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Spry Roughley Articles

ATO debts may affect your credit rating

Businesses with tax debts need to be aware that the ATO will now be able to disclose the details of their tax debts to credit ratings agencies, which could potentially affect the ability of the business to obtain finance or refinance existing debt. Generally, only businesses with an ABN and debts over $100,000 and that are not "effectively engaged" with the ATO will be affected. Practically, the ATO is planning a phased implementation which will consist of education before targeting companies, followed by partnerships, trusts and sole traders. Read more…

Crowdfunding: is it income?

Crowdfunding has fast become a go-to strategy for people in need of large amounts of money quickly, but is the money raised considered to be income and therefore taxable?  Read more…

Non-commercial losses: do the rules apply to you?

If you have a business in addition to your main employment, the non-commercial loss rules could apply to you, which may prevent you from deducting your business losses against your other income. Depending on your business activity, as long as you satisfy certain conditions your business will not be subject to the non-commercial loss rules. If your business does not satisfy these conditions, don't worry – you can also apply to the ATO for an exemption under certain circumstances.  Read more…

Less tax for some working holiday makers?

A recent Federal Court decision on Australia's "backpacker tax" has received wide-ranging media coverage and been seen by some as a win for all working holiday makers. However, taking a closer look it is clear that the case has a much narrower application than some have reported. It's likely only to apply to certain working holiday makers who are considered to be tax residents of Australia at the time, and are subject to a specific clause in a double taxation agreement (DTA) between their home country and Australia. Coupled with the ATO still considering an appeal, this area of law is far from settled.  Read more…

Tax relief for drought-stricken farmers

With drought sweeping across the country, everyone is doing what they can to help. Farmers have been offered access to concessional loans, grants, and special allowances to help ease the immediate financial burden. While it is difficult to predict when the drought will break, for those who are in the process of navigating their way out of immediate financial strain, there are ways to future proof your farm or primary production business by taking advantage of various tax concessions.  Read more…

Super guarantee opt-out for high income earners

If you're a high-income earner with multiple employers, there's a good chance that you may unintentionally exceed the super concessional contributions cap in any year, which may cause excess contribution issues. To remedy this, laws have recently been passed to allow you to opt out of the super guarantee. All you have to do is apply to the ATO, but it's a good idea to speak to your employers first, as it may impact relevant awards or workplace agreements in place.  Read more…

Getting the benefit of your business tax losses

Made a tax loss? If you're a sole trader or individual partner, you may be able to apply the loss against other income like salary or investment income, or carry the loss forward to a future year. 

When you're starting a new business venture, it may take some time before the business becomes profitable. And there may be other situations where an established business operates at a loss in a particular year. So, what does this mean tax-wise? When your deductions in an income year are greater than your assessable income, you have a "tax loss". You generally can't receive a refund for a tax loss, but you can use it in other ways. Read more…

Downsizer super contributions: getting it right

"Downsizer" contributions let you contribute some of the proceeds from the sale of your home into superannuation – but there are several important eligibility requirements.

Are you thinking about selling the family home in order to raise funds for retirement? Under the "downsizer" contribution scheme, individuals aged 65 years and over who sell their home may contribute sale proceeds of up to $300,000 per member as a "downsizer" superannuation contribution (which means up to $600,000 for a couple). Read more…

Health insurance and your tax: uncovered

If you don't hold private hospital cover – or are thinking about dropping it – make sure you understand the financial consequences. You could be hit with an extra tax surcharge of up to 1.5% or cost yourself extra premiums in future.

Levies, surcharges and loadings – the terminology around health insurance and tax can be bewildering! But if you don't hold private hospital cover, you need to understand how this may affect your tax. Read more…

Small business CGT concessions: when do I qualify?

The small business CGT concessions are a great tool for business owners to transfer wealth into super. Here, we break down the two essential requirements you must first meet in order to access any of the concessions.

Have you considered the powerful tax and superannuation planning opportunities that the small business CGT concessions can offer your business? These concessions allow you to reduce – or in some cases, completely eliminate – the capital gain from the sale of a business asset, whether it's held directly by your business entity or in another related structure. Read more…

Unpaid super: important amnesty update for employers

Unpaid super is a big problem, and the compliance landscape is changing. If you're an employer, now is the time to take action and protect yourself against penalties.

The government is getting tough on unpaid compulsory super guarantee (SG) contributions, but fortunately for businesses it has recently announced a revised "grace period" to rectify past non-compliance. All businesses should review their super compliance to consider what action they may need to take. Read more…

Selling shares: how does tax apply?

Did you know that when you sell your shares, the size of your capital gains tax bill is affected by how long you've held the shares, and how you offset your capital gains and losses? Knowing the tax rules can help you plan ahead.  Read more…

ATO to scrutinise every return for tax time 2019

The ATO has announced that it will scrutinise every tax return lodged during Tax Time 2019 as part of its ongoing focus on "closing tax gaps".

Assistant Commissioner, Karen Foat, said taxpayers who have done the wrong thing may be subject to an audit, even if the over-claim of deductions is minor. Third party data indicating under reported income, and deductions that appear high compared to people with a similar job and income level, tend to raise concerns, Ms Foat said.  Read more…

Beware of insurance changes in superannuation

You may have heard a lot recently about super funds providing either opt-in or opt-out insurance and have wondered how will affect you and your retirement savings. Perhaps you've heard horror stories about super funds cancelling people's insurance. Don't fret, in most cases cancellation of insurance only happens in limited instances, and your fund will most likely notify you before any cancellation occurs. As for opt-in and opt-out insurance, the changes are coming, but not until 1 April 2020, so if you're affected you'll have plenty of time to prepare.  Read more…

Small business income tax gap: ATO update

New figures released by the ATO estimate that almost 90% of income tax from small businesses is paid voluntarily or with little intervention from the ATO.  Read more…

ATO sets its sights on undisclosed foreign income

Do you have any amounts of offshore income you haven't declared to the ATO – perhaps interest from a foreign bank account? Even if it seems like a small amount, it must be declared. International data-sharing arrangements are making taxpayers' overseas financial affairs increasingly transparent, so don't get caught out. Read more…

ATO announces “Better as Usual” program to improve your experience

ATO Commissioner Chris Jordan has announced the launch of "Better as Usual", a new ATO program aimed at improving the client experience with the tax system. In his opening remarks at the Council of Small Business Organisations Australia (COSBOA) National Small Business Summit in Melbourne on 29 August 2019, Mr Jordan said that "Better as Usual" includes the following four parts, to be led by Jeremy Hirschhorn, Second Commissioner of Client Engagement:  Read more…

Salary sacrificing loopholes: are you receiving your full benefits?

Salary sacrifice strategies are a great way to boost retirement savings. But unwelcome loopholes in the law mean some workers may be getting less than they bargained for. Fortunately, the government is taking action to fix this, but in the meantime salary-sacrificing workers should be across this issue to keep an eye on their arrangement and ensure they're not being short-changed.  Read more…

Claiming work trips for business owners

When a trip is clearly for business purposes only, the rules for deducting expenses are fairly straightforward. Taxpayer's can claim airfares, taxis and car hire (and fuel). They can also deduct accommodation costs for overnight travel if the business requires them to be away from their permanent home overnight. Meals are also deductible when it is a requirement to be away overnight.  Read more…

Thinking about setting up an SMSF?

For many people, SMSFs are a great option for building retirement savings, but they may not be suitable for everyone. The following sets out some of the important differences between SMSFs and other types of funds. Read more…

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