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Firm Journal

22 April 2021

How Does A No Interest Loan Work?

Sometimes there are a few unexpected expenses that can impact on our financial situations, and make things just a little more difficult to deal with. The refrigerator breaking down the same week that the car registration is due could be too much of a financial burden for many individuals. With many credit-providing schemes and dubious loans advertised to the public, there is a simpler way to solve your financial issue if you are applicable.

The No Interest Loan Scheme is provided by the Australian government for individuals and families to have access to safe, affordable credit.

No interest loans are designed to assist people in getting back on a more stable footing financially, allowing them to borrow up to $1,500 to pay for essentials. The term for this loan is between 12 and 18 months, with no credit checks, interest, fees or charges. Repayments for no interest loans are affordable as you are only paying for what is borrowed.

To receive a no interest loan, you must:

There are only a couple of steps that need to be completed to apply for a no interest loan under the scheme. A meeting must be arranged with a NILS provider through a telephone or website enquiry, in which you will be interviewed and helped through the application process. Then they will assess your eligibility and present you with an outcome. Loan assessments generally take between 45 and 90 minute, with the loans being approved within 2 days. If all paperwork is provided on the day, it can sometimes be same-day approval.

No interest loans can only be used for essentials. These can include:

 

21 April 2021

What Is A Retirement Planning Scheme?

With a significant number of Australians approaching retirement and looking at the best ways to maximise their retirement assets and income from their super for it, retirement planning makes sense.

Unfortunately, there are those who want to target people approaching and planning for their retirement with schemes designed to ‘help’ retirees and prospective retirees avoid paying tax by channelling their income through a self-managed super fund.

Retirement planning schemes are designed to help people avoid paying tax on the income earned through their assets (often in an illegal manner). Those schemes may seem like a simple get-rich-quick solution in maximising assets and income for retirement but can put people’s entire retirement savings at risk.

Anyone can fall prey to a retirement planning scheme. Anyone who is looking to put significant amounts of money into superannuation can be at risk of being ensnared, particularly those who are over 50, and who are:

Checking for standard features of retirement planning schemes can be an excellent way to avoid becoming tangled in one. Retirement planning schemes usually:

Currently, there are a number of schemes targeted towards those individuals who currently have an SMSF, as they have a high level of control and autonomy in the way that their retirement savings are invested (subject to applicable tax and super laws).

Some examples of retirement planning schemes include:

To avoid becoming a part of a retirement planning scheme, seek professional advice on super or SMSFs from an accountant.

19 April 2021

Employing A Talent Acquisition Strategy For Your Business’s Employment Needs

It’s a daunting task, seeking someone who can fill a specific position that your business needs filled. It’s important that irrespective of how the economy is performing, the state of the workforce and what your business currently consists of, the employees that you hire are the best and most-talented people that you can get.

Though often we think of recruitment as a valid strategy of employment, it often seeks to fill gaps or vacancies that might be caused by staff turnover or insufficiency. This is still a valid strategy for businesses that need immediate solutions to staff/skill shortages.

However, hiring for your business shouldn’t just be about filling an immediate need – it’s about ensuring that your business attracts and retains talented employees for the long-term, to help your business grow to its full potential. A talent acquisition strategy should be put in place by your business to assist in addressing this issue.

Essentially, a talent acquisition strategy should be tailored to reflect and suit your business goals over the course of the next five years. It’s important to consider how the business is going to expand in the future, and what employees you need to join you in journeying towards that goal. Investing in the right talent now will pay off dividends for your business in the long term.

It’s all well and good to know what you need for your business in terms of talent – but how do you convince them to join you? Just as marketing campaigns are important for selling whatever your business produces, it’s important to consider how to market your business towards the talent you want to acquire.

There are plenty of ways to use data to strengthen your strategy, such as figuring out where your current top talent came from and using that information to focus your talent acquisition efforts on certain academic programs or professional networking sites. Data can also be used to refine job descriptions, career pages, emails and more, as it can eliminate in the application process any questions or phrasing that could be deterring qualified candidates.

