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Ins and outs of funeral insurance

Ins and outs of funeral insurance

Before purchasing funeral insurance, it is essential to check whether it is the right choice for you. Specifically, if it will be worth the expense, you will pay in premiums.

Take a look at these considerations.

Benefits

Can help you save
It is a handy way to make sure you save enough funds to cover your funeral expenses.

Instantly covered (with exclusions)
You can be covered immediately.

Disadvantages

Exclusions apply
Only accidental death is covered for the first two years in most policies. Should you die from another cause, you may find that you are not covered.

Rising premiums
More than likely your premiums will increase over time. A policy that may seem initially like the best cost-effective solution could, in reality, be expensive in the long run.

Premiums can exceed the cost of your funeral
As Australians continue to live longer, you could end up paying more in premiums than the cost of your funeral.

Your beneficiaries must wait for payouts
Your family members may have to wait to receive an insurance payout to cover your funeral costs.

Non-refundable premiums
Should you cancel your policy or find you can no longer afford to pay the premiums, you generally can not receive a refund on the premiums you have already paid.

It is always important to check the terms and conditions of a policy before making your final decision.

How the new super measures will apply to SMSFs

The Government has introduced new measures to allow SMSF members to access their super for their first home or make contributions to their super from the sale of downsizing their home. SMSFs should be aware of the following:

Downsizing

From 1 July 2018, SMSF members who are 65 or over and exchange a contract of sale of their main residence may be eligible to make a down sizer contribution of up to $300,000 into their super without affecting their total super balance or contributions cap for the year.

This contribution will count towards the transfer balance cap and be taken into account for determining eligibility for the age pension.

SMSF members do not have to purchase another home to access this measure. However, the contribution can only be made once; it cannot be used for the sale of a second main residence.

The First Home Super Saver Scheme

SMSF members looking to get into the property market can now use some help from their SMSF under the First Home Super Saver Scheme.

As of 1 July 2018, SMSF members over 18 years of age can apply to release their voluntary concessional and non-concessional contributions made from 1 July 2017, along with associate earnings to purchase their first home.

Voluntary contributions made since 1 July 2017 of up to a maximum of $15,000 from any one financial year or a total of $30,000 across all years can be applied for.

Focus on Work-related Car Expenses

Focus on Work-related Car Expenses

The Tax Office has flagged work-related car expenses as a concern this tax time.

The ATO is targeting those who make mistakes or deliberately lodge false claims. Examples include:

  • Claiming things they are not entitled to, i.e., private trips such as work to home travel
  • Making claims for trips that did not occur
  • Claiming expenses that their employer has already reimbursed them for.

Advancements in data-matching technology allow the ATO to match individuals with peers in similar occupations, earning similar amounts of income. Analytics is also used to identify claim patterns, i.e., over 800,000 people claimed exactly 5,000kilometres under the cents per kilometre method last year.

The best way to avoid making a mistake include:

  •  only making a car claim if you paid for the expense yourself and were not reimbursed;
  •  it was directly related to earning your income; and,
  •  you must have a record to support the claim.

An example of a legitimate car claim is travelling between work sites or between jobs as part of your job.

Before you submit a car claim, consider if your employer would agree you needed to undertake the trips as part of your job. Employers may be contacted if your claim raises a red flag.

Attracting Millennials to work for your business

Millennials are encompassing around a quarter of the workforce now and bringing along withthem diverse needs and challenges.

Employers must understand these needs and challenges to better attract more Millennials to work for them as their skills are in high demand.

Firstly, Millennials (born between 1980-2000) are the first generation to understand technology possibly more so than their senior coworkers. They also tend to value flexibility and diversity more than older generations.

Millennials are also likely to have a desire for rapid career progression within a company and are not afraid to switch companies if their needs are not being met. This means fewer Millennials are likely to stay loyal to only one company for their total working life.

Employers must consider these unique needs and adapt if they are looking to appeal to Millennials. The following tips can help your business become more attractive to Millennial talent:

Opportunities to progress

Millennials want opportunities for personal and career development, otherwise, they will look elsewhere. Ensure your business has training and development opportunities available and staff are encouraged to progress their careers within your business.

Incentives

Along with competitive salaries, Millennials look for added perks such as flexible working conditions, bonuses, free insurance, greater vacation leave and so on. This is important to note as you might not be able to offer the highest salary for your industry but you can entice Millennials with other more budget-friendly incentives.

