Christmas Parties, Gifts And FBT

With the festive season quickly creeping up on us we thought it was important to do a recap on the Fringe Benefits Tax (FBT) rules which apply to Christmas parties.  When it comes to celebration and generosity, the ATO isn’t nearly as merry as the man in the red suit!

So… Is A Staff Christmas Party Tax Deductible?

It depends… Tax laws regarding gifts to employees and clients can be complex.

Gifts and meals and entertainment provided at the Christmas party may attract Fringe Benefits tax, which is tax applied on benefits provided by companies to employees.

Non-entertainment gifts provided to employees are usually exempt from FBT where the total value is less than $300 (including GST).  These include wine, flowers and hampers for example.  The business can also claim a tax deduction and any applicable GST credits.

Providing entertainment through meals or at your Christmas party has different tax implications.  If the cost for each employee is less than $300 (including GST), FBT is not payable, but no tax deduction or GST credit can be claimed.  Examples of entertainment gifts include tickets to the theatre, a movie, sporting event, or gift cards.

A gift and meals/entertainment provided at the Christmas party are viewed as separate benefits for the $300 minor benefits limit, which means employees can have twice the fun without FBT applying.

If you provide an employee with a non-entertainment gift that is more than $300 GST inclusive, FBT may be payable at the rate of 47% on the grossed-up value however a tax deduction and GST credit can still be claimed.

Non-entertainment gifts given to clients and suppliers do not fall within the FBT rules.  Generally, a tax deduction and GST credit can be claimed for gifts to clients, provided they are not excessive.

The best tax outcome for your business this Christmas is keeping to the $300 rule and to give staff, customers and suppliers non-entertainment type gifts.

Are All Body Corporate Fees Tax Deductible?

If you plan to purchase an investment property with a body corporate or strata community in place, keep in mind that you will have to pay body corporate fees—these are levies that the body corporate uses to manage and maintain the property. But not all these amounts are immediately deductible.

Body corporate fees are pooled to fund building insurance, common area maintenance, and building works and repairs. The fees you and other owners pay annually form the body corporate budget, distributed between an administrative fund and a sinking fund for capital works. A special-purpose fund may also be created.

There are three main funds that a body corporate use:

– Administrative fund: This is used to cover day-to-day expenses to maintain and manage the body corporate building. This fund is for things such as common water, common insurance, and management of the body corporate itself.

– General purpose sinking fund: This fund is used to cover non-routine expenses such as major repainting or a roof replacement. The fund is done so that unit owners will not be surprised with a one-off expense that may be large.

– Special purpose fund: This is usually a fund with owners making one-off payments for major works or repairs.

What can you claim a tax deduction for?

You generally can claim a deduction for body corporate fees and charges incurred for your rental property, according to the Australian Taxation Office (ATO).

You can claim a deduction if:

The payments are in relation to administrative funds and general-purpose sinking funds, as they are considered payment for the provision of services by the body corporate

However, you cannot claim a deduction if:

The body corporate requires you to make payments to a special purpose fund to pay for capital expenditure, these levies are not deductible and must be treated as capital expenditure.

The body corporate levies a special contribution for major capital expenses to be paid out of the special purpose fund. Payments to cover the cost of capital improvements or repairs of a capital nature are not immediately deductible. However, you may be able to claim a capital works deduction for the cost of capital improvements or repairs of a capital nature once the cost has been charged to the special purpose fund.

Harris Black Business Leaders Forum – November 2022

Leveraging chaos: How to turn emerging 2023 business trends and leadership challenges into opportunities

As 2023 fast approaches, high performing business leaders will need to embrace the paradox of playing offence and defence simultaneously to thrive in a continuing volatile market. 

In our recent Business Leaders Forum we looked at ‘Leveraging chaos: How to turn emerging 2023 business trends and leadership challenges into opportunities’.  

Discussed on the day:

– Challenging your 2023 team attraction and retention strategies

– How to get 2 hours back into your daily schedule and get rid of to do lists

– How to set your vision for 2023 as a leader

– Emerging trends roundtable – discuss and debate key emerging trends impacting your industry, leaders, and business. 

Overall, it was an impactful forum with attendees walking away with clarity on practical ways they can stress test their plans and approaches to execution for the year ahead. 

