E-Lodge Tax Blog


6 Things To Know About Your Super Fund

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Super young or super old – it’s important to know how your Super works.

Whether your Super Fund has been up and running for years or you just started learning the ropes, we’ll let you in on a few rules you should know.

 

Know that there is a Superannuation Guarantee.

Employers are typically required to contribute to your Super Fund at a rate of 9.5% of your ordinary time earnings*. It’s even been rumored that this rate will increase to 12% in upcoming years.

*Ordinary time earnings are what what employees earn for their ordinary hours of work. These include over-award payments, commissions, shift loading, and certain bonuses and allowances. Overtime is not considered part of ordinary time earnings.

 

Know that there are two types of Super contributions.

Concessional Contributions are payments made to your Super prior to your income tax being taken out. These contributions are taxed at a flat rate of 15% once they enter your Super fund and include:

  • Employer contributions
  • Salary sacrificed contributions
  • Other contributions in which you have claimed a tax deduction

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What are the Australian Financial Year Dates?

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Mark your calendar. The Australian Financial Year Runs from 1 July to 30 June.

The Australian financial year dates can easily be confused with the Australian tax season dates. The financial year always ends on 30 June.

It’s good to keep in mind that during the Australian tax season, you’ll report the income you earned throughout the financial year.

Still confused? Unsure of the dates? We’re here to help.

Financial Year & Tax Season Dates

Here’s what you’ll need to know…

2013-2014 Financial Year: 1 July, 2013 – 30 June, 2014

2014-2015 Financial Year: 1 July, 2014 – 30 June, 2015

2015-2016 Financial Year: 1 July, 2015 – 30 June, 2016

2016-2017 Financial Year: 1 July, 2016 – 30 June, 2017

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Introducing the New E-Lodge Mobile App

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Lodge your tax return from the palm of your hand this season!

We can do it all from our phones; connect with friends on social media, order lunch, apply for a new job, find a babysitter for Friday night. Endless tasks are done through mobile apps. This is why our E-Lodge team chose to create an app where you can prepare and lodge your tax return. Just because you’ve been lodging tax the same way for as long as you can remember doesn’t mean it can’t keep up with what is happening now.

Let’s take a further look into everything the new E-Lodge app has to offer.

 

Prepare and lodge your tax return.

We’ve made lodging your tax return almost as easy as checking your Twitter feed! Okay, that may be a slight exaggeration, but it really IS easy. You’ll still have the ability to switch between your desktop, laptop, and tablet, picking up where you left off. Now you can add our mobile app to that list. This simplifies the process for you, letting you add in expenses or income that you remember when you’re on the go, or even lodge your tax return when you only have your phone with you. Just log into the app with your regular username and password, plug in any information you need to, save and go! Easy, right?

 

Use our Tax Calculators.

We offer two of our most popular website tools on the E-Lodge app: the tax calculator and the pay calculator. These two are both super helpful – depending on where we are in the financial year, beginning or end.

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6 Ways To Find Your Lost Super Fund

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Want a clue as to where you can find your lost super fund?

It sounds mad; you lost your money. However, it’s more common than you’d think. In fact, in 2015, more than 17 billion dollars worth of super funds went unclaimed.  

So the question is, how is it that easy to lose so much money?

The biggest culprit in losing a superannuation fund is switching jobs. Each time you start a new job, it is more than likely that your employer starts a new super fund account in your name unless you say otherwise. But once you misplace your original super fund, there are still ways to go about finding it again. Let’s take a look.

 

#1. Check the Lost Members Register

Sure, you have a super fund. But have you not contributed recently or not heard from a provider representative in regards to your fund? You may very well be considered to be a lost member and not even know it. The thing about a super fund is that in order to remain an active member, you must do one or both of the following:

  • Confirm your address at least once within a two year time frame.
  • Indicate that you would like to remain a member of your fund.

 

If you have been inactive, unable to contact, or transferred from one super fund provider to another as a lost member, than you are most likely on the Lost Members Register.

