How to spot a scam

Advancements in technology have allowed scammers to become more professional in their approach. The Government is urging all Australians to keep their personal information secure and to report any suspicious activity immediately.

Latest scam alerts:-

Email scam: scammers are sending fake ATO emails telling you will receive a tax refund. They ask you to update your financial information on an attached form to process the refund. Do not provide the information requested, and delete the email straight away.

Text message scam: scammers are sending scam text messages asking you to verify your myGov details with a link to log on to your myGov account. Don't click any links and don't provide the information requested.

Phone scam: scammers are contacting people by using technology to make it look like the calls originate from a legitimate ATO phone number and leaving voicemail messages threatening the recipients with arrest due to an unknown tax debt or suspected tax evasion. Do not return the call.

How to spot an ATO scam

The ATO will not:

  • be abusive or offensive to you;
  • threaten you with immediate arrest;
  • ask you to transfer money into an account with a BSB that is not held with the Reserve bank of Australia;
  • request payment via unusual methods such as iTunes gift cards, bitcoin or other prepaid cards;
  • stay on the phone with you while you go to the bank, post office or shops to make a payment;
  • request personal security information such as your TFN or your bank details via email or SMS or social media sites;
  • ask you for money up front in order to receive a refund or other payment;
  • refuse to allow you to speak with a trusted advisor or your regular tax agent;
  • present a phone number on caller ID;
  • direct you to download files from the internet.

The ATO will:

  • provide you with a range of options for paying debts, which are all set out on the ATO website at ato.gov.au/howtopay;
  • contact you by phone:
    • if you are in doubt about the authenticity of a call claiming to be from the ATO, you can call the ATO on 1800 008 540 to verify.  You will generally be aware of any debt before it is due for payment, but you can check with us first if required;
  • send emails and SMS asking you to take specific action such as:
    • provide additional information required to process a BAS or tax return lodged;
    • provide additional information regarding an application that has been made;
    • verify changes to an account.

Here are some practical tips:

  • If you receive a phone call from someone claiming to be from a well-known organisation asking for personal or financial information, hang up immediately and consider contacting the organisation;
  • Consider using tools to help protect and secure digital devices from scams, including install an anti-virus software and monitor credit/debit card transactions to ensure there is no unauthorised activity;
  • Do not click on any suspicious links sent via text or email even if it states it is from a trusted organisation;
  • If you receive a great investment opportunity, promising high returns and minimal fees, there's a good chance this is a scam. We encourage you to have a conversation with an expert before making an investment decision.

If you have any concerns regarding correspondence from the ATO please contact us on 1300 885 761 or contact the ATO directly on 1800 008 540.

Supporting the transition to STP Phase 2 reporting

Single Touch Payroll (STP), also known as STP Phase 2, is expanding from 1 January 2022.

While the mandatory start date is 1 January 2022, the ATO's approach to STP Phase 2 will be flexible, reasonable and pragmatic. This builds on the approach that took to support employers transitioning to STP reporting.

If your digital service provider (DSP) needs more time to update their solutions to offer STP Phase 2 reporting, they can apply for a deferral which will cover you. Your provider will let you know if they have a deferral. You won't need to apply for more time.

If you can start reporting by your DSP's deferral date, again you don't need to apply for more time.

If your solution will be ready for 1 January 2022:

  • If your solution is ready for 1 January 2022, you should start Phase 2 reporting.
  • If your solution is ready and you can start Phase 2 reporting before 1 March 2022, you'll be considered to be reporting on time and you won't need to apply for more time.

If you need more time:

  • You can apply for more time past your DSP's deferral if you need more time to transition.
  • You'll be able to apply for a delayed transition from December 2021.
  • There won't be penalties for genuine mistakes for the first year of Phase 2 reporting until 31 December 2022. This includes employers who have already started Phase 2 reporting.

What's next

Your DSP will update their STP-enabled software to offer Phase 2 reporting. When your STP-enabled solution is ready, your DSP will let you know what you need to do.

