parliament canberra

2024–25 Federal Budget Highlights

Budget 2024–25 key measures you must know

Described as a “responsible Budget that helps people under pressure today”, the Treasurer has forecast a second consecutive surplus of $9.3 billion.

The main priorities of the government, as reflected in the Budget, are helping with the cost of living, building more housing, investing in skills and education, strengthening Medicare and responsible economic management to help fight inflation.

The key tax measures announced in the Budget include extending the $20,000 instant asset write-off for eligible businesses by 12 months until 30 June 2025, introducing tax incentives for hydrogen production and critical minerals production, strengthening foreign resident CGT rules and penalising multinationals that seek to avoid paying Australian royalty withholding tax.

The Budget also includes various amendments to previously announced measures, as well as a number of income tax measures that have already been enacted prior to the Budget announcement, including:

These enacted measures have not been discussed in detail in our summary report:

Income tax

The tax, superannuation and social security highlights are set out below. The government anticipates that the tax measures put forward will collectively improve the Budget position by $3.1 billion over a 5-year period to 2027–28.

  • The instant asset write-off threshold of $20,000 for small businesses applying the simplified depreciation rules will be extended for 12 months until 30 June 2025
  • The foreign resident CGT regime will be strengthened for CGT events commencing on or after 1 July 2025
  • A critical minerals production tax incentive will be available from 2027–28 to 2040–41 to support downstream refining and processing of critical minerals
  • A hydrogen production tax incentive will be available from 2027–28 to 2040–41 to producers of renewable hydrogen
  • The minimum length requirements for content and the above-the-line cap of 20% for total qualifying production expenditure for the producer tax offset will be removed
  • A new penalty will be introduced from 1 July 2026 for taxpayers who are part of a group with more than $1 billion in annual global turnover that are found to have mischaracterised or undervalued royalty payments
  • The Labor government’s 2022–23 Budget measure to deny deductions for payments relating to intangibles held in low- or no-tax jurisdictions is being discontinued
  • The start date of a 2023–24 Budget measure to expand the scope of the Pt IVA general anti-avoidance rule will be deferred to income years commencing on or after assent of enabling legislation
  • Income tax exemptions for World Rugby and/or related entities for income derived in relation to the Rugby World Cup 2027 (men’s) and Rugby World Cup 2029 (women’s)
  • Deductible gift recipients list to be updated.

Superannuation

  • Superannuation will be paid on government-funded paid parental leave (PPL) for parents of babies born or adopted on or after 1 July 2025
  • The Fair Entitlements Guarantee Recovery Program will be recalibrated to pursue unpaid superannuation entitlements owed by employers in liquidation or bankruptcy from 1 July 2024
  • Prior to the Budget the draft of the $3 million super tax legislation was given Senate go-ahead and remains unchanged — it will include the taxing of unrealised gains and no indexation. Read more »

Tax administration

  • The ATO will be given a statutory discretion to not use a taxpayer’s refund to offset old tax debts on hold
  • Indexation of the Higher Education Loan Program (and other student loans) debt will be limited to the lower of either the Consumer Price Index or the Wage Price Index, effective from 1 June 2023
  • A pilot program of matching income and employment data of migrant workers will be conducted between the Department of Home Affairs and the ATO
  • A new ATO compliance taskforce will be established to recover tax revenue lost to fraud while existing compliance programs will be extended.

GST

  • Refunds of indirect tax (including GST, fuel and alcohol taxes) will be extended under the Indirect Tax Concession Scheme.

Small business depreciation — instant asset write-off threshold of $20,000 extended to 2024–25

The instant asset write-off threshold of $20,000 for small businesses applying the simplified depreciation rules will be extended for 12 months until 30 June 2025.

Small businesses (aggregated annual turnover less than $10 million) may choose to calculate capital allowances for depreciating assets under a simplified regime in Subdiv 328-D of ITAA 1997. Under these simplified depreciation rules, an immediate write-off applies for low-cost depreciating assets. The measure will apply a $20,000 threshold for the immediate write-off, applicable to eligible assets costing less than $20,000 that are first used or installed ready for use by 30 June 2025.

