Latest news

February 1, 2024

The problem when the evidence doesn’t match what the taxpayer tells the ATO

A recent case before the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) highlights the importance of ensuring that the evidence supports the tax position you are taking. The case involves heritage farmland originally purchased for $1.6m that sold 7 years later for $4.25m and the GST debt that the ATO is now pursuing on the sale. In 2013,…

February 1, 2024

Can my SMSF invest in property development?

Australians love property and the lure of a 15% preferential tax rate on income during the accumulation phase, and potentially no tax during retirement, is a strong incentive for many SMSF trustees to dream of large returns from property development. We look at the pros, cons, and problems that often occur. An SMSF can invest…

January 31, 2024

Stage 3 personal income tax cuts redesigned

The personal income tax cuts legislated to commence on 1 July 2024 will be realigned and redistributed under a proposal released by the Federal Government. After much speculation, the Prime Minister has announced that the Government will amend the legislated Stage 3 tax cuts scheduled to commence on 1 July 2024. Relative to the current…

December 20, 2023

The controversial case of the taxpayer who claimed a loss on their home

A decision by the Administrative Appeals Tribunal has the tax world in a flurry after the Tribunal found in favour of a taxpayer who sold the apartment she lived in for a loss, then claimed the $265,935 loss in her tax return as a deduction. In this case, the taxpayer successfully argued that the purchase…

December 13, 2023

Bah humbug: The Christmas tax dilemma

Don’t want to pay tax on Christmas? Here are our top tips to avoid giving the Australian Tax Office a bonus this festive season.  1. Keep team gifts spontaneous $300 is the minor benefit threshold for FBT so anything at or above this level will mean that your Christmas generosity will result in a gift…

November 24, 2023

Up to 10 years in prison for deliberate ‘wage theft’

Legislation currently being debated in Parliament will introduce a new criminal offence for intentional “wage theft”. If enacted, in addition to the criminal offence, a fine will apply. The fine is three times the underpayment and: For individuals – 5,000 penalty units (currently $1,565,000). For businesses – 25,000 penalty units (currently $7,825,000). The reforms are…

November 17, 2023

Warning: Redrawing investment loans

The ATO estimates that incorrect reporting of rental property income and expenses is costing around $1 billion each year in forgone tax revenue. A big part of the problem is how taxpayers are claiming interest on their investment property loans. We’ve seen an uptick in ATO activity focussing on refinanced or redrawn loans. This activity…

November 13, 2023

When trust distributions to a company are left unpaid

What happens when a trust appoints income to a private company beneficiary but does not actually make the payment? The tax treatment of this unpaid amount was at the centre of a recent case before the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) that saw a taxpayer successfully challenge the ATO’s long held position (Bendel and Commissioner of…

November 7, 2023

30% tax on super earnings on balances above $3 million

Treasury has released draft legislation for consultation to enact the Government’s plan to increase the tax rate on earnings on superannuation balances above $3m from 15% to 30% from 1 July 2025. This is the final step before the legislation is introduced into Parliament. From a planning perspective, for those with superannuation balances close to…

October 10, 2023

Self-education: What can you claim?

The Australian Taxation Office have released a new draft ruling on self-education expenses. We revisit the deductibility of self-education expenses and what you can and can’t claim. If you undertake study that is connected to your work you can normally claim your costs of that study as a tax deduction – assuming your employer has…

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