How to Protect Your Business During the Coronavirus Outbreak

Protect Your Business During the Coronavirus OutbreakThe world continues to fight Coronavirus (Covid-19) and stop it from spreading four months since the first case was discovered in November. With over 700,000 cases recorded worldwide and approximately 3,900 cases in the country, SMEs and enterprises struggle to keep their businesses afloat.

Have you been affected by the Covid-19 Shutdown? Here are some tips to help you cope with our current situation.

Working From Home

If your business can continue its operations remotely, think about creating a set of work-from-home guidelines to support your team. This is especially important if it’s the first time that you will be implementing a work-from-home set-up.

Which positions or employees are eligible to work from home? Please keep in mind that not everyone is suited to work from home. For instance, if the job requires a high degree of supervision and you won’t be able to provide that, it might not be a good idea to have that position on a work-from-home set-up. Additionally, if the position requires equipment and resources that your employees don’t have at home, and you can’t offer, a work-from-home set-up might not be applicable.

To help your team transition to a work-from-home set-up, consider following the same schedule that you have in the office. If you have regular meetings at 10 am, think about doing virtual meetings at the same time. The key is to create a routine that is as close to what you have in your office as possible.

Other key considerations for working from home are as follows:

  • Work hours and breaks
  • Environment, such as noise, lighting, and home safety
  • Workstation set-up, including computers, printers, and a reliable Internet connection

Scaling Down Operations

Scaling down your operations could help limit your business expenses while still providing essential services to your clients. This way, you won’t have to shut down your operations entirely, and you’re still able to provide your employees with financial support.

Since the shutdown, many businesses have chosen to lessen their employee hours. Another thing you could do is to reduce supplementary labour. Whenever you can, delegate the crucial tasks you usually outsource to contractors or labour hire workers to your employees.

If your business is in the position to provide extended service leave at half-pay, it might be a great idea to do that to scale down your operations.

Getting Financial Support

The government is prepared to help SMEs during these trying times. Through the Economical Survival Packages, you could get financial support for business-related payments, wage subsidies, and short-term loans.

Do you need help managing your business and making sure things are in order? Please don’t hesitate to reach out to us. You could send an email to enquiries@glanceconsultants.com.au or call us at 03 9885 9793.

 

Summary of the Government’s $84 billion coronavirus stimulus package

A. SME Tax & Cashflow measures

Cash flow assistance for businesses

  • Small and medium-sized business entities and not-for-profits with aggregated annual turnover under $50 million turnover that employs workers will be eligible for these tax-free payments. Payments will now be a minimum of $20,000 up to $100,000 and extended to eligible not-for-profits (including charities).
  • The enhanced scheme will be delivered in two phases: Firstly, with employers set to receive a first tax-free payment equal to 100 per cent of their salary and wages withheld, up to a maximum of $50,000, when businesses lodge their activity statements for the 28 April and 28 July quarterly due dates.
    Secondly, an additional payment equal to the first payment will be made after businesses lodge their BAS by the 28 July and 28 October quarterly due dates.
    Eligible businesses that pay salary and wages will receive a minimum payment of $10,000, even if they are not required to withhold tax.
  • Monthly BAS lodgers will receive the first payment for the March 2020, April 2020, May 2020 and June 2020 lodgements, with a 300 per cent calculation in the March activity statement to provide the same treatment as quarterly lodgers.
  • The second payment for monthly BAS lodgers will be released once they lodge their June 2020, July 2020, August 2020 and September 2020 lodgements.

 

Tax Incentives

  • From Thursday 12 March 2020, the instant asset write-off threshold has been increased from $30,000 (for businesses with an aggregated turnover of less than $50 million) to $150,000 (for businesses with an aggregated turnover of less than $500 million) until 30 June 2020.
  • A time-limited 15-month investment incentive (through to 30 June 2021) which will operate to accelerate certain depreciation deductions. 

This measure will also be available to businesses with a turnover of less than $500 million, which will be able to immediately deduct 50% of the cost of an eligible asset on installation, with existing depreciation rules applying to the balance of the asset’s cost.
As announced, this measure will only apply to new depreciating assets first used, or installed ready for use, by 30 June 2021.

  • Wage subsidies to support the retention of apprentices and trainees – Employers with less than 20 full-time employees may be entitled to apply for Government-funded wage subsidies amounting to 50% of an apprentice’s or trainee’s wage for up to nine months from 1 January 2020 to 30 September 2020. 

The maximum subsidy for each apprentice/trainee is $21,000. Importantly, where an employer is not able to retain an apprentice, the subsidy will be available to a new employer that employs that apprentice. It is proposed that employers will be able to register for the subsidy from early-April 2020.

