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[av_heading heading=’The News Brief_20201202′ 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-ki6j76vo’ admin_preview_bg=’rgb(34, 34, 34)’][/av_heading]

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[av_section min_height=” min_height_pc=’25’ min_height_px=’500px’ padding=’no-padding’ shadow=’no-border-styling’ bottom_border=’no-border-styling’ bottom_border_diagonal_color=’#333333′ bottom_border_diagonal_direction=” bottom_border_style=” margin=’aviaTBmargin’ custom_margin=’50px’ custom_margin_sync=’true’ custom_arrow_bg=” id=’tax1′ color=’main_color’ background=’bg_color’ custom_bg=” background_gradient_color1=” background_gradient_color2=” background_gradient_direction=’vertical’ src=” attachment=” attachment_size=” attach=’scroll’ position=’top left’ repeat=’no-repeat’ video=” video_ratio=’16:9′ overlay_opacity=’0.5′ overlay_color=” overlay_pattern=” overlay_custom_pattern=” av_element_hidden_in_editor=’0′ av_uid=’av-qet8u’ custom_class=”]

[av_one_full first min_height=” vertical_alignment=’av-align-top’ space=” custom_margin=’aviaTBcustom_margin’ margin=’0px’ margin_sync=’true’ row_boxshadow_color=” row_boxshadow_width=’10’ link=” linktarget=” link_hover=’opacity80′ title_attr=” alt_attr=” padding=’0px’ padding_sync=’true’ highlight_size=’1.1′ border=” border_color=’#f2f2f2′ radius=’3px’ radius_sync=’true’ column_boxshadow_color=” column_boxshadow_width=’10’ background=’bg_color’ background_color=” background_gradient_color1=” background_gradient_color2=” background_gradient_direction=’diagonal_bt’ src=” attachment=” attachment_size=” background_position=’top left’ background_repeat=’no-repeat’ animation=’left-to-right’ mobile_breaking=” mobile_display=” av_uid=’av-9wkhy’ custom_class=”]

[av_heading heading=’How Australians are taking advantage of income tax cuts’ 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-ki6j85ka’ admin_preview_bg=”][/av_heading]

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Colonial First State (CFS) has surveyed 2,000 Australians to determine the tax saving intentions of Australians following changes to personal income tax announced in the budget on 6 October.

As part of the measures to personal income tax, Treasurer Josh Frydenberg declared tax cuts worth nearly $30 billion would be made available to more than 11 million individual taxpayers two years earlier than previously legislated.

Stage 2 of the Personal Income Tax Plan, legislated to apply from 1 July 2022, will now take effect on 1 July 2020. The upper threshold of the 19 per cent tax bracket will increase from $37,000 to $45,000, and the upper threshold of the 32.5 per cent tax bracket will increase from $90,000 to $120,000.

Further, low- to middle-income earners will receive additional support through an increase in the low income tax offset (LITO) from 1 July 2020 from $445 to $700 as well as access to the low and middle income tax offset (LMITO) for 2020-21.

According to the research by CFS, the majority of Autralians intend to put the cut to personal income tax towards their savings. Sixty-six per cent of those surveyed aged between 18-24 said they planned to save some or all of the tax cut, versus 57 per cent of Australians overall.

Of the 22 per cent of Australians who intend to spend their tax cut, 33 per cent said they are going to put it towards essentials such as bills, groceries and insurance.

Almost one in five indicated that they plan to use their tax cut to reduce their mortgage, and 16 per cent will use it to invest in the stock market.

A further 11 per cent of Australians said they planned to use their tax saving to pay off high interest debt such as credit card and buy now pay later accounts. 

Meanwhile, just six per cent of those surveyed indicated that topping up their super or retirement savings was a priority. This is despite 16 per cent of respondents having withdrawn super as part of the Government’s early release of super scheme.

“For many Australians hit hard by the Coronavirus-led recession, the personal income tax cuts brought forward by the government in this year’s Federal Budget have been well received, alongside a range of other measures, as much needed support,” said CFS general manager Kelly Power.

“We know that a lot of Australians have been doing it tough and the focus for many has been on navigating the current uncertainty. As we begin to emerge on the other side of the pandemic, with infection rates falling and the economy re-starting, it’s important to start thinking about the future, including protecting and rebuilding wealth.