Assets valued at $20,000 or more (which cannot be immediately deducted) can continue to be placed into the small business simplified depreciation pool and depreciated at 15% in the first income year and 30% each income year thereafter. The provisions that prevent small businesses from re-entering the simplified depreciation regime for 5 years if they opt-out will also continue to be suspended until 30 June 2025.

The measure extends a 2023–24 Budget measure to increase the instant asset write-off threshold to $20,000 for the 2023–24 income year. A Bill containing amendments to increase the instant asset write-off threshold for 2023–24 is currently before Parliament. The Bill was amended by the Senate to increase the instant asset write-off threshold for 2023–24 to $30,000 and extend access to the instant asset write-off to entities that are not small business entities but would be if the aggregated turnover threshold were $50 million.

Tax administration

Statutory discretion for ATO to deal with tax refunds and debts on hold

The Commissioner of Taxation will be given the discretion to not use a taxpayer’s refund to offset old tax debts where that debt had been put on hold before 1 January 2017. The tax law will be amended to provide for this ATO discretion which will apply to individuals, small businesses and not-for-profits. The discretion will maintain the ATO’s current administrative approach to such debts.

Student loans indexation reform

Indexation of the Higher Education Loan Program (and other student loans) debt will be limited to the lower of either the Consumer Price Index or the Wage Price Index, effective from 1 June 2023, subject to the passage of legislation. The measure will apply retrospectively.

Data matching program for migrant workers’ income and employment

A pilot program matching income and employment data will be conducted between the Department of Home Affairs and the ATO to mitigate the exploitation of migrant workers and abuse of Australia’s labour market and migration system. This measure forms part of broader reforms to the migration system.

Strengthening ATO ability to combat fraud and extension of compliance programs

The ATO will be provided additional funding to continue various compliance programs. The current ATO Personal Income Tax Compliance Program will be extended for another year from 1 July 2027 to enable the ATO to continue its focus on emerging risks to the tax system. The Shadow Economy Compliance Program and the Tax Avoidance Taskforce will be extended for 2 years from 1 July 2026.

Funding will be provided to the ATO to improve its detection of tax and superannuation fraud, including to upgrade its information and communications technologies to be able to identify and block suspicious activity in real time. A new compliance task force will also be established to recover lost revenue and block attempts to obtain refunds fraudulently. Funding will also be provided to improve ATO’s management and governance of its counter-fraud activities.

The ATO will also be given additional time within which to notify a taxpayer if it intends to retain a business activity statement (BAS) refund for further investigation. The current required notification period of 14 days will be extended to 30 days, aligning it with time limits for non-BAS refunds. This measure will take effect from the start of the first financial year after assent of the enabling legislation.

2019-20 Budget measure on black economy will not proceed

The 2019–20 Budget measure “Black Economy — Strengthening the Australian Business Number system” will not proceed as integrity issues are being addressed through enhanced administrative processes implemented by the ATO.

GST

Refunds of indirect tax extended under Indirect Tax Concession Scheme

Refunds of indirect tax (including GST, fuel and alcohol taxes) will be extended under the Indirect Tax Concession Scheme (ITCS).

The Square Kilometre Array Observatory (SKAO) will have ITCS access upgraded for additional concessions to be claimed for the purchase of vehicles for personal use by SKAO officials or a member of their family. Additional concessions for commercial rent will also be formalised for existing ITCS packages for Bangladesh, Costa Rica, El Salvador and the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office. Construction and renovation concessions will be formalised for the existing ITCS package for the Netherlands. Concessions for both commercial rent and construction and renovation will be formalised for the existing ITCS package for Pacific Trade Invest.

Superannuation

Super to be paid on government-funded paid parental leave

Superannuation will be paid on government-funded paid parental leave (PPL) for parents of babies born or adopted on or after 1 July 2025. Eligible parents will receive an additional payment based on the superannuation guarantee (12% of their PPL payments), as a contribution to their superannuation fund. Payments will be made annually to individuals’ superannuation funds from 1 July 2026.

Recovery of unpaid super from liquidated or bankrupt employers

The Fair Entitlements Guarantee Recovery Program will be recalibrated to pursue unpaid superannuation entitlements owed by employers in liquidation or bankruptcy from 1 July 2024.