If you are interested in joining our practical and high-value learning sessions, we would like to invite you to join us at our next Business Leaders Forum on Thursday 2nd March 2023.  Please refer to your Harris Black team member for details.

Main Residence Exemptions – Capital Gains Tax – Tips And Tricks

Generally, any capital gain on the sale of your Main Residence is free from Capital Gains Tax, however it is not always straightforward.

Your Main Residence must be a “dwelling” and includes up to 2 hectares of adjacent land, to the extent that it is used for private or domestic purposes is association with the “dwelling”.

From May 2017 onwards, a foreign resident individual generally isn’t entitled to the Main Residence Exemption.

  1. Is the property your main residence?

Most importantly, the property must be established as your main residence. 

Factors include:

–           Address on the electoral role, drivers’ licence, mobile phone bill

–           What is your mailing address?

–           Do you have power and internet connected to the property?

–           Family photos

–           Did you move your stuff into the house?

–           Does your family live there?

–           Where do you pay land tax?

There is no minimum timeframe.

2. Can I have two main residences?

There is a six month overlap rule.

However, to use this, you need to live in the old property for at least 3 months in the 12 months prior to sale; and you cannot use the old property to earn rental income in that 12-month period.

3. Can I rent out my main residence and rent somewhere else or go overseas?

There is a six-year absentee rule where you can earn income from your main residence and still claim the main residence exemption when you sell it.

Importantly, it must be established as your main residence first.

Before the six years are up, you can move in and live there again for say 3-6 months and the six-year period starts again.

4. What if I inherit somebody’s main residence?

You can still access the Main Residence Exemption provided both the following conditions are met.

“Dwelling conditions”

Either the deceased acquired the dwelling before September 1985; or the deceased acquired the dwelling after September 1985, and it was their main residence when they died and not being used to produce income at that time.

“Post-death conditions”

The dwelling is sold within 2 years of the deceased’s death.

Brentnalls Conference – Perth October 2022

Harris Black is a member of the Brentnalls Affiliation.  The affiliation is a network of like-minded, independent Chartered Accounting firms across Australia and New Zealand. Member firms are in Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide, Hamilton VIC, Perth and Auckland NZ. Harris Black has been part of this dynamic group of professionals for 25 years. Each of the firms in the affiliation have a similar passion for improving client service and striving for best practice in all areas of business.

On Wednesday 19 October 2022, 3 Harris Black Directors (Brendan, Renee and Nathan) attended the 51st Brentnalls’ conference at the Doubletree Hilton overlooking the Swan River. It is only our second recent in-person conference after we held 3 virtual conferences during Covid.  It was so good seeing each other face-to-face.

Each practice provides an update of the last 6 months, and as we all know each other so well there are many honest success and failures disclosed, which is an amazing learning experience for all attendees. We also benchmark each practice’s financial and human resources circumstances against each other to gain insights into our strengths and weaknesses. These provide great discussion over our evening dinners and a glass of wine (perhaps).

A particular highlight at this conference were 2 external speakers.

Samantha Jackson spoke brilliantly on personal health and had some great stories about some of her client successes including being the Health Coach for Mel Gibson for the last 3.5 years. There was a lot of ferocious notes taking as she pushed us all to improve our eating and fitness habits.

Gihan Perera is a Futurist, and he spoke informatively about the changing world, with very simple examples of the massive changes that have occurred in the last 20 years, and possibly what to expect in the future. In particular, the different mindsets of the different generations (Millennials, GenY, GenX, Baby Boomers etc) and how they react and absorb change.

As always, we ate very well each evening, and the noise generated at dinner was an indication of the great camaraderie and discussions about what we had heard during the day. We are very lucky to be able to meet and share our resources across the Brentnalls group and learn much more quickly based on other practices wins and losses.

Australian Financial Review Top 100 – Brentnalls Ranked 31

Harris Black is proud to be a founding member of the Brentnalls National Affiliation, which has just been ranked 31st in the Australian Financial Review Top 100 Accounting Firms of 2022.

The growth of Harris Black and all firms in the affiliation is a testament to the collaborative model and culture of the group, where the focus is on being better positioned to help our clients achieve their goals.

How can we help you?

Today’s financial environment demands a regular review of strategy and a focus on execution.