compliance Archives - BUSY01 and First Class Accounts Ovens and Murray

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ATO line of credit ending

ATO Line of credit ending


ATO Line of credit ending

As new reporting powers come into play, businesses are being warned against using the ATO as an alternative line of credit.

Debt Reporting Powers

In 2019, the ATO was afforded new debt reporting powers. While this took a backseat to the Covid-19 pandemic, the ATO is now cracking down on outstanding tax debt. 

Businesses without a payment plan, that are more than 90 days in arrears, and who owe more than $100,000 in tax are more likely to be reported to credit agencies by the ATO.

Impact on credit rating

In the past, business owners have sometimes used the ATO like a ‘line of credit’ by not paying their ATO commitments on time.

Taking this road is much more likely to have an adverse impact on your credit ratings and credit insurance limits. This, in turn, makes it more difficult to maintain or extend credit terms with suppliers.

Therefore, it's important to maintain a high level of communication with your creditors. 

Staying on the front foot

As business owners, if you owe tax, it's vital that you stay on the front foot with this ATO crackdown. We suggest you seek the advice of your BAS agent.

First Class Accounts Ovens and Murray, as your BAS Agent, are able to advocate on your behalf to deal with the ATO.

As Busy01 Consulting, we can also to assist with:

  • preparing a business plan
  • management advice
  • cash-flow planning and projection
  • systems development
  • business expansion
  • budget development
  • trading-structure planning.

Get in touch to discuss which options are best for your business. 

Work from Home Shortcut Claim Extended

Work From Home Shortcut Claim Extended

Good news if you work from home.

The shortcut method* for calculating work from home deductions has now been extended to 30 June 2021. (*Practical compliance guideline PCG 2020/3.)

The guideline covers working from home and incurring additional running expenses in relation to your income-producing activities during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Originally introduced in April 2020, the guideline was first due to expire on 30 June 2020 (which was then extended to September 2020, and then to the end of December 2020). Interestingly, unlike previous extensions, the PCG no longer states whether further consideration will be given to extend the latest end date.

The shortcut method

The shortcut method contained in the PCG provides a rate of 80 cents per hour for running expenses and only requires taxpayers to keep a record of the number of hours worked from home. This could be in the form of timesheets, rosters, a diary or similar document that sets out the dates and hours worked. A notation stating “COVID-hourly rate” will need to be placed next to your deduction for home office expenses in the 2019/20 and 2020-21 return.

All told, the PCG now applies from 1 March 2020 to 30 June 2021. Taxpayers eligible to use this new shortcut method are employees and business owners who:

  • work from home to fulfil their employment duties or to run their business during the period from 1 March 2020 to 30 June 2021 and
  • incur additional running expenses that are deductible under s 8-1 or Div. 40 of the ITAA 1997.
    Running expenses include: electricity, gas, computer consumable such as printer ink, cleaning expenses, telephone, internet, depreciation on computers and other equipment (e.g. chairs, desks, filing cabinets).

Taxpayers who use this method, cannot claim any other expenses for working from home for that period.

Example

Jay is an employee who is working from home as a result of COVID-19. He purchases a computer on 5 April 2021 for $900. He marks in his diary when he commences and finishes work each day and also the length on any breaks he takes. All told, from his records he calculates that he worked 355 hours through to 30 June 2021.

Provided he retains his diary entries and receipt for the computer purchase, Jay’s 2020-21 deduction under the new shortcut method is $284 (355 hours x 80 cents).

Claims for working from home expenses prior to 1 March 2020 cannot be calculated using the shortcut method, and must use the pre-existing methods as follows:

Method 2 - the fixed rate method. 

Under this method, you claim all of the following:

  • a rate of 52 cents per work hour to cover heating, cooling, lighting, cleaning and depreciation of office furniture
  • the work-related portion of your actual phone and internet expenses, computer consumables, stationery, etc
  • the work-related portion of depreciation on a computer, laptop or similar device.
Method 3 – the actual cost method. 

Under this method, you claim the actual work-related portion of all your running expenses, which need to be calculated on a reasonable basis.

The methods are not mutually exclusive across the financial year. It may be the case that you use more than one method during 2019-20 and 2020-21.

For example, you could choose methods 2 or 3 for the period July 2020 through to February 2021, and then choose the shortcut method for the period from March through to the end of June 2021.

Feel free to talk to us if you need more information.

Gift cards

Gift cards and vouchers now have three year expiry

Gift cards and vouchers now have three year expiry

Gift vouchers can be a great way to attract customers, maximise marketing campaigns and increase sales - so long as you don’t get caught out by the new rules.

Does your business offer gift cards or vouchers? If so, new laws came into effect on 1 November 2019, which you'll need to adopt. Gift cards and vouchers issued on or after 1 November 2019 must meet the new requirements of the Australian Consumer Law (ACL).

