Home' The Monaro Post : The Monaro Post July 5, 2017 Contents 20 Wednesday July 5 2017
Tel. 6452 6775
[ Taking Care of Business ]
MARK KENMIR & CO.
Business Risk Management
The Australian Taxation Office
(ATO) is encouraging small
businesses to get a head start on
the new financial year by taking
care of business now.
Deborah Jenkins says that
thousands of small businesses
register every month, which
means there are a lot of new
business owners about to have
their first tax time experience.
“We understand that around 50
per cent of small businesses come
under financial pressure within the
first year, and one of the biggest
issues is cash flow,” she said.
With this in mind, Ms Jenkins
has five tips for small businesses
to help them get a head start on
the new year.
1. Stay informed
There are a number of new
measures that small businesses
might be able to take advantage
of this year. For example, the
turnover threshold for a wide
range of concessions has
changed and there’s a lower
company tax rate for small
business. It is a good idea to work
out if your circumstances have
changed and see whether you can
benefit from the measures before
you get into tax time.
The best way to keep up with
what’s new for small business
is to follow the Small Business
Newsroom at ato.gov.au/sbnews
2. Get on top of your records
Good record keeping is
essential for anyone in business
because it makes it easier to
manage your cash flow, meet your
tax obligations and understand
how your business is doing.
If you get your records together
now, when it’s time to do your
tax you’ll have all the information
at hand and won’t need to go
rummaging through a shoe box of
You can use your records to
compare yourself against the
ATO’s small business benchmarks
and check how your business
is performing against similar
businesses in the same industry.
For more information and
advice on good record keeping
to find out how competitive
your business is, use the small
business benchmarks, visit ato.
3. Find ways to make it easier
The ATO has a range of
products and tools to make it
easier for small businesses to
stay on top of their tax and super
obligations. For example, you
can do most of your business
reporting and transactions with the
ATO online, so it’s a good idea to
familiarise yourself with the ATO
website to see where you can
save yourself time.
If you are sole trader, you
can lodge your returns using a
registered tax agent or myTax. For
the first time this year, sole traders
can also use the myDeductions
tool in the ATO app to keep track
of your business expenses.
From 1 July 2017, goods and
services tax (GST) reporting on the
business activity statement (BAS)
will be easier with Simpler BAS.
Small businesses will be required
to report less GST information,
which will reduce the complexity of
bookkeeping and reporting, saving
you time and money.
To find out more, visit ato.gov.
4. Look after your employees
If you have staff, it’s important
that you do the right thing
by them by making sure you
meet your deadlines for your
employer obligations, including
their payment summaries and
You need to issue payment
summaries to employees by
14 July and you need to lodge
your PAYG withholding payment
summary annual report to the ATO
by 14 August.
You should also make sure
you know if your workers are
employees or contractors because
this can affect your obligations.
There is a decision tool available
online to help you get it right at
5. Know where to get help
Around 95 per cent of small
businesses use a registered tax
professional to lodge their returns,
so it’s likely that your agent will be
your first point of call.
You can also call the ATO and
speak with someone over the
phone because we’re here to help.
We’ve trained more than 4,000
staff to be able to assist small
business owners who are dealing
with difficult circumstances,
including those who are managing
mental health issues..
If you have a debt that you can’t
pay on time, you might even be
able to organise a payment plan
online. For more information, visit
ato.gov.au/debt or to find out
about how the ATO can help, visit
Taking care of business
In the lead up to the June long
weekend the ATO is reminding
taxpayers that it’s paying close
attention to rental properties
located in popular holiday
destinations around Australia.
Assistant Commissioner Kath
Anderson said that last year the
ATO identified a large number
of mistakes with deductions for
rental properties, particularly with
regards to holiday homes.
“We’ve noticed some people
are claiming deductions for
holiday homes even where the
property is not genuinely being
rented out, or genuinely available
for rent,” Ms Anderson said.
“There’s no problem with people
using their rental property for their
holiday, but holiday home owners
need to remember they can only
claim tax deductions for expenses
made during a period when the
home is rented out or genuinely
available for rent.”