 

B. Access to superannuation

  • Employees who have been made redundant, or eligible to receive jobseeker payment, youth allowance parenting payments, special benefit or farm household allowance, or those who have their working hours reduced by 20 per cent or more, or sole traders whose businesses have been suspended or see a reduction in turnover by 20 per cent or more (where this has happened on or after 1 January 2020) will also now be allowed to access up to $20,000 of their superannuation.
  • Eligible individuals will be able to apply online through myGov to access up to $10,000 of their superannuation before 1 July 2020, and be able to access up to a further $10,000 from 1 July 2020 for approximately three months. The amounts released will not be taxable and will not affect Centrelink or Veterans’ Affairs payments.
  • The government will also reduce the minimum drawdown requirements for account-based pensions and similar products by 50 per cent for the 2019–20 and 2020–21 income years.
  • Deeming rates for pensioners will be reduced by another 0.25 of a percentage point.

 

C. Support to workers and households

  • Temporarily expanding eligibility to income support payments and establishing a new time-limited Coronavirus supplement to be paid at a rate of $550 per fortnight for the next 6 months. This applies to permanent employees who are stood down or lose their employment, sole traders, the self-employed, casual workers and contract workers will be able to access the new coronavirus supplement under expanded access to the JobSeeker Payment, formerly known as Newstart. The payments are set to commence from 27 April 2020. 
  • Tax-free payments of $750 to social security, veteran and other income support recipients and eligible concession cardholders. It is estimated that around half of those who will benefit will be pensioners. These payments will commence being automatically made from 31 March 2020.
  • In addition to the previous $750 payment announced, there will be a further $750 payment to social security and veteran income support recipients and eligible concession card holders except for those who are receiving an income support payment that is eligible to receive the Coronavirus supplement. This second payment will be made automatically from 13 July 2020. 
  • The Government has set aside $1 billion to support those regions and communities that have been disproportionately affected by the economic impacts of COVID19, including those heavily reliant on industries such as tourism, agriculture and education.

 

D.ATO administrative relief

On 12 March 2020, the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) announced a series of administrative concessions to assist businesses impacted by COVID19, which include:

  • deferring by up to 4 months the payment of tax amounts due through the BAS (including PAYG instalments), income tax assessments, FBT assessments and excise by affected businesses;
  • allowing affected businesses on a quarterly reporting cycle to opt into monthly GST reporting to get quicker access to any GST refunds;
  • allowing affected businesses to vary PAYG instalment amounts to zero for the March 2020 quarter. Businesses that vary their PAYG instalment to zero can also claim a refund for any instalments made for the September 2019 and December 2019 quarters;
  • remitting any interest and penalties, incurred by affected businesses on or after 23 January 2020, that have been applied to tax liabilities; and
  • allowing affected businesses to enter into low-interest payment plans for their existing and ongoing tax liabilities.

The ATO assistance is not automatic, taxpayers must first contact the ATO to request assistance, and if eligible, the ATO will ‘tailor the assistance package for the relevant taxpayer.

 

E. Payroll tax refund & Land Tax Deferral

  • Businesses with annual taxable wages up to $3 million will have their payroll tax for the 2019-20 financial year waived. This will support 24,000 businesses and up to 400,000 workers.
  • The State Revenue Office will directly contact eligible businesses to reimburse them for payroll tax already paid in the financial year.
  • Eligible businesses must continue to lodge returns but do not need to make further payments for this financial year.
  • These businesses can also defer paying payroll tax for the first quarter of the 2020-21 financial year.
  • Landowners that have at least one non-residential property and total taxable landholdings below $1 million have the option of deferring their 2020 land tax payment until after 31 December 2020.
  • The State Revenue Office will contact all taxpayers who are eligible for this deferral.

 

F. Temporary relief for financially distressed businesses

  • Temporarily increasing the threshold at which creditors can issue a statutory demand on a company and to initiate bankruptcy proceedings against an individual
  • Increasing the time companies and individuals have to respond to statutory demands they receive
  • Temporary relief for directors from any personal liability for trading while insolvent and providing temporary flexibility in the Corporations Act 2001 to provide targeted relief from provisions of the Act to deal with unforeseen events that arise as a result of the Coronavirus health virus.

 

Please do not hesitate to contact our office if you wish to discuss how this could affect you.

Beginner’s Guide to Starting an Investment Portfolio

investment portfolio

“Buy a stock the way you would buy a house. Understand and like it such that you’d be content to own it in the absence of any market.”

