As of 1 October 2015 Online Accounting and Taxation Solutions has changed name to Affinitas Accounting, you have now been redirected to the new page.

  • 10Jun2020

    5 Top Questions About the HomeBuilder Grant

    homebuilder grant

    The phone has been ringing off the hook with questions about the HomeBuilder grant.

    Here, I’m focusing on those who want to buy land and build (rather than renovators – that’s a whole separate topic on its own).  First, some basics about the HomeBuilder grant:

    To qualify for the $25k HomeBuilder grant you must:

    • Be Australian citizen
    • Earn below $ 125k for singles or $ 200k for couples
    • Sign a building contract between 4 June and 31 December (and start the build within 3 months of contract date)
    • Be building a home where the value of the completed house and land must be $750k or less
    • Own the home in individual names and occupy it as your home. (no investment properties)

    The HomeBuilder Grant: Top 5 Questions Answered

    The easiest way to explain some of the complexities around the HomeBuilder grant is to jump straight into some of the common questions people are asking.

     

    1. Can I get both the HomeBuilder Grant and the state based First HomeOwners Grant?

    As long as you meet the eligibility for each grant independently, you can receive both if you are building your first home.

     

    2. Does this mean that I can get into the market with no deposit?

    There are two elements to answering this question. Firstly, meeting the requirements for genuine savings and secondly the timing of when the HomeBuilder grant will be paid.

    Let’s take a step back and look at how much you typically need to buy a home.

    If you are a first-time homebuyer in Queensland and you qualify for the stamp duty concession, to buy an existing home without the FHOG you would need a deposit of 9% or around $40 000. Of this amount you will need to demonstrate that 5% has been genuinely saved. Neither the FHOG, nor the HomeBuilder grant count as genuine savings.

    If you have owned a home before, you would need a deposit of around 10.5 % or around $ 46 300. Again, of this amount you will need to demonstrate that 5% has been genuinely saved.

    While the grants may help you reduce the amount you end up borrowing, if you are hoping to get into the market with a new home build with a lower deposit, there are some tricky aspects of how and when the grants are paid that you’ll need to be across and plan for.

    Essentially, as with the FHOG, the HomeBuilder grant will not be able to be used as part of your initial deposit.

    The table sets out what the overall contribution is with a maximum loan of 95% including mortgage insurance, as well as how much is needed at land settlement for both first homebuyers and others. While the actual contribution needed is low, the timing of payments of the grants, and the need to demonstrate genuine savings, means you will actually need a lot more.

    homebuilder granthomebuilder grant

    3. How do I work out whether I’m under the income cap?

    The income cap is the same as the First Home Loan Deposit Scheme, so your income as an individual must be under $125,000 per year and, as a couple, your combined income needs to be under $200,000. This is your gross income before tax (excluding Super). You will be able to find this on your 2019 Notice of Assessment issued by the ATO.

     

    4. If I was under the income cap last year but may go over this year, am I still eligible for the HomeBuilder grant?

    The wording of the grant is that the income cap will be based on your individual ‘2018-19 tax return or later’ so if you earned less last year, but will earn more this year, they will use the most recent year to confirm your income. 

    There is a requirement to report any change in your circumstances to the state revenue office, so the intention appears to be that if you will exceed the income cap before you are paid the grant that you would no longer be eligible.

    The HomeBuilder grant may be audited, and if for example you earned $190,000 as a couple in 2018-19 tax year and then earned $220,000 in 2019-20 tax year, you could be required to pay back the grant. 

     

    5. What if I am a citizen but my spouse is not?

    There are some things we don’t know yet here, as the application form for the HomeBuilder grant Scheme hasn’t yet been issued, so we don’t know the specific questions that will be asked. 

    However, if it’s going to be similar to the First HomeOwner’s grant, then the eligibility is based on the applicants – which is based on the property ownership. 

    If this is the case and the property is just in the Australian citizen’s name, you may qualify for the HomeBuilder grant.

    Given the uncertainty around what the formal criteria on application will be, I would recommend waiting to see what these are in your state before signing a contract if you need the grant to complete the build. As an industry, we are seeking clarity around Treasury’s intentions here.

    You would also need to seek advice here around whether you may meet the criteria to have two people on the loan where only one is on the title (and consider whether this structure is right for you).

     

    I’ll be posting updates as we get more clarity around the ambiguous areas, but in the meantime, if you’d like to understand what this grant might mean for you, reach out at or give me a call on 0430 383 996.

    Read more
  • 09Jun2020

    Tax Time 2020 Preparation

    As tax time 2020 gets closer and closer, we wanted to help our clients prepare and ensure they are ready for the important financial period ahead. The COVID-19 pandemic has thrown a curve ball, causing this year’s tax time to be a little more complex than those in the past. However, the Affinitas Accounting team has remained on top of all things tax time 2020 related to make it easier for our clients. Are you looking to prepare for tax time 2020? Find out what steps you can take below!

     

    tax time 2020

    Preparing for Tax Time 2020

    If you’re a business owner, you know how stressful tax time can be. This tax time, there is the added stress and responsibility of the Coronavirus, which has implicated every part of every Australian’s daily life – business owner or not. In order to help our clients prepare for tax time 2020, we’ve put together a list of handy hints and helpful tips to set you on the right path. Business owners and individuals looking for help with their tax time 2020 tax returns can also get in touch with any member from our helpful team for faster assistance.

     

    Want help preparing for tax time 2020? Get in touch!

    Call or email us now!

     


    Handy Hints for Tax Time 2020 Preparation

    If you are preparing for tax time 2020, it’s best to start well before 30 June 2020. This will give you enough time to gather what you need for your tax return and prevent any nasty surprises once your tax accountant is done with your yearly results. This year, the onset of COVID-19 has made tax time considerably more stressful and given business owners and individuals alike a lot to think about and prepare for. With this in mind, we’ve put together a list of things to start thinking about and getting prepared to be on the front-foot for tax time 2020.

