14 February 2019
On Tuesday legislation passed to extend the Single Touch Payroll (STP) system to businesses with fewer than 20 employees, changing the way small business employers report their employee’s tax and super information to the ATO.
Legislation for employers with 20 or more employees was passed in July 2018. The new reporting rules for employers with less than 20 employees will apply from 1 July, 2019.
The change means information on wages, deductions and super will be provided in real-time from all Australian businesses, regardless of workforce size.
According to data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) reported by Accountants Daily, “there are approximately 781,908 businesses with 19 or fewer employees in Australia. That’s about 36.8 per cent of Australian businesses that will be impacted by the extension of the STP system.”
STP is considered by many in the financial sector to be one of the biggest tax reporting changes since the introduction of the Goods & Services Tax (GST) in 2000.
For employers with less than five employees, cheaper payroll options may be available to lessen the financial impact of STP. If you are one of these employers please contact your Boyce accountant to discuss your options.
12 February 2019
76 recommendations were released last week in the Royal Commission’s Final Report into Misconduct in the Banking, Superannuation and Financial Services Industry, all of which the Federal government and Labor have said they will support and implement.
A summary of the key findings we considered to be most relevant to Boyce clients are as follows:
Farmers and Small Business
The commissioner looked to provide stricter and clearer rules to better protect farmers in times of financial distress such as drought, key recommendations as follows:
- The establishment of a national farm mediation debt scheme where banks ensure mediation occurs soon after a loan is distressed, not as a final measure
- The appointment of administrators or receivers is a remedy of last resort and banks to cease charging default interest where no realistic prospect of recovery
- Banks to ensure agricultural land valuations are independent and that valuations should consider likelihood of external events such as drought and floods and time it may take to sell the land
- Distressed loans to be managed by experienced agricultural bankers to reach an outcome best for the customer and the bank
- No default interest on loans secured by farm land in drought declared areas or other natural disaster
- Lending to small business was largely unchanged as there were concerns that any further regulation may tighten lending for small business. There was a recommendation to expand the definition of small business under the Banking Code to be any business employing fewer than 100 people and turnover up to $5m
10 January 2019
The Federal and State governments are working together to deliver $12 million in rebates for drought-affected livestock farmers to buy and upgrade on-farm water infrastructure. Farmers in NSW will be able to apply for the rebate from 14 January 2019.
Through this scheme, drought-affected livestock farmers in NSW can claim up to 25 per cent on new farm water infrastructure costs up to a maximum of $25,000. Farmers in NSW can apply for the rebate via the NSW Rural Assistance Authority website at www.raa.nsw.gov.au or call 1800 678 593. We understand that the relevant information on the RAA website will be available next Monday. The rebates will cover eligible work undertaken since 1 July 2018. The expenses must occur in the same financial year as your claim.
Based on information provided by the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources, in order to apply you must be a primary producer, a property owner, share farmer or lease holder, in an area defined as drought affected and in the grazing industry.
The rebate scheme can be applied to new purchases and installation of pipes, water storages and water pumps, de-silting dams, and associated power supplies such as generators. New infrastructure must be for grazing livestock that you own (not agisted), be for an animal welfare need and improve your drought resilience. For more information, click here.
We encourage you to contact the RAA or access their website for further information or speak to your Boyce accountant.
22 December 2018
Downsizer contributions present a one-off opportunity for individuals aged 65 and older to increase their superannuation balances. Downsizer contributions can be made if you sell an eligible property and meet the other eligibility criteria.
The only eligibility criteria for the contributor are that they are 65 or older and they have not previously made a downsizer contribution from another property sale. Unlike other super contributions, the contributor does not need to meet the work test or have a total super balance of less than $1.6 million. This means you could be eligible even if you’re retired, over 75 or have more than $1.6 million in super.
21 December 2018
Government-backed, low-interest loans from the Regional Investment Corporation (RIC) have been doubled from up to $1 million per eligible farm business, to a new ceiling of $2 million.
The federal government launched the Orange-based RIC on 1 July 2018 to replace state agencies’ loan schemes. Its purpose is to deliver farm investment loans and drought loans to help farm businesses prepare for, manage or recover from the effects of drought.
How do the loans work?
The RIC’s two loan products offer a 10-year term with interest-only repayments for the first five, a variable interest rate of 3.58 percent and no fees. The frequency of repayments, and how much principal must be repaid in the second half of the loan before it is refinanced with a commercial lender, is tailored to each business.
The Drought Loan can be used for farm-related activities including refinancing debt, funding drought related activities, enhancing productivity, or paying for operating expenses and capital improvements.