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 With the end of the 2012 financial year almost upon us, we take this opportunity to brief you on some of the more relevant changes that have occurred during the current financial year and on some of the tax minimisation strategies to consider implementing prior to 30 June 2012.

Should you wish to discuss any of the matters addressed in this newsletter you are encouraged to do so before 30 June 2012.


The flood levy will impose a 0.5% levy on taxable income from $50,001 to $100,000 and $250 plus 1% above $100,000 commencing for the year ending 30 June 2012. For ease we have included the levy in the following table:



 Flood Levy Included


Taxable Income




Taxable Income




0 - 6000


0 -18,200


6,001 - 37,000


18,201 - 37,000


37,001 - 50,000


37,001 - 80,000


50,001 – 80,000


80,001 - 100,000


80,001 – 180,000


100,001 – 180,000


180,001 +


180,000 +




From 1 July 2012, the maximum Low Income Tax Offset (LOTO) will be $445. This offset reduces once your taxable income exceeds $37,000 and completely cuts out at $66,667. The table below illustrates the changes in the LITO from the current year to the next year. This change, together with the increasing of the tax free threshold from $6,000 to $18,200 means that you will be able to earn up to $20,542 before any income tax is payable (up from $16,000 in the 2012 financial year).

If you have already submitted a Tax file number declaration form to your employer to claim the old tax-free threshold of $6,000, you do not have to do anything as your employer automatically adjusts to the new tax-free threshold of $18,200 from 1 July 2012.

If you have not submitted a TFN declaration, start work with a new employer or start to receive government benefits, you will need to complete a new TFN declaration form.


2 2011/12


Taxable Income Tax offset

$ $

Taxable Income Tax Offset

$ $

0 - 30,000 1500

0 - 37,000 445

30,001 - 66,999 1,500- [Taxable Income - $30,000) x 4%]

37,001 – 66,666 445-[(Taxable Income - $37,000) x 1.5%

67,000+ Nil


Note: Removal of Low Income Tax Offset for minors on unearned income

From 1 July 2011, children under the age of 18 (minors) will no longer be able to access the low income tax offset to reduce the tax payable on unearned income such as dividends, interest, trust distributions and rent.

This means that minors can only receive $416 in trust distribution tax free as opposed to $3,333 as was the case in the 2011 financial year.


Resident individuals continue to be liable to pay a Medicare Levy based on the amount of taxable income derived during the income year. The rate of the Medicare Levy for the 2011/12 income year remains at 1.5% of taxable income. No Medicare Levy is payable by any person whose taxable income for 2011/12 is less than $19,404 or any family (taxpayer and spouse) whose combined income is below $32,743. The family threshold is increased where there are additional dependants as well as if there is an entitlement to the Senior Australian Tax Offset.

An additional 1% Medicare Levy Surcharge continues to be imposed in the 2011/12 year for single individuals with taxable incomes exceeding $80,000 or families with taxable incomes exceeding $160,000 who do not have hospital cover through a private health fund. This threshold is increased by $1500 for every dependant child after the first child.



The Federal Government legislation to means test the private health insurance rebate takes

effect from 1 July 2012.

This means that the Australian Taxation Office will examine your “adjusted taxable income

in the 2013 financial year to assess your rebate entitlement for that year.

There are 3 income tiers to the rebate as shown below

If your adjusted taxable income is $84,000 or below as a single or $168,000 or below as a

family (thresholds increase by $1500 per child after the first child) then you are not affected

by the changes and no further action is required.

Please refer to our newsletter sent earlier this month which summarises what action to consider if affected by the changes.

For rebate purposes, adjusted taxable income is defined as:

Taxable income + reportable fringe benefits + total net investment losses

If you elect to prepay your private health insurance premium by 30 June 2012 you will need to consider your own circumstances and weigh up the potential loss of the rebate versus your own reduced cash flow from making this upfront premium payment.



Your private health insurer will soon be sending out 2012 Annual Tax Statements. This statement contains information that will be relevant to the preparation of your 2012 income tax return, including your membership number, number of days as member and your rebate percentage.

In addition, we recommend you obtain from both Medicare and your private health fund a statement of benefits for the year ending 30 June 2012. This statement is not automatically sent to you and you need to specifically request it. Each statement provides information that is helpful in calculating your entitlement to the medical expense tax offset.

In addition, you may request an account from your pharmacist who should be able to print out an itemised account of your prescriptions costs incurred for the tax year.



