Let's beat late payments together
One of the biggest rewards of small business is the freedom to be your own boss, however it often involves taking on uncomfortable tasks such as chasing up slow-moving debtors. Late payments add financial and administrative pressures, damages business relationships and encourages business uncertainty.
Research shows small businesses are spending on average about 10% of their day chasing invoices, which equates to two days per month. That’s a lot of wasted time, and it can have a significant impact on cash flow. We’re taking action to raise awareness of the issue. Here are some challenges faced by small business and some options you may wish to consider;
Getting invoices out on time when you're busy
This is a common problem. When your business is thriving and you're busy working to make money, taking the time out to send invoices can be difficult. Consider using cloud accounting software to quickly prepare and send invoices.
Following up on overdue invoices
This is related to the previous point – time is always at a premium in a busy small business. Again, cloud accounting software can help by automating reminders based on your settings.
Splitting payments across multiple invoices
Account reconciliation can be tricky at times. Make sure your clients include your invoice numbers as references for every payment they make, to help you work out which invoices have been paid.
Invoicing quickly and accurately
It's important that your team communicates effectively with your finance manager or accountant, to ensure that work carried out is invoiced properly every time.
Ensuring that all completed work is invoiced
Time-tracking software can be useful here, especially when there are several people working on each client account. Be sure to get this right, otherwise your business will be throwing away money by working for nothing.
Creating an invoice that doesn't go to the bottom of the pile
You can design your invoices so that they stand out, but what's more helpful is to build up a good working relationship with your client's accounts department. Don't rely on a pretty invoice to get you paid.
If you would like to learn more about getting your invoices paid on time, maybe it's time to consider Xero accounting software. Our Xero specialist Kade Tronson is here is answer your questions. Contact Kade on (03) 9744 7144 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
For a FREE 30 min consultation on how xero can benefit your business click on the link below to register
2016-2017 federal budget- what you need to know
Superannuation reform changes
New lifetime cap for non-concessional superannuation contributions
The government will introduce a $500,000 lifetime non-concessional contributions cap.
The lifetime cap will take into account all non-concessional contributions made on or after 1 July 2007 (i.e., from the 2008 income year) and will be indexed in $50,000 increments in line with average weekly ordinary times earnings.
If an individual has exceeded the cap prior to commencement date (being 7.30 pm (AEST) on 3 May 2016 (i.e., Budget night), they will be taken to have used up their lifetime cap but will not be required to take the excess out of the superannuation system.
However, if after commencement, an individual makes non-concessional contributions that cause them to exceed the cap, they will be notified by the ATO and must withdraw the excess from their fund. Individuals who choose not to withdraw contributions will be subject to penalty tax.
It is important to be aware that the lifetime non-concessional contributions cap will replace the existing non-concessional contributions cap, which allow non-concessional contributions of up to $180,000 per year (or $540,000 every three years for individuals aged under 65).
Note that, similar changes are proposed to apply to contributions into defined benefit accounts and constitutionally protected funds.
Changes effective from 1 July 2017 (i.e. effective from the 2018 income year)
Allow catch-up concessional superannuation contributions
From 1 July 2017, the government will allow individuals with a superannuation balance of less than $500,000 to make additional concessional contributions where they have not reached their concessional contributions cap in previous years.
Only unused amounts accrued from 1 July 2017 can be carried forward, and can only be carried forward on a rolling basis for a period of five consecutive years.
Allowing people to carry forward their unused concessional cap provides them with the opportunity to ‘catch-up’ if they have the capacity and choose to do so.
The measure will also apply to members of defined benefit schemes.
Taxing earnings on assets supporting a Transition to Retirement Income Stream
From 1 July 2017, the government will remove the tax exemption on earnings of assets supporting Transition to Retirement Income Streams (‘TRIS’), being income streams of individuals over preservation age but not retired. Earnings from assets supporting a TRIS will be taxed at 15%.
Importantly, this change is proposed to apply irrespective of when the TRIS commenced.
