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Spry Roughley Articles

JobKeeper changes: turnover test and employment start date

Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced further changes to JobKeeper on 7 August 2020. The changes are intended to ensure that eligibility for the revised JobKeeper scheme – to commence on 28 September 2020 – will be based on a single quarter tax period, rather than multiple quarters as previously announced. Employees hired as at 1 July 2020 will now also be eligible to receive JobKeeper.  Read more…

JobKeeper reference date now 1 July 2020: Statutory Rules made

The Coronavirus Economic Response Package (Payments and Benefits) Amendment Rules (No 7) 2020, registered on 14 August 2020, changed the JobKeeper employment reference date to 1 July 2020 (from 1 March 2020) for determining employee eligibility, with effect from 3 August 2020. The amending rules commenced on 15 August 2020 and apply to JobKeeper fortnights that began on or after 3 August 2020; that is, they are retrospective.  Read more…

PM announces pandemic leave disaster payment for Victoria

Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced on 3 August 2020 a "disaster payment" in the form of a pandemic leave disaster payment. The payment will be one-off amount of $1,500, available to workers in Victoria who have no sick leave available who have to self-isolate for 14 days as a result of an instruction by a public health officer. Read more…

Loans put on hold and debt forgiveness: ATO’s views

The ATO has "clarified" its position on loans put on hold during COVID-19. The ATO will consider a debt to be forgiven for tax purposes if:

  • the debtor is somehow relieved from the legal obligation to repay it; or
  • there is evidence that the creditor won't insist on repayment or rely on the obligation for repayment. Read more…

Residency and source of income in the COVID-19 era

The ATO has issued an update on residency and source of income. It deals with issues from the perspectives of an Australian resident and a foreign resident in the context of a change of residency due to COVID-19.  Read more…

ATO’s employees guide for work expenses updated

The ATO has updated its employees guide for work expenses for 2019–2020. The document is designed to assist employees to determine whether incurred expenses are tax deductible, and outlines the substantiation requirements.  Read more…

FBT: cars garaged at employees’ homes during COVID-19

The ATO has published a fact sheet to assist employers in determining if they have an FBT liability where cars are garaged at employees' homes because of COVID-19.

The fact sheet states that the ATO will accept that an employer isn't holding a car for the purposes of providing fringe benefits where the car isn't being driven at all, or is only being driven for maintenance purposes. Provided that the employer elects to use the operating cost method and maintains odometer records, the employer will not have an FBT liability for a car. Without electing to use the operating cost method or not having odometer records, the statutory formula method applies and an FBT liability will arise as the car garaged at the employee's home is taken to be available for private use. Read more…

Instant asset write-off further extended

The Government has announced that the $150,000 instant asset write-off will be extended for a further six months. It was due to finish on 30 June 2020, but will now cease on 31 December 2020. Read more…

JobKeeper extended, with changes

The Government has announced that JobKeeper payments will continue for six months beyond the legislated finish date of 27 September 2020, subject to revamped eligibility rules. Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said the Government will introduce two tiers of payment rates as part of "JobKeeper 2.0" to better reflect the pre-COVID-19 incomes of recipients. Read more…

ATO alert on fraudulence and non-compliance: COVID-19 measures

The ATO is on the look-out for fraudulent schemes designed to take advantage of the Government's COVID-19 stimulus measures. This includes JobKeeper, early release of superannuation, and boosting cash flow for employers. Read more…

Top tax time myths for 2020 that slow down returns

The ATO has published a list of common mistakes and misconceptions taxpayers have around tax time. Read more…

Working from home deductions: “shortcut” rate extended

The ATO has extended, from 30 June 2020 to at least 30 September 2020, the "shortcut" rate outlined in Practical Compliance Guideline PCG 2020/3 for claiming work-from-home running expenses. The ATO also says it will give further consideration as to whether the date the Guideline will cease to apply "may be extended beyond 30 September 2020". Read more…

IGTO investigates ATO communication of taxpayer rights

The Inspector General of Taxation and Taxation Ombudsman (IGTO) has launched a new investigation into effective communication of taxpayers' rights to review, complain and appeal decisions made and actions taken by the ATO. The investigation will seek to understand and confirm how effectively, clearly and completely the ATO communicates appropriate information to taxpayers and their representatives on these taxpayers' rights. Initially, the review will focus on ATO communications which concern debt decisions in relation to individuals and small business taxpayers as they have been deemed most "vulnerable". Read more…

Banks further extending loan repayment deferrals

The Australian Banking Association (ABA) has announced a new phase of support to assist customers to get back to making their loan repayments. With the six-month loan repayment deferral period set to end on 30 September, the ABA said customers with reduced incomes due to COVID-19 will be eligible to apply for an extension of their deferral for up to four months.  Read more…

Super contributions beyond age 65 from 1 July 2020

The Assistant Minister for Superannuation Senator Jane Hume has welcomed the recent amendments to the SIS Regulations that will allow more people to make voluntary superannuation contributions from 1 July 2020.  Read more…

Tax time 2020 is here

Don't jump the gun and lodge too early

Tax time 2020 is here, but it's likely to be anything but routine. Many individuals on reduced income or have increased deductions may be eager to lodge their income tax returns early to get their hands on a refund. However, the ATO has issued a warning against lodging too early, before all your income information becomes available. It's important to remember that employers have until the end of July to electronically finalise their employees' income statements, and the same timeframe applies for other information from banks, health funds and government agencies.  Read more…

Expanded instant asset write-off for businesses

If a taxpayer has purchased assets for their business, they may be eligible to claim an immediate deduction under the instant asset write-off expansion. From 12 March to 30 June 2020 inclusive, the instant asset write-off threshold for each asset increased to $150,000 (up from $30,000) for business entities with aggregated annual turnover of less than $500 million (up from $50 million).  Read more…

Additional cash flow boost coming for businesses

Businesses that received the initial government cash flow boosts as a part of the COVID-19 stimulus measures are in line for additional payments for the June to September quarter. Generally, the additional amount businesses will receive will be equal to the total amount that they initially received and will be split evenly between the lodged activity statements. However, if you've made adjustments or revised your activity statements after lodgment, the amount of additional cash flow boost payments you receive may be different.  Read more…

ATO scam calls may soon be a thing of the past

Last year, some 107,000 ATO impersonation scam calls were reported to the authorities. The real number is likely to be much higher, given that most of these type of calls go unreported. Scammers are increasingly using technological advances to appear more legitimate and nab unsuspecting victims.  Read more…

The ATO and Treasury have released a joint statement advising that the previous estimate of the number of employers who would access the JobKeeper program was significantly overstated. Treasury now estimates the number of employees likely to be covered under the JobKeeper program to be around 3.5 million (down from a previous estimate of 6.5 million employees). As a result, Treasury has revised down the estimated cost of JobKeeper to around $70 billion (down from the original $130 billion estimate).  Read more…

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