To discuss how these Budget measures impact you or your business, please contact your Allan Hall Advisor.

Full Budget papers are available at budget.gov.au and the Treasury ministers’ media releases are available at ministers.treasury.gov.au.

CONTACT ALLAN HALL BUSINESS ADVISORS

smash piggy bank hammer

Illegal access to superannuation

Accessing your super early may be illegal

There are only a few reasons that you might be allowed to access your super early.

For most people, you can only access your superannuation when:

  • you retire and turn 60
  • you turn 65 (regardless of whether you’re working).

Otherwise, it is illegal.

If you illegally access your super early, you could:

  • lose your retirement savings
  • pay extra tax, penalties and interest
  • be disqualified as a self-managed super fund (SMSF) trustee and have your name published online.

Be careful if someone offers to help you access your super early

Some people may say they can help you set up an SMSF so you can access your super for reasons such as paying off your credit card, buying a house or to go on a holiday. This is not true, it is illegal.

These people (known as ‘promoters’) will often:

  • charge you a lot of money
  • tell you to transfer some or all your super from your existing super fund to the SMSF
  • tell you that you can use as much as you need for personal expenses.

Identity theft

These promoters may also ask for your personal information. If you give it to them, they can steal
your identity.

With your personal information, they can steal your super for themselves.

What should I do?

If a promoter contacts you, call us on 13 10 20 straight away to get advice.

Do not agree to anything and do not sign any documents or give them your personal details.

Don’t access your super before you retire unless you meet one of the conditions that makes it legal to access your super and receive relevant approval.

CONTACT ALLAN HALL SUPERANNUATION

Disclaimer: This article contains general advice only and has been prepared without taking into account particular objectives, financial circumstances and needs. The information provided is not a substitute for legal, tax and financial product advice. Before making any decision based on this information, you should assess its relevance to your individual circumstances. The information provided in this newsletter is objectively ascertainable and therefore does not constitute financial product advice.  If you require personal advice, please contact us to arrange an appointment with one of our licensed SMSF advisors.

payroll

Small Business Superannuation Clearing House Changes

Actionable Update to SMSF Bank Account Validation

ATO update introduces SMSF bank account validation aimed at improving the precision and security of superannuation contributions

Given the proximity of the next SG contribution deadline on 28 April 2024, it is important to take action ahead of this date to prevent potential compliance issues.

Key points

  • The ATO implemented a pivotal update within the Small Business Superannuation Clearing House (SBSCH) on 15 March 2024
  • This new system feature affects all small employers who use the SBSCH to pay superannuation to employee SMSFs
  • The ATO’s validation process requires small employers using the SBSCH to ensure perfect alignment between their employees’ SMSF bank account details and the corresponding fund bank account details recorded by the ATO
  • The validation focuses on the BSB and account number as registered under the SMSF’s Superannuation Role within ATO systems. For any employee where there is no exact match, the SBSCH will not process their superannuation payment.

Action Required: Review Employee Records

The ATO is contacting small employers likely to be impacted by the new SBSCH SMSF bank account validation process.

However, with SG obligations for the March 2024 quarter due no later than 28 April 2024, it is important for small businesses to act proactively.

If you are a small business using the SBSCH, it is important that you contact your employees to confirm that the SMSF bank account they pay superannuation contributions to, is the same as the SMSF bank account registered against the superannuation role with the ATO.

Where employees are unsure how to check if the bank account their employer makes super contributions to is the same as the one registered with the ATO, please contact Allan Hall for assistance on 02 9981 2300.

Should there be a need for an employee to amend SMSF bank details held by the ATO, it is crucial to communicate these changes to all fund members as the ATO will issue email or text alerts to ensure all fund members are informed.

Small employers delaying the review and update of their employees’ SMSF bank records risk facing SG shortfalls and potential penalties as there may be insufficient time to rectify a discrepancy.

CONTACT ALLAN HALL ACCOUNTANTS & BUSINESS ADVISORS

superannuation services

Implications of the proposed $3M Super Tax

Understanding the Implications of the Proposed $3M Super Tax

As the proposed tax on superannuation balances exceeding $3 million draws nearer, individuals potentially affected by this measure are urged to assess its implications thoroughly.

