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Understanding Contracts and the GST Clause

Contract mistakes can be costly, and administering them often needs an understanding of both what is trying to be achieved and the legal aspects. It is important, as part of the overall contract, to have an understanding of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) issues that may arise as a result of the transaction.

GST Issues that may arise in Contracts

Under the GST Act, the supplier incurs the liability to pay GST but the supplier has no statutory right to pass on that GST liability to the purchaser – this needs to be done as part of the contractual relationship. How this contractual relationship is recorded is critical and many of the commercial disputes involve a contest about the terms of the contractual relationship.

NSW State Budget 2023-2024

The 2023-24 New South Wales (NSW) State Budget was handed down by Treasurer, Daniel Mookhey, on Tuesday 19 September 2023.  This was the first NSW State Budget delivered by the recently elected Labor Government and is being handed down amidst ongoing economic pressures.

QLD State Budget 2023-2024

The 2023-24 Queensland State Budget was handed down by Treasurer, Cameron Dick, on Tuesday 13 June 2023.
Owing to significantly higher coal royalties hitting the state’s revenue, the Treasurer announced a budget surplus of $12.3 billion for the 2022-23 financial year.  This is the largest budget surplus ever recorded by any state or territory government.  Remarkably, only four times has the Federal Budget seen a greater surplus than Queensland’s 2022-23 budget surplus.

Year End Tax Planning for Businesses 2022-23

With the end of the financial year for 2022-23 fast approaching, there are many tax planning strategies business owners should consider and have in place before 30 June 2023.

Now is the time to review your tax affairs (if you haven't already) to ensure you have taken advantage of relief available to you, addressed items that need to be completed and considered your planning opportunities.

Our team have prepared a handy year end tax planning guide for businesses, now available for you to download.

Employee vs contractor - the ATO's risk ratings

The Australian Taxation Office released a draft Practical Compliance Guideline (PCG) 2022/D5 which sets out their compliance approach for businesses that engage workers and classify them as employees or contractors. In 2022, the High Court handed down two decisions that impact how businesses distinguish between employment and contractor relationships.

Working from home deductions - ATO's revised fixed rate

The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) released Practical Compliance Guideline (PCG) 2023/1 which sets out the revised rate for taxpayers wanting to claim work from home expenses using a fixed rate. From the 2023 financial year onwards, taxpayers will only be able to claim working from home deductions based on either the ATO's revised fixed rate, or actual costs.

Welcome new partners in Brisbane and Melbourne

We are pleased to announce the appointment of new Tax Partner, Gary Calford, at our Queensland and Northern New South Wales (Moore Australia (QLD/NNSW) firm, and Wilson Tang as Governance and Risk Advisory Partner at our Victoria (Moore Australia (VIC) firm.

GST and the Financial Acquisitions Threshold - what you need to know

IPO’s, capital raisings and mergers and acquisitions: have you considered GST & the Financial Acquisitions Threshold (the FAT)?  
There are specific GST rules for making financial supplies, including IPO’s, capital raising, mergers and acquisitions, and dealings in shares. While financial supplies are usually input-taxed and therefore do not attract a liability to remit GST, they generally have no GST recovery on expenses relating to these supplies.

Working from home deductions: Changes in the 2023 Financial Year

With the commencement of the 2023 financial year, the way in which employees may claim a tax deduction for their home office costs have changed. The 'shortcut method' allowed taxpayers in certain circumstances to claim a deduction for specified working from home costs based on an hourly rate of 80 cents per hour. This provision was widely used by taxpayers as a simple method of claiming tax deductions while working from home during periods of lockdown and company workplace policy. Effective from 1 July 2022, the 'shortcut method' is no longer available.

ATO focus on rental properties

The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) have highlighted that income and deductions from rental properties remain a key area of focus.  They have found that 90% of tax returns reporting rental income contain at least one error. 

Our team have collated the recent information from the ATO together with some of our recent articles covering various topics for consideration.