     

    Covid-19 Claims

    1. If you have worked from home due to Covid-19, the government has announced that it will let taxpayers claim 80c per hour to cover costs of home office expenses, based on documented records of the hours you worked from home. However, if you do not think that this will adequately compensate for what it has actually cost you to work from home, you can choose to assess via a one-month diary establishing your percentage of expenses – mobile phone, home computers, printers, internet and any other costs related to working from home.

     

    Individuals 

    1. Account for all your sources of income during the year, particularly if your have had several jobs or received Centrelink benefits for part of the year.
    2. Make sure you have receipts for all your work related deductions. Some expenses like union fees can be taken straight from your annual PAYG summary, but most require their own receipt.
    3. If you have made tax deductible donations during the year, you will need receipts for these.
    4. If you use your car for work make sure you have a calculation of how many km you have travelled. If you require a log book, make sure that it is up to date.
    5. Any other work related travel expenses will require diarised notes of where and when you travelled, the purpose of the travel and receipts for fares, accommodation and any other expenses.
    6. Did you purchase any uniform or protective clothing for work purposes?
    7. Did you undertake any study that was directly related to your work activities?
    8. If you studied or worked from home, how many hours per week?
    9. If you were required to use your personal internet or mobile phone, have you made an effort to establish the percentage usage for work?
    10. You will need details of any earnings from bank interest, share dividends and managed funds.
    11. If you sold any investments you will need both purchase and sales details if there is a capital gains calculation to be completed.
    12. Have you checked your insurances to see if they include tax deductible income protection premiums?

     

    Small Business Owners

    1. Many of the hints for individuals are transferrable to small business owners.
    2. Have you reviewed your debtors to see if there are any bad debts to be written off?
    3. Do you have any obsolete stock or equipment that can be written off prior to 30 June?
    4. Are all your staff obligations for PAYG Tax and Superannuation up to date?
    5. Have you disposed of any capital equipment or bought any new equipment?
    6. Is any of the new equipment worth less than $150,000 and available for immediate write-off?
    7. Have you sat down and completed a tax planning exercise to in the past quarter?

     

    Investment Property Owners

    1. Ask for an annual statement of income and expenses from your rental property manager
    2. Account for all the expenses paid directly by you in relation to the property – usually rates, water, body corp, insurance and some repairs.
    3. Have you checked whether you have a current depreciation schedule for the property.

     

    tax time 2020

     

    Virtual Visits for Tax Time 2020

    Covid-19 is about to change the way many people deal with their annual tax returns. Online tax preparation is nothing new, but tax season 2020 is going to put more emphasis on professional accountants to offer flexible and virtual alternatives to face-to-face appointments.

    Many taxpayers traditionally visit their accountant for an annual chat, and we look forward to this face-to-face connection at our Aspley office. But this year, visiting your tax accountants office is a risk that should be avoided by all tax professionals and their clients. Covid-19 may be contained – but it has not been cured, nor has a vaccine been developed. We don’t want to put our clients or our team at risk, if that risk can be easily avoided.

    The Affinitas Accounting team will be engaging with clients via email, phone, Zoom or any other form of communication that does not involve face-to-face interaction. Affinitas Accounting has already spent many years in the online world and have prepared thousands of returns via post and/or email. This will make the transition easy for those new to such a system.

    Via the tax agents portal, we already have access to much of our clients’ current and historical tax information. We have learnt how to use technology to its best advantage – including sharing our screens with clients to better explain various issues. And we are working on introducing paperless processes to allow clients to check and sign their returns – then ultimately receive their notices of assessment. Even if you have multiple years’ worth of tax returns to lodge, or a business or investment property tax return, these can be done via a virtual initial appointment and online process.

    We believe many people are going to discover just how easy and convenient it is to virtually visit their accountants in 2020 – and will probably make it an annual event.

     

    Need Help for Tax Time 2020?

    The Affinitas Accounting team is dedicated to helping you manage the upcoming tax season and make the process as smooth and simple as possible. To this end, we are extending our operating hours during tax time, from July to October, to help clients or schedule virtual appointments. If you need to speak to one of our friendly tax agents, get in touch!

    taxation accountants
    Read more
  • 02Jun2020

    Tax Time 2020 – Covid and Other Challenges

    The time to prepare for the end of the financial year is BEFORE 30 June. Seems simple when you say it – but many businesses do find it challenging – which is why reaching out for help from professional advisers like your tax accountant can be important.

    Reviewing your business performance and maximising your tax outcome for the year can go hand-in-hand – and will help ensure no nasty surprises emerge when your accountant finishes your yearly results.

    With this in mind, we’ve put together a list of things to start thinking about and getting prepared to be on the front-foot for tax time 2020.

    These are all general tips for you to think about – some specifically relate to your potential tax outcome and others are business operational matters that could be worth considering. 

     

     

    30 June and Tax Time

    Find out how to prepare for tax time 2020 HERE!

     


    tax time 2020

    tax time 2020
    Read more
  • 28May2020

    Understanding the ATO Instant Asset Write-Off

    The ATO’s instant asset write-off is another form of financial relief the ATO and the Federal Government has included and expanded on in the COVID-19 relief schemes. First developed in 2015 as a way of enabling small businesses to claim the depreciation amount of a work-related purchase like a car or a computer in one hit, rather than gradually over a number of years. Recently, the ATO expanded on the criteria needed for this asset write-off. If you are a business owner or sole trader interested in the instant asset write-off, read on to find out how the scheme works. 

     

    instant asset write-off

     

    What is the ATO Instant Asset Write-Off?

    The instant asset write-off scheme was initially introduced in 2015 and was largely aimed at helping small businesses claim the depreciation amount of company assets immediately, rather than over many years. The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic has seen the government and the ATO introduce a number of financial relief schemes aimed at helping businesses survive this troubling time, and recently, they adjusted the criteria for the instant asset write-off scheme to include larger businesses. 