While not yet enacted into law, the Division 296 tax warrants careful consideration in investment strategies, especially concerning end-of-financial-year contributions into super.

  • For those affected, a strategic reassessment may be necessary, considering whether high-growth assets should be held within superannuation, given the potential tax implications
  • Individuals may need to reconsider investment vehicles, balancing tax effectiveness with asset protection
  • Estate planning and succession plans for Self-Managed Superannuation Funds (SMSFs) will require revisitation post-implementation of Division 296 to mitigate unnecessary tax burdens on beneficiaries.

Division 296 legislation proposes an additional 15% tax on investment earnings of super accounts with total super balances (TSB) exceeding $3 million at the end of the financial year.

It’s important to note that this extra tax applies only to the portion exceeding $3 million.

Key aspects of the legislation include the concept of Adjusted Total Super Balance (ATSB), which determines the $3 million threshold. The ATSB calculation by the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) considers the market value of assets regardless of realisation, significantly affecting super funds holding property or speculative assets. Additionally, the legislation introduces a new formula for calculating ATSB for Division 296 purposes.

Under Division 296, deemed earnings exceeding the $3 million threshold will be apportioned and taxed accordingly. Negative earnings in such instances may be carried forward to offset future liabilities.

For those unaffected by Division 296, super remains an attractive option for retirement savings. Making additional contributions prior to EOFY presents an opportunity to maximise savings through various avenues such as concessional and non-concessional contributions, salary sacrifice arrangements, and downsizer contributions.

The draft Treasury Laws Amendment (Better Targeted Superannuation Concessions and Other Measures) Bill 2023, introduced to Parliament in 2023 is currently under scrutiny by the Senate Economics Legislation Committee, with a report expected next month. If passed and granted Royal Assent, Division 296 will come into effect from July 2025.

This forthcoming regulation represents a substantial change to superannuation rules, particularly impacting members with significant account balances. Given its complexity, seeking professional advice is crucial for informed decision-making concerning super and wealth creation strategies in the upcoming years.

CONTACT ALLAN HALL SUPERANNUATION

Further reading

audit & assurance

Safeguarding SMSF Members in an Aging Demographic

Navigating Incapacity

The rising number of older individuals managing their own Self-Managed Superannuation Funds (SMSFs) highlights the importance to address potential issues related to incapacity within this demographic.

The Auditors Institute has stressed the likelihood of an increase in conversations about capacity issues, in particular about establishing processes to address scenarios proactively such as:

  • SMSF members expressing concerns about their own or their spouse’s ability to comprehend complex superannuation concepts should prompt advisers to consider incapacity safeguards
  • The importance of having mechanisms such as a well-defined trust deed, enduring powers of attorney (EPOA) and legal representatives in place to mitigate risks associated with potential incapacity among SMSF members.

The substantial size of SMSF portfolios, with an average balance of approximately $1.39 million, and the collective responsibility held by over a million SMSF members, with an average balance of $745,000, underscores the necessity for proactive discussions surrounding incapacity.

ATO data has shown that approximately 42% of all SMSF members are aged 65 or older, with almost equal representation between males and females.

The need to consider incapacity issues in SMSF management, especially with nearly half of SMSF members being over the age of 65, was emphasised by the ATO’s SMSF statistics for the 2021-22 financial year.

CONTACT ALLAN HALL SUPERANNUATION

cash in a hessian sack

SMSF record-keeping best practices

ATO reminds SMSFs to keep good records

How self-managed super fund (SMSF) trustees can meet their responsibility to keep accurate tax and super records.

Keeping good records

Keeping good records is more than just knowing which records to keep and for how long. It involves having a system for organising and maintaining records that makes it easier for you, and any SMSF professional you use, to:

  • complete the fund’s independent audit each year
  • lodge your fund’s annual return.

It may also help reduce audit and administration costs for your fund.

To help keep your records organised, you may want create separate files for your fund’s more permanent records, and for records that relate to a specific financial year.