 

#2. Create a myGov Account

This is the most beneficial choice for you. On top of being able to locate any lost super, you’ll be able to see all super fund account overviews from one place and even combine multiple super funds into one ‘preferred super fund’. All you’ll need to do is create an account and link it to the ATO.

 

#3. Use the ATO Superseeker Tool

This is what you’re looking for if you want to locate your lost super; quick, easy and painless. All you need to have handy is the following information:

  • Your TFN
  • Your family name
  • Your given name
  • Your DOB

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10 Australian Tax Offsets To Claim in 2016

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Want to pay less in tax but don’t know how to? We’ll help you out.

There are a few different elements of your tax return that can contribute to reducing how much you owe. Tax offsets are one of those. Alone, they will not get you a tax refund. However, offsets can decrease your tax payable to zero.

Let’s talk about a few that should do the trick for you.

 

Do you earn less than $66,667?

The low income tax offset (LITO) could be right for you. Although the tax-free threshold applies to everyone, this offset takes it a step further to help out those earning less than $66,667.

The following rates apply to Australian residents over 18 years old for 2015-2016:

  • If your taxable income is $0-$37,000 then your offset amount will be $445.
  • If your taxable income is between $37,001 and $66,666 then your offset amount will be $445 less 1.5% of excess over $37,000.

 

Do you have private health insurance?

You may qualify for the private health insurance rebate. After lodging your tax return, the ATO will determine how much of an offset they will grant you. Once this determination is made, you’ll be able to choose whether you would like to receive that amount:

  • via your tax return with the ATO; or
  • via a reduced premium.

This rebate is based on your age and income level. The ATO provides a private health insurance rebate calculator on their website to work out how much of a rebate is available to you.

 

Do you live in a remote area?

Take a look at the zone tax offset. To be eligible for this offset, you’ll need to have lived or worked in one of the following for at least 183 days:

  • Zone A
  • Zone B
  • Special Area

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Australian Wage Subsidy Programs and Your Tax Return

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Sometimes the only thing missing between two end pieces is one middle piece.

That’s why the Australian government has decided to act as the middleman between job seekers and small business employers.

Getting a job is difficult enough imagine trying to get your hands on a gig when you’re not the classic candidate. Many Australians are in the same boat, and this boat is getting smaller by the day (and by the resume). This is where wage subsidy programs come in.

 

What are wage subsidy programs?

These programs are, most literally, payments made to employers to encourage them to hire job seekers who may otherwise be overlooked as candidates. The big-picture goal is to create more jobs in Australia and boost the economy overall.

These payments are intended to lessen the burden of wage and training costs and are paid to employers based on hours worked by qualifying employees.

 

Who qualifies as an eligible employer?

To become a participating employer, the business must:

  1. Be a legal entity
  2. Be registered, with an Australian Business Number
  3. Not be a part of an Australian, State or Territory government agency
  4. Not have previously received a wage subsidy payment of the same type for the same job seeker

 

Who qualifies as an eligible job seeker?

Since these programs are powered by employment services providers, those looking to be employed must be active with one of the following:

Typical contenders for employment are those over 50 years old or under 30 years old, parents, indigenous job seekers, disabled persons, or those who have been unemployed long-term. Those that fall into one of these categories and also qualify for the position at hand must be considered along with other qualifying applicants.

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Income to Declare on your Tax Return

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They say that money makes the world go ‘round. Are you reporting all of yours?

If you work (and even sometimes if you don’t), you lodge a tax return. On this tax return, the ATO requires you to declare your income. And you do. But are you sure you’re declaring all that you should be? It’s easy to miss a number or two. To help make sure you don’t, we’ve compiled a list of all types of income that should be declared on your tax return. Let’s take a look.