QLD State Budget 2022-2023

The 2022-23 QLD State Budget was handed down by Treasurer, Cameron Dick, on Tuesday 21 June 2022.
In his speech, the Treasurer announced a budget surplus of $1.9 billion for the 2021-22 financial year. Despite the ongoing impacts of COVID-19 and floods, the Queensland economy is forecast to grow by 3% in 2021–22, and then average ongoing growth of 2.75% per annum over the rest of the forward estimates.

Year End Tax Planning for Businesses 2021-2022

With the end of the 2021-2022 financial year fast approaching, there are many tax planning strategies that as a business owner you need to consider and have in place before 30 June 2022.

If you haven’t done so already, now is the time to review your tax affairs to ensure you have taken advantage of relevant reliefs available to you, addressed items that need to be done, and considered planning opportunities.
Our team has worked together to prepare a handy year end tax planning guide for businesses which is available for you to download.

When does your hobby become your business?

From arts and crafts to jewellery design, photography, candle making, sewing, blogging and live streaming, we all have hobbies. Some of us are even prolific enough to sell the produce of our leisure time on dedicated platforms and make a few extra dollars, without thinking much of it… until it’s too late. Income is income, and it is important to know that your hobby dollars might need reporting to the Australian Taxation Office (ATO). The line between hobby and business is thin so be sure you make it your business to know where the difference lies.

ATO – Practical Compliance Guideline 2021/4

The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) is targeting accountants, architects, engineers, lawyers and other professionals! 

The ATO has released Practical Compliance Guideline (PCG) 2021/4 which finalises its compliance approach towards the allocation of profits from professional firms to an individual professional practitioner (IPP). The ATO is specifically concerned with arrangements involving the provision of services where the IPP redirects income to an associated entity, where it has the effect of altering their overall tax liability.

Retirement villages, aged care and GST

We aren’t getting any younger - 
It is no secret that Australia has an aging demographic and the demand for aged care and retirement villages is increasing exponentially. According to a recent survey by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), the average male life expectancy is 80.9 years and females 85 years old. This places immense pressure on the aged care sector and as such, we are seeing a large increase in the construction of aged care and retirement facilities which also offer a vast range of services.

What is the future for Fuel Tax Credits after COP 26?

Nearly 200 countries have made an unprecedented and historic pledge at the COP26 climate summit to speed up the end of fossil fuel subsidies and reduce the use of coal. Until COP26, coal and fossil fuel subsidies have never been explicitly mentioned in 26 years of treaties and decisions at UN climate talks, despite fossil fuels being one of the key drivers of global warming and $5.9 trillion of subsidies being given annually to coal, oil and gas.

Medical Practices and Payroll Tax - a rapidly evolving issue

A recent payroll tax case heard in New South Wales has confirmed growing concerns that other states will begin treating medical professionals under a service agreement as employees for payroll tax purposes. While we understand that the case is being appealed, it is a wake-up call for all medical practices to review their agreements to reduce the potential for payroll tax assessments, which can go back many years.

Property and Taxes - GST Lessons for all Property Transactions

Over the years, several goods and services tax (GST) disputes have been brought before the Courts and they continue to this day. Some disputes involve the Commissioner, but many involve the parties to the transaction. 

Disputes involving the Commissioner generally involve the question of whether GST is payable or whether the margin scheme can apply. Disputes involving the parties to the transaction generally do not involve the question of whether GST is payable, but rather as to who is to bear the ultimate liability for GST.

Property and Taxes: vacant land deductions - ATO releases new ruling

The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) has released draft taxation ruling TR 2021/D5 which considers the ATO’s view on non-deductible expenses associated with vacant land. From 1 July 2019, certain taxpayers are denied a tax deduction for outgoings in relation to vacant land unless the land is used in a business, or another exclusion applies. Deductions which are denied by the operation of these provisions include interest expenses, council rates, land taxes and maintenance costs. Importantly, certain entities are not impacted by these provisions including (but not being limited to) companies and managed investment trusts.

Director Identification Numbers: Alert

All directors of a company, registered Australian body, registered foreign company or Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander corporation will need a director identification number (director ID).

From November 2021, company directors will be able to start applying for a Director Identification Number (DIN) through the Australian Business Registry Services (ABRS) website.

