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[av_heading heading=’The News Brief_20210120′ 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-kk3x6xi3′ admin_preview_bg=’rgb(34, 34, 34)’][/av_heading]

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[av_heading heading=’Education, training deduction claims to widen under proposed change’ 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-kk3x7k0b’ admin_preview_bg=”][/av_heading]

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The changes, announced in last year’s federal budget, are intended to encourage individuals to retrain and reskill to support their future employment as an ever-evolving labour market forces some to have multiple careers over their lifetime.

While taxpayers can currently claim a deduction for self-education expenses when the education activity is directly connected to the income arising from an individual’s current employment activities, the Treasury is now consulting on changes to open claims up to training courses that could enhance an individual’s employment prospects outside their current career.

The Institute of Public Accountants chief executive Andrew Conway has given his whole-hearted support for the proposal, noting that the current tax system has failed to recognise an ever-changing labour market.

“Many individuals will have multiple careers over their lifetime which indicates a strong need for continued upgrading of skills,” Mr Conway said.

“Our current tax settings do not support or encourage the retraining and reskilling once an individual has commenced earning an income in their chosen field.

“The economy has been savaged by the financial impacts of COVID and we are supportive of initiatives that are aimed at improving our productive capacity.

“However, along with COVID, our labour supply market is facing the issues of an ageing workforce, the loss of skilled migration and many business closures due to the pandemic. All of which require the need for individuals to reskill to meet new opportunities.”
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[av_heading heading=’House prices close out 2020 strongly’ 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-kk3x8ebs’ admin_preview_bg=”][/av_heading]

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Despite the predictions of widespread and dramatic falls in house prices in 2020, it appears the exact opposite has unfolded.

The latest data from CoreLogic shows that house prices across the country have finished the year incredibly strong, marked by a 1% increase in home values in the month of December. 

Annually, house prices across the nation showed a 3% rise, which comes against a backdrop of uncertainty and widespread lockdowns in some of the major cities, including both Melbourne and Sydney.

Source: CoreLogic

Over the course of the year, we started to see a clear move into regional areas, backed up by CoreLogic data, showing house prices rising by 6.9% across the regional areas of Australia.

Although housing markets are gathering pace, four of the eight capitals are still recording dwelling values lower, relative to their previous peaks. Melbourne home values are still -4.1% below their March 2020 peak and Sydney dwelling values need to recover a further 3.9% before surpassing the previous July 2017 peak. Perth and Darwin’s values remain -19.9% and -25.7% below their 2014 peaks.

While transaction volumes fell away sharply in early 2020 (particularly in March and April where they fell 40%), by years end, transactions were 8% higher than the same time last year.

Similarly, listings only fully started to recover in November, where there were approximately 165,000 properties available for sale, -18% lower relative to the same period in 2019.

According to CoreLogic, one of the key reasons for the turnaround in house prices has been the sharp cuts to interest rates and the easy monetary policy from the RBA that is expected to continue for a number of years. 

Although the overall property market remains strong, CoreLogic notes that there is still some risk ahead, as the end of mortgage holidays and Government stimulus programs, such as JobKeeper and JobSeeker, continue to be wound back.
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[av_heading heading=’Considering a payday 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-kk3xf4jp’ admin_preview_bg=”][/av_heading]

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Typically, the holiday period is a time of year where people spend the majority of their money and increase their debts.

Come the start of the new year, many people can find themselves struggling with that additional debt burden and often turn to short-term, payday loans to try and help them get by.

What is a payday loan?

A payday loan is a short-term loan for small sums of money that, more often than not, need to be paid back quickly. 

Frequently, payday loans are up to $2,000 which are then to be paid back by your next payday, hence the name. There are also payday lenders that let you borrow up to $5,000, with longer loan terms.

These loans are usually backed by the fact that you have some form of income and can pay them back within weeks. 

When a loan application is approved with a payday lender, you will generally receive the funds within a few hours.

Costs of Payday Loans

Payday loans often come with some of the highest costs of any loan type, which is due to a number of factors. 

Firstly, the amounts are small and are repaid quickly – payday lenders are not able to charge interest on small loan amounts.

Secondly, those applying for payday loans generally have poor credit ratings and are not always able to get finance through traditional means.