 

Employment Income to Declare

This is simply the money you earn from working. You’ll need to report this income whether you are a part time or full time employee. This type of income includes all of the following:

  • Salary and wages which include your normal pay, commissions, parental leave, etc.
  • Allowances such as car, travel, clothing, jury attendance fees, etc.
  • Lump sum payments which include payments when you leave a job and payments made in arrears for prior income years.
  • Fringe benefits such as a low-cost loan or work car for private use provided by your employer.
  • Super contributions that are made on your behalf by your employer.

 

Investment Income to Declare

Investments are important, not to mention expensive. You don’t want to leave these in the dust when preparing your tax return. These 5 types should be declared:

  1. Interest. Interest typically accrues on financial accounts, term deposits and foreign sources of income.
  2. Dividends. These are paid to you as money, shares, and other property. A company issuing shares to you will inform you of whether the issue is considered a dividend or not.
  3. Rent. This is to include the full amount of any rent and rent-related payments that you become entitled to or have received. That being said, you cannot declare defaulted rent unless it is in the form of an insurance payout or rental bond money.
  4. Managed investment funds. This would be any income or credits you received from an investment product.
  5. Capital gains. This amount is the difference between how much you paid for an asset and how much you sold it for.

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Can I Claim the Tax-Free Threshold at Two Jobs?

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Over the past decade or so, we’ve seen shifts in the workplace. One of these shifts is an increase in multiple-jobholders.  

It’s no longer odd to see a father at home with the kids on a Monday afternoon, a woman owning a billion-dollar company, or people (male or female) working for more than one employer at a time. No matter what the job situation may be, we all have one thing in common that we need to prepare for; taxes.

The ATO has created an income limit known as the tax-free threshold. This allows Australian workers to not be taxed on income earned up to a certain point. That limit is $18,200.

So, how do you claim this tax-free threshold at two jobs? Well, it depends.

How much of an income are you earning?

The ATO typically allows you to only claim the tax-free threshold from your primary source of income, or in other words, the job that earns you the higher salary.

If you have a secondary job that earns you a bit less income, that employer will withhold tax at the higher, ‘no tax-free threshold’ rate.

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Tax Calculator 2016: How Much Will You Get Back?

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There’s a reason why we taste before indulging, date before marrying and look before crossing.

It’s the commitment factor that is holding us back. The same is true when it comes to lodging your taxes.

There are no certainties in life. When it comes to a wedding, calories, and your tax refund, you want to make sure you’re getting the very best. Let’s see why we think you’ll find that in our 2015-2016 Australian Tax Calculator.

You appreciate the simple things.

That’s what matters, right? The E-Lodge Tax Calculator is the easiest to use and can be completed in just 3 steps:

  1. Enter your personal information. We don’t need your name or email – just bits that would affect your tax situation (e.g. if you’re married, if you’re a resident, etc)
  2. Enter your income information. This will consist of your wages, Centrelink, retirement, etc.
  3. Enter your deduction and offset information. These can make or break your refund amount.

You value your time.

As do we! Our updated 2016 tax calculator will provide you with your tax amount in as little as 5 minutes. You’ll already have answers to the majority of questions we ask and the rest can be found on your PAYG and other income forms. We leave no room for surprises when you come back to lodge with us – you’ll know what to expect from using our calculator.

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ATO Limits Car Expense Calculation Methods for 2016

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Less is more when it comes to home decor, your golf score… and calculating your vehicle expenses?

That’s right! The ATO has decided to try out the minimalist trend and limit us to only two car expense calculation methods. Up until 2015, we were able to choose between the following methods:

  1. 12% of the original value
  2. Cents per kilometre
  3. ⅓ of actual expenses
  4. Logbook for 12+ continuous weeks

 

Don’t get too cozy with the list above. This year, the ATO is narrowing down our options to the following:

  1. Logbook method
  2. Cents per kilometre method

 

It’s important to know the ins and outs of these methods in order to choose the one that works best for you. Let’s take a look.

 

The Car Logbook Method

This method is the more popular choice among business owners and sole traders. Why, you ask? It will typically give you a bigger refund than other methods.

How does it work? Read the rest of this entry »