In this issue...

  Groundhog Year: Will 2018 Be The Same As 2017 For You? 
As we close out the calendar year most of us will head off for some well-earned time off work to spend with our family and friends.

It is during this time off that we can draw breath from the "busyness" of life and slow down. For many of us this time will be used to engage in one of the key characteristics of successful individuals - reflection.

Remember the maxim "doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result is the definition of insanity". Reflection is the chance to break out of your insanity.

Too often during the year we are too busy being busy and don't stop and reflect on what we are doing and whether it is goal achieving or just tension relieving. This holiday spend some time reflecting on your 2017 year and ask yourself what worked, what did not, what should you stop doing and what should you start doing?

If that is too much, then just ask yourself - if you could repeat 2017 what would you do differently?

The answers to these questions will be the formation of your new plan for 2018 - whether that is a business, wealth or lifestyle plan. From here it's an identification of the monthly, weekly and daily disciplines to bring about the changes required.

Remember - you can't change your destination overnight but you can change your direction.

What will be your new direction in 2018?

  Strategies For Digital Growth
In a digital world full of disruptors, change is the new norm. Businesses that fail to keep up with technological advancements and let go ofopportunities are essentially kicking themselves in the foot.

Although technological change can be intimidating for small business owners, there is no running from it. An increasing amount of customers are turning to online solutions when searching for products and services, so it is essential to get your digital affairs in order or risk getting left behind.

Here are three ways to turbocharge your business' digital growth for success:

Prioritise innovation

Innovation requires time and effort. Put aside time during the working week to meet with staff to discuss ideas and solutions. Making a habit of this is particularly important as it encourages staff to be prepared to think outside the box on a regular occasion. Meeting weekly is especially important as things can change very quickly in the fast-paced digital environment.

Streamline business processes to minimise time wasting activities. For example, automate email systems, switch to cloud data storing, stick to a strict agenda during meetings and so forth. The time you free up can be used for innovative activities such as idea generation, brainstorming and big picture thinking.

Embrace change

Change needs to be viewed as an opportunity rather than met with resistance. Creating a culture that embraces change rather than one that fears it is the key to business performance and growth. Although changing culture is not a quick process, there are ways to slowly introduce the idea of positive change. For example, providing positive feedback, professional development, celebrating positive changes in the workforce and reframing new processes, ideas, products, services, etc. in a way that will benefit employees.

Tailor your messaging

It would be unwise to expect all of your customers to fit into the same profile. Segmenting your target audiences according to demographics, behavioural patterns, location-based factors and psychographics (attitudes, values, interests, personality) helps to tailor your campaigns for different target audiences. This helps to reach the right audience with your marketing efforts, ensuring you don't waste your precious marketing dollars.

  Harris Black's Digital Toolbox – "LinkedIn" 
Digital technology provides great opportunities to amplify the impact of your business activities and practices.

Gone are the days where you need to do everything manually within your practice like ordering, logistics, payments and receipts, marketing, HR, motor vehicle log book and so many more.

Every month, Harris Black will showcase a digital tool that will surely improve awareness, knowledge management, communication, and productivity within your business practice.

In this issue, we give you LinkedIn.

LinkedIn is a social media for people in business. Mainly used for professional networking including employers posting current job vacancies and job seekers posting their Curriculum Vitae.

With LinkedIn, you can connect to people in your network including fellow employees at your company, stay up to date with the latest business and industry news, follow companies and professionals you admire and find your way to you next dream job.

What is LinkedIn
Source: LinkedIn Youtube

By using LinkedIn and following the right people and organisations can be a great source of both information and inspiration.

The Harris Black LinkedIn page is updated weekly with business and legislative news and general commentary on what is happening around the world of business. If you are one of the 500 million LinkedIn users around the world then we'd love to communicate with you!

Follow our Harris Black LinkedIn page by clicking here.

  Harris Black Top 10 – Christmas Lights Display Around Brisbane 
It's the most wonderful time of the year again and with Christmas only days away… everyone is excited!

In this month's edition of Harris Black Top 10, we will feature 10 houses around Brisbane with a must-see Christmas lights display.

So pile the kids up into the car and let's start touring!

1. Addison Court, Morayfield
2. Huron Street, Banyo
3. Board Street, Deagon
4. Gordons Crossing Road East, Joyner
5. Curragundi Road, Jindalee
6. Hawk Place, Sinnamon Park
7. Everard Street,Westlake
8. Lacewood Circuit, Warner
9. Brandella Place, Belmont
10. Lucy Drive, Edens Landing

Merry Christmas everyone! 