— Warren Buffett

The same goes when building your investment portfolio. Do not make rash decisions. Take your time to learn about it just as you would when checking a property you would like to purchase. Understand the market and consult experts before buying your first investment.

Are you ready to get started with building your investment portfolio? Here are some tips.

Review Your Finances

You’d want to make sure that you are not sacrificing anything financially when building your investment portfolio.

Take stock of your liabilities and assets to determine how much you could invest. Writing down what you own and what you owe lets you see how you could diversify your investments.

You could also use a budget planner or net worth calculator to assess your financial situation.

Set Your Goals

Goals help you focus on the steps you need to take to build your investment portfolio. Furthermore, they help you choose the most appropriate investment products according to your needs and risk tolerance.

Once you’ve set your financial goals, take them a step further by categorising them into:

  • Short-term goals — those you would like to achieve within two years
  • Medium-term goals — those you want to accomplish in three to five years
  • Long-term goals — those you want to achieve within five years or longer

Understand Your Risk Tolerance

Every investment decision carries its own risks.

Do significant market movements bother you? Would you like to maximise your returns over a long period? If you answer yes to both, you may be a high-risk investor. If you don’t worry about small market changes but stress over large ones, you may be a moderate-risk investor. However, if even the slightest market changes stress you out, you may be a low-risk investor.

Choose the Best Options for You

Many low-risk investors often start with certificates of deposits, money market deposit accounts, and basic savings accounts. Moderate-risk investors, on the other hand, may be comfortable investing in mutual funds and buying stocks of financially stable companies.

Those with a high-risk investment appetite may find themselves drawn towards more sophisticated investment products and stocks of start-up businesses.

Building your investment portfolio doesn’t have to be complicated. However, it does require due diligence and careful consideration of your finances.

Let Glance Consultants help you achieve your financial goals. We offer end-to-end investment advice. Our team is ready to answer your questions and help you make informed decisions.

Get in touch with our office and team of financial planning partners to obtain further information.

 

How to Manage Your Cashflow to Stay on Top of Your Finances

How to Manage Your Cashflow to Stay on Top of Your FinancesIf cash is king in business, then cashflow is queen.

Cashflow is the amount of money that goes in and out of your company. It includes payables, receivables, operating expenses, and other financing activities.

For continuous business growth, make sure to manage your cashflow properly.

How do you do it? Here are some tips.

1. Always update your books

As they say, “you can’t manage what you don’t measure.”

While some see bookkeeping as a monotonous, boring task, it’s an essential part of a company’s financial process. It allows you to collect data that would help you make sound business decisions in the future. Furthermore, accurate bookkeeping makes you more confident in managing your cashflow as you have up-to-date records to back you up.

2. Monitor payments and invoices

Late payments could throw your working budget off track. Make sure your clients pay for your products or services on time. Additionally, always settle debts with your suppliers on or before their due dates.

Are you having a difficult time tracking and following up on invoices? Think about using a bookkeeping app or software that lets you set invoice reminders.

3. Keep your financial processes as simple as possible

You could do bookkeeping, accounting, and cashflow management in many ways. When setting up your processes, remember that the less complicated the process is, the more you’re likely to stick with it.

4. Make technology your best friend

Your time is precious. Make sure you are using it efficiently. To do that, consider integrating the latest technology into your business.

For instance, you could automate specific bookkeeping processes by using an accounting application. You could also create financial reports instantly. This makes it easier to perform cashflow forecasting and management.

5. Think about having a cash reserve

You know you’re managing your company’s cashflow properly when you’re able to build a cash reserve. It doesn’t have to be a huge amount — just enough to keep your business afloat for a few months and weather the storm.

Cashflow management is the key to your company’s long-term success and survival. It could help you sustain sufficient working capital to get your business through any financial roadblocks or market changes.

Learn more about cashflow management and forecasting with the help of Glance Consultants. Our team works with small to medium businesses and support entrepreneurs in achieving their goals.

For more information on cashflow management, please fill out our contact form or send your questions to enquiries@glanceconsultants.com.au.

Do You Need Cloud Accounting for Your Business?

Do You Need Cloud Accounting for Your BusinessDo you spend more time managing your books than managing your business?

Cloud accounting could automate and simplify your financial processes so you could get your time back without worrying about keeping your records up-to-date.

What is Cloud Accounting

Cloud accounting is an application you could access online. It is hosted on a remote server where all your accounting processes are done. Because all tasks are processed remotely, you won’t have to worry about security issues, which could be a concern if your employees are sharing office computers.

Unlike a desktop accounting program, cloud accounting frees you from the hassle of maintaining the software and making sure you’re using the latest version. Furthermore, you won’t have to install the software on multiple computers so other people in your office could use it. All authorised personnel could access real-time data anytime and anywhere they need to.