“Whether Australians decide to save or spend, it’s about being savvy about what you use the extra cash for. A little can go a long way and if used wisely, the income tax cuts can provide an additional boost to your overall financial position.”
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[av_heading heading=’HomeBuilder extension details revealed’ 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-ki6j8xif’ admin_preview_bg=”][/av_heading]

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On Sunday (29 November), the Treasurer announced that the HomeBuilder program will be extended to 31 March 2021, albeit in a modified form.

The original program, which offers grants of $25,000 to owner-occupiers “substantially renovating” or building a new home, is available for contracts signed up to 31 December 2020.

After that day, the extended HomeBuilder program will apply.

This will provide a $15,000 grant for building contracts (new builds and substantial renovations) signed between 1 January 2021 and 31 March 2021, inclusive.

There has also been an increase to the property price cap for new build contracts in NSW and Victoria. These are rising to $950,000 and $850,000, respectively.

However, this only applies to the second iteration – where the contract is signed between 1 January 2021 and 31 March 2021.

The existing new build property price cap of $750,000 will continue to apply in all other states and territories.

Deadline extensions

The deadline for all applications to be submitted has now been extended for both iterations – with applications now eligible for either of the grants up until 14 April 2021 (inclusive). 

This will apply to all eligible contracts signed on or after 4 June 2020. 

The government also noted that there has been a change in licensing requirements and registration for builders and developers.

Where an eligible contract is signed before 29 November 2020, the builder or developer must have a valid licence or registration before 4 June 2020. 

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said: “HomeBuilder is a key part of my government’s Economic Recovery Plan for Australia. We’re keeping people in jobs and putting Australians’ dream homes within reach.

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg added: “The Homebuilder program has delivered the stimulus the housing sector needed.

“The sector is worth $100 billion a year to the Australian economy, or around 5 per cent of GDP, and more than a million people are employed in the sector across Australia.

“The success of this program has not only meant an increase in work on the ground to keep the pipeline of construction flowing but it has also protected jobs in the construction sector as well as across the economy,” Mr Frydenberg said.

Minister for Housing and Assistant Treasurer Michael Sukkar also commented, saying that the most recent data showed HomeBuilder had already had around 24,000 applications, on track to exceed expected take-up levels.

The announcement also builds upon the extension of the First Home Loan Deposit Scheme announced in the budget, which delivered 10,000 guaranteed loans to allow first home buyers to obtain a loan to build a new home, or purchase a newly built home, with a deposit of as little as 5 per cent.
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[av_heading heading=’Budgeting wisely at Christmas to get a 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-ki6j9tx8′ admin_preview_bg=”][/av_heading]

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Christmas is coming up so it’s important to start thinking about your budget over the holiday period.

While we all love giving presents, if you’re looking at potentially applying for a home loan in the new year, it’s important that you don’t do any damage to your chances of getting finance by overspending in the next few weeks.

What we do know, is that lenders take a snapshot of your financial situation when they assess your application for finance and if you’ve been busy racking up credit card debt, it might come back to hurt you in the future.

Here are some quick tips for budgeting at Christmas.

Allocate Money Upfront

There’s a good chance that you will be spending this Christmas, so do it wisely. Make a budget and try and stick to it.

Lenders will look at your bank and credit card statements from at least a three month period, so if you’re looking to have a clean record for your loan application, it might be worth keeping the charges down.

One idea could be withdrawing cash and paying for things with physical money, that way you can allocate funds upfront. Another budgeting idea is to simply spend a fixed amount per person. That way you can allocate a pool of money and everyone gets a fair deal.

One of the big traps that a lot of people fall into is minimising the spending at Christmas, only to get sucked into all the Boxing Day and holiday sales. When you’re allocating your Christmas budget, it might be worth applying that to the entire holiday period.

Don’t overextend yourself

While any credit card debt isn’t great, the worst thing you can do is take on more credit cards. 

When it comes to borrowing money, your current debt is just as important as how high your credit limits are. If things are a bit tight on your loan application, it might even be worth getting rid of your credit cards to boost your borrowing capacity.

This is tough to do if you have outstanding balances and it’s even more difficult if you can’t pay them off.

Invariably, if people have the money (or credit) at their disposal, they tend to spend it. Keep both the credit card spending down and certainly don’t take out any new cards in the coming months. Even if there are some great sales on.

