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Top 5 ways to trip up with SMSF annual returns

The ATO has compiled, from many years’ worth of annual return data supplied by self managed superannuation funds, what it says are the top five errors committed by SMSF trustees when lodging their annual tax return.

Knowing where other SMSF trustees have tripped up in the past can go a long way to make sure you don’t commit the same mistake. […]

FBT and vehicles under COVID-19 restrictions

The pandemic period under which we labour continues to have outcomes that may at first have not been obvious, but as time and lodgement considerations come to pass, more taxation consequences edge their way out of the woodwork.

One such outcome is where employees have been garaging work cars at their homes due to COVID-19, and the affects this will have on employer fringe benefits tax (FBT) obligations. […]

JobKeeper payments to get data match scrutiny between ATO and Social Services

Notice was posted recently in the Commonwealth Gazette (C2020G00570) of a data matching program that is to be launched between the ATO and Services Australia — the government body that became the executive agency in February this year in the Social Services portfolio (responsible for health, social and welfare payments and services).

The notice of the new data matching program notes that the exchange of data involves comparing information held by the ATO in relation to the JobKeeper payment and information reported to Services Australia’s “customers” in relation to social security payments. […]

Planning tool to help businesses reopen

The government’s National COVID-19 Coordination Commission (NCCC) has released an online planning tool to help businesses develop a plan to keep their workers, customers and the community safe as they reopen or increase their activities in the weeks and months ahead.

The NCCC tool, in the form of a template called “My business’s COVIDSafe plan”, brings together information from across the government on the range of help and assistance available to support businesses. This tool complements the Safe Work Australia website, which is a central source of information for businesses to understand their work health and safety obligations. […]

GST obligations now come under the director penalty regime

The Treasury Laws Amendment (Combating Illegal Phoenixing) Bill 2019 received assent on 17 February 2020. The legislation includes a range of measures targeting illegal phoenixing including penalties for directors related to GST liabilities (making directors personally liable for unpaid GST if the unpaid liability is not paid within 21 days of a director penalty notice being issued) and retaining tax refunds.

The legislation, which lapsed at the dissolution of Parliament in the lead up to the last federal election but was revived months later, had been the topic of much debate in the lead up to its expected enactment last October. […]

Regulator Roundup March 2020

Increasing maximum SMSF members to six is still official policy
The SMSF Association held its annual conference recently, which was addressed by Assistant Minister for Superannaution, Senator Jane Hume, who stated that it remains government policy to see an increase in the maximum number of SMSF members from four to six. Implementation of the Hayne banking commission recommendations was however a priority, she said. (See full speech here.)

“This proposed change is significant,” Hume said, “because it increases the flexibility of our self-managed superannuation sector. It will allow situations such as families with up to four children to be part of a single family superannuation fund.” […]

Regulator Roundup February 2020

Taken goods for private use? Here’s the latest values for tax purposes
The ATO knows that many business owners naturally help themselves to their trading stock and use it for their own purposes. This common practice can occur in businesses such as butchers, bakers, corner stores, cafes, wine shops and more.

The ATO regularly issues guidance for business owners on the value it expects will be allocated to goods taken from trading stock for private use. The table below shows these values for the 2019-20 income year, taken from Taxation Determination TD 2020/1. […]

Concession for testamentary trusts wound back

In the Federal Budget last April, the Government announced it would make changes to the tax treatment of testamentary trusts, and an exposure draft of amendments was released by Treasury at the start of the current quarter.

The assessable income of a minor from a distribution from a testamentary trust is taxed at ordinary rates, rather than the highest marginal tax rate like other passive income received by minors. This has led some taxpayers to inject unrelated assets into one of these trusts to take advantage of the concession that is available to minor beneficiaries of these trusts.

This change will ensure that this tax concession available to minors in these trusts only applies in respect of income generated from assets of a deceased estate that are transferred to the testamentary trust under a will, or the proceeds of the disposal or investment of those assets. […]

Super strategies will soon need to factor in new transfer balance caps

When the legislation to limit the amount that can be transferred into a pension account took effect on 1 January 2017, there was always written into those rules a requirement for the transfer balance cap (TBC) to eventually be indexed.

The legislation, the Treasury Laws Amendment (Fair and Sustainable Superannuation) Act 2016, provides that the general TBC is to be indexed in increments of $100,000 if the indexation rate reaches a prescribed figure (and this is calculated using a formula set out in the legislation). […]

Unpaid “crypto” tax another big target for ATO revenue collection

For some time now, the ATO’s data matching arm has been collecting bulk records from Australian cryptocurrency designated service providers. It follows a growth in Australian taxpayer participation with bitcoin and other cryptocurrency assets over recent years, with estimations from the ATO that between 500,000 to one million local taxpayers (including SMSFs) have invested in crypto assets.

ATO Deputy Commissioner Will Day announced that it will be working with other regulators, particularly AUSTRAC and ASIC, to make sure tax laws are adhered to within a whole-of-system approach. “The ATO is also working in a joint international effort as part of the Joint Chiefs of Global Tax Enforcement” (also known as J5) “aimed at investigating cryptocurrency-related tax evasion and money laundering,” he said.

According to a report from US-based blockchain and crypto news site BitcoinerX, the ATO expects a three-fold return on an estimated $1 billion spend on chasing what it calls “crypto tax”. […]