    As part of the ATO and the government’s economic stimulus measures, the asset limit for the instant asset write-off scheme has increased from $30,000 to $150,000. The pool of eligible businesses has also been amended from those with an aggregated turnover of less than $50 million, to an aggregated turnover of less than $500 million. These significant changes will see the instant asset write-off scheme benefit many more businesses than before. 

    This means that a greater number of businesses can purchase a piece of equipment or a company vehicle and receive an immediate deduction of up to $150,000. However, the relief scheme is not without strict regulations that must be adhered to if businesses are to utilise this financial relief benefit to its maximum, and there is some confusion in particular around how the scheme works for company-owned and bought vehicles. 

     

    What is the ATO Instant Asset Write-Off Limit on Cars?

    While the instant asset write-off limit has increased from $30,000 to $150,000, a ‘car cost limit’ has been implemented for businesses wanting to purchase a vehicle at this time. This will define the amount you can actually claim on a newly purchased vehicle. 

    Specifically, cars that are “designed to carry a load less than one tonne and fewer than nine passengers,” have a total claim limit of $57,581 and anything beyond that point “cannot be claimed under any other depreciation rules,” the ATO explains. 

    However, the full purchase price of a vehicle which can carry more than one tonne/more than nine passengers can be claimed back. 

    Cars that cost $150,000 or more, as well as farm trucks and tractors, are ineligible for the instant asset write-off scheme.

     

    Does the Car Threshold Include LCT, On-Road Costs, Insurance and Registration?

    All costs but insurance and registration are included in the car threshold amount – this includes stamp duty, any accessories, luxury car tax, on-road costs and delivery. 

    Insurance and registration are recurring business costs, which are immediately deductible under the general deduction provision and thus not included in the cost of the car. 

     

    Are Lease and Financed Cars Eligible?

    A hire purchase lease will be eligible for the instant asset write-off scheme, but operating and finance leases will not qualify. 

     

    Criteria for the ATO Instant Asset Write-Off: Cars

    1. Must be a business asset. Any old asset will not comply. Whether it’s a new or second hand asset, to get the 100% deduction the asset must be 100% employed in your business. Assets that are part business and part private will require a log book to establish a business use percentage.
    2. Car limits may still apply. A passenger vehicle designed to carry a load of less than 1 tonne and fewer than 9 passengers is limited to a maximum write-off of $57,581 – even if it 100% used in business. Vehicles that are greater than one tonne or carry 9 passengers or more may be eligible for a higher write-off amount.
    3. You must own and be using the asset by 30 June. The asset must be owned by the business and be in use (or able to be used) by the business by 30 June to claim the write-off.
    4. Employees are not eligible for the instant asset write-off scheme, but they may be able to claim back some of their own car usage.

    Many car dealerships are calling for the extension of the scheme to allow more businesses to take advantage of it. 

     

    Choose Affinitas Accounting

    The ATO’s instant asset write-off can provide a major financial aid to many businesses. If you think you are eligible and want to apply, please feel free to contact one of our friendly business accountants for swift, prompt assistance. 

     

    Contact Us Now

    instant asset write-off
    instant asset write-off
    Read more
  • 28May2020

    JobKeeper Explained: What is it and Who is Eligible?

    JobKeeper was introduced in April 2020 and is an effort being made by the Federal Government to support eligible businesses effected by COVID-19 to cover the costs of their employee’s wages, on condition that the business has experienced a loss of a predetermined portion of their turnover. Around $130 billion will be paid to hundreds of thousands of Australian businesses to subsidize employee wages. If you are a business owner who wants to explore JobKeeper and want to know if you can apply, read on to find out how it works and who is eligible.

    JobKeeper explained

    What is JobKeeper?

    The Coronavirus Economic Response Package (Payments and Benefits) Act 2020 came into effect on 9 April 2020 (though the payment scheme was officially backdated to 30 March 2020), which allowed for the implementation of the Federal Government’s $130 billion JobKeeper relief scheme. It forms part of the Government’s $320 billion total economic stimulus and support package for businesses and employees affected by the Coronavirus (COVID–19) crisis. The scheme was aimed at keeping Australians employed even in the event of their employer temporarily closing down due to trading limitations caused by the outbreak.

    Businesses who were impacted by COVID-19 and who suffered a loss in turnover of at least 30% can apply for the JobKeeper fund which will give them access to a wage subsidy for their employees. Eligible employers will be able to continue to pay their employees on a fortnightly basis: $1500 per employee from March 30 2020, for a maximum period of 6 months.

    For those in non-essential industries, such as accommodation, retail and hospitality, this subsidy payment equates a complete wage replacement – something those working in the hardest-hit industries would need.

    The JobKeeper payment scheme will end on 27 September 2020, encompassing 13 fortnights of employee wage payments.

     

    Who is Eligible for JobKeeper?

    In an effort to provide support and financial assistance to businesses and employees who need it, the Government has set out a defined list of criteria that businesses need to meet in order to apply for the JobKeeper payment scheme. The eligibility criteria are:

    • Businesses that have experienced a loss in turnover of at least 30%, in a month-long period compared to last year 
    • Businesses that have experienced a loss in turnover of at least 50% if they usually bring in more than $1 billion annually, in a month-long period compared to last year
    • Charities that have lost at least 15% of their turnover in the same period
    • Applicants who have casual workers must have employed the casual worker for at least a year
    • Sole traders
    • Temporary work visa holders may not apply unless they are New Zealanders on the special 444 subclass visas

    Sole traders and some other entities (such as partnerships, trusts or companies) may be entitled to the JobKeeper Payment scheme under the business participation entitlement. A limit applies of one $1,500 JobKeeper payment per fortnight for one eligible business participant. Sole traders, one partner in a partnership, one beneficiary of a trust, and one director or shareholder of a company may be regarded as an eligible business participant.

     

    How do the JobKeeper Payments Work?