Property owners also need to
understand that if they rent their
property at a discounted rate, or
‘mates’ rates’ they can only claim
deductions equal to the amount of
“One taxpayer had to pay the
ATO back over $45,000 in tax
from deduction claims made for
a holiday home they were renting
out to friends and family below the
Ms Anderson said the ATO is
focused on using data to identify
rental property claims will not
enhancements and extensive use
of data is allowing us to identify
incorrect or suspicious claims.
We also have a good idea of the
locations likely to be used for
Ms Anderson said that all rental
property owners, particular those
who rent out holiday homes,
should always double-check
their claims before lodging their
tax return, and follow a couple of
“Firstly, make sure that you
declare all rental income and only
claim deductions for periods that
the property is rented or was
genuinely available for rent.”
“Secondly, make sure you have
accurate records of expenses,
and strong evidence of the
property being rented or genuinely
available for rent at market rates.
Advertising through a real-
estate agent or an online site is
not always enough evidence to
demonstrate that a property is
genuinely available for rent.”
For more information on
Holiday homes, visit ato.gov.au/
For more general information on
rental properties, visit ato.gov.au/
Homing in on holiday rentals
MyTax replaces e-tax
MyTax replaces e-tax this year.
MyTax is the quick, easy, safe and
secure way to prepare and lodge
your tax return online. It has been
upgraded to do everything e-tax
could do, plus more.
You can use myTax even if
you have investments, rental
properties or capital gains, or if
you run a small business.
MyTax is a more streamlined,
efficient and personalised service
that’s easy to use and will save
you time when lodging online.
It’s web-based, so you don’t
need to download anything and
you can lodge on a range of
devices – computer, phone or
MyTax pre-fills information
provided to us by employers,
banks and other government
agencies – making it easier to
complete your tax return.
Lodging online with myTax is
the quick, easy, safe and secure
way for you to prepare and lodge
your own tax return. The deadline
to lodge your tax return is 31
Benefits of lodging with myTax:
• Most information from your
employer, bank and government
agencies will be pre-filled by late
August, so you’ll have a quicker
and easier experience at this time.
• We use a range of systems
and controls to ensure that your
information is protected – it’s as
safe as online banking.
• It’s available 24/7, so you can
lodge at your convenience.
• You get your refund faster –
generally within two weeks.
You can upload your
myDeductions data to prefill your
• It’s available for all individuals
who want to lodge their own tax
return, including sole traders.
Private health insurance
The income thresholds used
to calculate the Medicare levy
surcharge (MLS) and the Private
health insurance (PHI) rebate
remain frozen at the 2014–15
Freezing the thresholds may
result in individuals, whose
incomes are just below each
threshold, moving into a higher
threshold sooner if their income
increases. This means, if you:
• have PHI, your PHI rebate
• do not have the appropriate
level of private patient hospital
cover, you may have to pay the
• paid the MLS in the previous
year, your MLS rate may increase.
If you have a pay increase, you
may wish to contact your insurer
to nominate a different rebate tier
to ensure that the correct rebate
tier is applied.
The Medicare levy surcharge
(MLS) is levied on Australian
taxpayers who do not have
an appropriate level of private
hospital insurance and who earn
above a certain income.
It is designed to encourage
individuals to take out private
hospital cover, and where
possible, to use the private
hospital system to reduce
demand on the public Medicare
The MLS is payable in addition
to the Medicare levy.
We use a special definition of
income (called income for MLS
purposes) to determine whether
you are liable to pay the MLS, and
the rate you will have to pay. This
is different to your taxable income.
The base income threshold
(under which you are not liable
to pay the MLS) is $90,000 for
singles and $180,000 for families.
However, you do not have to pay
the MLS if your family income
exceeds the threshold but your
own income for MLS purposes
was $21,335 or less.
If you do have to pay the
MLS, it will be included with the
Medicare levy and shown as
one amount on your notice of
assessment called Medicare levy
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