There are some things you can do now to prepare, such as:

  • review the STP Phase 2 employer reporting guidelines
  • consider how some of the information you already report through STP is changing
  • find out what new information you'll need to report and consider where you capture and store some of this information now, if it's not in your payroll system
  • review your business and payroll processes, and plan for how and when you'll need to do this.

How to apply for a deferral

If you need more time, you can contact the ATO for a deferral by:

We can also request the deferral for you.

If you would like any further information or assistance in regards to Single Touch Payroll, please feel free to contact us on 1300 885 761.

Obtaining Your Director Identification Number

A director identification number (director ID) is a new requirement for all company directors.  It is designed to prevent the use of false or fraudulent director identities, to make compliance activities easier for external administrators and regulators and to identify and eliminate director involvement in unlawful schemes.

Director ID is a unique 15-digit identifier you need to apply for once and will keep forever. You need to apply for your own director ID as you need to verify your identity.  You can apply for the director ID from November 2021 on the new Australian Business Registry Services (ABRS). It's free to apply.

Who needs a director ID?

You need a director ID if you're a director, or an acting alternative director of:

  • a company, a registered Australian body or a registered foreign company under the Corporations Act 2001 (Corporations Act), or
  • an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander corporation registered under the Corporations (Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander) Act 2006 (CATSI Act).

Please note that this includes directors of trustee companies, such as those which act solely as the trustee of a self managed superannuation fund (SMSF).

When do I need to apply?

When you must apply for your director ID depends on the date you become a director.

Date you become a director and Date you must obtain a director ID

- On or before 31 October 2021 to apply by 30 November 2022

- Between 1 November 2021 and 4 April 2022 to apply within 28 days of appointment

- From 5 April 2022to apply before appointment

How to apply

For most people, the quickest and easiest way is to apply online, by following these steps:-

Step 1Set up myGovID

If you don't have a myGovID, you can find information on how to download the app at How to set up myGovID

You will need a standard or strong identity strength myGovID to apply for your director ID online.

Step 2 – Gather your documents

You will need to have some information the ATO knows about you when you apply for your director ID:

  • your tax file number (TFN)
  • the residential address listed in your most recent income tax return
  • information from two documents to verify your identity.

Examples of the documents you can use to verify your identity include:

  • the bank account details on your most recent tax return
  • your latest ATO notice of assessment
  • your super account details
  • a recent dividend statement
  • a Centrelink payment summary
  • PAYG payment summary.

Step 3 – Complete your application

Once you have a standard or strong identity strength myGovID, and your documents, you can log in to ABRS (https://www.abrs.gov.au/) and apply for your director ID. The application process should take less than 5 minutes.

As this process requires myGovID, we are unable to undertake the application for you. However, once you obtain your director ID please ensure you provide details to us that we can update the necessary company records.  In the meantime please contact us on 1300 885 761, if you would like any further information or assistance in regards to obtaining your Director ID.

All employers are required to pay and report super guarantee payments electronically to ensure they meet SuperStream requirements. With the introduction of SuperStream it is now easier for the ATO to monitor your payments to ensure they have all been paid on time.

Super guarantee payments must be made by employers to their employees' complying funds by quarterly due dates, which are 28 days after the end of each quarter.

The due dates for each quarter are as follows:  

Quarter

Period

Payment due date

1

1 July – 30 September

28 October

2

1 October – 31 December

28 January

3

1 January – 31 March

28 April

4

1 April – 30 June

28 July

 

When a due date falls on a weekend or public holiday, you can make the payment on the next working day.

If you miss the due date your payment will NOT be tax deductible.

Please note the above due dates in your calendar and ensure all superannuation guarantee payments are made on or before these dates. 

 

Next date for payment:

Period: 1 July 2021 – 30 September 2021

Payment due date: 28 October 2021

 

 

If you would like any further information or assistance with complying with your super guarantee obligations please contact us on 1300 885 761.