What Makes It Different From Traditional Accounting Applications

Cloud accounting streamlines business processes to help you get a better view of your company’s overall financial status.

What makes cloud accounting different from traditional accounting is that it offers more than just accounting and bookkeeping tools.

Today’s cloud accounting software encompasses a wide array of solutions that are perfect for both SMBs and large enterprises. From bank account and credit card reconciliations, and payroll processing, to invoice creation, and inventory and time-tracking, cloud accounting increases business efficiency.

How Could Cloud Accounting Help Your Business

Here are some of the benefits you could get from cloud accounting:

  • Secure Data Storage — Because your data are stored remotely, you won’t have to worry about losing your files when your computer breaks down. Furthermore, you won’t have to think about unauthorised access to your information. Cloud accounting comes with robust security systems.
  • Third-Party Service Integration — With cloud accounting, it is easier to integrate other applications into your account. This helps you maximise your time and boost your productivity.
  • Multi-User Access — Your team will grow as your business thrives. When that happens, you’d want to have systems in place that can accommodate this growth. Cloud accounting makes it more convenient to collaborate and communicate with your growing team. You could provide access to multiple users as needed.

Are you ready to try cloud accounting? Glance Consultants offers Xero accounting software integration. With Xero, you get timesaving tools that could help you manage and grow your business. Call us at 03 9885 9793 or fill out our contact form to learn more about our bookkeeping and accounting services.

 

2020 Tax Changes You Should Know About

Did you know that the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) is implementing tax changes this year?

Whether you’re a small business, an enterprise, or an individual taxpayer, these changes apply to you. But don’t worry, there’s still time to learn about them and find out how they could affect you.

Here are some of the tax changes you should know.

 

For Small Businesses and Enterprises

  1. Immediate Asset Write-Off — If you have a turnover of less than $10 million and assets worth $30,000 or less, you could now claim a deduction for every asset installed or used within the following threshold:
    • Before January 29, 2019, for assets worth less than $20,000
    • From January 29, 2019, until 7:30 pm (AEDT) of April 2, 2019, for assets worth less than $25,000
    • From 7:30 pm (AEDT) of April 2, 2019, until June 30, 2020, for assets worth less than $30,000
    • On July 1, 2020, the threshold for assets will return to $1,000
  2. The general rules for depreciation would continue to apply for assets that cost more than $30,000
  3. Starting April 2, 2019, small businesses with a turnover of anywhere between $10 million and less than $50 million would also enjoy an immediate write-off for their assets.
  4. Tax offset for small businesses has increased to 13% for the 2020-2021 tax year. The offset will further increase to 16% for the tax year 2021-2022.
  5. Base rate entities (or companies with a turnover of less than $50 million) now have a 26% tax rate for the 2020-2021 tax year. Their tax rate was previously at 27.5%. For the tax year 2021-2022, the tax rate will further be reduced to 25%.

For Individual Taxpayers

  1. Foreign investors with properties acquired before May 9, 2017, may claim the Capital Gains Tax (CGT) main residence exemption if the disposal of the property happened before June 30, 2020.
  2. Foreign investors who acquired properties on or after May 9, 2017, are no longer qualified for the CGT main residence exemption.
  3. The Personal Income Tax Plan has been expanded as announced in the 2019-2020 Budget. From $530 per year, the Low and Middle Income Tax Offset (LMITO) is now $1,080 annually. Furthermore, the base amount was also changed from $200 to $255.

Are you still confused about these changes? Glance Consultants can walk you through them and provide sound taxation advice. Please send an email to enquiries@glanceconsultants.com.au or give us a call at 03 9885 9793 for a confidential discussion of your needs.

Remembering your Insurance When you Renovate

Remembering your Insurance When you RenovateRenovating your home or investment property is an exciting time, whether you are creating a better space to live or improving investment opportunities. However, homeowners can get caught up in the build that they forget to look at what is covered by their home and contents insurance.

The first step is to identify what kind of builder you are using, this is important as the different types incur different warrantees. For owner builders, no warranty is required whereas a registered builder will be required to supply you Warranty Insurance on signing the building contract.

Homeowners must inform their insurer that they are planning on renovating a property. If you fail to do so, the insurance for that property may become void, meaning in the event something happens during the renovation, you will not be covered. Some insurance policies also require you to be living in the property for the insurance to be valid. Therefore, if you are relocating during the renovation period, check on the living requirements for your policy.

Home and contents insurances are designed to cover existing homes, not building sites. If the renovations are valued at over $50,000, your home will be categorised as a building site and further insurance will be needed.

