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Authority for super complaints introduced

Posted on December 14, 2018 by admin

The new Australian Financial Complaints Authority (AFCA) will make it easier for individuals and small businesses to make complaints about their superannuation financial firms. The Coalition government has responded to criticisms of previous dispute resolution bodies by creating a new financial disputes framework. AFCA has been described as a “one-stop shop” that will improve outcomes for consumers and increase the efficiency of the dispute resolution process. AFCA’s jurisdictionAFCA has been given authority over a range of complaint areas including: Superannuation annuities Corporate, industry and retail super funds SMSFs (handled under investments and advice jurisdiction) Approved deposit funds Small funds Retirement savings accounts Trustees, insurers and decision makers of relevant super bodies What you can make complaints aboutYour super complaint to AFCA must adhere to its governing rules. AFCA has specific time limits for complaints but no monetary limits. You can make complaints about: The advice you were given about a superannuation product Fees or costs that were incorrectly charged or calculated Information you weren’t given about the product including fees or costs Errors in the information provided to you; for example, if your benefit statements are incorrect Decisions your super provider has made Payment of a death benefit Giving instructions […]

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Avoid these small business tax errors

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Unwanted attention and penalties from the ATO can jeopardise your small business. Protect your business by avoiding these common small business tax errors. Not using an accountantTax laws frequently change, and compliance requirements can be time-consuming and demanding. A registered tax agent will streamline your financial processes, provide advice on maximising your finances and keep you compliant. Inaccurate tax returnsSmall businesses that do not declare their income and deductions accurately will attract the ATO’s attention and financial penalties. All foreign income, capital gains tax, business sales and bank interest must be declared. You must also have legitimate evidence supporting your tax deduction claims. Poor record keepingBusinesses that fail to keep accurate records will struggle to remain compliant. It is vital to keep: Cash, online, EFTPOS, bank statements, credit and debit card transactions Records showing when you use business purchases for private purposes to provide evidence for tax deduction claims Incorrect superannuation paymentsThe ATO will sanction employers that fail to pay their employees’ superannuation correctly and on time. Make your mandatory quarterly payments are paid at the correct rate of 9.5 per cent of your employee’s pay. The cash-flow benefits of delaying super payments and missing deadlines are not worth the […]

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How small business can compete with major corporations

Posted on December 7, 2018 by admin

Small businesses should not feel intimidated by their corporate competitors as they have many unique advantages that can help them gain a sizeable market share. Small business owners should focus on specific areas, so they can go head-to-head with large companies with more resources. Customer serviceSmall businesses have the opportunity to build a stronger relationship with their customers through the delivery of friendly and personal customer service. Businesses that provide superior customer service to their corporate competitors will build a loyal customer base and grow their business through word of mouth. Tap into niche marketsSmall business owners are directly involved with their customers, which means they have a greater insight into what their customer base values. Take advantage of this by innovating more quickly than corporations, whose decision-making processes are slower. You may provide a service that corporations cannot feasibly implement. Build a strong staffThe expansive corporate chain of command is far more likely to have a weak link than a small business. Small businesses have greater quality control over the selection of their staff and the standards and expectations of performance. Build a competent team that outperforms your corporate competitors.

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Employer SuperStream checklist

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Employers must make superannuation contributions on behalf of their employees. SuperStream is the ATO’s electronic and standardised solution that streamlines the super payment process. Using SuperStream for employers means: You can use one online channel to pay multiple funds Less room for error during data entry, due to fewer steps Transactions reach funds faster ObligationsYou must make contributions to a super fund through a SuperStream solution unless you are eligible for the following exemptions: Personal contributions if you are self-employed or a sole trader and make after-tax contributions to a super fund for yourself Contributions to your SMSF where you’re a related party employer. For example, if you are an employee of your family business and your super guarantee contributions go to your SMSF. Step-by-step guideOnce you have decided that SuperStream is right for you, the following steps will help you stay compliant: Choose an option: you can choose from a payroll system, your super fund’s online system, a super clearing house and a messaging portal Collect information and update your records: refer to the ATO for an exhaustive list of the information you will need from your employees Pay the SuperStream way: pay as soon as possible so you […]

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Getting to know the ATO Business Portal

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The ATO has introduced the Business Portal to allow small business owners to manage their tax affairs online at their convenience. Connect your ABN to your myGov account or a compatible AUSkey so you can access the business portal. The portal is accessible 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The portal can be used for the following services: Registering for GST or PAYG withholding Lodging, revising or viewing activity statements Requesting refunds or transfers between accounts Updating your business details Tracking the progress of refunds or transfer requests Communicating with us through a secure mailbox Refer to the ATO for direct links that will step you through how to use these services successfully. If you still have trouble with technology it may be worth consulting a registered tax agent to help you fulfil the ATO’s compliance requirements.