Avoid Buy Now, Pay Later

These days, everyone is moving toward the buy now, pay later (BNPL) phenomenon.

While it might be convenient, you don’t want these types of payments to impact your chances of securing a loan.

While BNPL isn’t technically an application for finance, it could impact your credit score.

More importantly, a lender will make an assessment on what type of borrower you are and if you have hundreds of these types of payments coming out of your account, it won’t look that good on the application.

These days, every lender will assess your credit score and go over your bank details with a fine-tooth comb, so it is important to have things in order.

Christmas is an incredible time of year and it’s great to give to family and loved ones. Just don’t overdo it or it could cost you a lot more in the long run, when the time comes to get a loan approved.
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[av_heading heading=’Financial advice regulation to undergo reforms following TPB review’ 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-ki6jbrso’ admin_preview_bg=”][/av_heading]

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The independent review of the TPB, chaired by Keith James, was released by the government last week, including wide-ranging recommendations aimed at ensuring a fit-for-purpose regulatory regime for the tax profession.

Among the measures laid out in the review is the recommendation for a new model to be developed for regulating tax (financial) advisers in consultation with ASIC, the Financial Adviser Standards and Ethics Authority (FASEA), the TPB and the Treasury. 

The review proposes that the new model includes a single point of registration for individuals, not just AFSLs; a requirement to abide by only the one code of conduct; and any disciplinary action involving the provision of tax advice is decided by experts from the tax profession.

“The best model in the review’s opinion is one that is aligned with the recommendations made by commissioner [Kenneth] Hayne and also recognises that ASIC has the capability, expertise and capacity to effectively regulate financial advice and the TPB has the capability, expertise and capacity to effectively regulate the provision of tax advice,” the report stated.

Until such time a new model is developed, the status quo should be retained, according to the review.

The proposed model is in alignment with implementing recommendation 2.10 of the Final Report of the Royal Commission into Misconduct in the Banking, Superannuation and Financial Services Industry.

The review believes the new model will address regulatory overlap caused by the establishment of FASEA in 2017, and the establishment of the Australian Financial Complaints Authority (AFCA) in 2018.

In response to the release of the review, Financial Planning Association of Australia (FPA) chief executive Dante De Gori said the measure would go a long way in addressing the need to simplify the regulatory framework for advisers.

“The FPA welcomes the release of the independent review of the Tax Practitioners Board, particularly recommendation 7.1, which recognises the need to simplify the regulatory framework for tax (financial) advisers,” Mr De Gori said.

“This is not the first time the FPA has highlighted the need to reduce complexity for advisers, as outlined in the Policy Platform. The FPA acknowledges the government’s support to improve the effectiveness of the TPB as part of the process of establishing a new central disciplinary body by the end of 2020.

“The FPA looks forward to engaging with the government to develop a functional model for implementation in 2021.”

Other key recommendations handed down in the final report revolve around increasing education standards for tax and BAS agents and expanding sanctions available to the TPB to address misconduct by tax practitioners.

Further, the report recommended that the TPB receive its own funding directly from the government, noting that current funding allocation from the ATO’s budget has failed to reflect an appropriate level of independence.
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[av_heading heading=’Key deadlines for early release of super’ 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-ki6jcnvw’ admin_preview_bg=”][/av_heading]

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COVID-19 early release of super

If your members are eligible for COVID-19 early release of super and intend on applying, let them know they may be able to receive their money before Christmas, if they apply through ATO online services in myGov before 11 December 2020. In most cases, this should allow enough time for us to process their application and for you to release the money.

Access to COVID-19 early release of super closes on 31 December 2020 at 11.59pm AEDT. Your members can apply online up to this time. Applications cannot be backdated or accepted after 31 December 2020.

If your members have difficulty applying online, they can call ATO on 1300 662 211 between 29 and 31 December 2020 (10.00am and 6.00pm).

As long as ATO receives your members’ application by the deadline, they will process it. However, confirmation notifications from ATO and payments from you may be delayed due to the holiday season and can continue into January 2021.

Early release on compassionate grounds

If your members require a Compassionate Release of Super determination letter before Christmas, they need to apply through ATO online services in myGov by 4 December 2020. They should also take into consideration the time it will take for you to receive the determination and make the payment.
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Sources: ATO, The Adviser, Accountants Daily 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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