New Gift Card Laws

  • Mandatory minimum expiry period of three years from the date of issue.
  • The actual expiry date must be listed on the card; alternatively, the supply date and expiry period, for example, “Valid for 3 years from 11/02/2020”.
  • Post-purchase fees are no longer allowed. Payment processing fees may be allowed, however activation, top-up, account keeping or balance enquiry fees are not.

There are some situations in which the new requirements don’t apply, for example if the card can be topped up, if it is part of a temporary marketing promotion or if it is donated free of charge for promotions. Visit ACL New Gift Card Laws webpage for full details.

If you have not met the new requirements on vouchers issued since 1 November, the new laws will still apply even if the actual voucher does not. Customers will be able to redeem the voucher within the three-year expiry regardless of what is stated on the voucher. Gift cards and vouchers issued before 1 November 2019 have the same expiry period and conditions of purchase as at the time of purchase.

What Next?

  1. Review your gift voucher terms and conditions.
  2. Update your printed and online vouchers and related marketing material.
  3. Check the information published on your website and social media.
  4. Make sure your internal processes and point-of-sale systems are brought up to date and remember to tell your staff of the changes.

Modern award annualised salary changes

Modern award annualised salary changes

Recent changes made by the Fair Work Commission mean that you need to review employment agreements to ensure they are compliant with the award requirements.

The Fair Work Commission (FWC) late last year has varied a number of modern awards that include annualised salary provisions. The decision has also introduced the provision for annualised salaries into some other awards for the first time.

Whilst the actual specifics of the annualised salary provisions vary per award, there are some significant changes that affect all award terms in relation to annualised salaries. - We can help with the red tape.

What is an Annualised Salary?

Some awards permit employees to be paid an annual salary that covers all payments such as allowances, penalty rates and overtime. For many employers and employees, this has been a flexible and practical solution to avoid the need for timesheets and extra payroll administration.

The important changes

The changes may affect the ease and efficiency of your current payroll administration, as there are now extra records required for all employees paid an annual salary under an award provision. Note: this does not affect employees with a common law employment contract.

  • The agreement or arrangement must document the specific provisions of the award that are addressed.
  • The agreement must include reference to overtime or other penalty rates the employee would otherwise be paid, specified as an ‘outer limit’, or maximum number of such hours to be worked in each pay period. Outer limits must be specified separately for overtime and hours that would be subject to a penalty or loading.
  • Records of hours worked (and unpaid breaks) must be kept for each pay period and signed by the employee.
  • The employee must be paid for any extra hours that exceed the ‘outer limits’ as defined in the annual salary agreement.
  • Check the relevant award to see if an employment agreement is required. In some awards the employer can implement an annual salary arrangement without an employee agreement.
  • Document the calculation of the annual salary according to the requirements of the award. It is vital that the calculation shows that the employee is receiving at least as much as if they were paid according to the award hourly rates, including all wages, allowances, penalties, overtime and loadings. This will require breaking down the salary into its separate components.
  • Employer and employee must complete an annual salary review on the anniversary of the agreement or arrangement.

What you need to do now

  1. Make sure you are aware of the applicable modern award and check the annualised salary provisions.
  2. Check that the current annualised salary arrangements meet the new requirements of the award.
  3. Document the calculation as per the award conditions.
  4. Update existing agreements or implement new ones as needed.

The new provisions came into effect on 1 March 2020. Employers need to review all existing agreements for annualised salaries as soon as possible.

You will also need to consider the impact of the new requirements on your payroll administration and software.

There are many payroll software add-ons that can help to make administration easier if your current software does not have the required record-keeping tools built in.

Business woman planning for seasonal dips

Planning for seasonal dips in income

Planning for seasonal dips in income

Seasonal dips in income can be highly challenging when you’re a small business. But there are proactive ways to predict, plan for and overcome these dips in revenue.

The key to dealing with seasonal dips is to know when they’re most likely to occur, and to have measures in place to spread your income and revenue pipeline over the course of the year.

Understanding seasonality in your sector

If your business is seasonal such as pool supplies, or a ski gear specialist, you’ll be used to the peaks and troughs, but many 'non-seasonal' businesses experience times during the financial year where sales and revenue peak – and, on the flipside, where sales and revenue experience a pronounced dip.

When income is low at certain times of the year, it makes for challenging times.

So, what are the key ways to plan for this kind of seasonality?​​​​​
Forecast your seasonality

It’s vital to know WHEN you’re most likely to experience any seasonal dips. Looking at bench-marking reports for your industry is one way to predict the seasonality in your niche or sector. But you can also use your own accounting data to great effect. Look back through your profit & loss reports and spot where the peaks and troughs have occurred over preceding years.