Preparing for Single Touch Payroll Phase 2

The Australian Taxation Office has announced that it will be deferring the start date for the Single Touch Payroll (STP) expansion which was intended to commence from 1 January 2022. Under the STP expansion – Phase 2, employers are required to provide additional information as part of the STP lodgement process.

2021-2022 WA State Budget: At a glance

Western Australia’s Premier and Treasurer, Hon Mark McGowan MLA handed down the 2021-22 Western Australia State Budget on Thursday, 9 September 2021. In his speech, the Treasurer stated that Western Australia’s net operating surplus was stronger than expected, at a record $5.6 billion.

Property and Taxes - managed investment trusts

Managed Investment Trusts are registered schemes established and managed by sophisticated Trustees holding an Australian Financial Services License. They enable investors to pool capital to collectively acquire large scale commercial, retail and industrial properties. Operations are typically limited to passive investment income (leasing). Entities are typically set up as up as unit trusts which provides investors with clearly defined rights to income and capital, yet retaining access to Capital Gains Tax (CGT) concessions.

NSW State Budget: 2021-22

On 22 June 2021 New South Wales Honourable Dominic Perrottet delivered the 2021-22 state budget, focussing on COVID safety measures along with targeted spending to assist small business and large spending packages on infrastructure and disaster recovery. 

Queensland State Budget: 2021-22

On 15 June 2021, the Queensland Treasurer Cameron Dick delivered the 2021-22 state budget, following Queensland's nation-leading success in managing the economic health challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, the government is focused on the states economic recovery plan sooner and stronger.


Year End Tax Planning for Businesses

With the end of the 2020-2021 financial year fast approaching, there are many tax planning strategies that as a business owner you need to consider and have in place before 30 June 2021.

If you haven’t done so already, now is the time to review your tax affairs to ensure you have taken advantage of relevant reliefs available to you, addressed items that need to be done, and considered planning opportunities. Our team has worked together to prepare a handy ‘Year End Tax Planning Guide for Businesses’ which is available for you to download.

A sharper focus on intangibles

The taxation of intangible assets is a complex area of taxation and further complexity is added where there are international related party dealings in respect to these assets. Significant legislative and interpretative changes are being made in relation to the taxation of intangibles which impact taxpayers.

Property and Taxes - Commercial property considerations (Part 1)

Beyond its immediate impact, the COVID-19 pandemic also shook up the commercial real estate market. The long-term ramifications of this will be felt for a while. For example, with many employers incorporating flexible work from home policies, there has been a substantial shift in how businesses factor in the importance of and need for spacious offices. In addition to the impact the pandemic has had on the commercial office sector, a substantial impact can also be seen on the retail sector with the increasing number of vacancies in retail spaces over the last 12 months. With all these long-term issues engulfing the property market, owners of commercial properties will be considering offering generous lease incentives to attract prospective tenants.

2021-2022 Victorian State Budget

On 20 May 2021, the Victorian Treasurer Tim Pallas handed down the 2021-22 Victorian State Budget. A number of tax-related measures were announced in a Budget that is designed to assist Victoria in bouncing back from the pandemic, with a focus on creating jobs and caring for Victorians, particularly mental health initiatives.

2021-2022 Federal Budget Report

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg handed down the 2021-22 Federal Budget on 11 May 2021, heralding the post-pandemic economic recovery.
A key focus of the Budget is economic recovery and delivering more jobs to Australians. It is estimated that this Budget will help to create more than 250,000 more jobs by the end of 2022-23.

Property and Taxes - interest deduction is not always obvious

Interest paid is usually the largest tax deduction against rental property income, and in a lot of cases creates an overall loss, which may lead to an overall reduction in income tax payable. Taking out a loan to buy an investment property and claiming the interest charged as a tax deduction seems to be a simple proposition, however, as with anything in relation to tax, there are some complications. It is crucial to be aware of a few rules, especially when the expectation of tax deduction creating tax savings is one of the main deciding factors in purchasing an investment property.