The Senior Australians Tax Offset (SATO) is available to males aged over 65 years and to females aged 63 years with entitlements as detailed in the table below: Low income aged person

Max. Rebate Level $*

Shade out threshold $

Cut out threshold $





Couple (each)




Couple (separated due to illness-each)




*Rebate reduces by 12.5c for each $1 of taxable income above the shade out threshold

From 1 July 2012, the Senior Australians Tax Offset (SATO) and the Pensioner Tax Offset (PTO) will be combined to form the Senior & Pensioner Tax Offset (SAPTO). The PTO will no longer be available and all individuals that would otherwise have been eligible for the PTO will instead receive the SAPTO.


The Paid Parental Leave Scheme started on 1 January 2011. It provides eligible working parents with 18 weeks of Parental Leave Pay at the National Minimum Wage which is currently $589.40 a week before tax. The amount received is included as taxable income.

To be eligible for Parental Leave Pay you must :

 be the primary carer of a newborn child or recently adopted child

 be an Australian resident

 have met the Paid Parental Leave work test before the birth or adoption occurs

 have received an individual adjusted taxable income of $150,000 or less in the financial year prior to the date of birth or date of claim, whichever is earlier, and

 be on leave or not working from the time you become the child‟s primary carer.


Your child must have been born or adopted on or after 1 January 2011 to be eligible for Parental Leave Pay.

The birth mother or the initial primary carer of an adopted child must make the claim for Parental Leave Pay, unless there are exceptional circumstances.

To be eligible for the full 18 weeks of Parental Leave Pay, you should nominate a start date for your pay that is within 34 weeks of the birth or adoption of your child.

Please note that the Baby Bonus (non-taxable amount of $5,294) will not be available in respect of a child where you elect to receive the Parental Leave Scheme. Depending on your individual circumstances you may be able to choose between these benefits.


In the 2012 Federal Budget, it was announced the Education Tax Refund (ETR) would be replaced with a new payment called the Schoolkids Bonus.

As a result, individuals are not able to claim the ETR for expenses incurred in the 2011/12 financial year or any excess eligible expenses you carried forward from the previous income year.

Transitional arrangements provide for the Department of Human Services to make a one-off payment to eligible


With the lowering of income tax rates next financial year and the Flood Levy being applicable in the 2012 financial year only, it may be prudent to defer income to the 2013 year by reducing assessable income this year.

Examples of how this can achieved are as follows:

 If you are expecting a bonus, you may be able to defer it until after 30 June 2012. Bonuses are taxed according to the date they are paid, so it is worth delaying such a bonus until the new tax year.

 If you are taking a holiday or long service leave that straddles the change of financial year, do not get paid in advance, but rather after 1 July 2012.

 For those clients with private companies, it may be worth waiting until 1 July 2012 to declare and pay dividends.

 Any clients considering asset sales should also consider delaying this until the new financial year.



The flip side of deferring income to the next year is boosting your tax deductions this year. Some examples to consider are as follows:

 Pay for any necessary work expenses now rather than putting it off until after the 30 June 2012. For example, any work related memberships or subscriptions could be paid before the end of the financial year.


 Small business owners should tend to repairs and maintenance of business equipment and motor vehicles used for the business in the final weeks of this tax year.


 Annual premiums for income protection insurance premiums which are fully tax deductible could be paid.


 Consider making donations now rather than leaving them for later.

 Consider prepaying interest on any investment loans. The Tax Office allows investors to pay interest up to a year in advance, which means you can generate a one-off tax deduction now by paying next year‟s interest.


 If you are eligible to make a tax deductible superannuation contribution, this could be a good way to reduce your taxable income this year. For most employees, the most effective way to contribute to super is through salary sacrifice arrangements.


 Income splitting of investment earnings. This becomes very tax effective by investing in the name of a lower income earning family member. Interest, dividends and capital gains will be assessed to them at lower tax rates.



The PAYG Payment Summary Statement must be completed by 14 August 2012 unless the only employees of the entity are family members. In this case PAYG Payment Summary Statements may be completed and lodged when the entities tax return is lodged (possibly up to 15 May 2013).

These statements show total payments made, PAYG withheld and Reportable Employer Superannuation Contributions (RESC). RESC are the amount of deductible superannuation contributions made that exceed the 9% superannuation guarantee amount. An example of this would be superannuation contributions paid in lieu of wages in a salary sacrifice arrangement.

Please note penalties may apply to employers who submit late these PAYG Payment Summary Statements to the ATO.


In order to ensure that you obtain a deduction for any particular bad debt, you are reminded that the debt must be physically written off prior to 30 June 2012 (i.e. deleted from your debtors list).