Identifying where to find the majority of your top talent is an important step in the process of acquiring talent. It’s also important to ensure that you are utilising and expanding on our sourcing strategies when trying to find better talent.

Sometimes to recruit a skillset, you have to be a little adventurous in where to reach out to. Diversify your talent searching approach by looking outside of the usual LinkedIn profiles, and seeking out talent at specialised job boards, academic programs or networking events.

Above all, ensuring that your business has a reputation that draws potential talent is critical to engaging with those you want to acquire. Promoting aspects of your business that could draw in potential talent through multiple channels could be what convinces them to sign up with your business. Drawing attention to perks, the company culture and other work-life balance benefits or growth opportunities could be a way to highlight what sets you apart from the rest.

The Sharing Economy And Your Tax Return – How You Could Be Affected

In Australia any income earned by a job may be considered to be taxable income. Those who receive their income via the sharing economy are no exception to the rule. In fact, there can be further complications that result from incorrect understandings of how the income tax and goods & services tax  may apply to those individuals.

The sharing economy is a socio-economic system built around sharing resources, often through a digital platform like a website or an app that others can purchase the right to use for a fee.

Popular sharing economy services and activities that could be subject to income tax include

Here are some of the things you need to bear in mind about the income and goods & services tax for these popular sharing economy services.

Ride-Sourcing/Ride-Sharing

If you’ve ever caught an Uber or gotten a Lyft, you’ve been on the passenger side of ride-sourcing. The income received from ride-sourcing is subject to goods and services tax (GST) and income tax is applied to it. All drivers on ride-sourcing platforms in Australia must have an Australian business number and be registered for GST.

GST requires:

Income tax needs to:

Renting out all or part of your home

Renting out all or part of your residential house or unit through a digital platform can be an easy way to supplement your income, especially if you aren’t using the property at that particular time. If you do this, you:

Sharing Assets (Excluding Accommodation)

Assets that can be shared through a platform can include personal assets (e.g. bikes, caravans), storage or business spaces (e.g car parking spaces) or personal belongings like tools, equipment and clothes.

When renting out or hiring these (share) assets that you own or lease through a digital platform, you:

Providing Services

Providing time, labour or skills (services) through a digital platform for a fee requires you to report income in your tax return. Deductions for expenses directly related to earning this income can be claimed, and records need to be kept to support these claims.

The following services that can be provided are considered to incur assessable income that needs to be reported in your tax return:

If the thought of trying to navigate your way through your tax return is a little daunting, consider speaking to us for assistance.

16 April 2021

Outsourcing Models – How To Know What’s Right For You

When a business cannot deal with the workload in house, a candidate or party outside of the business is often hired to assist in performing those services. This is called outsourcing, and it’s a practice that companies sometimes use to cut costs – especially if it’s easier to do this than to train up another employee.

The best model of outsourcing is one that meets the needs of the business. Clearly identifying those needs is a strategic step to take to ensure that the model chosen is the right one. There are four types of models when it comes to outsourcing. 

Freelance

The freelance model of outsourcing assigns work to a freelance worker, which can be long-term, short-term, part-time or full-time. Jobs can be posted to freelance sites, freelancers can bid on them and you can select who you would like to work with. This model is a quick and easy way to get one-off projects completed that require special skills, or obtain a little extra help during the busy season.

Pros: Cost-effective, quick and the skills needed for the job can be sourced

Cons: Overselling skills, difficult to brief, and jobs can be further outsourced by freelancers.

Project-Style Work

This model focuses on project-based work, and involves outsourcing entire projects to a specialised outsourcing centre. Essentially all you have to do is provide the centre with the project requirements, and they will carry out the development work, project management and quality control through to the project’s completion. 

Pros: Less work to be done by you, cost-effective in money and time, new staff aren’t needed and there is a fixed cost for the project.