According to ASIC, payday lenders are limited in what they can charge on loans under $2,000 and come with these terms:

          a 20% loan establishment fee

        a 4% monthly account keeping fee

        a 200% fee for defaults

        a Government fee

        expenses, if the lender needs to take a borrower to court

Will a Payday Loan Impact My Credit?

All lenders will examine your credit score, which is effectively your track record of paying off debts in the past.

They will also assess the types of debts you currently carry, as well as how they impact your disposable income.

A lender wants to know that you are someone who manages money well and if you’ve been using payday lenders to get through when money gets tight, this might not be something that is looked on favourably by banks.

If you are wanting to get a home loan in the future, it is worth creating a budget to ensure you don’t need to use payday lenders to pay bills for a number of months before applying for a loan or even seeking pre-approval.

If you’re struggling with debts, talk to a mortgage broker and find out how consolidating your debts might be another way to better manage your current debts, rather than take on more.
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[av_heading heading=’Income tax cuts: Why Aussies $7bn better off’ 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-kk3xgvhl’ admin_preview_bg=”][/av_heading]

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A whopping $7bn worth of income tax cuts have flowed to millions of Aussie workers since July.

New Australian Taxation Office data reveals $1.1bn of the cash injection came from the government bringing forward stage two of its tax cuts.

A further $5.9bn in one-off payments of up to $1080 was made to 7.8 million low and middle income earners.

The boost for households as the country reopened from coronavirus lockdowns drove spending across the economy, including at hotels, cafes and restaurants in the September quarter.

“Hardworking Australians from all walks of life, through no fault of their own, paid a heavy price as a result of COVID-19,” Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said.

“The Morrison government has delivered $7bn in tax cuts to Australians in the second half of 2020, meaning they have more money in their pockets over this well-earned summer break.

“More than a billion dollars a month will be flowing over the next nine months.”

At least 2.4 million workers in NSW and almost two million in Victoria benefited from the low and middle income tax offset, according to the unpublished ATO data from July 1 to January 3.

This was on top of changes to the income tax brackets that raised the 19 per cent threshold from $37,000 to $45,000.

The top threshold of the 32.5 per cent tax bracket also increased from $90,000 to $120,000.

Mr Frydenberg said the personal income tax cuts, coupled with the government’s loss carry-back and immediate expensing incentives for business, will create around 100,000 jobs by the end of 2021-22.

Asked on the Today show if the government would bring forward the third stage of the tax cuts, Mr Frydenberg said it was sticking to the date already legislated.

Labor treasury spokesman Jim Chalmers said the opposition was pleased with the figures after calling for tax relief during the COVID-19 pandemic.

But he warned against tax concessions in lieu of JobKeeper payments, which Mr Frydenberg reiterated would cease in March.

“I don’t think the Government should put all their eggs in one basket,” he told ABC Radio on Monday.

“There are some risks that with all this uncertainty around the virus that the Government is too quick to want to withdraw some of the support.

“Too many people have been left out. There are almost a million workers over 35 for example, more or less stranded when JobKeeper runs out in a couple of months time.”
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[av_heading heading=’Preparing to lodge your SAR – are you due to lodge by 28 February?’ 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-kk3xhjyh’ admin_preview_bg=”][/av_heading]

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Some self-managed super funds (SMSFs) need to lodge their SMSF annual return (SAR) by 28 February 2021. As 28 February 2021 falls on a Sunday, you can lodge on 1 March 2021. Check your lodgment date on our website or talk to your advisor.

To help you finalise and lodge your SAR correctly, check out our handy Trustee reporting obligations checklist.

Remember, if your SAR is more than two weeks overdue, and you haven’t contacted ATO, they will change the status of the SMSF on Super Fund Lookup to ‘Regulation details removed’. This status will remain until any overdue lodgments are brought up to date.

If you have a status of ‘Regulation details removed’, APRA funds will not be able to roll over member benefits and employers will not be able to make any super guarantee payments to the fund’s members.

Need help?

If you are having difficulty preparing and lodging your SAR contact ATO as early as possible.

If you use the services of a registered tax agent, talk to them about your options.

The current economic environment due to COVID-19 may make keeping up to date with your trustee obligations a challenge. If you need help, make sure that your tax agent, your super professional or yourself use the SMSF early engagement and voluntary disclosure service.
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Sources: Accountants Daily, news.com.au, ATO 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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