A limit is placed on the depreciable cost of motor cars (or most other vehicles designed to carry less than one tonne or fewer than nine passengers) over a certain price.

The limit applies whether the vehicle is new or second hand.

For the 2011/12 year the motor vehicle depreciation cost limit is $57,466.

This means that motor vehicles purchased above this price will not be eligible for a depreciation claim on the full cost of the motor vehicle.



Cents per kilometre

Ordinary car

Rotary engine car

2011/2012 income year

1600cc (1.6 litre or less)

800cc (0.8 litre or less)

63 cents

1601cc - 2600cc (1.601 litre - 2.6 litre)

801cc - 1300cc (0.801 litre - 1.3 litre)

74 cents

2601cc (2.601 litre and over)

1301cc (1.301 litre and over)

75 cents



From 1 July 2012, small businesses are able to expense assets that cost less than $6,500 (net of GST) rather than depreciate these assets over their life. In addition, small businesses can claim an immediate deduction for the first $5,000 of the cost of a motor vehicle (new or used) and depreciate the balance.

To access these new concessions the business must have an annual turnover of less than $2 million (your business and related businesses) and the assets acquired are depreciated under a depreciation pool.

A depreciation pool is where a common depreciation rate is used to depreciate all assets in the pool irrespective of the life of the asset. The pooled depreciation rate is 15% in the first year and 30% each year thereafter.

An example of $5,000 motor vehicle immediate deduction:

Cost of vehicle (net of GST) 30,000

Immediate Deduction 5,000

Balance 25,000 *

* Depreciated at 15% in the first year, then 30% in each of the following years until the balance

reduces to $6,500 when it is written off.

Please note the balance of $25,000 would be reduced for the private use percentage of the vehicle.


In the past few years, the ATO have collected information based on industry standards, and uses that information to calculate the average income and expenses for small business taxpayers in those industries. The ATO uses those figures as benchmarks to assess taxpayer‟s income against various performance ratios. These benchmarks have been developed from information provided by businesses on their lodged activity statements and income tax returns. A taxpayer may come to the attention of the ATO if they fall outside these benchmarks.

There are currently 103 types of businesses that the ATO have been benchmarking. The following is a list of the business industry categories:

 Accommodation and food services;

 Building and construction trade services;

 Education, training, recreation and support services;

 Health care and personal services;

 Manufacturing;

 Professional, scientific and technical services;

 Retail trade;

 Transport, postal and warehousing;

If you would like to discuss whether your business has been benchmarked and what that means for you, please contact our office.



For a contribution to be claimed as a tax deduction in the current financial year, payment will need to be made prior to 30 June 2012.

For employers that pay their staff superannuation entitlements quarterly or monthly, the June quarter super or month of June super will need to be paid before 30 June 2012 to claim as a tax deduction in the current year. Otherwise, if you make your payment by the due date of 28 July 2012, the payment will be tax deductible to your business in the 2012/2013 financial year.


The Co-Contribution is a Federal Government initiative to assist eligible low income taxpayers to save for their retirement. Subject to certain limits, the Government will make a maximum co-contribution of up to $1 for every $1 of personal non concessional superannuation contributions (i.e. contributions for which you have not claimed a tax deduction) made by eligible individual taxpayers up to certain limits.

An individual taxpayer is eligible for the Government Co-Contribution of up to $1,000 if:

 Personal superannuation contributions are made during the income year to a complying superannuation fund.

 Your „total income‟ (assessable income plus reportable fringe benefits plus reportable employer super contributions) is less than $61,920; and

 You derive at least 10% of assessable income, reportable fringe benefits and reportable employer super contributions (RESC) from employment or the carrying on of a business.

 You are less than 71 years of age.

 And you must lodge a tax return for the relevant income year.


For persons aged between 65 and 71 to be eligible they must be gainfully employed for at least 40 hours during a period of not more than 30 consecutive days in the year the contribution is made.

To be eligible to receive the full co-contribution a taxpayer‟s total income must not exceed $31,920. The entitlement to the co-contribution tapers off for those with income between $31,920

Eligible taxpayers are not required to specifically apply for the co-contribution. The ATO will work out the entitlement based on the contribution information provided by superannuation funds and the taxpayer‟s income tax return.


An 18% tax rebate up to a maximum of $540 is available to you if you make a $3,000 after tax superannuation contribution into your spouse‟s fund. If you contribute less than $3,000, the rebate will be equivalent to 18% of your contribution.

