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Spry Roughley Articles

Warning to watch out for myGov and ATO tax scams

The government's Stay Smart Online website (www.staysmartonline.gov.au/) warns taxpayers that there is a surge in scammers impersonating trusted bodies like myGov and the ATO to trick people into giving them money or personal details. These scams can take the form of emails, text messages and fake myGov login pages.  Read more…

ATO has refunded $10 billion so far

The ATO says that $10 billion has been refunded to Australian taxpayers so far this tax time, an increase of over $2 billion from the same time last year, with most returns being processed in under two weeks.  Read more…

ATO watching for undisclosed foreign income

The ATO has reminded taxpayers who receive any foreign income from investments, family members or working overseas to make sure they report it this tax time.  Read more…

Unusual claims disallowed

The ATO has published information about some of the most unusual claims it has disallowed. For example, around 700,000 taxpayers claimed almost $2 billion of "other" expenses including non-allowable items such as dental costs, child care and even Lego sets.  Read more…

ATO contacting small employers about Single Touch Payroll

From 1 July 2018, employers with more than 20 employees were required to provide real-time reports to the ATO of salary and wage payments, super guarantee contributions, ordinary time earnings of employees and PAYG withholding amounts.

From 1 July 2019, this Single Touch Payroll (STP) reporting system has extended to all employers.  Read more…

Disclosing business tax debt information: ATO consultation

The ATO has released a consultation paper, The ATO's administrative approach to the disclosure of business tax debt information to credit reporting bureaus. Read more…

Cross-border recovery of tax debts

The ATO has recently updated and reissued Practice Statement Law Administration PS LA 2011/13 Cross border recovery of taxation debts. This practice statement outlines the options available in relation to recovering a tax debt where the debtor is outside Australia, and sets out how the ATO deals with requests from other countries for assistance in recovering a tax debt owing to the other country. Read more…

ATO superannuation focus areas

The ATO has released its presentation to the 2019 Association of Superannuation Funds of Australia (ASFA) National Policy Roadshow outlining emerging superannuation focus areas for 2019–2020. Topics covered included:

  • the taxation of compensation received by super funds;
  • pension tax bonuses;
  • successor fund transfers; and
  • the treatment of inactive low-balance accounts. Read more…

Compassionate release of super only available in limited cases

The ATO has recently seen a significant increase in calls from individuals who were encouraged by their super funds to contact the ATO because they were ineligible for compassionate release of super (CRS). However, in the majority of cases, the individuals concerned were ineligible because they were looking to use their super to pay for general expenses. It is important to note that CRS is only an option for the following expense types:  Read more…

Personal services income rules: unrelated clients test

The Federal Court has set aside an Administrative Appeal Tribunal (AAT) decision that income derived by a business analyst through a company was subject to the personal services income (PSI) rules: Fortunatow v FCT [2019] FCA 1247 (Federal Court, Griffiths J, 12 August 2019). Read more…

If tax agent clients' employers report through Single Touch Payroll (STP) and the clients are linked to ATO online services through myGov, the ATO will send them a myGov Inbox message to let them know:
  • their end of year payment summary (income statement) has been marked by their employer as "Tax ready" and can be used in their tax return; 
  • if they have more than one job, their other employers may still need to provide them with a payment summary;  Read more…

Top mistakes to avoid this tax time: ATO

The ATO has revealed some of the most common mistakes people make at tax time. Assistant Commissioner Karen Foat said that errors range from honest mistakes to people deliberately over-claiming to increase their refund.  Read more…

Pension deeming rates cut from 1 July 2019

The Government has announced that it will lower the social security deeming rate from 1.75% to 1.0% for financial investments up to $51,800 for single pensioners and $86,200 for pensioner couples. The upper deeming rate of 3.25% will be cut to 3.0% for balances over these amounts.  Read more…

Personal tax cuts Bill passed without amendment, now law

The Treasury Laws Amendment (Tax Relief So Working Australians Keep More Of Their Money) Bill 2019

was introduced on 2 July 2019 and then passed all stages without amendment and received Royal Assent on 5 July 2019 as Act No 52 of 2019. The Bill fully implements the personal tax cuts measures announced in this year's 2019-20 Federal Budget. While Labor has consistently argued against the Stage 3 tax cuts that would apply from 1 July 2024 (see table below), it agreed to pass the Bill but said it will review Stage 3 closer to the next election.  Read more…

In the 2019-20 Federal Budget, the Government announced its intention to change and build on the Personal Income Tax Plan. The ATO says these changes, including tax rate and threshold changes and low income tax offset changes, are now law following the passage through Parliament without amendment and Royal Assent on 5 July of the Treasury Laws Amendment (Tax Relief So Working Australians Keep More Of Their Money) Bill 2019.
 

The ATO announced on 5 July 2019 that it is implementing the necessary system changes so taxpayers that have already lodged their 2018-19 tax returns will receive any increase to the low and middle income tax offset (LMITO) they are entitled to. Any tax refund will be deposited in the taxpayers nominated bank account.  Read more…

STP reporting irregularities: ATO contacting businesses

The ATO has advised tax agents that it is currently emailing Single Touch Payroll (STP) enabled employers who have either:
  • ceased reporting for over 45 days; or 
  • have submitted employees under multiple payroll or BMS IDs.  Read more…

Employees guide for work expenses: ATO

The ATO has released an employees' guide for work expenses to help employees decide whether their expenses are deductible, and what records they need to keep to substantiate them. 

The Guide says that not all expenses associated with employment are deductible and explains:

  • how to determine if an expense is deductible against an employment income;  Read more…

FBT, taxi travel and ride sourcing – ATO clarifies

The ATO has clarified a number of issues around FBT and taxi travel.
 

For businesses, taxi travel by an employee is an exempt benefit if the travel is a single trip beginning or ending at the employee's place of work. The ATO says taxi travel can also be an exempt benefit if it is a result of sickness or injury and the whole or part of the journey is directly between:

New ATO data-matching program: overseas movement data and HELP debt

In a Gazette notice on 5 July 2019, the ATO said it will acquire overseas movement data from the Department of Home Affairs (DHA) for individuals with an existing HELP, VSL or TSL debt. The data matching program will be conducted for the 2019-20, 2020-21 and 2021-22 financial years.
 

Those living and working overseas with a Higher Education Loan Program (HELP), Vocational Education and Training Student Loan (VSL) and/or Trade Support Loans (TSL) are required to:  Read more…

GST on low value goods – "very successful initiative", says ATO

The ATO says it has now collected over $250 million in additional GST since the GST on low value goods measure began on 1 July 2018, outstripping forecasts by $180 million.
 

The legislation requires overseas businesses to charge Australian GST on their sales of low value goods to consumers in Australia. Over 1,000 overseas businesses have registered for GST, which includes all the known major suppliers and international platforms, the ATO said. This includes platforms that are collecting GST when these goods are sold through them – reducing the number of individual businesses that need to register.  Read more…

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