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Aussie workers to be given choice between super increase or wage hike

Aussie workers to be given choice between super increase or wage hike

Election battlelines are being drawn as the government considers a proposal that would force workers to choose between superannuation and take-home pay.

Aussies could be forced to choose between superannuation and take-home pay under a proposal being considered by the federal government.

The government will mull making an increase in superannuation optional, giving workers the choice to receive a pay rise instead, in a bid to resolve internal division over the issue.

The move would draw a key election battleline amid speculation of an early vote this year, with Labor, the unions and the super industry prepared to campaign heavily on the issue.

The Coalition committed to raising the super guarantee from 9.5 percent to 12 percent by 2025 at the last election.

But Treasurer Josh Frydenberg confirmed the pledge would be reviewed following the release of the Retirement Income Review in November, arguing the COVID-19 pandemic had drastically altered the economic outlook.

With several Coalition backbenchers pushing to scrap the increase altogether, government frontbencher Sussan Ley confirmed on Wednesday the Coalition would consider the compromise among a range of options.

“That is a discussion that members of the government will have as we go forward around this and many other important financial considerations,” she said.

Industry Super Australia said the proposal would effectively force Australians to dip into their future savings to fund their own pay rises, leaving the average 30-year old couple $200,000 worse off in retirement.

Labor financial services spokesman Stephen Jones described the proposal as a “pretty sneaky backdoor tax increase”, saying the government was papering-over economic cracks by damaging workers’ long-term financial security.

“Scott Morrison is not going to be around to take the blame when those workers find themselves 100 grand short in their retirement savings,” he told NCA NewsWire.

“I’m sure cane toads seemed like a good idea at the time. We’re going to look back at this and say it was about as dumb as introducing cane toads.

“We might be dealing with a short-term problem, but the long-term consequences far outweigh it.”

The Income Retirement Review found the “weight of evidence suggests the majority of increases in the super guarantee come at the expense of growth in take-home wages”.

But Mr Jones said it was not a “one for one” system where every dollar forgone on super was made up in wages.

“Whatever they do, workers are going to be worse off and with less money in their super. They’ll get a tax whack because of it and have less money for retirement income,” he said.

“You’ve got to stay the long-term (course) on this. Nobody says ‘times are tough, we should just stop private health insurance’.”

And in what could be considered an early salvo ahead of the next election, Labor Treasury spokesman Jim Chalmers warned the opposition would fight the Coalition “tooth and nail” over the proposal.

“This government is using the pandemic as an excuse to cut superannuation and cut wages at the same time,” he told Sky News.

“This is not about giving people a choice between more super or more wages. They’re coming after workers on both fronts.”

Australian Institute of Superannuation Trustees CEO Eva Scheerlinck said the Coalition seemed intent on undermining outcomes for Australian retirees.

“Consumer research has repeatedly shown that Australians strongly support our compulsory super system rather than one which is opt-in,” she said.

“There is a broad understanding that unless we are compelled to save a portion of our wages, very few of us will have enough money for a financially secure retirement.”

Varying PAYG instalments because of COVID-19

Varying PAYG installments

If you worked under ABN and your tax returns for the previous years generated tax payable amounts, the ATO would have arranged for a Pay As You Go (PAYG) quarterly installment payment plan for you. This payment plan will be based on a projection of your ABN income for the financial year, referring to your latest tax return.

The purpose of the PAYG installment payment plan is to better prepare ABN taxpayers for their upcoming tax returns. The plan will help lower their total tax payable amount at the end of the financial year or potentially create a tax refund instead if the actual ABN income is less than the ATO projected ABN income.

If you are a PAYG installment payer, we encourage you to review your tax position regularly throughout the year. You can vary your PAYG installments on your activity statement if your situation changed such as if you have been affected by COVID-19.

If your situation changed, you can potentially vary the PAYG installment and lower it down to zero. You can also request for a credit to offset any previous PAYG installment amount processed which occurred after your changed business situation.

The ATO will not apply penalties or charge interests too varied installments that relate to the 2020–21 income year when you have made your best attempt to estimate your end of year tax liability.

Setting up ATO payment plans

If you have a pending tax payable amount, you can set up a payment plan with the ATO through your tax agent to pay it in installments.

The maximum number of installments allowed would be 22 monthly installments. To arrange for an installment, the ATO would require you to pay at least 10% within 7 days of the date of the arrangement.

Individuals with a payment plan in place can suspend, vary or cancel their payment plan. If they are affected by Covid-19, they can arrange with the ATO so that no interest will be charged on their outstanding debt.

The ATO will also consider remitting interest and penalties incurred after 23 January 2020.

