In our final episode before the end of the financial year, Ben and Julia will be exploring the latest tax updates from across Australia, including:
- Important Changes to HECS/HELP Debt – Changes you MUST ACT on quickly! Each year your HECS debt and other student loans are indexed for inflation on the 1st of June. This year the indexation is increasing by 82% to 7.1% from 3.9%. That’s why you need to act.
- Superannuation Contributions before 30 June: A comprehensive guide for maximizing your retirement savings and navigating the complexities of tax-deductible contributions.
- General Tax Return Insight: Timing is crucial when it comes to maximizing your benefits. Learn how to optimize your deductions for the best tax outcome.
- End-of-Year Tax Strategies for Property Investors: Stay ahead of the tax game! To maximize deductions within the new guidelines, it’s crucial to consult with a tax professional. They can provide valuable insights and help you make informed decisions. Don’t leave potential deductions on the table.
- Reminder about Working from Home Expenses: Track your expenses, maximize your deductions! If you’re claiming home office expenses or other mixed-use expenses, like laptops and phones, maintaining a detailed diary is essential.
Tune in now for an informative and essential episode where Ben and Julia break down the latest tax updates to help you stay ahead of the curve.
Watch the video now:
Important Changes to HECS/HELP Debt – changes you MUST ACT on quickl
This is top of the list because you need to act before 1st June 2023. Each year your HECS debt and other student loans is indexed for inflation on the 1st June. This year the indexing is expected to be around 7%.
So, if you have any spare cash that is a very good return on your money.
Don’t think that the amount your employer deducted from your pay over the last year has reduced your debt. That won’t happen until you lodge your tax return.
If this is likely to be your last year of having a HECS debt paying it down right now will effectively give you a 7% discount because you will only have to wait 2 months and you will get your money back in your tax refund. During the year your employer would have deducted HECS from your pay but if you can beg or borrow the amount before 1st June to pay off your debt now then when you lodge your tax return no repayment will be triggered so all that HECS deducted during the year will be refunded to you.
If you do not pay all your HECS debt off, then the ATO will still take some HECS out of your refund when you lodge your tax return. But at least you have made 7% on the money you did pay and that will compound. The uplift factor is likely to be significant next year too. A lower balance will save you money every year.
To find out whether you are getting close to paying off your HECS debt this year have a look on MYGOV for the amount and here to work out how much you are likely to have to pay if you wait until you lodge your tax return. https://www.ato.gov.au/Rates/HELP,-TSL-and-SFSS-repayment-thresholds-and-rates/#HELPandTSLrepaymentthresholdsandrates201
Superannuation Contributions before 30 June
If you want to make a superannuation contribution and claim it in your 2023 tax return, you best get a wriggle on. The contribution has to be safely in the superannuation fund by the 30th June. This post addresses the practicalities of making the contribution and dealing with the $27,500 cap.
Measuring the $27,500 cap:
If your employer is also making contributions, then making your own, when you want to go all the way up to your cap is tricky. The cap includes contributions made by your employer. Your payslip may tell you how much super your employer has put aside for you, year to date. That is not really relevant, it is the date that they actually put it into the superannuation fund that matters. As employers have up to 28 days, after the end of the quarter, to contribute, the June contribution could be paid into the fund either side of the 30th June. From your employer’s point of view, they get a tax deduction in the year they actually make the contribution. So, if they are having a good year, they will make it early, possibly giving you 5 quarters of contributions in one year. If they are having a bad year, they may be cash strapped and not make the contribution until the last minute i.e. 28th July and they may have done that last year.
In short, ignore your payslip, log into your superannuation account to find the year to date contributions it has received for you. Then ask your employer whether they are going to make any more contributions, actually into the fund, for you, before 30th June. If they are, add this to the balance already showing in the superannuation fund. Then deduct that total from $27,500 to get the amount you are allowed to contribute without going over your cap.
Catch Up Contributions:
2020 was the first financial year where you are allowed to contribute over and above your cap if you had not used up the full cap in a previous year. The first year that you can look to for an unused cap is the 2018-2019 financial year and you can only look back 5 years, once we get that far away from 2018-2019. The cap up until the 2021-2022 year was $25,000 from 2021-2022 it is $27,500. Warning – you can only qualify to take advantage of this if your superannuation balance at 1st July 2019 was under $500,000.
What if you go over and you have no Unused Cap Saved?