Purpose

Meaningful work comes out on top for Millennials. Many want to give back and contribute to society in an ethical and sustainable manner. Millennials will take into consideration the reputation of your business, your business’ practices and your overall vision for the business. To appeal to this generation it is important to consider whether your business is operating in its best possible condition and if improvements need to be made.

Contact us for more information..

Eligibility for the downsizer measure

As of 1 July 2018, the Government will introduce a new measure that allows the contribution of up to $300,000 of proceeds from downsizing a home to be added to superannuation

The new measure will benefit those aged 65 years and over, provided they meet certain eligibility rules including:

  • The amount you are contributing is from the proceeds of selling your home where the contract of sale was exchanged on or after 1 July 2018
  • Your home was owned by you or your spouse for 10 years or more prior to the sale
  • Your home is in Australia and is not a caravan, houseboat or other mobile home.
  • The proceeds from the sale of the home (capital loss or gain) are exempt or partially exempt from CGT under the main residence exemption, or would be entitled to such exemption if the home was a CGT rather than pre-CGT asset.
  • You have provided your super fund with the downsizer contribution form either before or at the time of making your downsizer contribution.
  • You make your downsizer contribution within 90 days of receiving the proceeds from the sale (usually the date of settlement).

You have not previously made a downsizer contribution to your super from the sale of another home.

Contact us for more information..

Bitcoin tax scammers

The Australian Tax Office (ATO) is warning taxpayers to be aware of scammers impersonating the Tax Office and demanding cryptocurrency such as Bitcoin as payment for fake tax debts.

The ATO became aware of these fraudsters late last year with over $50,000 paid in Bitcoin to scammers claiming fake ATO debts.

Once scammers receive payment, it is virtually impossible to recover it as cryptocurrency operates in a digital world The ATO is also warning taxpayers to be wary of other tax scams such as those demanding direct deposits into third-party bank accounts, demanding payment via iTunes cards or with a prepaid Visa gift card Over 80,000 scams were reported to the ATO in 2017, accounting for almost $2.4 million lost to scammers impersonating the ATO.

Almost one-third of victims were targeted with iTunes gift card scams, resulting in over $900,000 lost to scammers. More than half of all losses (roughly $1.2 million) were from deposits or transfers made directly into third-party bank accounts.

Scammers are also targeting taxpayers’ personal information with many reports of scammers asking for an individual’s Tax File Number.

Contact us for more information..

Chasing up Payments from slow Customers

payment chasing company

Following up on customers that don’t pay their bills is a nuisance, but unfortunately, it is part of running a business.

There are ways you can protect your business and take action should a customer fail to pay you. Consider the following:

Clear terms and conditions

Outlining payment protocol on terms and conditions, and going over these conditions when signing up a new customer sets clear expectations about how you expect them to pay for your services. The terms and conditions should clearly state when a payment is due, penalties for late payments, and the various payments which will be accepted.

Make payments easy

One of the major reasons people put off making payments is because the process of doing so is tiresome. Make your procedure as easy as possible; offer a variety of ways to pay to ensure you are maximising your chances of receiving payments on time and even early. You may wish to offer your customers the following payment options:

  • Cash
  • Cheque
  • Online payments such as PayPal
  • Direct debit
  • BPAY
  • EFTPOS
  • Bitcoin
  • Gift cards
  • After purchase payment instalments

High interest on unpaid services

Including a high interest on overdue payments is a sure way to get customers to pay on time. If people know that their bill will be higher if they don’t pay by a certain date, they are more likely to pay before said date. If you choose to do this, ensure it is in writing and customers are aware of the high interest on late payments.

 
If you are still wondering how to make your slow customers pay, call Glance Consultants @03 9885 9793 for guidance!
 

Benefits of Cloud Computing

Cloud Computing Services
Cloud computing is redefining the way small businesses conduct business; the advantages in the technology allow users to access data off-site, save on IT equipment and give businesses a competitive edge.

Here are a few benefits of switching your business to the cloud:

Greater flexibility

Growing businesses with a need for greater accessibility, i.e., flexible working arrangements for staff and so on, can benefit immensely from the cloud. Provided there is internet connection, you can access data from home, while on holidays, commuting or virtually anywhere across the globe.

