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[av_heading heading=’The News Brief_20201028′ 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-kgraviny’ admin_preview_bg=’rgb(34, 34, 34)’][/av_heading]

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[av_heading heading=’Tax concessions for medium businesses’ 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-kgrba01u’ admin_preview_bg=”][/av_heading]

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A number of small business tax concessions will be extended to medium businesses, i.e. businesses whose annual aggregated turnover is $10 million or more but less than $50 million.

These measures were first announced on 2 October.

Small business tax rates going forward

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[av_heading heading=’Property remains the go-to option for investors’ 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-kgrbat1t’ admin_preview_bg=”][/av_heading]

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The research survey commissioned by ING – for which YouGov surveyed 2,075 Australians aged 18 and over, over August and September – found that 44 per cent believe property is the strongest investment option, while 26 per cent believe now is the best period to purchase property.

These findings have echoed research findings from Money.com.au, which recently revealed that 42 per cent of respondents consider property to be the most lucrative long-term investment.

The survey also found that 44 per cent of all respondents and 50 per cent of Millennials feel positive about buying an investment property, citing low interest rates (32 per cent) and the prospect of lower house prices (27 per cent) as some of the key factors driving their optimism.

Furthermore, the survey found the respondents had changed their savings and spending habits to adopt to the changing economy amid the coronavirus pandemic, with 37 per cent saving more and 40 per cent spending less during COVID-19.

Commenting on the survey results, ING head of home loans, Julie-Anne Bosich said COVID-19 has driven more Australians to think more carefully about how they can invest “to take greater control of their financial future”.

“While, understandably, not everyone is in a position to use their finances to invest, our research has found that for those who are, the preferred investment choice is property, especially in the current climate where interest rates are at a record low,” Ms Bosich said.

Younger Australians have particularly been contemplating property investment, with the ING survey finding that 25 per cent of Millennials (those born between 1981 and 1996) and 23 per cent of Gen Z (those born between 1997 and 2009) said they have been saving to cover costs associated with their planned property investment.

The enthusiasm to purchase property by the younger cohort has been a recurring trend, with previous ING research stating that a third of Millennials and 77 per cent of Gen Z were eager to enter the property ladder, with both cohorts prepared to make sacrifices to own their own home.

A survey of regions across Australia revealed that Melbourne ranked first for those looking to invest in property (28 per cent), followed by Sydney (24 per cent), Brisbane (17 per cent) and the rest of NSW.

In NSW, 42 per cent of the state’s residents are also considering purchasing property outside of Sydney.

A recent ME Bank Quarterly Property Sentiment Report revealed that 60 per cent of first home buyers said they were more likely to buy property in regional areas to “save money and improve [their] lifestyle”, compared with 45 per cent of total respondents overall.
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[av_heading heading=’Westpac rolls out new offer for mortgage guarantors’ 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-kgrbc1uv’ admin_preview_bg=”][/av_heading]

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Westpac Group has announced the introduction of a new term deposit rate offer for guarantors providing security for a mortgage under the existing Family Security Guarantee.

Effective from Friday, 23 October, eligible guarantors supporting a home loan customer using a two-year term deposit will receive a 2.29 per cent interest rate on guaranteed funds.

The term deposit offer is subject to the following eligibility criteria:

Westpac noted that following the initial two-year term, the term deposit will revert to the customer rate and must be reinvested at the preferred term, interest rate and interest frequency until the required loan-to-value ratio is achieved and the guarantee can be released.

This latest offer follows Westpac’s move to expand the list of acceptable family members who can provide a guarantee.

Westpac also expanded the range of acceptable loan purposes for guarantor applications to include refinances and home improvements, provided they are funded via progressive drawdowns.  

Last month, the bank also revealed that it would no longer require independent legal advice to be sought for guarantee income.
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[av_heading heading=’Other Budget business measures’ 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-kgrbes5s’ admin_preview_bg=”][/av_heading]

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There are a number of measures in the Budget that impact nearly all businesses.

Capital assets – full cost deductible

Businesses with aggregated annual turnover of less than $5 billion will be able to deduct the full cost of eligible capital assets acquired from 7:30pm (AEDT) on 6 October 2020 (i.e. Budget night) and first used or installed by 30 June 2022 (but not if acquired under a
pre-Budget night commitment).

Full expensing in the year of first use will apply to new depreciable assets and the cost of improvements to existing eligible assets. For small and medium sized businesses (i.e. those with aggregated annual turnover of less than $50 million), full expensing will also be available for second hand assets.

Businesses with aggregated annual turnover between of $50 million or more and less than $500 million can still deduct the full cost of eligible second hand assets costing less than $150,000 that are purchased by 31 December 2020 under the enhanced instant asset
write-off (IAWO). Businesses that hold assets eligible for the enhanced $150,000 IAWO will have an extra six months, until 30 June 2021, to first use or install those assets.

Small businesses (aggregated annual turnover less than $10 million) are required to deduct the balance of their general small business pool at the end of the income year while full expensing applies. The “lock-out” rule which prevents small businesses from re-entering the simplified depreciation regime for five years if they opt-out will continue to be suspended.

