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JUNE Newsletter

 Budget 2011

Following are the main tax measures announced in last month's Federal Budget.
Dependent Spouse Tax Offset – Phase-out
From 1 July 2011, taxpayers with a dependent spouse born on or after 1 July 1971 and with no dependent child/student will no longer be eligible for the Dependent Spouse Tax Offset. This reform is aimed at progressively removing the tax concession for taxpayers with a non-working spouse and no children. 
The change will not affect taxpayers with an invalid or permanently disabled spouse, taxpayers whose dependent spouse is a carer, or taxpayers who are eligible for the zone, overseas forces or overseas civilian tax offsets.
Disallowing deductions against government assistance payments
With effect from 1 July 2011, the tax law will be amended to prevent deductions being claimed against all government assistance payments.
Individuals who receive a student Youth Allowance can still claim a deduction for expenses incurred in gaining their payment for the 2010/11 income year.
Changes to the Low Income Tax Offset ('LITO')
From 1 July 2011, the following changes will apply with regards to the LITO:
  • Bring forward of LITO – The amount of the LITO that is delivered to low and middle income earners through their regular pay during the year will be increased to 70% (previously 50%) of their total entitlements. The remaining 30% of their LITO benefit will still be paid as a lump sum on assessment of income tax returns.
  • Removing eligibility of minors for LITO on unearned income – The tax law will be amended to remove the ability of minors (children under 18 years) to access LITO to reduce tax payable on their unearned income (such as dividends, interest and rent), to discourage income splitting between adults and children.
       Income earned by minors from work will still be eligible for the full benefit of the LITO. Also, unearned income of minors who are orphans or disabled, as well as compensation payments and inheritances received by minors will not be affected by this measure.
CGT and superannuation funds
Complying superannuation funds will no longer be able to treat certain specified assets (mainly shares, units in a trust, and land) as trading stock when buying and selling them, meaning that gains or losses on such assets will be subject to CGT (and losses on them can only be offset against capital gains rather than other income).
Superannuation – Refund of excess concessional contributions
The tax law will be amended to provide eligible individuals with the option to have excess concessional contributions taken out of their superannuation fund and assessed as income at their marginal rate of tax, rather than incurring excess contributions tax.
The measure will apply where an individual has made excess concessional contributions of up to $10,000 (not indexed) in a particular year, and will only be available for the first year, commencing from 2011/12, in which a breach occurs. 
Small business reforms
The Government has announced the following tax reforms for small businesses:
  • Entrepreneurs' Tax Offset ('ETO') abolished – The ETO will be abolished with effect from the 2012/13 income year. 
  • Immediate $5,000 initial deduction for motor vehicles – Small businesses will be allowed to claim up to $5,000 as an immediate deduction for motor vehicles acquired from the 2012/13 income year. The remaining cost of the vehicle value will be added to the General Small Business pool and depreciated under the existing simplified depreciation rules for small business entities.
 
 
ATO focus on employer super obligations
The ATO is reminding employers that meeting their super obligations is an important part of running their business.
If an employer misses the super guarantee quarterly deadline, they must submit a Superannuation guarantee charge (SGC) statement to the ATO.
The SGC is payable if an employer:
  • does not pay enough super contributions for their eligible employees (at least 9% of their ordinary time earnings);
  • does not pay super contributions for the quarter at all;
  • does not pay super to the employee's chosen super fund; or
  • pays a super contribution to a fund after the cut-off date for payment.
 
Can the SGC be offset?
If an employer makes a super contribution to an employee's super fund after the cut-off date, they may be able to offset this late payment against their SGC liability (a 'superannuation guarantee late payment offset').
Employers can elect to apply the late payment offset when the late payment for an employee is made into a complying super fund before the SGC assessment for the quarter is made.
 Flood levy passed
The Flood levy has been passed and will impose a 0.5% levy on incomes from $50,001 to $100,000 and 1% above $100,000. 
For ease, the levy has been included in the following table setting out the tax rates for the 2011/12 income year, even though it will be assessed separately in the same way as the Medicare levy.

Taxable Income1
$
Tax Payable2
$
0 – 6,000
Nil
6,001 – 37,000
15% of excess over $6,000
37,001 – 50,000
$4,650 + 30% of excess over $37,000
50,001 – 80,000
$8,550 + 30.5% of excess over $50,000
80,001 – 100,000
$17,700 + 37.5% of excess over $80,000
100,001 – 180,000
$25,200 + 38% of excess over $100,000

 

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