This will be fine as long as you have not fully used up your non tax deductible contributions cap of $110,000 per year. You can still put the money into the superannuation fund and if when it all settles after 30th June, you find you are over the $27,500 you simply notify your superannuation fund that you will not be claiming that excess as a tax deduction. The up side of this is there will be no contributions tax payable on that excess and no penalty. You just won’t get a tax deduction for that excess and it is now locked away in the fund until retirement. If you are close to retirement anyway, that might not be a bad thing.
How to actually make a super contribution for yourself:
The best way is to electronically transfer the funds with the right code. This code not only makes sure the contribution goes against your account; it also describes what sort of contribution it is. You need to contact your fund to get that code. They all seem to have different terminology in their call centres, so it is important to make the following things clear to them.
- You are making the contribution for yourself; it is not an employer contribution.
• You are going to claim the contribution as a tax deduction in your personal tax return, so you need them to send out the form for your Accountant to complete.
Getting Around Div 293:
If your adjusted taxable income is above $250,000 the ATO will send you a bill for another 15% tax on your concessional superannuation contributions, that is super contributions that your employer has made and ones you have made for yourself that were taxed at 15% rather than your marginal tax rate.
The term $250,000 in adjusted taxable income means that (among other things such as rental property losses) any extra superannuation contributions that you claim a tax deduction for will be added back so that won’t help you bring your adjusted taxable income down.
The definition of superannuation contributions that will be added back are those that are treated concessionally, that is the key. Now odds are if you are on more than $250,000 a year you are already using up your $27,500 maximum concessional contributions cap through the employer superannuation guarantee.
So, if you were to make a further superannuation contribution for yourself and claim a tax deduction for it the ATO would pick this up and make you pay a top up tax to bring the tax paid on the contribution up to the maximum tax rate. You can pay this top up tax direct or it can be paid by your superannuation fund. As these contributions over the $27,500 cap are no longer concessionally taxed they no longer added back.
For example, if say you were earning $280,000 in taxable income you could put $30,000 into super and claim a tax deduction for it in your tax return bringing your taxable income down to $250,000 so no Div 293 on the $27,500 your employer contributed. The $30,000 is still tax deductible in your tax return but it is not added back because it does not received concessional treatment in the super fund because the top up tax is triggered.
The top up tax just means you end up paying the tax that you would have paid had you taken the amount as wages but you have saved $4,125 in Div 293 tax. The only downside is you have more money locked away in super until you retire.
Careful – Make sure that you have not used up all of your non concessional cap. Seek advice if you have been making contributions for superannuation that you have not been claiming a tax deduction for.
Important to Note:
You should get advice to make sure it is appropriate for you to make a contribution. For example, you need to be under 75 years of age. Note if you are between 67 and 74 years of age you need to meet a work test of 40 hours within 30 days, in the year you are making the contribution. You may qualify for an exemption from the work test if your super balance at the end of the previous financial year was under $300,000 and you satisfied the work test in that year.
With all these strategies it is imperative that your superannuation fund receives the contribution well before 30th June 2023. Some funds have close off dates a couple of days before hand and some of the processing methods can delay your contribution by up to 2 weeks.
The rules are inconsistent and complex so it is important to get advice on your particular circumstances.
Tax Deductible Contributions for Yourself – The maximum amount of concessional contributions for 2023 is $27,500. This includes your employer’s contributions. If you are looking to maximise this you will need to find out how much your employer has already contributed but also how much they intend to do before the 30th June. This is the trap they may not have put your June 2022 contributions into the super fund until July 2022 and the same or a different miss match could happen at the end of this financial year. If you make a contribution for yourself you can claim it as a tax deduction in your tax return effectively increasing your tax refund by the amount of the contribution multiplied by your rate of tax.
If since the 2019 financial year you have at times not used up your full concessional (deductible) contributions cap you can use the unused portion from previous years to increase your cap for this or future years. These carry-forward unused contributions are only available for a period of 5 consecutive financial years. Be mindful if your superannuation balance is over $500,000 at 30 June of the previous financial year you will not eligible to use carry-forward contributions.
For all the details on how to go about this https://www.bantacs.com.au/Jblog/how-to-make-your-own-super-contributions/#more-636
If your spouse’s assessable income is under $37,000 then you can contribute up to $3,000 into superannuation for them and qualify for a tax offset of 18% of the amount contributed, the maximum offset is $540. This tax offset increases your refund by up to $540.
The offset reduces as your spouse’s income goes over $37,000 and no offset is available once your spouse’s income reaches $40,000. Careful the $37,000 is assessable income so no deductions are allowed which is difficult if your spouse has a rental property or sole trader business.