Temporary loss carry back

A temporary loss carry back has returned (remember the loss carry back that applied in 2013?).

Corporate tax entities with an aggregated turnover of less than $5 billion will be able to carry back a tax loss for the 2019–20, 2020–21 or 2021–22 income year and apply it against tax paid in a previous income year as far back as 2018–19, to produce a refundable tax offset. Alternatively, a corporate tax entity can still carry the loss forward (using the existing loss carry forward rules).

The amount of the refundable tax offset will be based on the entity’s tax rate in the loss year. However, the amount cannot exceed:

Any loss carried back must be first reduced by any net exempt income the entity has for the year the loss is carried back to.

There will be an integrity rule consistent with the integrity rule that applied under the previous loss carry back rules. The integrity rule will deny a company a loss carry back tax offset it would otherwise be entitled to if there has been a change in the control of the entity (based on shareholder voting power) and, considering all of the relevant circumstances, one or more of the parties entered into a scheme for a purpose (whether or not a dominant purpose but not including an incidental purpose) to obtain the tax offset.

Job creation incentives

Two measures to encourage hiring are:

R&D changes

The Government will make further enhancements to the R&D changes that are presently before Parliament.

For companies with an aggregated annual turnover of less than $20 million, the refundable R&D tax offset is being set at 18.5 percentage points above the claimant’s company tax rate, and the $4 million cap on annual cash refunds will not proceed.

For companies with an aggregated annual turnover of $20 million or more, the number of intensity tiers will be reduced from three to two. The marginal R&D premium will be the claimant’s company tax rate plus:

FBT exemption for training

Employer-provided retraining and reskilling benefits provided to redundant, or soon to be redundant, employees where the benefits are not related to their current employment will be exempt from FBT. This will apply from 2 October 2020 (when the measure was first announced).

The exemption will not extend to retraining acquired by way of a salary packaging arrangement or training provided through Commonwealth supported places at universities.

The Government will also consult on allowing an individual to deduct education and training expenses they incur themselves where the expense is not related to their current employment.

FBT record-keeping 

To reduce the FBT compliance burden, the Government will provide the ATO with the power to allow employers to rely on existing corporate records, rather than employee declarations and other prescribed records, to finalise their FBT returns.

This measure will apply from the start of the first FBT year (1 April) after the date on which the enabling legislation receives Royal Assent.

COVID-19 support grants NANE income

The Victorian Government’s business support grants for small and medium business will be non-assessable, non-exempt (NANE) income for tax purposes (if made between 13 September 2020 and 30 June 2021).

Similar grants made by other States and Territories will also be NANE income if the Federal Government agrees.

Corporate residency test – clarification

The law will be amended so that a company incorporated offshore will be treated as an Australian tax resident if it has a “significant economic connection to Australia”.

The change takes effect from the first 1 July following the date of Royal Assent of enabling legislation, but taxpayers will have the option of applying the new law from 15 March 2017.
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[av_heading heading=’Accountants call for unity with pandemic response’ 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-kgrbh5m1′ admin_preview_bg=”][/av_heading]

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A survey recently conducted by CPA Australia with over 600 members found that accountants have a strong interest in both public health and the strength of the economy.

The accounting body conducted the survey to ascertain the attitudes of members to government responses to COVID-19.

“Respondents ranked public health as the single highest priority, followed by long-term economic recovery planning. Taken together, long-term and short-term economic recovery planning outranked public health as a priority,” it stated.

“Although a majority of respondents believed that border closures have contributed positively to public health, the vast majority thought they have had a negative impact on the Australian economy.”

CPA Australia said that at a national level, 71.5 per cent of respondents rated the federal government’s response to the pandemic as “good” or “very good”. Respondents were more mixed about the impact and effectiveness of state government actions.

“The Victorian government’s response to the pandemic was more polarising. Victorian-based respondents were frustrated by a perceived lack of decision-making consistency and transparency in that state,” the accounting body said.

CPA Australia general manager of external affairs Jane Rennie said the prolonged lockdown has undoubtedly contributed to a more pessimistic view of government decision-making in Victoria.

“Overall optimism regarding business conditions, employment conditions and the economy is not high. Seventy-three per cent of Victorians were not optimistic or only slightly optimistic about business conditions, compared to 60 per cent of other Australians on the same measure,” Dr Rennie said.

Regardless of their state of residence, respondents wanted governments at all levels to show greater national unity when responding to the impacts of the pandemic.

“Over 86 per cent of respondents rated having a unified national approach as ‘very’ or ‘extremely important’ for managing COVID-19,” she said.

“Having multiple state and national approaches was not viewed favourably by respondents and was seen by some as associated with political game playing.”

In comments provided, several respondents also highlighted the need for increased transparency and clarity of government announcements, to assist individuals and businesses to understand how announced measures apply.
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Sources: The Adviser, SMSF Adviser and CFH Partners
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