  Casuals May Soon Have Rights To Become Permanent Staff 
In the Fair Work Commission's (FWC) 4 yearly review of modern awards, the FWC has developed a draft model for 85 modern awards to contain a provision which will allow casual employees to request full-time or part-time employment after 12 months of employment.

The model provision includes:
  • a qualifying period of 12 calendar months;
  • a qualifying criterion that the casual employee has over the qualifying period worked a pattern of hours on an ongoing basis which, without significant adjustment, could continue to be performed in accordance with the full-time or part-time employment provisions of the relevant award;
  • the employer must provide all casual employees (whether they become eligible for conversion or not) with a copy of the casual conversion clause within the first 12 months after their initial engagement; and
  • a conversion may be refused on the grounds that it would require a significant adjustment to the casual employee's hours of work to accommodate them in full-time or part-time employment in accordance with the terms of the applicable modern award, or it is known or reasonably foreseeable that the casual employee's position will cease to exist, or the employee's hours of work will significantly change or be reduced within the next 12 months, or on other reasonable grounds based on facts which are known or reasonably foreseeable.
Although this provision is still in draft phase, the Full Bench will make its final determination later this month. Employers should prepare for these changes by seeking early advice and creating a process for dealing with employee requests.

  New Passive Income Test For Lower Corporate Tax Rate  
The Federal Government has recently introduced a Bill into Parliament to ensure that companies with more than 80% passive income will not qualify for the reduced company tax rate.

Under the Bill's changes to the Income Tax Rates Act 1986, calculations of a business's "passive income" would include:
  • distributions by corporate tax entities (other than non-portfolio dividends);
  • franking credits attached to such distributions;
  • non-share dividends;
  • interest;
  • interest;
  • interest;
  • royalties;
  • rent;
  • gain on qualifying securities;
  • net capital gains; and
  • amounts included in the assessable income of partners in a partnership or beneficiaries of a trust estate that are referable to another base rate entity passive income amount.
At the time of writing, the Bill is still before the Parliament. When passed, it will apply from the 2017–2018 income year.
The lower company tax rate of 27.5% is available in 2017–2018 for small businesses and corporate base rate entities with turnover of less than $25 million.

You must also "carry on a business" to be eligible for the lower corporate tax rate – read on to find out more about what this means for companies.

  Identification Numbers For Directors: An Icarus Moment For Phoenix Activities?  
The Government has announced a package of reforms to combat phoenix activities, including the introduction of a Director Identification Number (DIN).

Phoenixing involves deliberately transferring assets from a failed or insolvent company to a new company, with the intention to avoid paying the original company's creditors, tax and employee entitlements (that is, the new company illegally "rises from the ashes" of the indebted company).

The DIN would identify each director with a unique number, allowing regulators to map the relationships directors have with entities and other people.

  ATO Guidance: What Is "Carrying On A Business"?  
The ATO has issued a draft taxation ruling to explain the factors it will consider when deciding whether a company (incorporated under the Corporations Act 2001) is "carrying on a business". This is one of the tests companies and small businesses must pass to be eligible for the lower corporate tax rate.

It's not possible to definitively state whether a company carries on a business, but the draft ruling says that ATO will consider a range of indicating factors. Specifically, a company is likely to be carrying on a business if it:
  • is established and maintained to make a profit for its shareholders; and
  • invests its assets in gainful activities that have both a purpose and prospect of profit.
Wondering whether you can access the reduced corporate tax rate? Talk to us today to find out more about how the passive income and carrying on a business tests apply to your situation.

  Legislation For First Home Super Saver Scheme And Downsizer Super Contributions  
A Bill has been introduced into Parliament to establish the First Home Super Saver (FHSS) scheme and allow people aged 65 or over to make "downsizer contributions" to their super.
The FHSS scheme will allow people to make voluntary contributions into super, take advantage of the associated tax concessions, and later withdraw the contributions and associated earnings to buy their first home.

The downsizer contribution changes will allow older Australians who sell their main residence from 1 July 2018 to make non-deductible contributions of up to $300,000 to their superannuation from the sale proceeds.

  No GST On Digital Currency: Bill 
The GST Act (A New Tax System (Goods and Services Tax) Act 1999) is being amended to ensure that digital currency, such as Bitcoin, is disregarded for GST purposes unless the supply is made in exchange for a payment of money or digital currency.

To achieve this, a definition of "digital currency" will be inserted into the GST Act. Under the new definition, a digital currency has broadly the same features as state fiat currencies (legal tender). In particular, the value of a digital currency must derive from the market's assessment of its value. A digital currency's value cannot be based on the value of anything else, so it must not have, for example, a value pegged to Australian or United States dollars.

The currency units must be useable as consideration for any type of supply, and must be generally available to the public.