To meet the eligibility conditions your spouse must have an assessable income (includes fringe benefits and reportable employer super contributions) of less than $10,800. Between $10,800 and $13,800 the rebate reduces.


If you have a self-managed superannuation fund (SMSF), instead of making non-concessional cash contributions into your fund you can make an off-market transfer of either listed shares or commercial property that is used in the running of your business.

These investments are required to be transferred at market value which would be compared to the cost of the investment to determine if a capital gain or loss is realised and reported in your income tax return.

Given the current downturn in the economy, it may be that the current market value is less than the purchase price of the investment. In this case a capital loss can be realised.

No stamp duty applies to the transfer of listed shares but would apply to commercial property.

The advantage of moving these investments from your name into the superannuation fund is that the earnings on the investment are taxed at 15% instead of your marginal tax rate. Once the members of the fund turn 60 there is no capital gains on the sale of the investment and the earnings on these investments inside your fund are tax free.

Non-concessional contributions are limited to $150,000 per member per year. This limit can be averaged over three years to enable people under 65 years old to make larger one-off payments up to a maximum $450,000 in any one year

Before recommending such a strategy we would need to check your history of non-concessional contributions to ensure the contribution limits are not exceeded.

Note that there has been a proposal by the government to ban such off-market transfers into superannuation funds so the opportunity to take advantage of this strategy may close in the near future.


For those aged under 50, an annual concessional (tax deductible) contribution limit of $25,000 applies for the 2011/12 year.

For those aged 50 and over, a concessional contribution limit of $50,000 per annum applies in the 2011/12 year.

Please note that from 1 July 2012, the concessional contribution limit will reduce to $25,000 per annum for all taxpayers.

Concessional superannuation contributions can be made to age 75 subject to those aged 65 and over meeting the work test (gainfully employed for at least 40 hours during a period of not more than 30 consecutive days in the year the contribution is made).

It is essential you take care when making contributions to your superannuation fund to ensure you meet the eligibility requirements for making contributions. If you are over 65 you must meet the work test.

Pension arrangements for taxpayers under 60

Pension payments for people under age 60 are taxed as normal income but with some concessional treatment to reflect any untaxed contributions and a 15% rebate on any taxable components.

For transition to retirement pensions (aged 55 to 64 and still working), the maximum pension one can receive is 10% of your account balance, calculated at 30 June at the end of the previous financial year.

Pension payment amounts

Factors for determining minimum payment amounts are set out in the table below. The minimum amounts are a percentage of the account balance at 1 July each year.






Under age 65






















All clients working or not, maybe be able to benefit from considering their superannuation options. There are a number of opportunities available depending on your circumstances. Anyone with a large capital gain may be able to reduce the impact by making a larger concessional contribution to your superannuation fund (subject to limits above). Persons over 55 can draw a pension and at the same time make concessional contributions. This may result in substantial tax savings.

Gearing in Superannuation Funds

There exists the opportunity for superannuation funds to purchase assets funded by borrowings. Borrowings as a general rule are forbidden in superannuation funds but if the borrowing is structured correctly and in line with the Superannuation Industry (Supervision) Act (SIS Act), it now gives additional flexibility to those who have their own self-managed superannuation funds.

The rules and restrictions are complex and proper advice is necessary before contemplating such a transaction.


The most significant capital gains tax (CGT) concession available to individuals, trusts and superannuation funds is the discount percentage on capital gains. Net capital gains are calculated after deducting capital losses (including prior year capital losses carried forward) from capital gains made during the year. The discount percentage is effectively a tax-free reduction of the net capital gain. The discount percentage is:

 50% if the gain is made by an individual or a trust;

 33.33% if the gain is made by a complying superannuation fund.


The discount percentage will be available after the relevant asset has been owned for at least 12 months.


Estate planning is an area that requires constant monitoring, particularly with our ever-changing taxation laws. Notwithstanding that there is no Estate Duty as such, but there are numerous imposts and traps that exist that can prove quite costly to your beneficiaries if not properly structured.

Superannuation is certainly an area where simple planning can ultimately save money. The increasing use of testamentary trusts as part of your Estate planning provides security and tax-effectiveness and is certainly something worth considering when preparing or amending your will.

Whilst much of the required documentation necessarily needs to be drafted by a lawyer, we consider it most relevant to discuss your estate planning with us. We work alongside your lawyer to ensure that your requirements are appropriately documented. There are specialist estate planning lawyers who operate in this sector and, should you require, we would be happy to make the necessary introduction.


There have been a number of changes to the Fringe Benefits Tax regime (FBT). Perhaps one of the biggest changes is the removal of the exemption of laptops for FBT purposes.