Further, the assessable income is increased by any reportable employer superannuation contributions or fringe benefits. Additional conditions are that your spouse must be under 75 years of age (meet the work test if older than 66), not have made more than $110,000 in non-deductible superannuation contributions and their balance at 1st July 2022 must have been less than $1.7mil.
If the high-income earner has not maxed out their $27,500 consider whether it is better to make a tax-deductible superannuation contribution for the high income earner or claim a tax offset for a spouse contribution for the low income earner.
The Spouse contribution tax offset is only 18% though the contribution does not get taxed going into the fund. Basically, if the high-income earner’s tax rate is above 33% (15% plus 18%) then a normal deductible contribution will give a better outcome.
This is best explained in numbers. Let’s say you have $4,918 in before tax dollars and your taxable income is between $120,000 and $180,000 so your tax bracket including Medicare is 39%. Note for income between $45,000 and $120,000 the tax rate is 34.5% so not much difference and still above the 33%.
Take the $4,918 as normal take home pay it will be taxed at 39%, leaving you $3,000.
As above but make a spouse contribution with the $3,000 so receive a $540 tax offset. No tax going into the fund.
Put the whole $4,918 into superannuation for yourself taxed at 15%. In the fund’s hands because you are either claiming a tax deduction or Have salary sacrificed the contribution out of before tax dollars.
All the above again but your income is over the $180,000 mark so your tax bracket including Medicare is 47%. In this case it would take $5,660 to give you $3,000 after tax.
Take the $5,660 as normal take home pay it will be taxed at 47%,
leaving you $3,000.
As above but make a spouse contribution with the $3,000 so receive
a $540 tax offset. No tax going into the fund.
Put the whole $5,660 into superannuation for yourself taxed at 15% in the funds hands because you are either claiming a tax deduction or have salary sacrificed the contribution out of before tax dollars.
Put the whole $5,660 into superannuation for yourself but taxed at 30% because you adjusted taxable income is over $250,000.
Clearly it will always be better to make a tax-deductible contribution for the high income earner than a spouse contribution unless the high income earner is earning less than $45,000 or unless the high income earner has already used up their $27,500 concessional cap.
Government Co Contributions – If your income is below $42,016 and you put $1,000 into super without claiming a tax deduction for it the Government will pay $500 into your superannuation account. Neither of these contributions are taxed going into the fund. If you put in less than $1,000 the Government will contribute 50 cents for every dollar you put in. If your income is above $42,016 the co contribution shades out until your income reaches $57,106 where you will not be entitled to any co contribution at all.
Income for the purposes of this test is your income before tax deductions plus reportable fringe benefits and reportable employer super contributions that have received concessional tax treatment going into the fund. If you are in business, you are entitled to reduce this amount by your business tax deductions.
Other conditions are that you need to be less than 71 years old at 30th June 2023 (work test requirement if over 66 years), must not have made more than $110,000 in non-deductible superannuation contributions and your balance at 1st July 2022 must be less than $1.7mil.
High Income Earners Caught in the Div 293 Trap – If your adjusted taxable income is above $250,000 the ATO will send you a bill for another 15% tax on your concessional superannuation contributions, that is super contributions that your employer has made and ones you have made for yourself that were taxed at 15% rather than your marginal tax rate.
The term $250,000 in adjusted taxable income means that (among other things such as rental property losses) any extra superannuation contributions that you claim a tax deduction for will be added back onto your income so that won’t help you bring your adjusted taxable income down. The definition of superannuation contributions that will be added back are those that are treated concessionally, that is the key.
Now odds are if you are on more than $250,000 a year you are already using up your $27,500 maximum concessional contributions cap through the employer superannuation guarantee. So, if you were to make a further superannuation contribution for yourself and claim a tax deduction for it the ATO would pick this up and make you pay a top up tax to bring the tax paid on the contribution up to the maximum tax rate. You can pay this top up tax direct or it can be paid by your superannuation fund. As these contributions over the $27,500 cap are no longer concessionally taxed they no longer added back.
For example, if say you were earning $280,000 in taxable income you could put $30,000 into super and claim a tax deduction for it in your tax return bringing your taxable income down to $250,000 so no Div 293 on the $27,500 your employer contributed.
The $30,000 is still tax deductible in your tax return but it is not added back because it does not receive concessional treatment in the super fund because the top up tax is triggered. The top up tax just means you end up paying the tax that you would have paid had you taken the amount as wages, but you have saved $4,125 ($27,500 x 15%) in Div 293 tax. The only downside is you have more money locked away in super until you retire. Careful – Make sure that you have not used up all of your non concessional cap. Seek advice if you have been making contributions for superannuation that you have not been claiming a tax deduction for as you don’t want this strategy to push you above the non concessional cap.
