Ben Scull

Transparency is key for Australian business ahead of new tax reforms

opzioni binarie strategia vincente New tax regulations will require all Australian taxpayers to be responsive and transparent. The ATO is cracking down on a number of individual and corporate taxpayers, so it’s essential to be up-to-date on the new requirements.

Failing to meet tax requirements carries a range of penalties, and ignorance is no defence. fare soldi con la borsa Balancing the business imperative to reduce tax obligations with the legal requirements to pay the correct amount of tax can involve several grey areas.

buy generic Seroquel pills It is, therefore, extremely important for all taxpayers to be aware of changing requirements in the new financial year.

Four key areas to be aware of:

1. Justified trust

pdf operazioni binarie The latest initiative in the government’s transparency drive, ‘justified trust’ requires businesses to demonstrate to the ATO that they have the right systems in place to test significant transactions for tax risk. The program applies to the top 1,000 Australian companies and each one will need to take a tailored approach depending on variables such as size and industry.

While the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development acknowledges that most businesses pursuing aggressive international tax strategies aren’t breaking the law, it also suggests they’re not meeting community expectations about paying the appropriate amount of tax for the profits they earn.

Broadly speaking, each business will need to cover four key areas:

1. Understanding the business’s tax and risk management framework;

2. Reviewing tax risks communicated to the market;

3. Understanding significant new transactions; and

4. Understanding why accounting and tax results may vary.

Previously, the ATO relied on companies to self-identify their main tax risks, but now companies will have to provide fact-based evidence to justify their tax position. That means they’ll need to re-examine how they structure their finance and tax teams, and how they approach data and technology. Much more collaboration is required in a justified trust environment, so organisations must ensure their systems and culture can adapt to the new justified trust mindset.

Technology is the key enabler to let businesses achieve this. Many businesses are undertaking transformation projects to achieve justified trust. For example, corporations are moving away from using manual spreadsheets in favour of automated systems that reduce the risk of errors. Business needs to use the right tools and technology to embed tax across the organisation. 2. Fringe benefits tax (FBT) changes

Five important changes to be aware of:

1. Increased tax rates. The FBT rate rose from 47 to 49 per cent in the FBT years ending in 2016 and 2017. In 2018, the rate will drop back to 47 per cent;

2. Not-for-profit changes. There is now a $5,000 cap on top of the existing exemption caps for salary-packaged meal entertainment and entertainment facility leasing expenses for certain employees. The new caps require expenses to be reported in the FBT return for this year;

3. New standards. Employers must now use a specific reporting method when submitting tax returns. The ‘concessional valuation rules’ have been changed. For the current FBT year, employers can’t use either the 50-50 split method or the 12-week register methods for valuing salary packaged entertainment;

4. No tax for devices. Small businesses can now avoid incurring a tax liability if they provide employees with multiple portable electronic devices that have substantially similar functions. This is relevant to businesses that may need to provide employees with devices such as laptops, tablets, GPS navigation devices and mobile phones. Previously, small business employers were taxed if they provided two devices that had a significantly identical function, a problem because most modern smartphones can perform similar or identical functions to laptops and tablets. As long as the multiple devices are primarily used for work, businesses can claim them on FBT for the first time this year; and

5. Three-year reporting requirements. The period of an amendment return is three years, but the ATO can extend that period if it deems it necessary, particularly if it believes an entity is involved in fraud or tax evasion. This year, employers who receive employee contributions that offset FBT must be registered and begin lodging their FBT returns showing the employee returns. This means businesses need to ensure records are kept for an appropriate amount of time.

3. Crackdown on the cash economy

Australian business has a long history of accepting cash payments and failing to declare them as taxable income. There tends to be three types of participants in the so-called cash economy – businesses that did not understand the law, businesses and individuals wilfully dodging their tax obligations and people who use cash payments to hide income due to visa restrictions or to avoid losing out on Centrelink payments.

The cost to the Australian economy sits at around $15 billion in lost revenue, of which around $10 billion is lost to taxes, while a further $5 billion is money that should not have been paid out as welfare payments, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

The government is, therefore, planning a significant crackdown on the cash economy, so taxpayers need to ensure they’re aware of their obligations and report their income accordingly.

4. Closer examination of work-related deductions

Most Australian taxpayers know they can claim certain items as work-related tax deductions. However, many taxpayers are still trying to push the limits for claims they are not entitled to.

The ATO plans to review work-related deductions closely this year, especially as more people take advantage of flexible work arrangements. Taxpayers need to be very careful about claiming for things like home offices, electricity and internet usage and more. The ATO will use real-time data to compare each person’s claim against others in the same profession and income bracket to identify higher than normal claims.

There are three key rules for claiming work-related expenses:

1. It must have been incurred by the employee and not reimbursed by the employer;

2. It must be directly related to the person’s ability to earn money; and

3. It must be backed up by evidence including receipts.

Ben Scull, managing director – tax and accounting, Australia and New Zealand, Thomson Reuters

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