New SME Recovery Loan Scheme

On 11 March 2021, the Government announced a new SME Recovery Loan Scheme which will assist eligible businesses to access finance to maintain and grow their businesses when JobKeeper concludes at the end of March 2021.

The Scheme builds on the framework established in the two phases of the Coronavirus SME Guarantee Scheme, and is specifically targeted at SMEs currently receiving JobKeeper (i.e. the scheme is only open to certain recipients of the JobKeeper payment between 4 January 2021 and 28 March 2021).

Motor vehicles and logbook requirements

In most cases, having a valid car logbook is beneficial for both: claiming a personal tax return deduction for work related travel cost using your own car and calculating the taxable value of a car fringe benefit, when the car is provided by an employer.

Record keeping requirements in this area are strict, therefore, we believe it is a good opportunity for us to detail or remind you of your record keeping requirements under this method.

Investing safely in Cryptocurrencies

Over the last six months we’ve seen an increasing popularity in cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin and Ethereum. This is due to varying factors such as the maturing of regulatory environments, companies moving their treasuries into Bitcoin and investment groups such as BlackRock looking towards the sector for investment. It is also often cited that the rise in popularity of these deflationary digital currencies is at least in part due to the unprecedented amount of quantitative easing occuring around the world. 

Allocation of professional firm profits - the compliance approach

Following several years of deliberation, the ATO has finally released draft Practical Compliance Guideline - PCG 2021/D2 that sets out the ATO's proposed compliance approach to the allocation of profits by professional firms.

The guideline explains how the ATO intends to apply compliance resources when considering the allocation of professional firm profits or income in the assessable income of the individual professional practitioner (‘IPP’). It also assists the IPP to self-assess against the risk assessment factors set out.

Property and Taxes - inheritance nuances

They say trust is hard earned but easily lost. The same can be said for a person’s wealth.
Death and taxes (the only two certainties in life) are topics not often discussed within family groups around the dinner table. However, I strongly advocate that family members have discussions regarding wills and wishes while they can, to avoid unintended tax implications eroding the asset pool upon succession due to a lack of communication or well considered advice.

Payment Times Reporting - what you need to know

The new Payment Times Reporting Scheme (PTRS) applies from 1 January 2021 and requires certain entities (including but not limited to) companies to publicly report on their payment terms and practices for their small business suppliers. This is achieved primarily through the imposition of a bi-annual reporting requirement whereby effected entities must provide details of their payment terms for small business. This information is then published on a public register which can then be accessed by any interested party.

What is a Discretionary Trust?

Many of Moore Australia’s clients have discretionary trusts. For some clients, understandably discretionary trusts can be hard to get their head around given they are largely driven by historical trust law and from a tax perspective, some complicated tax law.

Property and Taxes - unpleasant surprises

The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) state that "the most common capital gains tax (CGT) event happens when you sell or give away a CGT asset such as real estate, including your family home, holiday home, investment property, hobby farm or vacant block of land". Nearly all investors are aware of CGT in relation to investment properties, but the situation is different in relation to other properties, especially family homes.

2020-21 Victorian State Budget

On 24 November 2020, the Victorian Treasurer Tim Pallas handed down the 2020-21 Victoria State Budget. The aim of the Budget is clear: to protect and create jobs, look after families, build strong and connected communities and build towards a strong economic recovery.

2021 Queensland State Budget at a glance

Queensland Treasurer, Cameron Dick, delivered the state's 2020-21 budget yesterday, on the same day the borders opened to New South Wales and Victorian travellers.  Similar to budgets released by other states, the focus is on creating jobs, while also focussing on “rebounding from COVID-19 impacts” and celebrating the success of Queensland in response to the pandemic.

Homebuilder program extended

On 29 November 2020, the Federal Government announced that the HomeBuilder program will be extended to 31 March 2021. The HomeBuilder program provides eligible owner-occupiers a grant to build a new home or substantially renovate an existing home.

The JobMaker Scheme

The Economic Recovery Package (JobMaker Hiring Credit) Amendment Bill 2020 received Royal Assent on 13 November 2020. Final Rules governing JobMaker will be released after public consultation, therefore the information provided in this document is based on the draft rules.

