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With the end of the financial year only 2 weeks away it is perfect time to review your situation to take advantage of any planning opportunities and ensure that your financial situation is maximised.

Any successful tax planning strategy centres around three themes:

  1. reducing income,
  2. increasing deductions and
  3. utilisation of the lower tax rates available.

Before any taxation planning it is important to calculate your projected taxation position for the year as, in some cases (especially if your income is low), it may not result in significant savings.

The following is a list of opportunities that should be considered:

Business Income and Deductions

 

1. Making Deductible Superannuation Contributions

Superannuation is deductible when payments are received by the superannuation fund before 30 June and must be within the contributions cap of $25,000 per individual.

2. Review and Write off any Bad Debts

You are entitled to a deduction in the year you write off a bad debt (i.e. a customer that can’t pay and there is little, or no likelihood of the amount being recovered).

3. Review Timing of your Invoices

While it is always a good idea to prepare and send out interim invoices for work partially completed, care should be taken especially if an interim invoice is going to be raised close to 30 June and the work will be completed early July. In this scenario, it may be more tax effective to invoice for the completed job in July. That way the full income will be assessed in the next financial instead of part of the income in the current financial year.

4. Review your Inventory at Year End

Obsolete or damaged items in your inventory can have a significantly lower value than current or undamaged stock yet are still valued at their full value. By reviewing your inventory and revaluing the damaged or obsolete stock you can create a further deduction for your business!

5. $20,000 Instant Asset Write Off

If you purchase equipment and motor vehicles up to $20,000 in total you can claim a tax deduction in the year you purchased the item/s rather than depreciating them over a number of years.

Please note that this is not an extra deduction or a refund as some sellers of equipment are indicating; what it does mean is that you can claim the amount as a single tax deduction in the year that you purchase the item rather than as depreciation over 4-5 years.

How this translates is: if your taxable income is between $37,000 - $87,000 your taxation rate is 32.5%. Therefore spending $20,000 will result in a refund of $6,500 (being 32.5% of $20,000).

Personal Income and Deductions

 

1. Document and claim all work-related expenses,

You can automatically write off $300 a year in work-related expenses. With documentation it is possible to claim more.

One of the biggest things that I hear is that I spent money but have lost the receipt. The ATO states that “Documents that you are required to keep can be in written or electronic form. If you make paper or electronic copies they must be a true and clear reproduction of the original.” Therefore, take a picture of the receipt with your phone as a backup or if you have lost the receipt contact the place of purchase for the item to see if they can issue a replacement receipt.

2. Maximise superannuation concessional(tax deductible) contributions

If you have the cash flow, it makes sense to make the most of concessional contributions to super without breaching the current $25,000 cap.

As superannuation contributions are taxed at 15% this can be significantly lower than personal rates of up to 46.5% therefore saving you a significant amount of taxation and increasing your wealth.

From 1 July 2017 if you are employed you can now make a personal contribution to super and, providing the total superannuation contributions – including your employer’s – is under $25,000 you can claim the contribution as a deduction.

3. Pre-pay deductible expenses

Expenses like premiums on income protection insurance and interest on loans can be paid up to 13 months in advance. By doing so it will reduce your income in the current year and in turn, reduce your tax liability.

4. Maximise property investment expenses

Make sure you take advantage of all the expenses you can claim from a property investment. For instance, did you know that aside from rates and mortgage payments, you can also claim cleaning and pest control?

5. Manage Capital Gains

If you've made a capital gain this year, review your portfolio to see whether it is worth realising a capital loss to offset the gain. You can't carry losses back. So if you've made a capital gain, you may want to trigger a loss to offset it against.

Please note, you can't just sell an asset to trigger a loss, then buy it back. The Tax Office regards this as a form of tax avoidance, known as a ‘wash sale’, and has been focusing on picking such sales up in recent years.

6. Motor vehicle deductions

If you have used your motor vehicle for work-related travel, and your claim for kilometres travelled for the year doesn’t exceed 5,000 km, you can claim a deduction for your car’s expenses on a cents-per-kilometre basis to the extent you have used your car for work.

As an alternative, if you have been using your car for a significant amount of work-related travel then you may well be able to claim a deduction for your total car running expenses to the extent you have used it for work. However, you must have a properly completed logbook.

7. Deduct home office expenses

When part of your home has been set aside primarily or exclusively for the purpose of doing work from home, costs such as heating, cooling and lighting and depreciating your office equipment or professional library may be allowable.

To claim the deduction, you must have typically kept a diary for at least four weeks of the hours you worked at home. This amount is then used to work out your total hours worked for the year and a deduction claimed at the current rate of $0.46 cents per hour.

However, you can’t claim occupancy expenses such as mortgage interest, rent, and insurance and rates unless you conduct a business from your home.

8. Prepay private health insurance

If you are expecting a pay increase which could put you into a higher health insurance tier (i.e. reduce the Private Health Insurance rebate that you will receive) then prepaying is well worth considering ensuring that you rebate is maximised.

It may seem that the ATO is constantly finding ways to dip into your income, but there are smart, effective and legitimate ways to maximise your claims and minimise your tax payable. Ask us for help before the end of the financial year to make the most of the opportunity for this financial year.

Useful check for claiming your entitled deductions

Motor Vehicle Checklist

Are you claiming all you’re entitled to? RAA Membership, Parking, Car Insurance? Use this motor vehicle checklist as a guide to help maximise your vehicle related tax deductions.

DOWNLOAD CHECKLIST

Rental Property Checklist

Investment properties incur a number of expenses. Strata fees, insurance, interest and any repairs or maintenance just to name a few. Use this checklis to assist claiming all that you're entitled to.

DOWNLOAD CHECKLIST

Individual Tax Return Checklist

At the end of the financial year it can be a daunting tasks preparing your Individual Tax Return for lodgement. Use this checklist to assist with collecting all the information you'll need.

DOWNLOAD CHECKLIST

Rental Property Calculator

At the end of the financial year it can be a daunting tasks preparing your Individual Tax Return for lodgement. Use this calculator to assist with collecting all the information you'll need.

VIEW CALCULATOR