Reduced hardware costs

Moving to the cloud can be likened to renting – you pay for your services through a cloud computing service provider. This means you don’t need to purchase expensive IT systems and the costs of operating and upgrading these systems are removed. Instead, the cost of new hardware and software, etc., is included in your contract.

Automatic updates

Cloud computing has the added perk of providing regular and automatic software and security updates for you. Not only does this keep your technology up-to-date, it frees up time that would otherwise be spent manually updating systems.

Increased collaboration and control

Employees and third parties can access and work on projects at any time and from anywhere. Information stored in the cloud, such as files or documents, allow everyone to see the same version and include real-time visibility, so any changes made will be instantly updated.

Would you like to integrate cloud computing with your business, but not sure where to start from, consult Glance Consultants for some great ideas!

 

SMSFs warned of risky retirement planning

SMSF

The ATO is warning self-managed super fund (SMSF) trustees about the risks of some emerging retirement planning arrangements.

Retirees or SMSF trustees who are involved in any illegal arrangement, even by accident, may face severe penalties, risk losing their retirement savings, and potentially, their rights as a trustee to manage their own fund.

The Tax Office has released additional information through their Super Scheme Smart Program to help educate retirees and trustees of these complex tax avoidance schemes and arrangements.

Super Scheme Smart provides case studies and information packs to ensure taxpayers are informed about illegal arrangements including what warning signs to look for and where to go for help.

Many of the arrangements are cleverly designed to look legitimate, give a taxpayer a minimal or zero amount of tax or tax refund or concession, aim to give a present day tax benefit and involve a fair amount of paper shuffling.

Some arrangements may be structured in a way which appears to satisfy certain regulatory rules, however, these arrangements are often ‘too good to be true’ and are in fact illegal.

Among the ATO’s previous concerns about dividend stripping arrangements and contrived arrangements involving diversion of personal services income to an SMSF, there are some new arrangements on the Tax Office’s radar, including:

  • Artificial arrangements involving SMSFs and related-party property development ventures.
  • Arrangements where an individual or related entity grants a legal life interest over a commercial property to an SMSF. This results in the rental income from the property being diverted to the SMSF and taxed at lower rates whilst the individual taxation or related entity retains legal ownership of the property.
  • Arrangements where individuals (including SMSF members) deliberately exceed their non-concessional contributions cap to manipulate the taxable component and non-taxable component of their fund balance upon refund of the excess.

If you are concerned about your involvement with such arrangements, you can contact the Tax Office early to work towards a resolution.

 

Bookkeeping and Accounting Services for Every Business

Professional bookkeeping and accounting services aid in effective financial management of every organization. No matter which industry you operate in, you need these services to ensure business growth and mitigate risks.

The close tracking of expenses and recording transactions are crucial for business owners to ensure their finances are handled perfectly. Though it seems easy enough to do by yourself, it can be more tedious and time consuming than you realise. Most people have a misconception that bookkeepers and accountants share similar goals, but the truth is that they play different roles at different stages of the financial cycle.

Bookkeeping:

Bookkeeping Services

Bookkeeping is the process of recording daily transactions in a consistent way. The bookkeeper is responsible for

  • Recording financial transactions
  • Producing invoices
  • Posting debits & credits
  • Completing payroll
  • Maintaining subsidiaries, historical accounts and general ledgers

The complexity of the above processes depend greatly on the size of the business and the number of transactions completed within a specific period of time. The bookkeeper feed all the sales and purchases made by your business in a ledger. In fact, maintaining the general ledger is one of the most important components of bookkeeping.

Accounting:

Accounting Services

Accounting is an advanced process that involves producing financial models using the information compiled by a bookkeeper. The process of accounting is more slanted as compared to bookkeeping. An tax accountant is responsible for

  • Adjusting entries
  • Performing audits
  • Preparing financial statements & balance sheets
  • Tax planning & tax filing
  • Compiling income tax returns
  • Analysing cost of business operation
  • Forecasting business trends and opportunity for growth
  • Restricting spending to manage cash flow

The reports provided by the accountants bring important financial indicators together. With better understanding of profitability, the financial advisors create awareness of cash flow in the business and reveal the bigger picture of your business.

At Glance Consultants, we provide accounting and bookkeeping services tailored to our client’s individual needs. We will handle all the paper work and let you focus more on your business. No matter how small or large your organisation is, we can provide regular management reports and ensure proper cash flows.  To learn more about ours services, you can either call us at 03 9885 9793 or visit our office in Ashburton, Victoria.

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