Keep relevant documents and make timely elections

Taxpayers must keep all relevant documents, usually for five years, to show that they have incurred the expense for which they are claiming a tax deduction. If a taxpayer needs to make an election to have a specific concession apply (eg for the small business CGT concessions, or family trust and FBT elections), they should ensure such an election is made by the relevant deadline. 

Generally, only a taxpayer who directly incurs an expense (and derives the related income) may claim the tax deduction.

Single Touch Payroll

From 1 July 2018, employers with 20 or more employees (as determined by the number of employees an employer has on 1 April 2018) will have to run their payroll and pay their employees through accounting and payroll software that is Single Touch Payroll (STP) ready. It is a major reporting change for employers, and means employers will report payments such as salaries and wages and allowances, PAYG withholding and super information to the ATO directly from their payroll solution at the same time they pay their employees.

Employers need to have done a head count on 1 April 2018 to determine if they are a "substantial employer" and will therefore be required to use STP. This count has to include full-time and part-time employees, casual employees who are on the payroll on 1 April 2018 and worked any time during March 2018, any employee absent or on leave, seasonal employees and overseas employees. Not included are casual employees who did not work in March 2018, independent contractors and company directors.

GST on low value imported goods

From 1 July 2018, overseas vendors with a GST turnover of AUD$75,000 or more in Australian sales will have to account for GST on sales of low value goods (ie imported goods costing AUD$1,000 or less) to consumers in Australia (ie purchasers not registered for GST, or GST-registered purchasers that acquire the goods solely for private purposes).

Payments to contractors in building and construction

Businesses in the building and construction industry must report the total payments they make to contractors on a taxable payments annual report by 28 August 2018. 

Currently, there are proposals to extend this taxable payment reporting regime to cleaners and couriers (from 1 July 2018) and to security providers, road transport and computer design services (from 1 July 2019). These measures are in the Treasury Laws Amendment (Black Economy Taskforce Measures No 1) Bill 2018, which has passed the House of Representatives at the time of writing.