If the interest or penalties were incurred before 23 January 2020, you can still request for these amounts to be remitted so that the ATO can:

  • Consider whether your circumstances before 23 January 2020 would make a remission of interest or penalties appropriate
  • Arrange to stop interest being charged while you are affected by Covid-19, and for the duration of a payment plan in you put one in place.

 

If you would like for us to help you vary your PAYG installments or set up your tax payable payment plan with the ATO, please do not hesitate to contact us at info@accountsnextgen.com.au

The sole trader in a win-win state for Jobkeeper test case

The AAT has overturned the decision from the Australian Taxation Office to deny a sole trader access for Jobkeeper after the Administrative Appeals Tribunal traced down that its backdated ABN registration has satisfied the integrity rules set within the norms. In December 2020, the Administrative Appeals Tribunal ruled out te sole trader Jeremy Apted was entitles to the JobKeeper program despite not keeping and holding an active ABN before 12 March 2020. This was under an integrity rule contained in the $90 billion wages subsidiary scheme. According to Accounts NextGen sources Mr. Apted, is a known specialist retail valuer and held an ABN since back in 2012 but later canceled his registration in mid-2018 as he was about to retire.

On the contrary, the retirement did not work for Mr. Apted and he resumed providing valuation services in Sept 2019. However, he failed to reactivate his ABN because he has assumed that he only required one if he was in need of a bed registered for GST. On 31 March 2020, Mr. Apted applied online to have his ABN reinstated along with the registrar and eventually backdating the reactivation on 1 July 2019. This was happening after requesting further information on his business history. It is important to acknowledge that after satisfying all the other eligibility requirements. Mr. Apted applied for the Jobkeeper but which was later denied by the Commissioner of Taxation on the basis that at the same point of time on 12 March 2020, Mr. Apted was left with no active ABN.

Assuming the Registrar did not perform his tasks and duties

If we look back and review the first JobKeeper test case the Administrative Appeals Tribunal’s president Justice David Thomas along with Deputy president Bernard McCabe has found that the Australian Business registrar had been satisfied with the historical information of Mr. Apted and appropriately adjusted the date of registration effect to 1 July 2019 that is effectively making Mr. Apted eligible for the JobKeeper.

As per Justice Thomas, an Mr. McCabe, The Australian Business Number act explicitly authorizes the Registrar to consider a date of the effect that predates the registration application where he is very much satisfied and assumes it is very much appropriate to process the same. However, Accounts NextGen explains that the commissioner is worried about the business that was not genuinely active and might get into the violated rules and anybody can access the benefits under the Rules. These Rules are belatedly applied for an ABN and hence convincing the registrar to make amendments in the Australian Business number and convince the Registrar to change the dates of effect on the dates prior to 12 March 2020.

Further discussions on the topic

It is assumed that the Registrar does not do his task and duties according to the requirements and then satisfy himself with very matters the treasurer considered. It is further understood by Accounts NextGen that there is no evidence provided at the hearing to suggest the Australian Business number registration process lacks integrity or not. In such circumstances, the authorities are satisfied with it assumed as an approach that operates according to their respective terms.

The take by Administrative Appeals Tribunal 

The Tribunal stated that the taxpayers are in similar circumstances as Mr. Apted, and as a result, he should engage with the established Australian Business Number registration process, with any of its have a pre 12 March 2020 date of the effect that satisfying the integrity rule that exists within the JobKeeper program. Accounts NextGen further noted that the senior tax controversy partner who led the case on behalf of Mr. Apted, appeals and explains that the decision would be welcomed by the small businesses that are locked out because of the 12 March 2020 integrity rule.

This year was seen to be a difficult year to survive and it’s been disappointing to see all the small businesses dissolving and the owners facing the word economic shift which is affecting them adversely. This requires access that requires support for simply not meeting an arbitrary deadline. In the scheme of foreseeing the Jobkeeper and the other measures have cost and affected this country, these are an important fact to understand that the small businesses claims are costing nothing. However, in view of such businesses and people, this is everything they mean.

In a conclusive viewpoint:

According to the Tribunal, their judgment was about the Jobkeeper scheme to provide the support for an active business that is facing pandemic-related challenged to survive. This decision will be an act that will support the small businesses a vital boost to step in this new year with a fresh start. It is hence understood that the Australian Taxation Office is currently considering the decision of the Tribunal along with its implications that include whether to appeal or not. Furthermore, the information is set to base and structure in the forthcoming weeks.

Josh Frydenberg is about to introduce tax cuts

Josh Frydenberg has made it very clear that it is high time to introduce income tax cuts. This decision has been made by seeing the state of the Australian economy in the worst position since the time of World war 3.

