As we did in early 2018, in January 2019 Harris Black again participated in the Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand (CAANZ) Achiever Program and offered a couple of accounting graduates the opportunity for a 3 week ‘paid industry experience’ at our firm. The program is designed to give employers such as Harris Black access to some of the most exceptional graduates and in turn to give accounting graduates a real taste of working as a team member in their chosen industry.
The graduates joining Harris Black for the CAANZ Achiever Program were each selected from hundreds of final year tertiary accounting students who applied to be part of the program and were required to participate in quite a rigorous selection process before ending up with placement at Harris Black. The selection regime included an initial online application followed by some serious interactive cognitive testing, a video submission, phone conversations and a personal assessment before finally attending a one on one interview with HB Director, Renee Bettenay.
Prior to last years’ CAANZ Achiever Program, all Harris Black Directors and staff collaborated on an induction and orientation process for use with our visiting CAANZ Achievers which covered all aspects of working as a Harris Black team accountant. It was quite a successful program previously and after some review and update, it was again put into action for our 2019 participants. With an exceptional team effort by all HB staff members, our CAANZ Achievers were able to actively participate in a variety of accounting work under supervision and had opportunity to apply and develop their learning further. Everyone in the HB team participated and had a part to play, something which our visiting grads found incredibly impressive and well exceeded their expectations with regards the attention, support and training they received.
Ultimately, the program was a resounding success for both Harris Black and for participating graduate, Matthew Mok. During a ‘debriefing session’ with Renee towards the end of his stay, Matthew expressed his sincere gratitude and admiration of the Harris Black team culture and their commitment to clients. Harris Black on the other hand were so impressed with Matthew’s ability and enthusiasm over his time with our firm that we offered him a permanent position as a graduate accountant… which he readily accepted!
Welcome to the firm Matthew. All are excited to have you on board!
Superannuation is often the most significant asset in a separated couple’s property pool, particularly for low-income households with few assets. Parties to family law proceedings are already legally required to disclose all of their assets to the court, including superannuation, but in practice parties may forget, or deliberately withhold, information about their super assets.
The Government has announced an electronic information-sharing mechanism to be established between the ATO and the Family Law Courts to allow superannuation assets held by relevant parties during family law proceedings to be identified swiftly and more accurately from 2020. This measure was included as part of a broader financial support package for women announced on in November.
In November 2018, the ATO issued a Super Guidance Note to provide people with general information about how the First Home Super Saver (FHSS) scheme works. The guidance note explains who is eligible to use the scheme, the kind of contributions that can be made and then released from super for buying a first home, how to apply to the ATO for a FHSS determination, and the requirement to purchase a house.
The ATO also issued guidance on the recently enacted downsizer superannuation contribution measures, which allow people aged over 65 to contribute the proceeds from selling certain property into their super.
Some businesses are making simple mistakes reporting their GST. The ATO reminds taxpayers that avoid the following common GST reporting errors:
- transposition and calculation errors – these mistakes often happen when manually entering amounts, so it’s important to double-check all figures and calculations before submitting your BAS;
- no tax invoice – you must keep tax invoices to be able to claim GST credits on business-related purchases;
- transaction classifications – it’s important to check what GST applies for each transaction; for example, transactions involving food may be GST applicable; and
- errors in accounting systems – a system with one coding error can classify several transactions incorrectly.
The company tax rate for base rate entities will now reduce from 27.5% to 26% in 2020–2021, and then to 25% for 2021–2022 and later income years. This means eligible corporate taxpayers will pay 25% in 2021–2022, rather than from 2026–2027.
The new law also increases the small business income tax offset rate to 13% of the basic income tax liability that relates to small business income for 2020–2021. The offset rate will then increase to 16% for 2021–2022 and later income years.
The maximum available amount of the small business tax offset does not change – it will stay capped at $1,000 per person, per year.
Although tax time 2018 is over, the ATO has warned taxpayers and their agents to remain on high alert for tax scams. Scammers are growing increasingly sophisticated and hope to exploit vulnerable people, often using aggressive tactics to swindle people out of their money or personal information.
Be wary if anyone contacts you demanding payment of a tax debt that you didn’t know about. The ATO will never ask you to make a payment into an ATM or using gift or pre-paid cards such as iTunes and Visa cards, and will never you to deposit funds into a personal bank account.
Scammers have been known to impersonate tax agents as well as ATO staff. If you have any doubts about the legitimacy of a phone call or other communication, contact your Harris Black team member or you can call the ATO directly (toll free) on 1800 888 540.