Cons: May lack local knowledge if located overseas, time zone and language barriers can be difficult to overcome

Business Process Outsourcing

With the business process outsourcing model, a service provider sets up and operates an offshore office for you that they hand over when it is ready. Essentially, it’s contracting a business or organisation hires another company to perform a process task required by the hirer for the business’ operational success.The provider has the facilities, setup, office environment and management required for global team members to work. 

Pros: offers improved productivity, increased capacity, no need to worry about other sectors, inexpensive and an easy way to grow your team.

Cons: Large-scale BPOs can be more expensive to run and can be difficult to communicate needs and wants if the BPO doesn’t understand your industry or business.

Build-Operate-Transfer Model

This model is the model you want to employ if you’d like to build a separate office outside of your home country with more than 25 staff. To begin with, and much like a BPO, a provider ensures that there is workspace and office equipment, and hires the employees. Rather than have the provider run the business for you, they then transfer the operation back to you. 

Pros: Create work culture and environment among global team members, costs are less expensive than a BPO if there are more than 15 employees.

Cons: Can be expensive to set up, operating under foreign work ethics and work cultures can impact team management, and requires time and effort to invest in the business in person. 

Always consider what is best suited for your business, and confer with professional advisors before implementing a strategy regarding outsourcing

14 April 2021

Super Co-Contributions Boost On Behalf of A Spouse

Marriage and de facto relationships come with a number of perks – but did you know that if your partner earns less than you or is not currently working, you could contribute to their super fund savings?

Many households in Australia, either as a result of unemployment, maternity/paternity leave or by choice, have single income households. As a result, the retirement savings held in super for one member of these households may not be increasing as exponentially fast as the working member. The good news is that, when in a relationship, a spouse can boost their non-working partner’s super fund with their own contributions.

The best part? It could be a tax write-off for the working spouse.

Under Australian superannuation law, a spouse can be a legally married partner with whom you live or your de facto partner. That gives additional benefits to those in de facto relationships, who can choose (if one member of the relationship isn’t working or earns less) to boost their partner’s super fund. A spouse must also be younger than their preservation age or between 65 and their preservation age and not retired.

There are two ways that someone can help their partner’s superannuation grow:

Spouse superannuation contributions can now be made for spouses earning up to $40, 000 per year. If a spouse earns less than $37, 000, the maximum tax offset of $540 can be claimed when contributing a minimum of $3, 000 to their super. Anything contributed that is more than $3, 000 will not receive the spouse contribution tax offset. 

This tax offset cannot be claimed if:

Another way to inject funds into your spouse’s super is to choose to have some of your own super contributions put into their super account. This is fine as long as they have not reached their preservation age yet, or are between their preservation age and 65 years and not retired. 

Super contributions can only be split in the financial year immediately after the year in which the contributions were made or in the same financial year as the contributions were made only if your entire benefit is being withdrawn before the end of that financial year as a rollover, transfer, lump sum or benefit.

There are two types of contributions that can be split:

Always discuss starting spousal co-contributions to super with your accountant or financial advisor for help and guidance prior to starting this process.

12 April 2021

Interest On Your Home Loan Could Be Tax-Deductible

It’s a simple, step-by-step process used by many Australians to increase their income. Borrow money from a financial institution, invest in a second property and pay off the loan with the profit accrued from the investment property (ie. rent from tenants). 

But did you know that the interest on a home loan for the purchase of an investment property can be claimed as tax-deductible?

To clarify – claiming a tax deduction on the interest of a loan can only be used on the loan that was used to purchase the investment property. It also must be used to earn income, because a property that is solely residential isn’t eligible for any tax deductions (except in certain situations where the residence may be used to produce income, like home business or office). 

Here are a few examples of when tax deduction claims on your property are not allowed:

As an example, if borrowing against your main residence for the purpose of purchasing an investment property, then the interest on that loan is tax-deductible. Conversely, if the loan was against the investment property to buy a car for your personal use, then the interest from that loan will not be tax-deductible. 