Super choice rules will change from 1 November

From 1 November 2021, if you have new employees start, you may have an extra step to take to comply with choice of fund rules if they don't choose a super fund. You may now need to request their 'stapled super fund' details from the ATO.

A stapled super fund is an existing super account which is linked, or 'stapled', to an individual employee so that it follows them as they change jobs.

This change aims to reduce the number of additional super accounts opened each time they start a new job.

What you need to do from 1 November 2021

You may need to request stapled super fund details when:

  • your new employee starts on or after 1 November 2021
  • you need to make super guarantee payments for that employee, and
  • your employee is eligible to choose a super fund but doesn't.

You don't need to offer a choice of super fund to some employees, but you may still need to request their stapled super fund details. This includes employees that are either:

  • temporary residents
  • covered by an enterprise agreement or workplace determination made before 1 January 2021.

Step 1: Offer your eligible employees a choice of super fund

You need to give your eligible new employees a Super standard choice form and pay their super into the account they tell you on the form. Most employees are eligible to choose what fund their super goes into.

There is no change to this step of your super obligations.

You cannot provide recommendations or advice about super to your employees, unless you are licensed by the Australian Securities & Investments Commission (ASIC) to provide financial advice.

Step 2: Request stapled super fund details

If your employee doesn't choose a super fund, you may need to log into ATO Online services and go to 'Employee Super Accounts' to request their stapled super fund details.  We can also do this for you.

The ATO will provide your employee's stapled super fund details after they have confirmed that you are their employer.

If the ATO provide a stapled super fund result for your employee, you must pay your employee's super using the stapled super fund details the ATO provide you.

Step 3: Pay super into a default fund

You can pay into a default fund, or another fund that meets the choice of fund obligations if:

  • your employee doesn't choose a super fund, and
  • the ATO have advised you that your employees don't have a stapled super fund.

Get ready

To make sure you are ready to request stapled super fund details,  we recommend that you check  the access levels of your authorised person in ATO online services.

If an authorised person doesn't have full access in ATO online services, they will need to have the 'Employee Commencement Form' permission in order to request a stapled super fund.  If, on the other hand, they have no need to access this service, you should remove this permission in order to protect your employees' personal information.

More information about the new stapled super fund rules can be found here, or contact us on 1300 885 761 to discuss.

Paid contractors? Don’t forget your TPAR

With all the changes due to COVID-19, you may have contracted out more services in the past year. This could mean you need to lodge a Taxable payments annual report (TPAR) for the first time. TPARs are due on 28 August each year.

You may need to lodge a TPAR if your business pays contractors or subcontractors for the following services:

  • building and construction
  • cleaning
  • courier services
  • road freight
  • information technology
  • investigation, security or surveillance.

Contractors can include subcontractors, consultants and independent contractors. They can be operating as sole traders, companies, partnerships or trusts.

The detail that you need to report about each contractor can be found on the invoice you should have received from them, and includes:

  • Australian business number (ABN), if known,
  • Name and Address and
  • The gross amount you paid to them for the financial year (including any GST).

The Taxable payments report can be lodged online or by completing a paper form.  If you are unable to lodge online, you can order the TPAR paper form from the ATO publications ordering service.

If you need to lodge a TPAR but missed the due date, lodge it now.

If you lodged your TPAR but made a mistake, you can amend it.

Keeping good records makes it easier for you to prepare your TPAR. Remember to include details of cash payments to contractors on your TPAR.

If you would like any further information or assistance with lodging your taxable payments annual report please contact us on 1300 885 761.

Extension of the 2021 NSW Covid-19 Business Grant

The Government is extending the application period of its temporary Covid-19 Business Grant from 13 September 2021 to 1 October 2021. The payment rate and eligibility criteria remain the same.