For example, in your permanent file you may want to keep:

  • the fund’s trust deed
  • the fund’s investment strategy
  • details of the regular reviews of the fund’s investment strategy, including the consideration of insurance for members of the fund
  • reasons for decisions on the storage of collectables and personal use assets
  • minutes of trustee meetings
  • all signed trustee declarations
  • records of trustees consenting to their appointment as a fund trustee
  • records of all changes in fund members and trustees.

As each SMSF is unique, with its own investment strategies to achieve its objectives, you should consult with a professional licensed adviser when setting up a record-keeping system that suits your fund.

Keeping all relevant records together will simplify the process of compiling the records you need to give to your fund’s independent auditor. If your fund regularly holds trustee meetings, you could create a separate folder for them, and sort them by date.

Take minutes of all investment decisions

You should take minutes of all investment decisions, including:

  • why a particular investment was chosen
  • whether all trustees agreed with the decision.

This is because if you, as one of the fund’s trustees, invest the SMSF’s money in an investment that fails, the other trustees could take action against you for failing to be diligent in your duties.

However, if your investment decision was recorded in meeting minutes signed by the other trustees, you will have a record to show that they agreed with your actions.

Signature requirements for financial statements

Under Australia’s super laws, SMSF trustees must sign their SMSF’s financial statements before finalising their annual audit. This includes an operating statement and a statement of financial position which must be signed by the required number of trustees or directors of the corporate trustee.

Minimum record-keeping requirements

The most important reason for keeping good records is that it’s a legal requirement for you to do so. You may also need to provide accurate records to us if we ask to see them.

You need to keep any SMSF records for a minimum of 5 years.

Despite what you may have heard or read elsewhere, you cannot access your super before you retire unless you meet one of the very few exceptions to this fundamental rule of super law. Read more »

CONTACT ALLAN HALL SUPERANNUATION

July

Super contribution caps increase from July

Contribution caps to increase from 1 July 2024

Following the release of the latest Average Weekly Ordinary Time Earnings (AWOTE) index, the expected increase to the contribution caps from 1 July 2024 has been confirmed.

As a result, from 1 July 2024:

  • The standard Concessional contribution cap will increase from $27,500 to $30,0001.
  • The Non-concessional contribution cap, which is expressed as 4 times the standard concessional contribution cap, will increase from $110,000 to $120,0002.
  • The maximum Non-concessional cap available, under the Non-concessional contribution bring-forward provisions, will increase from $330,000 to $360,0003.
  • The Total Superannuation Balance Thresholds, used to determine the maximum amount of bring-forward Non-concessional contributions available to an individual, will also be adjusted.

The Non-concessional contribution caps and thresholds are summarised in the table below:

TSB at 30 June 2024Maximum available NCC CapMaximum available NCC Period
< $1.66 Million$360,0003 Years
$1.66 – < $1.78 Million$240,0002 Years
$1.78 – < $1.9 Million$120,0001 Year
$1.9 Million (and above)$0N/A
Non-concessional contribution caps and thresholds

In addition to the adjusted contribution caps and thresholds outlined above, several other thresholds will also be impacted including:

  • the eligibility thresholds for the Superannuation Government Co-Contribution
  • the CGT Contribution cap (which applies following the sale of eligible small business assets)
  • the Low-Rate Cap (which applies to the tax treatment of superannuation withdrawals)
  • Redundancy tax-free thresholds, and
  • The Superannuation Guarantee maximum contribution base.

The General Transfer Balance Cap, which is indexed according to movements in the Consumer Price Index (CPI), had already been confirmed as remaining set to $1.9 Million for the 2024-25 financial year.

CONTACT ALLAN HALL SUPERANNUATION

Allan Hall Financial Planning team with Mark O'Connell in centre

Allan Hall Financial Planning retirement

Mark O’Connell Farewelled after a Decade of Outstanding Service

As the curtains drew to a close on 31 December 2023, the Allan Hall Financial Planning team bid a fond farewell to one of its senior advisors, Mark O’Connell, who retired after an illustrious 10-year career with the company.

Mark’s invaluable contribution to the financial planning team has left an indelible mark on Allan Hall, and his retirement is celebrated as a well-deserved culmination of a successful career.

During his time, Mark played a pivotal role in shaping the success and growth of Allan Hall Financial Planning. His dedication and expertise were instrumental in establishing the firm as a trusted name in financial advisory services and the team is grateful for the wealth of knowledge and experience he brought to the table.

