Posted in: Money
Whether you are struggling to keep up a steady income or wanting to grow your business, increasing sales revenue is often a central goal for businesses. Here are some strategies you can consider when looking to improve profit:
Redesign operations for maximum efficiency:
If you really look at the operation processes of your business, you’ll often find that there are certain systems and routines in place that may not be necessary. Try to eliminate the tasks and activities that do not make valuable contributions to the business. Look for any operation processes that can be streamlined to maximise efficiency and save time.
Increase marketing efforts:
Oftentimes, you’re going to have to spend money to make money. Many businesses benefit from investing in a strong marketing campaign or even looking for cost-effective marketing opportunities on social media. Sharing regular updates on social media about your business, pictures of your products or interesting content your followers will like is a great way to keep your business in people’s minds and build a rapport with your customers.
Take care of existing customers:
While it is easy to get carried away with getting as many new customers and followers as you can, don’t forget that it is often easier and cheaper to make a sale to an existing customer than a new customer who you have not developed a relationship with yet. Existing customers will have more trust in your products or services if they have already had a positive experience with your business. Put effort into maintaining a good relationship with existing customers and focus on cross-selling and upselling products and services to them.
Posted in: Business
Running a business is hard enough without having to chase up payments from your customers. Here are some measures you can take to prevent yourself from having to deal with the profitability imbalance, negative client relation, and legal ordeals that come with chasing up owed debt.
Research the customer:
Before you enter into an agreement with a client or other businesses, make sure that you know who you’re dealing with and do some research. There are government certified websites available to check whether a company is registered and legitimate. Find out about their history, make sure they are reliable, still in operation and to look for any bad reviews and other people’s experiences with them.
Have a signed contract:
Regardless of how much you trust your client, it is still a good idea to have a written contract in place so that everyone is on the same page and you have evidence to refer to in the case of a dispute or confusion. The contract should consist of the terms and agreements, payment schedule, preferred payment method, the exact product or service to be completed and late payment policy.
Have a good invoicing system:
Make sure that you invoice customers quickly with professional and easy to understand statements. This helps you keep track of your customers and helps your customers understand the payment requirements. You can set payment terms and policies to ensure that you will be paid how you and your customer agreed.
Posted in: Super
Inactive low-balance accounts (ILBAs) are a new category account that needs to be reported and paid to the ATO. This was introduced in the Treasury Law Amendment (Protect Your Superannuation Package) Bill 2019 that came into effect on 1 July 2019 after first being announced in the 2018-19 Federal Budget.
ILBAs are designed to protect accounts from fee erosion. Where possible, the ATO will proactively consolidate super on behalf of an individual.
A superannuation account is considered an ILBA if the following criteria are met:
- No amount has been received by the fund for crediting to that account for an individuals benefit within the last 16 months.
- The account balance is less than $6,000.
- A prescribed condition of release has not been met.
- The account is not a defined benefit account.
- There is no insurance on the account.
- The account is not held in a self-managed super fund (SMSF) or small Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA) fund.
Funds are required to identify ILBAs on 30 June and 31 December each year, then report and pay them to the ATO by the statement date.
- 31 October in the same year for accounts identified on 30 June.
- 30 April of the following year for accounts identified on 31 December.
Individuals that have an account that they do not want to be transferred to the ATO as an ILBA, can consolidate super accounts using ATO online services through myGov, contact their super fund for more information or authorise their super fund to provide a written declaration to the ATO.
Posted in: Tax
Small businesses entitled to refunds of GST may not be aware of the four-year time limit on claiming those refunds. Your entitlement to a GST credit ends four years from the due date of the earliest activity statement in which you could have claimed it.
GST refunds are claimed under the indirect tax concession scheme (ITCS), which also covers luxury car tax (LCT), wine equalization tax (WET) and excise. They are a form of “outstanding indirect tax refunds”, which are tax refunds that are entitled to the taxpayer but are yet to be claimed. “Outstanding indirect tax refunds” can be claimed in the following cases.