Available funding

Eligible businesses (including non-employing businesses such as non-employing sole traders) and not-for-profit organisations can apply for a one-off grant of $7,500 (tier one), $10,500 (tier two) or $15,000 (tier 3) via one application if their turnover declined over a 2-week period between 26 June 2021 to 17 July 2021:

  • $7,500 (tier one): Businesses that have experienced a decline in turnover of 30% or more due to the Public Health Orders will be eligible for a grant of $7,500.
  • $10,500 (tier two): Businesses that have experienced a decline in turnover of 50% or more due to the Public Health Orders will be eligible for a grant of $10,500.
  • $15,000 (tier three): Businesses that have experienced a decline in turnover of 70% or more due to the Public Health Orders will be eligible for a grant of $15,000.

Note: Eligible businesses may only receive one grant tier and only one grant is available for a single ABN.

The Grant is designed to assist employees over the first 3 weeks of the current restrictions. Assistance after this period is available through the JobSaver program.

Eligibility

To be eligible, a business must:

  • have an Australian Business Number (ABN) and be operating in New South Wales as at 1 June 2021;
  • have total annual Australian wages of $10 million or less as at 1 July 2020;
  • had an aggregated annual turnover between $75,000 and $50 million (inclusive) for the year ended 30 June 2020;
  • have business costs for which there is no other government support available;
  • maintain their employee headcount from 13 July 2021 for the period for which the business is receiving payments under this Grant and the JobSaver scheme;
  • must experience a decline in turnover over a minimum 2-week period from 26 June 2021 to 17 July 2021, compared to the same period in 2019, or 2020, or the 2 weeks immediately prior to any restrictions of 12-25 June 2021 (inclusive) :
    • $7,500 for a decline of 30% or more
    • $10,500 for a decline of 50% or more
    • $15,000 for a decline of 70% or more
      • for Southern Border businesses the turnover period is from 27 May 2021 to 17 July 2021 compared to the same period in 2019, or 2020, or the 2-week period immediately before the Victorian Stay at Home Directions commenced (13 May-26 May 2021) .

Please refer to our article '2021 NSW Covid-19 Business Grant' for the other details of the Grant.

If you would like any further information or assistance with 2021 Covid-19 Business Grant please contact us on 1300 885 761.

Who can claim Fuel Tax credits?

You may be eligible to claim fuel tax credits for fuel purchased for use in your business. To be eligible you must:

  • Be registered for GST
  • Use the fuel for an eligible activity including but not limited to:
    • Use in heavy vehicles travelling on public roads if the vehicle has a gross vehicle mass (GVM) greater than 4.5 tonnes.
    • Use in business activities such as agriculture, forestry, mining, construction and manufacturing if the vehicle (including light vehicles) was travelling on private roads and off public roads.

Further details regarding eligible fuels and business activities can be found on the ATO website.

Indexation of rates:

The rates for fuel tax credits are indexed bi-annually on 1 February and 1 August in line with the Consumer Price Index (CPI).

The indexed rates for the period from 2 August 2021 to 31 January 2022 are as follows:

  • Increase from 16.5 to 16.9 cents per litre for liquid fuels used in a heavy vehicle on public roads;
  • Increase from 42.7 to 43.3 cents per litre for liquid fuels in all other business uses;
  • Increase from 18.305 to 18.565 cents per litre for E85 (85% ethanol/15% petrol) in all business uses except heavy vehicles on public roads;
  • Increase from 13.9 to 14.1 cents per litre for liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) ; and
  • Increase from 29.3 to 29.7 cents per kilogram for compressed natural gas (CNG) and liquefied natural gas (LNG).

These changes will affect fuel tax credit calculations for September quarter Activity Statements.

If you claim less than $10,000 in fuel credits each year you can calculate your fuel tax credit using the rate that applies at the end of the BAS period.

The ATO fuel tax credit calculator can be found here.

Please contact us on 1300 885 761 for more information.  