Charge a premium in peak time 

One straightforward approach is to apply premium pricing for your products/services during the busy season. By increasing your pricing, you boost your overall revenue, giving you more working capital to see you through the leaner months when sales and income are at their lowest.

Offer additional peak-time services

Offering added extras and other additional service lines during peak time is another way to maximise the season. In the months where customers are most engaged, look to upsell these premium services and offer more value. Satisfied clients will be more inclined to pay for added extras, giving you an increased revenue stream from the same number of customers.

Target other markets

Exploring other related markets is another useful tactic. When you’re experiencing downtime, look for other ways to monetise your existing assets, products or services. For example, if you’re a hotel where sales peak in summertime, offer discounted conference space in the winter months to boost revenue.

Diversify your products/services

If one product/service has a known seasonal dip, look at adding an additional product or service to offset this downtime. For example, a a ski resort could promote bike-riding or hiking breaks during the warmer summer months to keep revenue constant. Likewise a pool maintenance firm could establish an outdoor fireplace business for the colder months.

Have a regional e-commerce strategy

If you’re dependent on a small local market, broadening your marketing and e-commerce strategies can help to attract a wider customer base – and bolster sales. Paid advertising through Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter can easily target new geographical markets, bringing in new customers and giving your revenue a much-needed uplift during seasonal troughs.

Talk to us about planning for seasonality

f your business is struggling with seasonal dips, and the resulting impact on cashflow, come and talk to us. We’ll help you identify the timing of your seasonal downtime, and come up with a clear strategy for stabilising your income across the year.

Get in touch to start beating those seasonal dips.

Making data meaningful for your business

Making data meaningful for your business

Raw data describes the facts and figures that a business processes every day. Over time, every business hoards a certain amount of data and it only becomes meaningful to a business after it has been processed to add context, relevance and purpose.

For example, in a restaurant, every order will be recorded. However, a restaurant won't learn much by looking at each one in isolation. Analysis of the orders will reveal trends and patterns, such as peak dining days or biggest-selling menu or bar items. Knowledge of the business comes from the relationship between the singular pieces of information. That restaurant owner may know to do their biggest stock order on a Wednesday by analysing their covers and establishing that sales increase by 38% on Thursdays.

The pace of business in today’s technological times requires businesses to be able to react quickly to changing demands from customers and environmental conditions. The ability to be able to compile, analyse and act on data is increasingly important. In some instances, a high volume of data may need to be accumulated and analysed before trends and patterns emerge, like a particular season’s most popular dish.

When you aren’t compiling accurate business data, you can only rely on gut feel and assumptions about past performance to inform your future business decisions.

If your business is already using cloud software for accountancy, project management system or CRM, it’s likely that you’re sitting on a goldmine of data. If properly utilised, this data can greatly aid running a successful business. You'll have valuable insight into your sales, expenses, profit and staff efficiencies that can help you answer critical questions and drive smart business decisions.

Every business is unique, but here are three quick tips to help you drive data in your business.

Three steps to ensuring data is meaningful for your business:

1. Data is only powerful if there is context – can you stop to answer these questions?

  • What is your primary objective (business or personal)?
  • What is happening in the business?
  • What isn’t happening?
  • How can you influence what happens?

Figure out what you’re currently trying to achieve before anything else. It’s important to periodically go back and ask yourself these questions and what goals develop from the answers, as answers evolve over time. You may have started out with your primary objective as running the best restaurant in your area. However as time has passed, your primary objective might now be to take time away from the business to spend more time with your children.

2. The only way your data can help you drive your business is if it’s accurate and organised appropriately – ask yourself:

  • Are your financials up-to-date?
  • Do you have any unreconciled transactions?
  • Are you tax compliant?
  • Are your staff trained on what systems and processes to use for different parts of your business?
  • Are your cloud systems being correctly utilised?

The worst thing you can do is to attempt to analyse incorrect data and attempt to make decisions for the business based on it! Tools like Spotlight Reporting can help you with the reports you need for business decisions.

3. Understand what the data necessities are and what the niceties are.

  • What would you most like to understand about your business?
  • What figures pinpoint success for you?
  • What are your objectives over the next six to twelve months, and two to five years

Remember, to focus on what truly matters and build from there. If you want help with the process, we can accumulate, analyse, report and advise on your data; or show you the tools to use.

Talk to us about how we can help.


Financially stress free piggy on christmas holiday on beach

Have you got a strategy for a financially stress-free holiday period?

Have you got a strategy for a financially stress-free holiday period?

Christmas holiday breaks are a time to spend with family, friends & have a chance to recharge for the year ahead. We look forward to warmer weather and finally setting up an out-of-office email for the break. However, for business owners, this time can be stressful without careful cash-flow planning.