Refund of a net amount for a tax period:
This applies to those that have yet to lodge an activity statement for a tax period. Small businesses that have GST entitlements that amount to $2,000, (which exceeds the net GST, WET and LCT liabilities for that period $1,500), are able to claim an outstanding indirect tax refund of $500.
Refund of an overpayment of a net amount:
Due to a clerical error, a business owner reports and pays $4,600 net GST for a tax period instead of the actual amount of $4,060. The excess amount of $540 is an outstanding indirect tax refund which the business can claim.
Refund due to an underreported initial net refund entitlement:
A business claims a net GST refund of $3,000 for the tax period and receives the refund. Afterwards, however, it is realised that the actual refund entitlement was $3,200, the excess $200 represents an outstanding indirect tax refund that can be claimed.
Posted in: Business
In order to keep up with the growing demands of digital accessibility and convenience, many businesses decide to partially or completely move their business online. This can help with extending customer reach beyond the geographical boundaries of a physical business, offering customers easy access to your products or services, scaling and growth, and reducing costs on rent, staff, and marketing. Here are some steps to get started on building the digital side of your business.
Set up a website:
Your potential clients will often be getting their first impression of your business from your website, so it is important that you have an effectively executed layout, user interface and design. On top of your products or services, make sure your website includes key information about your business, such as an about page, contact details, FAQs, social media links, or call to action prompt.
Build a social media presence:
If you’re not already on social media platforms, or if your social media presence is weak, focus on creating engaging and relevant social media content for your audience. This can help you build a stronger relationship with your clients, share content they would find interesting and useful, and establish a brand image.
Keep customers updated:
Clients can get frustrated and feel uncared for if they are not told about important changes to your business that will affect them. Whether you’re moving partially or completely online, it is important that you keep your clients updated. This can be done through a simple email, having a sign in-store, and verbally telling them when you interact with them.
Posted in: Super
Commutation authorities are issued by the ATO when a member of a SMSF has exceeded their transfer balance cap. A commutation authority will be issued after the member has received an excess transfer balance determination alerting them they have passed the cap.
The transfer balance cap is currently $1.6 million and is applied to the combined total of all superannuation accounts held by an individual. To receive a commutation authority, a SMSF member has either;
- Not commuted the excess amount in the determination in full by the due date, or;
- Has made an election for the ATO to send a commutation authority to their fund to have the excess amount commuted.
After receiving a commutation authority, individuals must then;
- Pay a superannuation lump sum by way of commutation. The commutation authority will detail the amount that must be commuted from a specified income stream for that SMSF member. Or;
- Choose not to comply with the commutation authority because the member is deceased or the ATO issued in relation to an income stream that is a capped defined benefit income stream.
- Send the ATO a transfer balance account report (TBAR) stating the details of the commutation or why you have chosen not to comply with the commutation authority.
- Notify your member in writing that you have complied or not complied with a commutation authority.
This will need to be done within 60 days of receiving the commutation authority. Though the Commissioner of Taxation issues the authority, they do not have the power to grant an extension of time to respond. If you fail to commute or respond to the ATO regarding the authority, the income stream will stop being in retirement phase, affecting the fund’s entitlement to exempt current pension income. You may also be liable for penalties or subject to compliance action.
Posted in: Tax
On the 28 October 2019, The Treasury Laws Amendment (2019 Tax Integrity and Other Measures No.1) Bill 2019 received royal assent. The new tax law creates limitations for deductions related to the expenses of holding vacant land from 1 July 2019. This is likely to affect those who acquire land for investment purposes and begin developing for rental investment purposes.
The amendments will only apply to holdings on ‘vacant land’, meaning that it will not apply to any land that has a substantial and permanent structure in use or ready for use, or is a residential premise that is lawfully able to be occupied. Land is considered vacant if both of these are not true.
The changes will not apply to vacant land held by ‘excluded entities,’ which are:
- Corporate tax entities.
- Managed investment trusts.
- Public unit trusts.
- Superannuation plans other than self-managed superannuation funds (SMSFs).