Northern Territory Budget 2020-2021

Chief Minister and Treasurer Michael Gunner delivered the NT Budget yesterday, stating that his 2020 budget covers 3 objectives – controlling the virus, protecting jobs and kick-starting the economy. In his speech, the Treasurer said “While the Australian economy is forecast to shrink by a further one-and-a-half per cent in this financial year, as the worst effects of the crisis are felt, in the Territory we are expected to hold about steady, contracting by just 0.1 per cent.”

Temporary Full Expensing Provisions

The temporary full expensing (TFE) of depreciating assets measure announced in the 2020-21 Federal Budget is now law. The Treasury Laws Amendment (A Tax Plan for the COVID-19 Economic Recovery) Bill 2020 (the Bill) received Royal Assent on 14 October 2020.

The TFE provisions allow eligible businesses with an aggregated turnover of less than $5 billion to claim a tax deduction for the full cost of an eligible depreciating asset purchased between 6 October 2020 and 30 June 2022 (the relevant period).

2020-21 Federal Budget Report

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg handed down the 2020-21 Federal Budget on 6 October 2020, a deficit of $213.7b for the year, taking net debt to $703b or 36% of GDP.

The Government laid out their recovery plan focused on creating jobs, rebuilding the economy, and securing Australia’s future.

The key taxation, superannuation and social security measures are summarised within the following report.

Should the Stamp Duty rules be reformed?

Stamp duty (or transfer duty) is a financial burden that may deter individuals and families from entering the property market and acts as a barrier to investment opportunities. It raises the issue of whether stamp duty is still appropriate in the modern economic landscape and calls for replacing stamp duty with a broad-based land tax are getting louder. This issue was considered by NSW Treasury in a recent report NSW Review of Federal Financial Relations -Supporting the road to recovery (the NSW Report).

Should a review of GST be on the table?

Last week we asked about the future of GST in Australia and as we expected, more than 65% of the respondents felt that change is required.

As we come out of COVID-19, revenue collection will be high on the Government’s agenda, primarily to fund the cost of stimulus funding. On numerous occasions, our leaders have stated that they are against increasing taxes and want to encourage consumer spending in Australia. There are media reports of personal tax rate cuts being brought forward to reinvigorate the economy.

​Our GST system is complex and needs improvement. There have been some minor adjustments, such as making certain foreign suppliers of goods and services in Australia being liable for GST, but there is scope to make some targeted changes to improve the efficiency of the GST system. Read more about our thoughts and the options available.

Is it time to 'fix' corporate tax rates once and for all?

Last week we asked what the future of the corporate tax system of Australia should look like. More than 64% of respondents felt that Australia should have a single corporate tax rate set at 25%. 

The upcoming Federal budget is going to be important for business. Hopefully the Government will carefully consider some issues which in our view require immediate reform. Read more about our thoughts on the complex dual corporate tax system is complex, and why we should be moving towards a single lower corporate tax rate.

COVID-19 and Fringe Benefits Tax

As a result of COVID-19 and changed working conditions, employers may be providing benefits to employees that are not usually provided in a ‘normal’ year. Fringe benefits tax (FBT) may be applicable if you provide benefits in addition to salary and wages. There are exemptions and concessions available that can reduce (or eliminate) the amount of FBT you pay that are outlined in this article.

Issues company directors should be aware of during COVID-19 and beyond

The last few months have had far reaching implications for many businesses across Australia. Whilst some businesses are starting to show signs of recovery, there are a few ‘ticking’ timebombs you need to be aware of as a company director.

Directors may be personally liable for certain actions by the company including situations of insolvent trading and failure to meet employee (PAYG and superannuation guarantee), or GST obligations (in certain scenarios). The Government has provided some relief for directors in relation to insolvent trading due to the impact of COVID-19, but it is important to look out for issues not necessarily covered by the relief.

Live streaming and the tax consequences

Live streaming is an increasingly popular activity and these days there are big bucks involved. But what are the tax consequences?
A person who is broadcasting their online activity in real time is ‘live streaming’. This form of entertainment has developed into a massive industry for video gamers and other creatives, with recent COVID-19 ‘stay at home’ restrictions leading to a surge in viewership and the number of people streaming online.