    Eligible employers and companies will be able to claim the subsidy amount of $1500 per eligible employee on a fortnightly basis. However, the Australian Tax Office (ATO), who has partnered with the Government during this crisis, will pay employers in arrears, within 14 days of month end. The employer will continue to receive the subsidy payments for eligible employees while they are eligible for the payments. While the program is expected to run for 6 months, payments will stop if the employee is no longer employed by the business.

    Monthly employer payroll reporting is required to trigger the payment by the ATO using Single Touch Payroll (STP).

     

    JobKeeper Obligations and Risks

    While the JobKeeper payment scheme is aimed at helping businesses and their employees, the system is not without risks that business owners should be aware of.

    If an incorrect claim is made, or if the ATO in the future decides that you were ineligible to receive the JobKeeper payment, the ATO will require you to repay any JobKeeper payments that you have received, plus penalties and interest.

    The key risks and responsibilities you, as the employer, must be aware of include:

    • The employer certifies the facts provided to the ATO and the JobKeeper claim made
    • The employer receives significant JobKeeper payments over a 6 month period. For example, an employer with 5 employees would receive $97,500, and an employer with 10 employees would receive $195 000
    • If the employer makes a mistake and is found to be ineligible by the ATO (for example, its turnover was not down by 30%), then they may have to repay all amounts received back to the ATO This is not recoverable from employees (unless they confirmed they were eligible but were not)
    • An employee ceases to be eligible if they cease employment during the life of this JobKeeper scheme
    • The ATO requires you to keep all records in relation to your JobKeeper claim for a 5 year period.

     

    How to Apply for JobKeeper

    The ATO has specific actions that must take place within tight time frames for an employer to receive the JobKeeper payment. If you want to apply for JobKeeper for your business, please contact us or read the below:

    1. Employer Eligibility Assessment

    • Review ATO requirements for the business
    • Review ATO requirements for employees
    • Review ATO requirements for Business Participation Entitlement – Sole Trader, Partnership, Company or Trust
    • Document the fall in turnover % in case of future ATO audit

    2. Identify Eligible Employees

    • Prepare list of eligible employees
    • Prepare JobKeeper employee nomination notice for all eligible employees and ensure
      all notices are signed

    3. Make Correct Wage Payments to Eligible Employees

    • Ensure your payroll software is correctly set up to record JobKeeper “top up” payments
    • Pay the minimum $1500 before tax to each eligible employee each fortnight (starting with the fortnight 30 March to 12 April) to be able to claim the JobKeeper payment for that fortnight
    • Continue to pay the minimum $1500 to employees in every subsequent fortnight until 27 September 2020

     

    4. Enrolment for JobKeeper

    • Enrol for JobKeeper using ATO online services from 20 April 2020
    • Provide employer bank account details for receipt of JobKeeper payment
    • Confirm if applicant is entitled to a “Business Participation Payment”
    • Specify the number of employees who will be eligible for one period and the number eligible for two periods
    • Get confirmation that all employees the employer plans to nominate are eligible and the employer has notified them and has their agreement

     

    5. Apply for JobKeeper Payments

    • Apply to claim the JobKeeper payment using ATO online services between 4 May 2020 and 31 May 2020
    • Ensure all eligible employees have been paid $1500 per fortnight
    • Identify the eligible employees from a Single Touch Payroll prefill or by manually entering into ATO online services
    • Update your accounting system Chart of Accounts to ensure JobKeeper payments are coded correctly

     

    6. Monthly JobKeeper Declaration Report

    • Using ATO online services, report to the ATO using their Monthly JobKeeper
    • Declaration Report on the following:
      • Reconfirm that your reported eligible employees have not changed
      • Input current GST Turnover for the reporting month
      • Input projected GST Turnover for the following month
      • Notify if any eligible employees have changed or left your employment

    Partner with Us

    We want to do our part during the pandemic and, as such, are providing support and assistance to businesses who want to apply for the JobKeeper payment scheme. Please be sure to contact us if you or your business require assistance with your application.

    Contact Us Now

    JobKeeper explained
    Read more
  • 25May2020

    Common Tax Scams

    Common Tax Scams

    Common tax scams hit hundreds of Australians every year around tax time. In fact, according to Scamwatch, scammers cost Australians $489 million in 2018!

    Tax scams are a major problem for individuals and businesses around Australia, with many people falling victim to fraudulent emails, phone calls and text messages, identity theft and more each year. Scammers claim to be from reputable organisations, pretend to be registered tax agents or even claim to be from the Australian Tax Office (ATO), using convincing language to fool individuals into handing over personal information and money.

    The best way to protect yourself and your finances against these common tax scams is to be aware of them and understand how they work. This will allow you to quickly identify and report any suspicious correspondence you receive. Keep reading to find out what the most common tax scams are and how you can protect yourself against them.

    common tax scams

     

    Common Tax Scams: Fraudulent Tax Preparers

    Every year during tax time, many individuals and businesses choose to employ the services of accounting firms for their annual tax return submission. Scammers know this and use it to their advantage, posing as tax preparers and tax services providers in order to fraudulently obtain personal information.

    A common tax scam that occurs sees scammers portray a tax preparer or accounting service provider, and then charging or requesting from their customers an upfront fee. They usually stipulate that this fee is to cover their tax return services, but once an individual has paid this fee and fallen for the trap, the scammer will disappear – taking your money with them!

    Some scammers collect your personal information and sell it to other malicious entities who can then conduct other fraudulent activities, such as credit card fraud or identity theft. Personal information can even enable scammers to intercede your tax returns and receive them in your stead.

     

    Common Tax Scams: Phishing

    Phishing is a very common tax scam that occurs year-round to thousands of people. It is not unique to tax time, but phishing is an issue that many businesses and individuals have to deal with during tax season.

    Phishing can be in the form of fake emails, advertisements, text messages and even whole websites. Typically, the goal of phishing scams is to collect personal and financial information about a person or business, and then use this information to steal their money, or sell this information to other scammers and unscrupulous characters. Scammers will often pretend to be from a reputable organisation and mimic them in order to gain your trust and help convince you to provide the information they need.