Your policy will also be affected once the renovations are finished if they have increased the value of the house. Being under insured can leave you out of pocket if you need to make a claim. After renovations are completed, homeowners should revise their home and contents insurance again to make sure everything is up to date and compliant.

When a Trustee Goes Bankrupt…

When a Trustee Goes Bankrupt...SMSF members need to be aware of the rules that govern their fund, including what to do when one member becomes bankrupt.

A requirement of an SMSF is that each individual trustee of the SMSF must be a member of the SMSF. In the case of corporate trustees, every member must be a director. This means all members are connected and held accountable for one another. If one member enters bankruptcy, they will be categorised by the ATO as a “disqualified person”, meaning they can no longer act as a trustee of the SMSF.

Where a disqualified person continues to act as an SMSF trustee or director, they will be committing an offence that is subject to criminal and civil penalties. The ATO provides a six-month grace period to allow a restructure of the SMSF so that it either meets the basic conditions required or can be rolled over into an industry fund.

During the six-month grace period, the ATO requires:

  • The bankrupt to remove themselves as trustee.
  • The bankrupt to inform the ATO in writing.
  • To be notified within 28 days if there is a change in trustee.
  • The bankrupt to notify ASIC of the resignation as a director (if the SMSF is run by a corporate trustee).

Other members will need to remove the bankrupt’s balance from the SMSF before the grace period is over, this may involve:

  • Selling any real estate or shares.
  • Transfering the bankrupt’s balance to a managed fund.
  • Deciding whether they want to remain as a single member SMSF, or roll over their entitlements to a managed fund.

For members who enter bankruptcy, they must sell all assets for the market value available at the time and then transfer all of the liquid assets to a managed fund.

Can you Claim Deductions for Employee Training?

Can you Claim Deductions for Employee Training?Employees of a small business may need to develop their expertise or skills in a particular area to better perform their duties. While training courses like seminars and one-day intensives can be a worthwhile investment, there are still a few things employers should consider from a tax point of view.

Employers can generally claim deductions for the full costs incurred when providing education to employees, including aspects like course fees and travel costs. Many owners tend to forget possible FBT implications.

Paying for employee work-related course fees commonly constitutes as a fringe benefit and is subject to FBT. However, FBT law allows a full or partial reduction of FBT payable provided that the ‘otherwise deductible’ rule is met. The ‘otherwise deductible rule’ implies that if the employee had paid the expense themselves, they could claim a deduction for the expense. The business could then provide the benefit to the employee without having to pay FBT on the amounts.

An education expense is considered to be hypothetically deductible to the employee depending on the type of course or education studied. The course must have a satisfactory connection to an employee’s current employment, maintain or improve the skills or knowledge required for the employee’s current role, or result in an increase in the employee’s income.

Employees cannot claim a deduction for education expenses if there is no connection to their current employment, even if it assists them to gain new employment.

What you need to know about investment bonds?

Investment bonds are a practical investment option for those who earn a high income and seek long term tax efficiencies.

Investment bonds, also known as tax-paid, insurance or growth bonds, work similarly to a managed fund, except they are combined with an insurance policy. There is a ten year rule which allows tax free earnings on the bond if no withdrawals are made in the first ten years and contributions do not exceed 125% of the previous year’s contribution. Most investment bonds offer a range of investment options to cater for differing risk levels such as cash, fixed interest, shares, property or a range of diversified investment options.

Investment bonds are particularly suitable for high income earners with a marginal tax rate higher than 30% who want to build wealth without increasing their personal tax liability. They are also useful for estate planning purposes as beneficiaries other than dependants can be nominated and will not incur tax upon receiving proceeds.

An investment bond can be used as an investment structure for future financial needs of children such as education expenses. Alternatively, investment bonds can be used for supplementary retirement planning as investment bonds are not subject to preservation age, unlike superannuation investments, which may be more viable for those planning an early retirement.

Investments held in an investment bond are generally not subject to capital gains tax (CGT). Where an investment does not qualify for a CGT discount, the maximum tax rate of 49% may apply on earnings whereas an investment bond generates a maximum rate of 30%.

However, investment bonds do carry some risk that individuals should consider before making a decision. Common fees such as establishment, contribution, withdrawal, management, switching and adviser service fees may be applicable depending on your provider and the investment options you choose.

If you do choose to invest in an investment bond ensure you will be able to make regular contributions over the lifetime of the investment and can comply with the 125%. It is important to align your financial and estate planning goals with an appropriate investment structure suitable to your risk profile.

SUBSCRIBE to the Business Accelerator Magazine