The GDP of Australia has fallen by 7 percent for the quarter of June. This has become a matter of major concern for the department of tax return Melbourne. And this has happened due to the lockdown imposed on Australia because of COVID-19.

It is being expected that on October 6, Josh Frydenberg will introduce the budget and the plans about the upcoming versions of JobMaker will be introduced. Providing such information is very crucial as most of the works related to tax are done online by the department for online tax return Melbourne.

When a journalist asked Mr. Frydenberg about whether they are going to cut down the personal tax, he said, “We are on it as this issue has been under our consideration for a long time. Some modifications were made after the last election. Total changes in this field are not apparent as it will take place in three stages. If we somehow manage to put more money in the hands of people, they will spend more of it and eventually more jobs would be created.”

As you know the role of opposition in any working democracy, you can’t know about the whole scenario without listening to both sides. The person concerned with the treasury in the opposition had different viewpoints regarding Mr. Frydenberg. He said that Frydenberg is lacking on vision in all these steps. “Fridenberg started telling about the state of the Australian economy and then suddenly changed the topic to cutting the taxes in particular. It clearly shows that he had no more things to discuss the vision to get this economy in a better state. It’s definitely not the kind of leadership that we want for our economy, especially in this situation. More profound vision is needed in a time when the people of this country find it hard to pay the individual tax return.”

Based on the present situation, tax incentives in the field of infrastructure is very necessary so that business investments would be enhanced.

The situation of the economy will start changing once the effect of the virus reduces and the restrictions are lifted.

But it is very necessary to introduce a roadmap for the businessmen of this country because businessmen will start hiring more and more employees only after making sure that a good route has been decided for the recovery of the economy. Extra people with proper tax training will be needed to make more and more people aware of the financial aids that the government is providing for business owners. This will ultimately lead to enhanced growth of the business.

Conclusion:

In this vast age of the internet, there are various sources and people get confused about where to go for authentic information. But there is no need to worry when you have reached here. Accounts NextGen brings to you the most relevant information to make you aware of the situation around you.

Tax office to punish people engaged in fraudulent activities to save tax

In a recent press release, the taxation office of Australia said that it will punish the people doing super withdrawals to minimize the payable tax.

The taxation office said that there is a certain loophole that enables people to avoid the payment of personal income taxes. And the office is about to punish all such people who give false information to get benefits from this scheme.

As per the statement of ATO, the people of Australia are withdrawing money from their account using financial hardship measure tax-free and then top up their super account through salary sacrifice at a rate of 15 percent.

With the help of this scheme, $10,000 is free of tax for a person having a salary of $100,000 but if he sacrifices $10,000 into his super account, now only 15% tax is being imposed on this $10,000 of the account holder but the right amount of tax should be 37%.

The taxation office has been noticing the people who are managing their wages in such a way that can make them eligible for this scheme. This scheme called Super was introduced by the Federal Government to help the Australians who have lost their jobs or who are getting low wages.

ATO has said the following about this situation, “In earlier days of COVID-19, we saw some cases where people were doing such things to get benefits of this scheme which they did not deserve. In certain cases, we prevented them from applying and did not release the super money.”

ATO can easily fine all those who claim the early access of superannuation payments by manipulating information. This fine could reach up to $12,600.

Sally Tindall (the director of RateCity research) said it is completely certain that ATO will punish all those engaged in such activities. She also said “This particular initiative was taken to help the ones who needed this money the most. We intended to help those who can’t pay their bills or get meals, and the ATO is completely determined to find those who want to exploit this scheme.”

Karen Foat (Assistant Commissioner) has the same viewpoint about the people who are engaged in this type of fraud activity. When asked about this situation, she said the following:

“There is no need to rejoice after seeing that the graph for work from home like jobs is going up because there are a lot of things for which is graph has gone down. Industries like tours and travels and many such others have suffered very big losses. And what we are seeing day by day is that the activities like it to cheat the system is increasing day by day.

There is always a way to work out the simple mistakes that are unintentional but for those who are doing it on a purpose is very bad.”

The Australian Taxation Office said that all such people who are engaged in such activities will have to repay the tax and there is an additional penalty up to 75% of the money that they have not paid. People who have manipulated their documents to be eligible for this scheme will face criminal persecution.

Bernie Dean (chief executive of Industry Super Australia) said “Those who are manipulating their information for getting this scheme are actually making it harder for the ones who are in desperate need of this scheme.”

ISA has also welcomed this decision by the ATO and they said that all those will be punished who are misusing this scheme.

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