    This type of common tax scam is especially worrying because scammers usually mimic organisations like your bank, your accountant or accounting firm and even the ATO. This makes it easy to fall for the scam and unwittingly provide you information to scammers.

    Scammers who use phishing techniques can also remotely install malicious software on your computer or laptop by getting you to click on a link they sent in a fraudulent email or text. A convincing email or text will persuade you to click on the link, which then installs viruses or hostile software on your computer, which can provide access to your stored data, information and personal files.

     

    Common Tax Scams: Small Business Scams

    Small businesses are often the target of common tax scams, especially around tax time. These scams can be in the form of phishing emails, texts or phone calls, which can be sent to anyone in the company.

    A very common tax scam that small businesses experience is receiving a bill or invoice for so-called services that were provided to your company by another organisation. Around tax time, these falsified bills and invoices usually refer to tax services rendered to a business and can even threaten a small business with a loss of their returns if they do not comply.

     

    How to Protect Yourself Against Common Tax Scams

    Scammers are getting smarter and more crafty every year, changing and improving their methods to rob you of your personal and financial information. Technology has made it easy for scammers to contact and harass you, and even easier to obtain private information. The best defense any business or individual has is awareness and good habits. Here are some ways you can protect yourself or your business from common tax scams:

    • Protect private information such as your full name, your date of birth, your tax file number, your current address, banking and financial details and even your drivers license details. This information can provide scammers with the ideal gateway into your life and make stealing your information, and your money, even easier.
    • Treat requests for personal information with suspicion, as not all requests are legitimate. Even if you receive an authentic-looking request from a service provider you recognise, such as your bank or tax accountant, be cautious and ensure you are dealing with the legitimate organisation before providing any personal information or clicking on any links contained within the email.
    • Ignore requests for payments sent on email or via text message before validating them.
    • Avoid sharing too much information on social media or other public platforms. This will protect you from having your personal information stolen and prevent you from being a victim of identity theft.

     

    How to Handle Common Tax Scams

    If you have been scammed or suspect fraudulent and illegal activity, the best way forward is to report the incident with as much information as possible. The ATO has dedicated points of contact for people who need to report scams. Reporting suspicious emails, texts or phone calls can help stop scammers and helps create awareness around this growing problem.

     

    Get Professional Accounting Services

    Affinitas Accounting is not just one of the many accounting firms in Brisbane. Our team is committed to helping you get back in control of your finances.

    Our Brisbane Accounting firm holds over 20 years of collective experience in delivering high-quality accounting services to individuals and business owners alike. We work with businesses, professionals and individuals offering a comprehensive plan to foster growth, improve cashflows and increase profits. Our accounting firm offers a variety of services ranging from business management and taxation to risk assessment and cash flow advice.

    Affinitas Accounting can offer you:

    • Timely communication
    • Excellent advice
    • Fixed Price Quotes
    • No charge for phone call enquiries
    • Experienced Specialists.

    Need accounting services? Contact us today!

    common tax scams
    Read more
  • 22Apr2020

    The Value of JobKeeper to Your Business

    If you are eligible to receive the JobKeeper payment for all your eligible employees for the entire 6 month period, we have estimated that you would receive the total JobKeeper payment amount below:

    This equates to $ 19,500 per employee or eligible business participant for over 6 months.

    This is a great help to business cashflows during these difficult times, but as with anything involving regulation and the ATO, there is a risk…

    OBLIGATIONS AND RISKS TO YOUR BUSINESS

    If an incorrect claim is made or if the ATO in the future decides that you were ineligible to receive the JobKeeper payment, the ATO will require you to repay them any JobKeeper payments that you have received plus penalties and interest.

    The key risks to you as the employer include:

    1. The employer certifies the facts provided to the ATO and the JobKeeper claim made.
    2. The employer receives significant JobKeeper payments for over 6 months. For example, an employer with 5 employees would receive $97,500, and an employer with 10 employees would receive $195 000.
    3. If the employer makes a mistake and is found to be ineligible by the ATO (for example, its turnover is not down by 30%), then they may have to repay all amounts received back to the ATO. This is not recoverable from employees (unless they confirmed they were eligible but were not)
    4. An employee ceases to be eligible if they cease employment during the life of this JobKeeper scheme.

    Also, the ATO requires you to keep all records concerning your JobKeeper claim for 5 years.

    TIMELINE OF ACTIONS YOU NEED TO TAKE

    The ATO has specific actions that must take place within tight timeframes for an employer to receive the JobKeeper payment.

    Employer Eligibility Assessment – NOW

    • Review ATO requirements for the business
    • Review ATO requirements for employees
    • Review ATO requirements for Business Participation Entitlement – Sole Trader, Partnership, Company or Trust
    • Document the fall in turnover % in case of future ATO audit

    Identify Eligible Employees – NOW

    • Prepare a list of eligible employees
    • Prepare JobKeeper employee nomination notice for all eligible employees and ensure all notices are signed

    Make Correct Wage Payments to Eligible Employees – NOW

    • Ensure your payroll software is correctly set up to record JobKeeper “top-up” payments
    • Pay the minimum $1,500 before tax to each eligible employee each fortnight (starting with the fortnight 30 March to 12 April) to be able to claim the JobKeeper payment for that fortnight
    • Continue to pay the minimum $1,500 to employees in every subsequent fortnight until 27 September 2020

    Enrolment for JobKeeper – FROM 20 APRIL 2020 TO BE DONE BY 30 APRIL

    Enrol for JobKeeper using ATO online services from 20 April 202

    • Provide employer bank account details for receipt of JobKeeper payment
    • Confirm if the applicant is entitled to a “Business Participation Payment
    • Specify the number of employees who will be eligible for one period and the number eligible for two periods
    • Get a confirmation that all employees the employer plans to nominate are eligible and the employer has notified them and has their agreement