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Credit card do’s and don’ts

Posted on November 29, 2018 by admin

Credit cards are useful financial tools that can help you manage cash flow but can run you into debt if you are not careful. Before you swipe your first credit card consider the following do’s and don’ts, so you gain all the advantages without the headache of a tarnished credit rating. Do’sThere are several actions you can take that will help you manage your credit card. Follow these rules: Try to repay the whole amount owing by the due date to avoid interest mounting up Switch up your payment methods with debit cards to keep your credit owing manageable Be selective about the credit card you apply for Arrange your money so you can reap credit card benefits like frequent flyer points by paying on your credit card and then transfer the money across to your credit account Don’tsCredit cards can accumulate debt with ramifications for your credit score and loan applications down the track. Avoid these standard blunders, so you do not end up regretting your credit card: Do not pay the minimum repayment amount as you will incur interest which can become unmanageable if it compounds weekly or even daily Do not have multiple credit cards if you […]

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Mental health tips for small business owners

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Small business owners are constantly under stress and pressure, which is why it is important they look after their mental health. The following tips will help you manage your mental health as a small business owner. Have a reliable support networkFriends and family are vital to anyone’s functioning; however the unique challenges small business owners face means they may benefit from connecting with like-minded thinkers. Consider joining a small business owners groups on Facebook or LinkedIn. These networks are helpful as the members can relate to your problems on a deeper level. Both business groups and your nearest and dearest can provide a sympathetic ear, realistic solutions to your problems and tell you to get help. Allocate personal timeWhen you are running a small business, it can feel like your life is consumed by it. An unhealthy work-life balance will harm your mental health and productivity. Schedule time off from work. Taking up a hobby or joining a sports team may be a great way to have structured breaks from your business. Know the warning signsKnowledge is key to prevention. Get educated on mental health and know the warning signs and symptoms. If you catch your problem early, you can […]

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ATO warns of illegal early super release

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The ATO has issued a warning to the public regarding illegal early release of super schemes, which are subject to severe penalties. There are strict rules around when you can access your super so your current decisions do not jeopardise your quality of life in retirement. The ATO has reminded the public you may only access your super early if you have experienced severe financial hardship or you have reached the preservation age and have stopped working. How these schemes workThe promoters of these schemes: Encourage you to transfer or rollover your super from your existing super fund to an SMSF to access your super before you are legally entitled to Target people under financial pressure or those who do not understand super laws Claim you can access your super and put the money towards anything you want which is not true Charge high fees and commissions, presenting the risk of losing some or all of your super to them May request your identification documents which can result in identity theft Penalties:Penalties apply to promoters and individuals who illegally access their super early. If you illegally obtain your super early, it is included in your assessable income even if you […]

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ATO update: Tax deduction rules on travel to rental properties

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The ATO has enforced strict guidelines on tax deductions for rental property owner’s travel expenses. As a rental property owner you are not able to claim deductions for travel expenses relating to inspecting, maintaining or collecting rent. If you have already claimed a tax deduction for the cost of travel to and from your property in your 2018 return, you will need to request an amendment. The law change came into effect on 1 July 2017 and affects tax returns from 2017-18 onwards. ExclusionsYou may claim these travel expenses on your tax return if you are carrying on a rental property business or are an excluded entity. An excluded entity is a: Corporate tax entity Superannuation plan that is not an SMSF Public unit trust Managed investment trust A unit trust or a partnership, all of the members of which are entities of a type listed above

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Benefits and problems of niche marketing

Posted on November 26, 2018 by admin

Business owners thinking about specialising their products and services to target a niche market should know the benefits and risks of this business strategy. Niche marketing is the business strategy of targeting a specific subset of a market. Here are some benefits and problems of niche marketing that will help you build a business strategy right for you. BenefitsNiche marketing can provide the following benefits: Less competition as the base of interested customers is narrowed Increase brand loyalty as you are providing goods or services difficult to find and customers are more likely to return to invest Gain a higher profile among the interested customer base as the target market and competition is small, more people are likely to know your business name ProblemsHowever, niche marketing has its pitfalls you should know before you specialise: The smaller market makes growth difficult as there is not a large customer demand You increase the risk of your business failing if there is a disruption to your niche market, for example, if a larger company joins the competition or the good or service you provide becomes obsolete due to innovation

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firm news

Budget 2018: living stronger

Posted on May 9, 2018 by admin

The Government is focused on encouraging older Australians to better grow and secure their personal retirement funds.

Retirees exempt from work test
An exemption from the work test will be established to allow retired Australians aged between 65-74 who have total super balances below $300,000 in their first year that they do not meet the work test criteria, to make voluntary payments into their superannuation funds.

Retirement income strategy
Superannuation trustees will now be required to produce a retirement income strategy for their superannuation fund members. This is due to new amendments to the Superannuation Industry (Supervision) Act 1993.

The Government is also set to revise the Corporations Act 2001 to ensure providers of retirement income products will supply standardised and simplified reporting to assist with more informed decision making.

Pension Work Bonus
Increase in funding to the Pension Work Bonus will mean that pensioners can now receive up to $300 per fortnight before their pension payments are affected. The Bonus will also cover self-employed individuals, who will be entitled to receive up to $7,800 per year without reducing their pension payments.

Funding for older workers program
Additional funding will be provided over four years to form the Skills Checkpoint for Older Workers program, starting from 2018-19. This measure will focus on supporting employees aged 45 to 70 to remain working for longer.

Improved skills for mature age Australians
Funding will be provided over the next five years to help mature age individuals to remain up to date with changing and new skills needed to remain relevant in their workplace.

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