General Tax Return Insight
You can only pay a maximum of 12 months in advance. In the case of interest payments check if the bank will let you do this and that they do treat it as an interest payment not just let it reduce the loan balance.
If you pay rates, insurance or body corporate fees in advance think carefully about the no more than 12 months in advance rule. If your body corporate fees are already paid up to 31st December 2022 you can’t pay another 12 months’ worth, you need to just pay 6 months extra.
Land tax is treated differently. When you receive land tax assessments in arrears, the amount of land tax is not deductible in the income year in which you pay the arrears. The land tax amounts are deductible in the respective income years to which the liability for the land tax relates.
Be careful, some commercial tenants, for their own tax planning strategy, may want to pay rent in advance. This may suit the tenant but may not suit you the landlord. Unless you can apply the Arthur Murray principle, ie claim that there is a risk that you may have to refund that income. Otherwise, you are stuck with declaring it as income in the year received.
Bringing Forward Tax Deductions and Payments in Advance:
First consider whether you would be better saving the tax deduction for the following year. The tax rates in 2022-2023 and 2023-2024 are going to be the same so a bird in the hand approach is warranted just make sure the deduction you are accelerating doesn’t push you into a lower tax bracket then you expect to be in next year. For example if you are earning $125,000 and you pay for some training course costing $10,000 that will bring your income below $120,000 dropping you from the 39% tax bracket into the 34.5% bracket. A better overall tax outcome would be to claim $5,000 in each year so that the full amount is deducted at 39%.
For Property Investors – It is not just about rushing out and spending some money on your rental property. Improvements will not be deductible at all and plant and equipment purchased now will only qualify for one months depreciation unless it is under $300 per owner of the property. So before you do anything have a read of this https://www.bantacs.com.au/Jblog/year-end-tax-strategies-for-property-investors/#more-991
Businesses Buying Plant and Equipment
Basically, if it is installed ready for use before 30th June 2023 you qualify for immediate write off regardless of the costs. Note the ATO are now letting you choose which piece of equipment you claim an immediate write off for and which you don’t which makes it a lot easier to avoid wasting the tax deduction because it drags you down into such a low tax bracket. From 1st July 2023 the immediate write off amount is only for plant and equipment costing less than $20,000.
If you are thinking of buying energy efficient plant and equipment it is worth waiting until after 1st July 2023 so that you qualify to claim depreciation on 120% of the purchase price. The cap for this sort of expenditure is $100,000 in total but the $100,000 can be made up of multiple items.
Full details are not available yet but examples given in the budget were assets that upgrade to more efficient electrical goods (such as energy-efficient fridges), assets that support electrification (such as heat pumps and electric heating or cooling systems), and demand management assets (such as batteries or thermal energy storage). Certain exclusions will apply such as electric vehicles, renewable electricity generation assets, capital works, and assets that are not connected to the electricity grid and use fossil fuels.
The unlimited plant and equipment immediate write off expires on 30th June 2023. The $20,000 immediate write off and the energy efficient 120% depreciation expire on 30th June 2024.
Vehicles – Make sure you take your speedo reading at the 30th June it could come in handy and is absolutely necessary if you are using a log book.
If you start a logbook now even though the 3 months will not be finished by 30th June 2023 you will still be able to use it for your 2023 tax return because it was started in that year.
If you don’t have a log book you can use the 78 cents a kilometre method providing you keep a record for at least a month of the typical kilometres you travelled all year. This method is limited to 5,000 kms per vehicle per owner of the vehicle. Note if the vehicle is a one tonner or other non car type of vehicle you are not entitled to use the kilometre method.
Make sure you get your 2022 tax return in before the 30th June 2023 if you are receiving Centrelink family payments or you will have to refund what you have received.
If you made a superannuation contribution before 30th June 2022 that you intend claiming a tax deduction for make sure your superannuation fund is aware of your intention before 30th June 2023 or you will lose the opportunity to elect to claim it as a tax deduction.
Allow us to provide you with truly Professional Accounting services. We are not just form fillers. When you have your tax return prepared by a BAN TACS Accountant you will be given tax tips to improve your refund and warnings about traps, directed at your particular circumstances.
Develop a relationship with a BAN TACS Accountant for life because you don’t know what you don’t know. Talk to us about what you are thinking of doing before you do it. Ask about our record keeping spreadsheets to track the tax consequences of what you are doing.