    Apply for JobKeeper Payments – FROM 4 MAY 2020

    • Apply to claim the JobKeeper payment using ATO online services between 4 May 2020 and 31 May 2020
    • Ensure all eligible employees have been paid $1,500 per fortnight
    • Identify the eligible employees from an STP prefill or by manually entering into ATO online services
    • Update your accounting system Chart of Accounts to ensure JobKeeper payments are coded correctly

    Monthly JobKeeper Declaration Report – DUE BY 7TH OF EACH MONTH

    Using ATO online services, report to the ATO using their Monthly JobKeeper Declaration Report on the following:

    • Reconfirm that your reported eligible employees have not changed
    • Input current GST Turnover for the reporting month
    • Input projected GST Turnover for the following month
    • Notify if any eligible employees have changed or left your employment
    • Getting this correct and done on a timely basis is essential. We can offer assistance for each of the steps above, including the monthly reporting.

    Please reach out to our team for more information on (07) 3359 5244 or get in touch with us here.

    What can business owners do to prepare for JobKeeper

    tax time
    Read more
  • 25Mar2020

    The Second Govt Stimulus Package: What Business Owners Need To Know

    Yesterday, the Australian Federal Government delivered a substantially increased package available for individuals and small businesses. You can read the official government release here.

    For those of you that prepare your own BAS, I’d recommend that you consult with us before lodging the March 2020 BAS, so we can ensure your small business avails itself of all assistance measures on offer.

    Affinitas Accounting is a member of professional associations, thought leadership groups and specialist private forums. Across all of these, there have been numerous discussions as to the interpretation of how these measures will be applied. The consensus, with which we agree, is to wait until later this week to read the legislation, before advising any on any specific strategies.

    While we know that not all our clients are business owners themselves, we all have friends or families within our communities who are. Please feel free to share this information with anyone you feel may benefit from it, so we can ensure we are providing support to as many people who need it as possible.

    Please do feel free to reach out with any questions that you may have, and we will release an updated newsletter and video as soon as we have more information to share.

    Thank you for your patience during this turbulent and anxious time for your small business.

    In Summary

    Business

    • Tax-free payments up to $100,000 for small business and not-for-profit employers. An increase in the previously announced initial tax-free payments for employers to a maximum of $50,000. In addition to this, the second round of payments will be made up to a maximum of $50,000, accessible from July 2020.
    • Solvency safety net – temporary 6-month increase to the threshold at which creditors can issue a statutory demand on a company from $2,000 to $20,000, and an increase in the time companies have to respond from 21 days to 6 months. Directors also are provided with temporary relief from personal liability for trading while insolvent for 6 months.
    • Access to working capital – Introduction of a Coronavirus SME guarantee scheme protecting financial institutions by guaranteeing 50% of new loans to SMEs.
    • Sole traders and self-employed eligible for Jobseeker payment – the eligibility criteria to access income support relaxed for the self-employed and sole traders.
    • Temporary relief from some Corporations Act requirements

    Tax-free payments up to $100,000 for employers

    From: 28 April 2020

    Eligibility: Small and medium business entity employers and not-for-profit entities, with an aggregated annual turnover under $50 million.

    The Government has increased the previously announced measures to provide cash flow support to the business.

    Now, eligible businesses with a turnover of less than $50 million will initially be able to access tax-free cash flow support, with the minimum amount being increased to $10,000 and the maximum amount increased to $50,000 (previously $2,000 to $25,000). However, additional support will be provided in the July – October 2020 period so that eligible entities will receive total minimum support of $20,000 and up to $100,000.

    For a business to qualify for this support it must have been established before 12 March 2020. The rules are more flexible for charities because the Government recognises that new charities might be established in response to the pandemic.

    The cash flow support measures will be provided in the form of a credit in the activity statement system.

    The support will be provided in two phases:

    • The first phase ensures that eligible employers receive a credit equal to 100% of the PAYG amounts withheld from salary and wages paid to employees during the relevant period, up to the maximum amount of $50,000.
    • The second phase ensures that eligible employers receive another series of credits, equal to the credits that were received under the first phase. For example, if a business received $40,000 of credits in the first phase it will receive a further $40,000 of credits in the second phase. These additional credits will be spread over two or four activity statement periods, depending on whether the employer lodges on a quarterly or monthly basis.

    If a business pays salary and wages to employees but is not required to withhold any tax then a minimum payment of $10,000 will be made in the first phase and a further payment of $10,000 will be made in the second phase.

    The credits are automatically calculated by the ATO and employers will need to lodge an activity statement to trigger the entitlement. If the credit puts the business in a refund position the excess amount will be refunded by the ATO within 14 days.

    Businesses that lodge activity statements every quarter will be eligible to receive credits in the first phase for the quarters ending March 2020 and June 2020. Credits in the second phase will be available for the quarters ending June 2020 and September 2020. The minimum $10,000 payment will be applied to the first lodgement.

    A business that lodges every month will be eligible for the credits in the first phase for the March 2020, April 2020, May 2020 and June 2020 lodgements. Credits in the second phase will be available for the June 2020, July 2020, August 2020 and September lodgements. The minimum $10,000 payment will be applied to the first lodgement.

    Eligibility for the measure will be based on prior year turnover. We will have to wait for the legislation for the finer details. Not-for-profit employers, including charities, with an aggregated turnover under $50 million will also be able to access the cash flow support.

    Solvency safety net

    A safety net has been put in place to protect businesses in temporary financial distress as a result of the pandemic by lessening the threat of actions that could unnecessarily push them into insolvency and force the winding up of the business.

    These include:

    • A temporary 6 month increase to the threshold at which creditors can issue a statutory demand on a company from $2,000 to $20,000.
    • The time a company has to respond to statutory demands will increase from 21 days to 6 months.
    • For 6 months, directors will be provided with temporary relief from personal liability for trading while insolvent.
    • See also bankruptcy safety net below

    It will be more important than ever for a business to stay on top of their debtors. Debts incurred will still be payable by the business. Only those debts incurred in the ordinary course of the business will be subject to the safety net measures.