The only way that a tax deduction on a home loan’s interest is possible, is if there is a direct, unbroken relationship between the money borrowed and the purpose the money was used for. Any money that resulted from a home loan, for instance, should have been invested into a property.

If you happen to redraw (make extra repayments into your loan that reduce the loan balance) against an investment loan for personal use, the tax-deductible interest is watered down. This is because the new drawdown (transfer of money from a lending institution to a borrower) is deemed to not be for investment purposes. 

It is important that any investment loans are quarantined from your personal funds to maximise tax deductions on interest. Though it may be tempting to pull additional funds from the loan for additional finances, it’s also shooting yourself in the foot.

A better strategy (if there is only investment debt that has been incurred, and you wish to pay it off), is to place funds in an offset account (a bank account that is linked to your home loan) and then redraw those funds for your personal use. It’s also important to ensure that the offset account is a proper offset – a redraw that is disguised as an offset account can be a major drawback for investors looking to capitalise on their tax threshold. 

If you or someone you know has recently purchased an investment property with a home loan, speak to your accountant or financial advisor to see how your tax return can benefit from it. 

19 March 2021

Here’s how to start investing

There are a lot of options when it comes to investing, but often people are daunted by the prospect. A lack of accessible information, misconceptions about investment opportunities and fear of losing money are often reasons people opt out of investing.

Investing can be as easy as a savings account separate from the account that is used for spending, in which a percentage of monthly income can go into. If there are adequate funds, consider investing in real estate for passive income. With real estate values growing over time, on top of earning rental income during ownership, there will be an opportunity to sell later on at a higher price.

Diversifying investment portfolios can seem overwhelming, but all that it takes is putting money into multiple investment avenues. This can be in shares or managed funds with a financial advisor, investments with different rates of return, or in startups or cryptocurrency.

These avenues of investment can still be a lot to take in for individuals, so financial advisors are always a good option for those looking for a little more of an expert opinion on the issue.

https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/341491

An Ethical Business for You

Business ethics are the system of moral and ethical beliefs that guides the values, behaviours and decisions of a business organisation and the individuals involved within that business. These ethics are important to business as many of them are tied directly into the law, and breaches of these can be punishable as an offence

. Though this varies by industry, a business’ ethics can have a significant impact on how a business may operate on a day to day business.

Business ethics can often be seen in the code of conduct that businesses and their employees follow.

Here are some of the benefits of a business taking ethics into consideration

In essence, profitability and business ethics are linked. Companies that are perceived to have better ethical responsibility and operate in such a way may have a better reputation overall. With investors leaning more towards socially responsible and ethically responsible companies to invest, companies need to align themselves with appropriate ethics moving forward.

 

https://www.investopedia.com/ask/answers/040815/why-are-business-ethics-important.asp

What to do with your Lost Super

After COVID 19’s impact on the world, an influx of employees who had lost their jobs fell into the job market. Many of these came from companies that couldn’t afford to continue their employment. As a result, many individuals had to seek alternative employment, or draw from their super. Some individuals took on multiple jobs to pay bills, and others drew from the super that they had accumulated in the government’s early release scheme specifically for coronavirus related income loss.

Super is held by superannuation funds, and accumulates as a result of how much super an employer pays to the employees’ funds. Many Australians may find that they actually possess multiple super accounts as a result of having “lost” their super accounts during changeovers. It can also happen as a result of changing names, moving addresses, living overseas or changing jobs.

Australians can use the ATO’s online tools to:

As superannuation funds often have fees associated with their upkeep, as well as insurances that may be tied into it (such as life, total and permanent disability and income protection), it’s important to consult with providers before accounts are consolidated.

https://www.ato.gov.au/Individuals/Super/Growing-your-super/Keeping-track-of-your-super/#Lostsuper

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