Under the new rules the FBT exemption will only be available if the laptop is used primarily for work.

Some benefits that are still FBT exempt are:

 Relocation costs of employees

 Taxi travel

 Membership fees to professional associations

 Minor benefits of less than $300


Statutory Method

Under the new rules, the 4 statutory fractions (ranging from 4% to 26%) will ultimately be replaced by 1 statutory fraction. This will apply regardless of the distance travelled by the motor vehicle. However, transitional rules have also been introduced which will phase in the changes to the statutory fraction between the 2012 & 2014 FBT years.

From 1 April 2013, the statutory fraction of 20% will apply regardless of the distance travelled.

Below is a summary of the transitional rules that have been introduced.


Distance travelled during the FBT year (1 April – 31 March)

‘Old’ and ‘new’ statutory fraction

Existing contracts

New contracts entered into on or after 7:30pm AEST on 10 May 2011

From 10 May 2011

From 1 April 2012

From 1 April 2013

From 1 April 2014

0 – 15,000 km






15,000 – 25,000 km






25,000 – 40,000 km






More than 40,000 km








car fringe benefit that is provided by an employer under a pre existing commitment entered into before 7.30pm on 10 May 2011 will still be subject to the old rules until 1 April 2014.

However, if an employer makes a change to an existing commitment (e.g. change in the type of finance agreement) during an FBT year, the new rules will apply.

FBT Reportable Benefits Threshold

The threshold for reporting FBT on an employee PAYG payment summary for the 2012 financial year is $2000 on the non grossed-up benefit.

Benchmark Interest Rate

The benchmark interest rate for the FBT year commencing 1 April 2011 is 7.80%.

Car Parking

The car parking threshold for FBT purposes is $7.71 for the 2012 FBT year.


Payroll tax is levied if you are an individual employer or a member of a group of employers whose total wages throughout Australia exceeds $678,000 for the 2011/12 financial year. It is charged at the rate of 5.45% on eligible wages above this threshold. The following factors may affect a business‟s threshold entitlement:

Wages are only paid for part of a year


If a business starts or stops employing in NSW within a financial year it does not get a full threshold entitlement. The business will receive a proportion of the threshold equal to the ratio of the number of days they employ to the number of days in the financial year.

A business pays liable wages in another Australian State or Territory:


When a business pays wages in NSW and interstate, the NSW threshold is determined as a proportion equal to the ratio of the NSW wages to the total Australian wages.

If a payment is not taxable in a jurisdiction as a wage, then it is not included in the total Australian wages.

A business is part of a group:


Grouped employers receive one threshold entitlement between them. A group can be constituted under payroll tax legislation in 5 ways:


1. Related companies (as per Corporations Act 2001)

2. Use of common employees

3. Common Control

4. Controlling interest in another company

5. Subsuming – a larger group can be formed out of smaller groups

An employer has an obligation to register with the relevant state Office of State Revenue (OSR) within 7 days of the end of a month in which wages first exceed:


Days in month








Eligible wages for payroll tax purposes include the following:

 Allowances

 Commissions

 Bonuses

 Eligible termination payments

 Superannuation

 Labour contractor payments

 Fringe benefits

 Directors‟ fees


All Offices of State Revenue in each state continue to conduct audits of employers to obtain information about payments made and to see if employers are correctly calculating their liability for payroll tax.

If you are unsure if you are correctly calculating your obligations towards payroll tax, please contact us.


If at midnight on 31 December of any given year you owned land in your name or through a related entity you may have an obligation to pay land tax.

As a general rule, land tax in NSW is payable at the rate of $100 plus 1.6% for every dollar of land value in excess of $396,000 as at 31 December 2011. The premium land tax threshold is $2,421,000 at which point the rate of tax payable increases to 2.0%.

There are certain exceptions to the rule (e.g. principal place of residence, primary production land and nursing homes).

Also, land tax liability will differ depending on the ownership of properties. For example, family trusts usually do not get the benefit of the threshold and will pay land tax on the first dollar of land value.

When you initially acquire land or when the land holdings change, there is an obligation to advise the relevant Office of State Revenue.

Each state and territory imposes its own land tax and the rates and rules vary accordingly.

Should you require our assistance in attending to your land tax obligations, please contact us.

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The material and contents provided on this web site and in our print, email or downloadable publications are informative in nature only. It is not intended to be advice and you should not act specifically on the basis of this information alone. If expert assistance is required, professional advice should be obtained. Liability limited by a scheme approved under Professional Standard Legislation


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