    Access to working capital for SMEs – supporting lenders

    The Government has announced a Coronavirus SME guarantee scheme that will guarantee 50% of new loans to SMEs up to $20 billion. These loans are new short-term unsecured loans to SMEs.

    SMEs with a turnover of up to $50 million will be eligible to receive these loans.

    The Government will provide eligible lenders with a guarantee for loans with the following terms:

    • The maximum total size of loans of $250,000 per borrower.
    • The loans will be up to three years, with an initial six month repayment holiday.
    • The loans will be in the form of unsecured finance, meaning that borrowers will not have to provide an asset as security for the loan.

    Loans will be subject to lenders’ credit assessment processes with the expectation that lenders will look through the cycle to sensibly take into account the uncertainty of the current economic conditions.

    This latest measure builds on the previous initiatives to ensure the small business can access capital, including:

    Sole traders and self-employed eligible for Jobseeker payment

    The eligibility criteria to access income support payments will be relaxed to enable the self-employed and sole traders whose income has been reduced, to access support.

    Temporary relief from Corporations Act requirements

    The Treasurer has been given a temporary instrument-making power to amend the Corporations Act to provide relief or modifications to specific compliance obligations.

    ASIC has announced measures for those companies with a 31 December financial year that need to hold their AGMs by 31 May 2020, providing a two month no action period and enabling hybrid virtual AGMs.

    Bankruptcy safety net

    A temporary 6-month increase to the threshold for the minimum amount of debt required for a creditor to initiate bankruptcy proceedings against a debtor will increase from $5,000 to $20,000. Also, the time a debtor has to respond to a bankruptcy notice will be temporarily increased from 21 days to six months.

    Where someone declares their intention to enter voluntary bankruptcy, the period of protection from unsecured creditors will be extended from 21 days to 6 months.

    More information:

    Read more
  • 24Mar2020

    The Second $66.1 bn Stimulus Package: What Individuals and Families Need To Know

     

    The Australian Federal Government delivered a substantially increased package available for individuals and small businesses yesterday to ease the economic downturn from the Coronavirus pandemic.

    Affinitas Accounting is a member of professional associations, thought leadership groups and specialist private forums.

    There have been numerous discussions across all of these as to the interpretation of how these measures will be applied. The consensus, with which we agree, is to read the legislation, before advising any on any specific strategies.

    Please do feel free to reach out with any questions that you may have, and we will release updates as soon as we have more information to share. 

    In Summary

    Individuals

    • Early release of superannuation – individuals in financial distress may be able to access up to $10,000 of their superannuation in 2019-20, and a further $10,000 in 2020-21. The withdrawals will be tax-free and will not affect Centrelink or Veterans’ Affairs payments.
    • Temporary reduction in minimum superannuation drawdown rates – superannuation minimum drawdown requirements for account-based pensions and similar products reduced by 50% in 2019-20 and 2020-21.
    • Deeming rates reduced – from 1 May, superannuation deeming rates reduced further to a lower rate of 0.25% and upper rate of 2.25%.

    Supplements increased, access extended and eased – for 6 months from 27 April 2020:

    • A temporary coronavirus supplement of $550 will be paid to existing income support recipients (people will receive their normal payment plus $550 each fortnight for 6 months).
    • A second one-off stimulus payment of $750 will be paid automatically from 13 June 2020 to certain income support recipients (in addition to the payment made from 31 March 2020).
    • Eligibility for access to income support eased to include sole traders and the self-employed, and to those caring for someone infected or in isolation.
    • Waiting periods and assets tests temporarily waived. 

    Bankruptcy safety net – temporary 6-month increase to the threshold for the minimum amount of debt required for a creditor to initiate bankruptcy proceedings against a debtor from $5,000 to $20,000.

    The Government has flagged that additional stimulus packages will be required.

    Sole traders and self-employed eligible for Jobseeker payment

    The eligibility criteria to access income support payments will be relaxed to enable the self-employed and sole traders whose income has been reduced, to access support.

    Individuals

    Early release of superannuation
    From mid-April, individuals in financial distress may be able to access up to $10,000 of their superannuation in 2019-20 and a further $10,000 in 2020-21. The withdrawals will be tax-free and will not affect Centrelink or Veterans’ Affairs payments.
     
    To be eligible to access your superannuation you need to meet one or more of the following requirements:

    • you are unemployed; or
    • you are eligible to receive a job seeker payment, youth allowance for jobseekers, parenting payment (which includes the single and partnered payments), special benefit or farm household allowance; or
    • on or after 1 January 2020
    • you were made redundant; or
    • your working hours were reduced by 20% or more; or
    • if you are a sole trader — your business was suspended or there was a reduction in your turnover of 20% or more.

    For those eligible to access their superannuation, you can apply directly to the ATO through themyGov website from mid-April.

    Temporary reduction in minimum superannuation drawdown rates
    Superannuation minimum drawdown requirements for account-based pensions and similar products will be reduced by 50% in 2019-20 and 2020-21.

    The upper and lower social security deeming rates will be reduced further. As of 1 May 2020, the upper deeming rate will be 2.25% and the lower deeming rate of 0.25%.

    Time-limited fortnightly $550 ‘coronavirus supplement’

    For the next 6 months, the Government is introducing a new Coronavirus supplement to be paid at a rate of $550 per fortnight. This supplement will be paid to both existing and new recipients in the eligible payment categories.
     
    The payment will be made to those receiving:

    • Jobseeker payment (and those transitioning to the jobseeker payment)
    • Youth allowance jobseeker
    • Parenting payment
    • Farm household allowance
    • Special benefits recipients

    Also, eligibility to income support payments will be expanded to:

    • Permanent employees who are stood down or lose their job
    • Casual workers
    • Sole traders
    • The self-employed
    • Contract workers who meet the income test

    The Government notes that these criteria could include those required to care for someone affected by the Coronavirus. Asset testing has also been reduced and will be waived for 6 months. Income testing will still apply.
     