- Unit trusts or partnerships where all members are of the excluded entities listed above.
The law will also be inapplicable if:
- Structures affected by natural disasters or similarly exceptional situation.
- The land is in use or available for use in carrying on a business by the taxpayer or their affiliates, connected entities, spouse or child under 18.
The land is in use or available for use for business purposes under an arm’s length rental arrangement.
Posted in: Money
Online shopping is available 24/7, making it easy to indulge in retail therapy whenever you’re feeling low. With many consumers using PayPal or saving their credit card details on Google, spending money is so easy that it may not feel like a big deal when clicking the ‘order’ button. While treating yourself every once in a while is normal, making poor and impulsive spending decisions often occurs when you’re in a bad frame of mind.
A 2019 comfort spending report by Mozo found that 81% of Australians are spending money as something to do when they are bored, or to make themselves feel better when they are stressed or anxious. Nationwide, comfort spending reaches $25.5 billion a year, which averages out to $1,430 a year.
Here are some ways you can deal with comfort spending:
- Get into the habit of doing a different activity when you’re bored or stressed. There are many hobbies that would benefit your mental and physical health more than shopping, such as taking a walk or talking to a friend.
- Give yourself some financial freedom. If you immediately implement an over-restrictive budget, you might be tempted to splurge after feeling deprived. Try to find a balance between treating yourself every now and comfort spending as a habit.
- Recognise your comfort spending behaviour and set a budget for it, instead of eating into your savings
- Avoid using a credit card, or if you do, make sure you pay the balance off in full each month.
Posted in: Business
The ATO has announced that in October 2019, they will be focusing on the bulk Australian business number (ABN) cancellation program. This program will be cancelling ABNs that the ATO is confident are inactive in an attempt to create cohesion within the Australian Business Register (ABR).
There are a few areas the ATO looks into to find indications of inactive ABNs, such as;
- Whether there are outstanding lodgements from the ABN holder.
- Information from the ABN holder’s tax return and other lodgments.
- Third party information.
In the event the ATO mistakenly cancels your ABN that is still in use, you can;
- Reapply for the same ABN if your business structure remains the same, or;
- Apply for a new ABN if the business structure has changed.
Last year, a Treasury consultation paper that examined a reform of the ABN system suggested periodic renewals for ABNs to ensure information is up-to-date, as well as renewal fees. This was suggested to remind ABN holders to review registrar rules and any changes that might be implemented.
As business data is used for various reasons, such as emergency services and government agencies during times of natural disaster to identify where financial disaster relief may be needed or other agencies when assessing potential receivers of grants, it is important for the ABR to be up to date with active ABNs.
Posted in: Super
Travelling overseas for an extended period of time is an exciting adventure and a chance to have a break. However, SMSFs do not take a break when you do, which is why it is important to ensure everything remains in line while you are away. SMSFs that breach the residency rules are taxed at the marginal rate of 49% rather than the concessionary rate of 15%. Before travelling, trustees must consider the implications to their SMSF.
Fund recognised as an Australian fund:
The SMSF will be recognised as an Australian super fund provided that the setup of and initial contributions have been made and accepted by the trustees in Australia, however, the trust deed does not have to be signed and executed in Australia. An SMSF that has been established outside Australia will also satisfy the test if at least one of the fund’s assets are located in Australia.
Management and control of the fund carried out in Australia:
The central management and control of the fund must usually be in Australia. This means the SMSF’s strategic decisions are regularly made, and high-level duties and activities are performed in Australia, such as formulating the investment strategy, reviewing the performance of the fund’s investments and determining how assets are to be used for member benefits. Generally, funds will meet this condition even if its central management and control is temporarily outside Australia for up to two years.
Active member test:
An “active member” is a contributor to the fund or contributions to the fund have been made on their behalf. To satisfy this test, the fund will need to have active members who are Australian residents and hold at least 50% of the total market value of the fund’s assets attributable super interests, or the sum of the amounts that would be payable to active members if they decided to leave the fund.