The Allan Hall Financial Planning team, now under the capable leadership of Robin Bell, consists of three advisers and three support staff, all of whom boast extensive knowledge and experience in the financial services industry. The team prides itself on its commitment to providing comprehensive financial planning advice, covering areas such as wealth accumulation, retirement planning, wealth protection, superannuation, investments, and personal and business insurance.

Over the last 12 months, Mark’s valued clients have undergone a seamless transition to two highly qualified advisers within the team — Martin Cimino and Angelo Adam. Martin, who joined the team in February 2023, brings a wealth of experience from a successful stint as a partner/director of a financial planning company, where he also served as a Senior Private Wealth Adviser since 2010. Angelo, an adviser since 2019, has been instrumental in assisting clients with their personal insurance needs.

Allan Hall Financial Planning takes pride in its diverse and loyal client base. Situated in the ‘Lifestyle Working’ building in the heart of Sydney’s Northern Beaches, the office provides a modern and inviting environment for both clients and employees. The open-air meeting spaces and light-filled offices foster innovation and vitality in the workplace, making it an ideal setting for client interactions.

As an integral part of Allan Hall Business Advisors, the financial planning team collaborates closely with accountants, tax advisors and SMSF specialists. Acting as a ‘financial coach,’ the team ensures that clients’ financial and lifestyle goals are thoroughly understood and met across various areas. This holistic approach sets Allan Hall Financial Planning apart, making it a trusted partner in guiding clients through their financial journey.

Mark O’Connell’s retirement may mark the end of a chapter, but the legacy of his contribution endures as Allan Hall Financial Planning continues its commitment to excellence and client satisfaction. The team looks forward to the future, building upon the foundation laid by Mark and embracing new opportunities for growth and success.

CONTACT ALLAN HALL FINANCIAL PLANNING

Compliance cogs

Understanding Director Penalty Notices

Navigating the ATO’s Enforcement Measures

In the complex territory of tax obligations, the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) is actively deploying Director Penalty Notices (DPN) at an average rate of 60 per day, as revealed by the ATO themselves.

A DPN does not confer liability upon directors for outstanding company debt, as directors are inherently liable by law. Rather, it serves as a formal notification that initiates a countdown, compelling directors to either remit the debt promptly or confront the ensuing consequences.

There are imperative steps for directors to take in response to a DPN:

  1. Complete business lodgements even if there is an inability to pay associated liabilities such as PAYG, GST and superannuation
  2. Ensure business address accuracy on ASIC’s register
  3. Seek advice from a liquidator if you are unable to meet the DPN amount.

Lockdown DPNs

A lockdown DPN comes into play when a company fails to lodge Business Activity Statements (BAS) and Instalment Activity Statements (IAS) within three months of the due date or Superannuation Guarantee Charge (SGC) statements within one month and 28 days after the quarter’s end to which the superannuation charge contribution relates. In such cases, directors face automatic and permanent exposure to penalties, with the sole remedy being full payment of the debt.

Non-lockdown DPNs

Conversely, a non-lockdown DPN provides directors with a 21-day window to consider options for remitting the applicable tax (penalty). The available choices include paying the debt, appointing a voluntary administrator, engaging a small business restructuring practitioner or appointing a liquidator. Failure to act within this timeframe results in the penalty becoming permanent, empowering the ATO to initiate debt recovery proceedings.

Adding a layer of complexity, the ATO now issues DPNs that break down amounts owed into lockdown (monthly unremitted amounts) and non-lockdown (monthly remitted amounts) columns.

Navigating the intricacies of DPNs can be challenging for directors, so engaging with a qualified tax advisor is crucial to gaining the necessary support and understanding:

  • Explaining the mechanics of DPNs
  • Reviewing individual circumstances to provide tailored assistance and outlining options based on unique circumstances
  • Offering support throughout the decision-making process.

In essence, understanding and responding to Director Penalty Notices requires a comprehensive approach, combining intricate tax knowledge and strategic insights, ensuring directors are well-equipped to address these ATO enforcement measures.

CONTACT ALLAN HALL BUSINESS ADVISORS

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