    The payment is not available if you have access to any employer entitlements such as annual or sick leave or income protection insurance. 

    Second $750 payment to households

    The Government is now providing two separate $750 payments to social security, veteran and other income support recipients and eligible concession card holders residing in Australia (see the full list here). The payment will be exempt from taxation and will not count as income for Social Security, Farm Household Allowance and Veteran payments.

    Payment 1 from 31 March 2020 (previously announced on 12 March): Available to people who are eligible payment recipients and concession cardholders at any time between 12 March 2020 to 13 April 2020;

    Payment 2 from 13 July 2020: Available to people who are eligible payment recipients and concession card holders on 10 July 2020.

    The payments will be made automatically to those that meet the criteria.

    Bankruptcy safety net

    A temporary 6-month increase to the threshold for the minimum amount of debt required for a creditor to initiate bankruptcy proceedings against a debtor will increase from $5,000 to $20,000. Also, the time a debtor has to respond to a bankruptcy notice will be temporarily increased from 21 days to six months.
     
    Where someone declares their intention to enter voluntary bankruptcy, the period of protection from unsecured creditors will be extended from 21 days to 6 months.

    More information:

    Read more
  • 25Jul2019

    Tax Season Starts With Big Bang

    The much-talked-about 2019 tax cuts are now legislation and it certainly seems to have sparked taxpayers into action in relation to lodging their 2019 tax returns.

    2019 tax cuts

     

    So much so – that the ATO computer and phone systems already have gone into meltdown and been offline on quite a few occasions.

    I suppose it’s only natural that people want the extra money as soon as possible – but remember, only people who actually PAY tax can benefit from the offset of up to $1100 and there are income restrictions for what you are actually entitled to.

    It is not a cash handout.

    Other things to think about for tax season are:

    As always, we can pick up a lot of information from the ATOs Pre-Filling Reports, probably more then ever – but we may not have all of it just yet.  For example:

    Read more

Need friendly advice? Talk to our staff today about how we can help your business succeed.

Subscribe to Affinitas Accounting's newsletter for our latest updates, tips of the trade in your email inbox.

  • I’ve been dealing with Affinitas Accounting for about 3 years now and I have found them to be nothing but friendly and helpful. I’m a Bookkeeper and on occasions have been stuck with various accounting problems. Affinitas have not hesitated to spend time with me until the problem was solved. Any queries or questions have always been answered in a timely manner.

  • I highly recommend coming here for all your tax needs! They explain everything you need to know about tax thoroughly and go about there jobs professionally, always leave here with a cheery smile and satisfaction.

  • Affinitas Accounting has been so helpful with the restructure of my business. They made it an easy process and explained it in a language that was easy to understand. My ongoing tax and gst is all prepared by them, they’ve really taken the stress out of it all to let me focus on growing my business.

  • Tax Accountant & Financial Advisor Brisbane - Affinitas Accounting
    Rebecca & Russel Johns

    Since moving to Affinitas Accounting we have a clear understanding of companies and trusts. We have no hesitation in saying the team here will meet and then exceed your expectations! I never feel like i am annoying them. Thank you Team Affinitas

  • Tax Accountant & Financial Advisor Brisbane - Affinitas Accounting
    Paul Maclaine

    Affinitas has looked after all our financial needs for our business and personal tax returns. We have been with our accountant for 10+ years. I have no hesitation in recommending Affinitas to anyone looking for an accountant or any financial advise. We have always found and received friendly professional and practical advise.

  • For the past 6 years, Tammy has been lodging our tax. The team always spend the time to explain how things will affect us and always manage to maximise our returns. We highly recommend the team to anyone we speak to and have had friends move to do their future tax with the team at affinities accounting. Couldn’t recommend them highly enough.

  • Tax Accountant & Financial Advisor Brisbane - Affinitas Accounting
    Kirsty Whittaker

    I’ve been using Deb from Affinitas Accounting now for many years and have found her to be excellent in looking after my taxation needs. I’m in Tasmania, Affinitas Accounting is in Queensland and distance is no barrier. She understands my business needs, everything is done in a friendly and efficient manner and I happily recommend to anyone looking for ‘down to earth’ taxation advice.

  • Tax Accountant & Financial Advisor Brisbane - Affinitas Accounting
    David Williams

    We’ve been with Affinitas Accounting for over 5yrs when they were known as Online Accounting & Taxation Solutions. From our initial phone call with Brad looking for an accounting team that would meet our expectations as well as provide efficient service, we’ve been really impressed with the team’s professionalism, knowledge & expertise.

  • Tax Accountant & Financial Advisor Brisbane - Affinitas Accounting
    Allyson O'Connell

    Debbie is our accountant and has been for seven years. She is thorough and always does what she can to honestly get us the best return but always adheres to the ATO guidelines. We recommend her to our friends and wouldn’t take our business to anyone else. Thanks Debbie.

  • We have only been with Affinitas Accounting for the past 12 months but in this time they have by far exceeded our expectations of an accountant and far surpassed previously used accountants.
    Affinitas are not just about annual returns, BAS statements etc, they take the time to get to know you enabling them to provide advise to help you work toward personal & business goals.

  • Tax Accountant & Financial Advisor Brisbane - Affinitas Accounting
    Mark D’Andrea

    Can’t fault Affinitas.

    Have been coming here for years (when it was then called online tax). Deb has been happy to always go the extra mile and doesn’t mind dispensing helpful advice throughout the year.

  • Tax Accountant & Financial Advisor Brisbane - Affinitas Accounting
    Deagon Fixing

    I have been a client of Affinitas Accounting (previously Online) for the past 8 years. It is like a one stop shopping experience, all my needs were addressed in the one office.

    Thanks Affinitas you for all your assistance and I would strongly recommend them to anyone to use

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.