The BAN TACS National Accountants Group has expertise in many different areas of tax and finance. This allows us to provide large firm knowledge and resources while maintaining a small local firm personality.
End of the Year Tax Strategies for Property Investors
Repair, Improvement or Replacement in its Entirety?
This is a fundamental question all property investors need to understand as the tax treatment varies considerably.
With repairs and maintenance, you have to at least incur the expense before the end of this financial year. This means organising for the work to be done even if you have not paid for it yet. This is particularly important if your tenants have moved out and you do not intend re letting the property. If you don’t incur the repairs now you will not be entitled to a tax deduction next year because the property has not earned any rental income in that year. Reference IT 180.
So just what is classed as a repair? Initial repairs are not deductible. If the house needed painting when you bought it then painting it would be an improvement so only depreciated at 2.5%pa. You do not need a quantity surveyors depreciation report to claim the depreciation, you simply need the receipts for the expenses you have incurred.
A repair is not deductible if it is an improvement. An improvement is restoring the property to a condition that is better than the state it was in when you bought it. A repair can become an improvement, if the repair goes beyond just restoring things to their original state, for example replacing a metal roof with tiles is not a repair. But a change is not always an improvement. The ATO says the cost of removing carpets and polishing the existing floorboards is a deductible repair, yet underpinning due to subsidence is considered to be an improvement. Pulling up old floor tiles and replacing them with similar tiles would be a repair as long as the tiles were not in disrepair when you purchased the property.
Take care to perform repairs only when the premises are tenanted or in a period where the property will be tenanted before and after with no private use in the middle. If a property is used only as a rental property during the whole year, then a repair would be fully deductible even though some of the damage may have been done in previous years when the property was used for private purposes.
Don’t replace something in its entirety. For example, replace a worn fence a bit at a time over a few years rather than all at once. Replacing all of the cupboards in a kitchen so they match rather than just the damaged one will mean that none of the expenditure is deductible. Consider just replacing the doors so it is not a replacement in its entirety. On the other hand, replacing a vanity can be deductible as a repair if the pipes from the old vanity are used.
Tree removal is claimable if the trees have become diseased or infested during the time of ownership. Removal is also claimable if the tree is causing damage such as roots interfering with pipes, but not if the damage was present when you purchased the property. If a tree is removed because it may cause damage in the future or you are fed up with the leaf litter that has always happened since you bought the property, then you are making an improvement which is not tax deductible, it will only be useful in your CGT calculation.
As plant and equipment are usually depreciated over many years buying them towards the end of the financial year could mean you only qualify for one month’s depreciation which would be a very small fraction of what you have spent. Don’t forget, unless it is brand new to you, there is no tax deduction. The immediate write off concessions do not apply to items used to produce a passive income.
Plant and Equipment costing $300 or less, per owner, can be written off immediately. A rangehood costing $500 can be written off immediately if the property is owned as joint tenants. Like items must be added together when applying the $300 test so it may be better to buy one set of curtains this year and wait until July before you buy the next set. Items costing under $1,000 per owner, will qualify for depreciation of 18.75% in the first year, regardless of when you purchase them, then 37.5% in following years. A $1,900 hot water system for a property owned by 2 people would qualify as under $1,000.
Another thing to consider is whether you would be better saving the tax deduction for the following year.
In the 2022-2023 and future years there will be no Low to Middle Income Tax Offset so many taxpayers are in for a shock when they lodge there tax return. There refund could be reduced by as much as $1,500. From 1st July 2024 taxpayers earning over $45,000 but under $200,000 will pay a maximum tax rate of 30% plus Medicare.
Reminder on Working from Home claims
Diaries – To claim home office expenses, laptops, phones, internet, basically any expenses that has a mixture of private and work use you will need to keep a diary for at least one month before 30th June, 2023. In the case of home office the diary has to be for the full year starting from 1st March 2023. The following blog has all the details on how to keep the records you need.
There is also a diary spreadsheet available in our shopping section.
Free Stuff Mentioned…
- Are you on the hunt for an expert tax accountant? Book a FREE consultation with one of our qualified tax accountants here >>
- See the previous Episodes here:
- Ep 1: The Top 5 Tax Rules Every Property Investor Must Understand
- Ep 2: (Part 1) Tax Planning Tips to Maximise your Returns
- Ep 2: (Part 2) Tax Planning Tips to Maximise your Returns
- Ep 3: Your Ultimate Guide To Reducing Tax on Vehicles, Private Insurance & Land
- Ep 4: Navigating Tax Changes in 2023: Updates to Remote Work Claims, Renting And Victoria’s New Tax Grab