Introduction of a $1.6 million ‘superannuation transfer balance cap’
From 1 July 2017, the government will introduce a $1.6 million ‘superannuation transfer balance cap’ on the total amount of accumulated superannuation an individual can transfer into pension phase. Subsequent earnings on this pension balance will not be restricted.
By way of background, under current law, if a fund member moves from accumulation phase into ‘pension phase’, earnings on assets supporting the pension (income tax and capital gains) are tax-free in the fund (assuming no non-arm’s length income and that the asset in question is a ‘segregated pension asset’ or the fund is wholly in ‘pension phase’).
Under the proposed changes, if an individual accumulates amounts in excess of $1.6 million, they will be able to maintain this excess amount in an accumulation phase account (where earnings will be taxed at the concessional rate of 15%).
Commensurate treatment for members of defined benefit schemes is also proposed.
Reducing the concessional contributions cap
From 1 July 2017, the government will lower the annual cap on concessional superannuation contributions to $25,000. Until this time, the existing concessional contributions caps, being $30,000 for those aged under age 50 years, and $35,000 for those aged 50 years and over, will apply.
Changes to the contribution rules for those aged 65 to 74
From 1 July 2017, the government will remove the current restrictions on people aged 65 to 74 from making superannuation contributions for their retirement. Specifically, the government will remove the requirement that an individual aged 65 to 74 must meet the ‘work test’ before making voluntary or non-concessional contributions to superannuation.
Tax deductions for personal superannuation contributions
From 1 July 2017, the government will change the law to allow all individuals under age 75 to claim an income tax deduction for personal superannuation contributions. Individuals who are, for example, partially self-employed and partially wage and salary earners, and individuals whose employers do not offer salary sacrifice arrangements will benefit from the proposed changes.
However, individuals that are members of certain prescribed funds would not be entitled to deduct contributions to those schemes (prescribed funds include all untaxed funds, all Commonwealth defined benefit schemes, and certain defined benefit schemes that choose to be prescribed).
Under current law, a tax deduction for personal superannuation contributions is broadly limited to self-employed individuals, and substantially self-employed individuals (i.e., those that satisfy the ‘10% test’).
Changes to the ‘high income contribution rules’ (Division 293)
Currently, Division 293 imposes an additional tax of 15% on certain concessionally taxed contributions (e.g., certain concessional contributions) where an individual’s total ‘income’ (basically, ‘income for surcharge purposes’ less reportable superannuation contributions) plus certain ‘concessionally taxed
contributions’ for an income year exceed $300,000. Concessional contributions subject to tax under Division 293 are effectively taxed at 30%.
From 1 July 2017, the government will lower the Division 293 threshold (i.e., the point at which high income earners pay additional contributions tax of 15%) from $300,000 to $250,000.
Removal of the anti-detriment provision in respect of death benefits
From 1 July 2017, the government will remove the anti-detriment (deduction) provision.
Briefly, the anti-detriment provision allows the spouse (or former spouse) and/or children of a deceased fund member to effectively obtain a refund of all contributions tax paid by the deceased member during their lifetime.
Removing election to treat pension payments as lump-sum payments
The government will remove the rule that allows individuals to treat certain superannuation pension payments as lump-sums for tax purposes (which currently makes them tax-free up to the low rate cap of $195,000).
Currently, an individual drawing down an account-based pension from their superannuation fund can generally make an election, under special income tax rules, for a benefit withdrawal not to be treated as a pension benefit. If such an election is made, the benefit withdrawal is treated (and taxed) as a lump sum benefit instead. As a result, the taxable component of such a withdrawal can be tax-free up to the
low-rate cap (i.e., currently, $195,000), where the recipient member has reached their preservation age (but is under the age of 60).
Improve superannuation balances of low income spouses
From 1 July 2017, the government will increase access to the low income spouse superannuation tax offset by raising the income threshold for the low income spouse to $37,000 (from $10,800). The offset is gradually reduced for income above this level and completely phases out at income above $40,000.
The low income spouse tax offset provides up to $540 per annum for the contributing spouse.
In addition to the above, the government will make additional changes to support older Australians, including allowing individuals to make contributions on behalf of their spouse who is under age 75, without the need for the spouse to satisfy the work test.