The 80 cents per hour method to claim deductions for home office running expenses has now extended and can be used for the 2020/21 income year. Home office running expenses incurred as a result of working from home can generally be claimed where employees and business owners use their home to carry out genuine income-earning activities.

The hourly rate covers all additional running expenses, namely:

  • Electricity expenses (e.g., in relation to heating, cooling, lighting and electrical items, such as a computer and a printer being used for work).
  • Gas expenses (e.g., in relation to heating).
  • Cleaning costs for a dedicated work area at home (e.g., for a dedicated home office).
  • Phone (including mobile phone) and internet expenses.
  • Computer consumables (e.g., printer paper and printer cartridges).
  • Depreciation of office furniture and furnishings (e.g., an office desk and a chair).
  • Depreciation of home office equipment (e.g., computers and printers).

The 80 cents per hour method is an optional and alternative method to claiming home office running expenses and that individuals still have the option to use the following existing claim methods, even during the period 1 July 2020 to 30 June 2021:

  • the '52 cents per hour method' (which only covers heating, cooling, lighting, cleaning an depreciation of office furniture); and/or
  • the 'actual method' – which involves analysing separate running costs associated with working from home and claiming the work-related portion of such costs.

The ATO's 80 cents per hour method is generally a more simplified method for claiming home office running expenses compared to above existing claim methods. This is particularly because it is simply based on a fixed hourly rate of 80 cents for each hour worked at home and will only require minimal records to be kept (i.e., a record of the number of hours worked from home during this period).

A deduction can only be claimed by a taxpayer in these circumstances for expenses associated with their home, where the relevant expense:

  • has been incurred by the taxpayer (and not paid for by a third party – e.g., an employer);
  • has a sufficient connection with the taxpayer's income-earning activities; and
  • can be substantiated or verified (e.g., by providing written evidence of the expense and a record of the hours worked at home to verify the deduction portion of the expense).

If you would like any further information or assistance in regards to Home Office Expenses, please feel free to contact us on 1300 885 761.

Several Bills containing important superannuation measures which may impact you have passed both Houses of Parliament. These measures have now also received Royal Assent, which is the final step required for a parliamentary bill to become law.

The two changes which affect self-managed superannuation funds are:

1.       Treasury Laws Amendment (More Flexible Superannuation) Bill 2020: which extends the three year non-concessional contribution bring forward rule to individuals under age 67. This measure is effective 1 July 2020.

Two important amendments were made to the Bill to provide for:

  • Removal of the excess concessional contribution charge
  • Ability to re-contribute COVID-19 early release amounts without impacting your non-concessional contribution cap

Removal of the excess concessional contribution charge

Starting 1 July 2021, the excess concessional contribution charge will be removed. The excess concessional contributions charge is an interest penalty that applies to the increased tax liability due to adding excess concessional contributions to assessable income.

Excess concessional contributions will still be automatically added to an individual's personal assessable income and taxed at personal marginal tax rates. Individuals will also remain entitled to non-refundable tax offset equal to 15%.

COVID-19 re-contributions

If an individual made an early super withdrawal under the former COVID-19 condition of release, they may re-contribute these amounts without it counting towards their non-concessional contributions cap.

To be eligible, re-contributed amounts must be made between 1 July 2021 and 30 June 2030. The total amount of contributions covered under this exemption must not exceed the COVID-19 release amount. An individual will not be eligible to claim a personal tax deduction on amounts they elect to treat as COVID-19 re-contributions.

2.       Treasury Laws Amendment (Self-Managed Superannuation Funds) Bill 2020: permits the maximum number of members allowed in a self-managed superannuation fund and small APRA fund to increase from four to six. This measure will commence from 1 July 2021.

You should note that some states including NSW only permit up to four individual trustees. Members who are impacted by state-based law limitations may wish to consider a corporate trustee if they wish to expand the SMSF to five or six members.

How can we help?

If you have any questions, require assistance or would like further clarification with any aspect of above superannuation changes, please feel free to contact us on 1300 885 761.