Units will not be considered digital currency if they give the holder benefits (such as memberships or vouchers), other than entitlements incidental to holding the unit or using it as consideration.

When the new definition passes into law, no GST will apply for supplies of digital currency made on or after 1 July 2017.

    Superannuation Guarantee 
Crackdown on employer non-compliance

The Government has announced a package of reforms to give the ATO near-real-time visibility over employers' superannuation guarantee (SG) compliance. The package includes measures to:
  • require super funds to report contributions at least monthly to the ATO;
  • roll out Single Touch Payroll (STP); and
  • give the ATO the ability to seek court-ordered penalties in severe cases of non-payment.

Salary sacrifice integrity

Legislation has also been introduced to prevent employers from using an employee's salary sacrifice contributions to reduce the employer's own minimum SG contributions. This change would apply to working out employers' SG shortfalls for quarters beginning on or after 1 July 2018.

    Fringe Benefits Tax: Should An Uber Be Treated As A Taxi?  
Earlier in 2017, the Federal Court ruled that UberX drivers must be registered for GST, because they supply "taxi travel". There has beenmuch discussion of this finding since, and the ATO is now examining whether Uber trips should be eligible for the "taxi travel" FBT exemption.

The FBT exemption, introduced in 1995, currently only applies to travel in a vehicle that is state or territory licensed to operate as a taxi. However, with the Federal Court's decision on GST for Uber, and some recent state and territory moves towards licensing changes, the ATO has decided to review its interpretation of the definition of "taxi" in the FBT law.

Any benefit arising from taxi travel by an employee is exempt from FBT if the travel is a single trip that begins or ends at the employee's workplace.

    Financial Review: Top 100 Accounting Firms  

As founding partner of Brentnalls Accounting Affiliation, a group of seven independent accounting firms operating around Australia and New Zealand, Harris Black is proud to be ranked number 25 in the Australian Financial Review Top 100 Accounting Firms.

The growth of all firms in the affiliation is a testament to the model and culture of the group where the focus is on being better positioned to help our clients and strong alliance driven collaboration.

The list is produced by the Australian Financial Review in partnership with Chartered Accountants ANZ. You can review the entire list and read more here.

    Charity - Camp Quality  
Over the last 6 months, Harris Black is proud to have supported Camp Quality, raising funds for children who have been diagnosed with cancer. Several activities have been organised to raise funds for this chosen charity.

Last October, Team Harris Black joined a TRL Charity cup held at JF O' Grady Memorial Park in Fairfield. The team placed second in the competition.

Team Harris Black: 2nd Place TRL Charity Cup

Harris Black also held a tennis tournament to raise further funds for Camp Quality. Harris Black employees, partners and children participated. After a lot of fun, Brendan Power and Daniel Huynh were named as the "Champions of the Tennis Court" with Freddie Power and Robbie Power runners up showcasing the tennis prowess of the Power family.

Final Round: Team Brendan & Daniel vs. Team Freddie & Robbie

Charity chocolate boxes and lollies were also organised in the office for some sugar rush to help raise funds for the charity.

To date the whole Harris Black team have raised $2,102.31 for Camp Quality.

Click here to visit our charity page.

Well done team!

    Important Tax Dates  
21 December 2017
  • November Monthly Activity Statements – final date for lodgement and payment
15 January 2018
  • Due date for lodgement of income tax returns for companies and trusts that were taxable medium to large taxpayers in the prior year and are not required to lodge earlier.
21 January 2018
  • December monthly activity statements – final date for lodgement and payment.
  • Quarter 2 (October–December) PAYG instalment activity statement for head companies of consolidated groups – final date for lodgement and payment.
28 January 2018
  • Due date for super guarantee contributions, for quarter 2, (October–December) – contributions to be made to the fund by this date.
31 January 2018
  • TFN Report - Quarter 2 (October–December) TFN report for closely held trusts for TFNs quoted to a trustee by beneficiaries – final date for lodgement. 

    Office Christmas Holiday Closure 

Harris Black office will be closed from 10:30am Friday 22 December 2017 and will re-open for business 8:30am Monday 8 January 2018.

Wishing you a wonderful Christmas break with family and friends!

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This newsletter is for guidance only, any professional advice should be obtained before acting on any information contained herein. Neither the publisher nor the distributors can accept any responsibility for loss occasioned to any person as a result of action taken or refrained from in consequence of the contents of this newsletter. We recommend that you contact your Harris Black team member before making any decision to discuss your particular requirements or circumstances.  

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Since 1994, Harris Black has been providing accounting and advisory services to our valued clients to help them achieve their business and personal wealth goals.


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Harris Black is a key participant in a network of nationally affiliated independent chartered accounting firms called the Brentnalls Group.


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