Introducing a Low Income Superannuation Tax Offset (LISTO)
From 1 July 2017, the government will introduce a Low Income Superannuation Tax Offset (‘LISTO’) to reduce tax on superannuation contributions for low income earners.
The LISTO will provide a non-refundable tax offset to superannuation funds, based on the tax paid on concessional contributions made on behalf of low income earners, up to a cap of $500. The LISTO will apply to members with adjusted taxable income of up to $37,000 that have had a concessional
contribution made on their behalf.
This will effectively avoid the situation in which low income earners would pay more tax on savings placed into superannuation than on income earned outside of superannuation.
The LISTO will replace the Low Income Superannuation Contribution when it ends on 30 June 2017.
Other Budget announcements
Changes effective for the 2015/16 income year
Medicare levy low income thresholds for 2015/16
For 2015/16, the Medicare Levy low income thresholds will be as follows:
• Individuals $21,335 (previously $20,896)
• Families $36,001 (previously $35,261)
The family income threshold (i.e., $36,001) will be increased by $3,306 (previously $3,238) for each dependent child or student.
For single seniors and pensioners with no dependants who are eligible for the seniors and pensioners tax offset, the threshold will be increased to $33,738 (previously $33,044).
Income tax relief for Australian Defence Force personnel deployed overseas
The government will provide a full income tax exemption for Australian Defence Force personnel deployed on Operation PALATE II in Afghanistan. This income tax exemption has effect from 1 January 2016, and will remain in effect until 31 December 2016.
The government will also update the coordinates for Operation MANITOU in international waters, with effect from 14 May 2015, and Operation OKRA in the Middle East, with effect from 9 September 2015, to reflect the actual areas covered by the operations.
Changes effective 1 July 2016 (i.e, 2016/17 income year)
Targeted personal income tax relief
From 1 July 2016, the government will increase the 32.5% personal income tax threshold from $80,000 to $87,000.
This measure will reduce the marginal rate of tax on incomes between $80,000 and $87,000 from 37% to 32.5%, preventing around 500,000 taxpayers facing the 37% marginal tax rate.
Increasing the Small Business Income Tax Offset (‘SBITO’)
From 1 July 2016, the government will increase the current 5% tax discount (referred to as the SBITO) to 8%. The discount is currently available to an individual in receipt of income from an unincorporated small business entity (‘SBE’) (i.e., basically, an entity with an aggregated turnover of less than $2 million), and applies to the income tax payable on the business income received from such an entity.
The current tax discount (or SBITO) cap of $1,000 per individual for each income year will be retained.
Furthermore, access to the discount will be extended to individual taxpayers with business income from an unincorporated business that has an aggregated annual turnover of less than $5 million.
Reducing the company tax rate over 10 years
The government will reduce the company tax rate to 25% over 10 years (i.e., by 1 July 2026).
This measure will commence from 1 July 2016, whereby the government will cut the small business company tax rate to 27.5%, and make this tax rate available to small companies with an annual aggregated turnover of less than $10 million.
Franking credits will be distributed in line with the rate of tax paid by the company.
Increasing the small business entity (‘SBE’) turnover threshold
From 1 July 2016, the government will increase the SBE turnover threshold from $2 million to $10 million. The current $2 million turnover threshold will be retained for access to the small business capital gains tax (‘CGT’) concessions, and access to the SBITO (i.e., the increased 8% tax discount) will be limited to entities with turnover less than $5 million (as noted above).
Tax Integrity Package – Establishing the Tax Avoidance Taskforce
The government will provide $678.9 million to the ATO over the forward estimates period to establish anew Tax Avoidance Taskforce. This will enable the ATO to undertake enhanced compliance activities targeting multinationals, large public and private groups and high wealth individuals.
Changes effective 1 July 2017 (i.e, 2017/18 income year)
Applying GST to low value goods imported by consumers
From 1 July 2017, GST will be extended to low value goods imported by consumers. The intent of this measure is to ensure that low value goods imported by consumers face the same tax regime as goods sourced domestically.
This change requires the unanimous agreement of the States and Territories.
Source: NTAA Ltd