Charity – MND and Me Foundation

Harris Black is proud to be supporting the “MND and Me Foundation”.

The MND and Me Foundation was established by Scott Sullivan, who was diagnosed with Motor Neurone Disease (MND) in 2010 at the age of 38. The foundation specifically focuses on supporting Queenslanders living with MND. The funds raised through donations are used to improve the level of care of Queenslanders living with MND by enabling easier access to equipment, carer services and support groups. The foundation also funds research to help find treatments and a cure for MND.

Over the next 3 months, the team at Harris Black will be raising funds through various activities, such as lunch fundraising and a special morning tea which will include some HB Corporate Games.

To find out more about the MND and Me Foundation, visit their website here.

CAANZ Employment Evening

Wednesday, 13 March 2019 saw the Harris Black team return to participate in this year’s Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand’s (CAANZ) Employment Evening.

The Employment Evening is a colourful event with invited chartered accountants such as Harris Black manning ‘expo style’ booths that are visited by hundreds of soon to be graduating accounting students. This year the Harris Black booth was manned by Director, Renee Bettenay, Workflow Manager, Kathryn Healy and key accountants, Lucy Moore and Daniel Wattimena. Across the evening our HB team spoke with many hopeful students regarding the opportunities and benefits of working with the Harris Black Team. Additionally, Renee and Kathryn sat with individual students for Mock Interviews which were designed to give attendees a taste of the interview process in the business world. This was a great opportunity for Harris Black to connect with upcoming graduates with a view to possible future employment.

As is our way, the Harris Black team went all out not only with supportive and informative conversation but on booth decoration also! Our booth was quite impressive and well visited with balloons, banners, merchandise giveaways, a guessing competition and a basket of goodies for the winner… Attendees were keen to spend time with the HB team and our staff were well engaged in conversation for the full 3 hours, answering questions, providing support and discussing the advantages of working with a firm such as Harris Black.

The HB Team enjoyed the event immensely and offer their congratulations to CAANZ on another well run Employment Evening event!

ATO Issuing Excess Super Contributions Determinations

The ATO has begun issuing determinations to people who exceeded their concessional superannuation contributions cap for the 2017–2018 financial year. These determinations will also trigger amended income tax assessments and additional tax liabilities. Individuals can elect for the ATO to withdraw their excess contributions from their super fund to pay any additional personal tax liability.

TIP: Concessional contributions include all employer contributions, such as the 9.5% superannuation guarantee and salary sacrifice contributions, and personal contributions for which a deduction has been claimed.

You have 60 days from receiving an ECC determination to elect to release up to 85% of your excess concessional contributions from your super fund to pay your amended tax bill. Otherwise, you will need to fund the payment using non-superannuation money.

Home Office Running Expenses And Electronic Device Expenses

The ATO has released an updated version of Practice Statement PS LA 2001/6, its guidance on calculating and substantiating home office running expenses and electronic device expenses that are claimed as tax deductions.

The basic principles have been amended to emphasise that you must actually incur the expenses you claim, and that there must be a real connection between your use of a home office or device and your income-producing work. On the other hand, the requirement that your income-producing use must be substantial – not merely incidental – has been removed.

There is new information on what type of evidence you need to be keep, and the cents per hour rate you can claim for eligible home office running expenses has increased from 45 cents to 52 cents per hour, effective from 1 July 2018.

Resolving Tax Disputes: Government To Help Small Businesses

The Federal Government intends to make it easier, cheaper and quicker for small businesses to resolve tax disputes with the ATO. It will establish a Small Business Concierge Service within the Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman’s office to provide support and advice about the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) process to small businesses before they make an application. The government will also create a dedicated Small Business Taxation Division within the AAT.

Common FBT Errors Employers Make

The end of the FBT year is fast approaching and the ATO has revealed certain areas of concern for employers.

Living-away-from-home allowance (LAFHA)

An allowance to compensate employees living away from home to work, employers are susceptible to claim reductions for ineligible employees, not obtaining the required declarations from employees, and claiming deductions for exemptions (such as invalid accommodation and food components).

Provided motor vehicles

Employers are reportedly not declaring the use of employer-provided motor vehicles on FBT returns, resulting in inconsistent exemption applications and additional compliance costs. A car benefit can be taxable even if the employee has not driven the car – it only has to be available for their private use.

Employee contributions

The ATO has identified that employers are often not able to show the employee’s obligation to make an employee contribution. Without an agreement in place with the employee, employers are unable to offset an existing liability. It has also been reported that employers have been taking advantage of excess employee contributions from one fringe benefit type to offset an FBT obligation relating to another fringe benefit type.

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