The last Federal Budget carried with it a number of tax changes that were designed to assist the Australian economy recover from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Among the changes announced was the temporary re-introduction of the loss carry back rules for corporate tax entities (it was previously briefly in force for 2012-13). The ability to carry a loss backwards simply means that a loss incurred in one year can be, effectively, claimed as a tax deduction in a prior year when tax was paid.
When you first went into business, either buying an established enterprise or starting from scratch, probably the last thing on your mind was the day you would close the door for the last time.
But in a way it’s inevitable, whether through the outcomes from COVID-19, retirement, health reasons or, in a more ideal scenario, pursuing another career. But it’s important for you to know what’s involved when you come to the time when you close your business, as this can go a long way to smoothing the transition.
Businesses wanting to claim CGT concessions for active assets may find hope in a recent Full Federal Court decision on a long-contested vacant land case.
In 2007, the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) ruled that vacant land on which two shipping containers had been placed for storing business records did not qualify as an “active asset” for the purposes of the CGT small business concessions.
Tax invoices are an essential element of Australia’s taxation system, and serve both to collect taxation revenue related to the goods and services on which GST is levied as well as record the credits that are claimable by eligible businesses.
The Federal Budget measure of allowing businesses to fully write-off eligible assets is a boon to Australian businesses, even though the measure is temporary.
Just to recap, businesses with aggregated annual turnover of less than $5 billion will be able to deduct the full cost of eligible capital assets acquired from 7:30pm AEDT on 6 October 2020 (Budget night) and first used or installed by 30 June 2022.
While the ATO has lately been focusing on the rollout of stimulus measures, it has also flagged that audit work is not off the table completely.
In late July, when the ATO fronted a parliamentary Senate Select Committee on COVID-19, its representative said plans were to start tax audits sometime between September and October 2020. Time and efforts however were diverted to the rollout of the JobKeeper scheme and other stimulus measures, with the ATO sourcing staff for this work by redeploying people from initiating audits, saying it had been a “conscious choice” not to initiate new audits during the peak of the pandemic.
New residential property is a popular investment for many, and can be especially so for self-managed superannuation funds, however the ATO is concerned that not every investor in residential property is fully aware that it is an option that may bring with it unexpected GST obligations.
The ATO has devised special rounding conventions where an amount of GST includes a fraction of a cent. Although it labels these conventions “rules”, there is no obligation for parties on either side of a transaction to follow them, as the ATO states: “You and your customer do not need to use the same rounding rules.”
We all understand that budgets are an exercise in predicting the future. Given what has happened in 2020, gazing into the crystal ball and extracting something reliable is fraught with difficulty.
The Treasury has given its best estimate, but we also need to appreciate that budgets are usually never 100% on target — that’s the nature of budgets. The question is, by how much? It will be remembered as Australia’s biggest spending budget with a forecast deficit of $214 billion for the 2021 fiscal year.
The JobKeeper payment, which was originally due to end after 27 September, will now continue to be available to eligible businesses (including the self-employed) until 28 March 2021. However there are some changes to consider.
The COVID-19 pandemic has placed property owners, and tenants in many cases, in unfamiliar territory. Many tenants have been paying reduced rent or ceased paying because their income has been adversely affected.
This financial year is almost over, but there are still effective strategies you may be able to employ to make sure you pay the right amount of tax for the 2019-20 year and maximise any refund entitlement. This is still, if not more so, the case in the current COVID-19 environment.