JobKeeper 1.0: Changes you need to be aware of

The Federal Government recently announced the expansion for the eligibility of the current JobKeeper Scheme.
As part of the changes announced, the Federal Government introduced changes for employees eligible for the JobKeeper Scheme from 3 August 2020. On Friday 14 August, the Coronavirus Economic Response Package (Payments and Benefits) Amendment Rules (No. 7) 2020 (the Rules) were registered which commence from 15 August 2020. 

Revenue vs Capital: two sides of the coin

The ongoing debate of capital vs revenue was recently raised in a Full Federal Court case - Greig v FCT [2020] FCAFC 25. The case highlights the continuing difficulty in the capital vs revenue distinction. This area of law falls within a grey zone where the outcome turns on the facts of each situation.

Protecting capital losses – common issues with related party loans

The last few months have been tumultuous for Australia and within the tax world, we have seen a raft of new legislation being introduced to save the Australian economy. However, in trying to stay agile and keeping up to date with the changes, we may lose sight of the usual hidden issues contained within our complex tax system. One of these is the personal use assets provision and its impact on the capital gains tax (CGT) treatment of loans advanced by individuals (or any other entity) to prop up struggling businesses.

Government’s First Stimulus Package Announced

Earlier today the government announced a $17.6 billion stimulus package in an attempt to deal with the impact of coronavirus on the Australian economy.

Please note the below measures are subject to the relevant legislation passing through parliament. At this stage, parliament is not scheduled to resume untll 23 March.

I’ve worked really hard and things are taken care of…or are they?

You’ve worked really hard for a long time, made big sacrifices…family time, early mornings, late nights, taken risks and it has paid off. Time for you to enjoy the fruit of your labour that has been made possible by your sacrifices.
Unexpectedly something comes out of the woodwork and you find yourself in a legal battle. You didn’t expect this and suddenly everything you’ve worked so hard for could be gone. Have you done everything you can to protect your assets?

Claiming depreciation on investment property

Rental property investors have access to a range of tax strategies. One such strategy, which is often underutilised, is claiming depreciation as a tax deduction.

Property expenses, such as depreciation and capital works expenditure, can be deducted over a number years, adding to a significant return for property investors come tax time.

Shock for landlords as land tax skyrockets

Over the past month soaring property values have seen landlords hit by steep increases in landlord taxes.

A number of landlords, property owners and lessors have been shocked when confronted with sharp increases in land tax bills this month.

The State Revenue Office (SRO) argues that 2016 was a revaluation year, which means your site value will most likely increase in 2017.

Transitional Provisions for SMSFs

The Government will apply transitional arrangements to SMSFs affected by the retrospective aspects of the Federal Budget’s proposal to limit non-concessional contributions. In the 2016-17 Federal Budget, the introduction of a lifetime cap of $500,000 on non-concessional superannuation contributions, including contributions since 2007, was announced. 

ATO Targeting SMSF Tax Avoidance

The Australian Tax Office has its sight set on an emerging tax avoidance tactic being taken up by a number of self-managed superannuation funds. 

The ATO has warned individuals (at or approaching retirement age) not to use a strategy known as diverting personal services income (PSI) through their SMSF to minimise or avoid their income tax obligations. 

Victorian State Budget Announcement

The Victorian State Government  delivered its 2016-17 Budget on Wednesday with proposed big spending on good hospitals, reliable roads and public transport and securing jobs in growing industries throughout the state.

Working together - the reinvention of the ATO

Late last year, Moore Stephens Victoria  supported the AustralianTaxation Office (ATO) and then subsequently hosted a Key Agent meeting by our Directors with several senior ATO executives to enhance collaboration with our firm and ultimately to deliver a better client experience.

What’s next for the $20k write off

The small business $20,000 depreciating asset write-off was announced as part of the 2016 Federal Budget and was passed by the Senate in June 2015. Now that many small business owners are turning their minds to their 2015 Income Tax Returns what does this mean for you?