been made.

“We are not going to claw back money where someone has made an honest mistake and there is no malice.

Ms Gallagher also noted that JobKeeper behaviours that will attract the ATO’s attention include payments to people who don’t meet eligibility requirements, falsifying records or revisiting activity statements to meet the fall in turnover test, applying for JobKeeper where there is no evidence of carrying on a business or there is no assessable income, employers failing to pass on the full payment to eligible employees, multiple eligible business participant claims and employees being incorrectly excluded under the “one in, all in” rule.
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[av_heading heading=’Investment strategy breaches tipped to see rise in disputes’ tag=’h1′ style=” subheading_active=” show_icon=” icon=’ue800′ font=” size=” av-medium-font-size-title=” av-small-font-size-title=” av-mini-font-size-title=” subheading_size=’15’ av-medium-font-size=” av-small-font-size=” av-mini-font-size=” icon_size=” av-medium-font-size-1=” av-small-font-size-1=” av-mini-font-size-1=” color=” custom_font=” icon_color=” margin=” margin_sync=’true’ padding=’10’ icon_padding=’10’ link=’manually,http://’ link_target=” id=” custom_class=” av_uid=’av-kfxfzibd’ admin_preview_bg=”][/av_heading]

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Last year, the ATO wrote to 17,000 SMSF trustees who had more than 90 per cent of their assets in a single asset class and their auditors reminding them of their legal obligations in formulating an investment strategy.

As part of these communications, Smarter SMSF chief executive Aaron Dunn said the ATO made it very clear that where the trustee had not adequately considered diversification as part of the investment strategy of the fund, then they would look to impose administrative penalties.

“That penalty could be imposed at either the individual penalty level or jointly between the directors of the corporate trustee,” Mr Dunn said in a recent Smarter SMSF webinar.

This would result in a section 55 action, he explained, whereby if there were documents that were put in place that cover the investment strategy and all the elements of SIS Regulation 4.09, then failure to do so by that trustee means that where there is an aggrieved member, there is recourse for that aggrieved member to take action.   

“You might not necessarily see one member suing another member, but there may be a subsequent beneficiary claim in the future which could certainly implode if we’re thinking about blended families and the like,” Mr Dunn said.

Mr Dunn noted investment strategies are also an area that SMSF auditors are paying closer attention to following both the increased focus by the ATO and recent litigation cases against audit firms.

“We’re seeing increased requests from SMSF practitioners stating that their auditor wants more documentation or information about why the trustee has invested in a certain way, and it all comes back to this heightened level of risk,” the CEO said.
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Sources: Accountants Daily, ABC News, The Advisor and CFH Partners
Disclaimer: This is general information only and is subject to change at any time. Your complete financial situation will need to be assessed before acceptance of any proposal or product. The Content provided herein has been prepared for informational purposes only. The Content does not constitute tax, legal or accounting advice and should not be relied upon as such. You should seek tax, legal or accounting advice before acting or relying on any Content.

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