E-Lodge Tax Blog


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 »

How to Lodge a 2015 Tax Return after the Tax Deadline

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Wake up and smell the coffee. You’ve missed the 2015 tax return deadline. 

It happens to the best of us! Remember our former prime minister, Paul Keating, a few years back?

So now what? First, it may not be the smartest decision to keep putting it off. If you owe money to the ATO, you’ll want to lodge your 2015 tax return before waiting for a personal invitation. That’s because once the ATO reaches out to you, your chance of being hit with a penalty fee increases.

 

How the late lodgement penalty works

If you lodge your tax return after the deadline, the penalty fees increase by $170 every 28 days. This accumulation begins 1 November. To put that into perspective for you, here is a breakdown of how quickly these fees add up:

 

# Days Past Deadline

Amount Owed in Penalty Fees *

1-28

$170
29-56

$340

57-84

$510

85-112

$680

113 and up

$850

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Leaving Australia? How to Lodge Your Tax Return Early

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Your tax return is the furthest thought from your mind while trying to hit every destination on your Oz holiday bucket list.

You’ve been on Cloud 9 for the past several months travelling through the wonderful world of Oz. Now your time as an Aussie has come to an end and you’re faced with the bittersweet farewell to new friends and Tim-Tams. Oh, but wait! Don’t forget your tax return. If you are leaving Australia before the end of the income year (30 June), you may be able to lodge early (and maybe even claim your refund before hopping on your flight out.

Read on to see if you qualify to lodge before 1 July.

 

What are the eligibility requirements?

Whether you are a foreign or Australian resident for tax purposes, you may qualify to lodge your tax return early. The ATO will accept early lodgement for individuals before the end of the income year if you are:

a foreign resident for tax purposes and you:

  • are leaving Australia permanently, and
  • will no longer receive Australian-sourced income (other than interest, dividend and royalty income)

OR

an Australian resident for tax purposes and you:

  • are leaving Australia permanently,
  • are ceasing to be an Australian resident for tax purposes, and
  • will no longer receive Australian-sourced income (other than interest, dividend and royalty income).

 

Still earning an Australian income or plan to move back?

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Claiming Newstart Allowance & 6 Other Job Search Tips

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Finding a new job can be time-consuming and stressful. We can help!

Job hunting? You may have emailed your resume to countless employers, completed multiple applications, and maybe even nailed a few interviews. If you haven’t yet received a job offer,  keep trying and remind yourself of the Japanese proverb:

“Fall seven times, stand up eight”.

 

Now for some tips & tricks for your job search. Because you deserve it!

Can you imagine lodging your taxes in as little as 10 minutes so you can get back to job hunting? Now you can with E-Lodge.

Not only do we want to offer you a quick and inexpensive way to complete your taxes, but we’ve gathered together a few tips that might help along your job-hunt journey. (We weren’t joking when we said we wanted to help!)

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Travel Expenses as Tax Deductions on a Rental Property

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Do you live across the country from your rental property or just around the corner?

If you bought a rental property as a money maker and manage it yourself, there will be times when you will need to pay your income earner a visit. It could only be once a year for an annual inspection, or you could be taking weekly trips to tend to the landscaping. You may use your car to get there or hail a cab but, either way, you will tab up some travel expenses. The good news is that these expenses are deductible against any income, rental or otherwise, you received during the financial year.

 

When can I claim travel expenses?

Let’s take a closer look at the times when you can (and can’t) claim travel expenses as tax deductions.

You can claim a deduction for travel to and from your rental property if the main purpose of the trip was to inspect and maintain the property. In other words, work on the property has to be the primary reason for the trip; any thought of combining expenses specific to your rental property with others not so related should be set aside.

However, you can also claim the cost of overnight accommodation and meals if:

  • the property you own happens to be far away from your home (like an apartment in Mermaid Beach while living in Melbourne), OR
  • it would be unreasonable to expect you not to stay near the rental property overnight when conducting an inspection

 

 

So, can I claim a deduction if I travel for property maintenance AND vacation?

Let’s say you are planning on vacationing at a resort in Bondi Beach for 5 days. You live in Melbourne and own a rental property close to the resort that you’re staying at. You figure to conduct your annual inspection on the one day you could spare from your busy sun tanning schedule. On that day, you take a taxi from the resort to your property. Here’s how it works tax-wise:

  • You cannot claim your expenses for traveling from Melbourne to Bondi and back but you can deduct your taxicab fare for getting from the resort to your property and the one day of accommodation (20% of your resort cost) that you spent at your property.

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