Even if you do continue to operate through the holiday shutdown season, your customers' financial behaviour may not remain the same.

It can be pretty disappointing to work hard all year only to find that once you have paid staff, overheads and creditors, you have little or nothing left in the bank to cover your own time off.

The strategies and tips shared below are generalised, however, we are here if you need to budget and prepare a cash-flow forecast. We can also help if you need assistance in applying for short term finance to get you through the break.

Why is cash-flow planning particularly important at this time of year?

Staff leave needs to be covered in addition to your normal fixed overheads like rent, creditors and tax compliance. The budget and forecasting process ensures you know your numbers and are prepared. If you are shutting down, you won't be driving revenue during this period and sales may take time to get started again in the new year.

Here are some simple strategies that can help:
Decide your Christmas and holiday break dates

Confirm these with staff, customers and suppliers.

Budget and plan for annual leave 

Remember the pay rates may be higher than standard hourly rates, also factor in statutory public holidays.

Decide

If you are going to pay out leave in full at the beginning of the Christmas break or continue to pay as usual throughout the break.

Review your work in progress (WIP)

Plan to complete jobs or services that can be invoiced and paid before Christmas (remember if you don’t invoice and get paid before Christmas, you may not see the money until mid to late January).

Capacity planning

There is often a rush to get everything done before Christmas, whether it's the kitchen benchtop installed or the beauty treatment before the break, so make sure you have the capacity to maximise on this.

Stock-take

Do you need to order in goods now to be able to complete work in progress? Check that there is stock on hand available.

Making an arrangement with the Tax Office

if you find you can not make payments, it is possible to apply for an instalment arrangement. There are costs associated with this, however it may provide a solution that gets you through the holiday period. Talk to us, we can help.


Talk to us about enhancing your financial support

If you can’t make ends meet, now is the time to organise short term financial relief like an arranged overdraft of loan, rather than hoping it will come right. Please let us know if you need any help with cash-flow forecasting, budgeting or finance applications.

Get in touch to improve your cash flow.

New employee welcomed by business team

The true cost of a new employee

The true cost of a new employee

Bringing on another pair of hands?

It can be a big decision to commit to having a new member on the team but the right person will bring in the skills you need to grow the business and give you more time to achieve your goals, even if that is to spend more time with your family!

Before you advertise the role

Spend some time to understand what skills you need in your business to move forward or to strengthen your position in the market. You may decide that the skill gap could be met by training existing staff who have capacity or would be open to a change in job description.

If the role is new

Decide whether you need a full-time or part-time employee and what sort of experience or qualifications the ideal candidate would have. If they need training when they start, consider who will run this and how that will impact timings.

Create a job description

This will help you when it’s time to assess candidates. Try to avoid too many acronyms and internal jargon that won’t make sense to people outside your company.

Finally...

You’ll want to understand the true cost of adding another staff member. Start with average industry salary rates and work out the fixed and discretionary costs involved, including Fringe Benefit Tax, industry insurance and superannuation costs. Include your one off recruitment costs and overheads, as well as the cost of training and any benefits you offer, such as a car park.

The recruitment process provides you with an opportunity to diversify your workplace. And if you hire people facing barriers to employment, you may be eligible for a number of financial incentives available for businesses.

Talk to us about employing someone new.

Employing someone new to help take your business forward is an exciting step. We’ll help make sure that your finances and paperwork is in order before you hire.

Get in touch to see how we can help.

Reporting PAYGW

Reporting PAYGW correctly

Reporting PAYGW Correctly 

PAYG and claiming tax deductions

From July 1 2019, If you don’t meet PAYG withholding obligations for your workers, by not withholding tax from their payments and not reporting it to the ATO, you could lose your tax deduction.

This will apply to income tax returns lodged for the 2020 financial year and beyond.

If you withhold tax from payments to workers, you must withhold the required amount and report correctly to the ATO in order to receive a tax deduction for your business.

PAYG withholding and reporting obligations apply to payments for:

  • Salary, wages and other payments to employees
  • Directors' fees
  • Religious practitioner payments
  • Labour hire arrangements
  • Voluntary withholding arrangements
  • Payments to contractors with no ABN

Withholding rules still apply to cash payments. Similarly, for non-cash payments such as property or exchange of services, withholding rules still apply even if your worker agrees to receive a non-cash payment in place of money.

PAYGW

The payment of PAYGW to the ATO is a separate issue. The new rules are aimed at getting employers to report correctly and on time. Once you have reported an amount to the ATO, they expect payment of that obligation by the due date.

If you make an honest mistake, such as treating an employee as a contactor, you won’t be penalised. You can correct your mistake by lodging a voluntary disclosure

Talk to us

Contact us to review your PAYGW reporting obligations.