Tax offset for spouse super contributions: changes from 1 July 2017
The ATO has reminded taxpayers that that the assessable income threshold for claiming a tax offset for contributions made to a spouse’s eligible superannuation fund will increase to $40,000 from 1 July 2017 (the current threshold is $13,800). The current 18% tax offset of up to $540 will remain in place. However, a taxpayer will not be entitled to the tax offset when their spouse who receives the contribution has exceeded the non-concessional contributions cap for the relevant year or has a total superannuation balance equal to or more than the general transfer balance cap immediately before the start of the financial year when the contribution was made. The general transfer balance cap is $1.6 million for the 2017–2018 year.
The offset will still reduce for spouse incomes above $37,000 and completely phase out at incomes above $40,000.
TIP: Contact us for more information about making the most of super contributions for you and your spouse.
ATO targets restaurants and cafés, hair and beauty businesses in cash economy crackdown
The ATO will visit more than 400 businesses across Perth and Canberra in April as part of a campaign to help small businesses stay on top of their tax affairs. The primary focus is on businesses operating in the cash and hidden economies. ATO officers will be visiting restaurants and cafés, hair and beauty and other small businesses in these cities to make sure their registration details are up to date. These businesses represent the greatest areas of risk and highest numbers of reports to the ATO from across the country, and the visits are part of the ATO’s ongoing program of compliance work.
Help the kids buy homes, but watch for land tax
A taxpayer has been unsuccessful before the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal in a land tax dispute in arguing that there was a “constructive trust” in relation to three residential properties. The taxpayer, a father, had purchased the properties for each of his three adult children to live in. There were agreements that the children would pay their parents rent and, upon the death of both parents, as specified in mutual wills, the property would be left to the respective child. The Queensland Commissioner of State Revenue assessed land tax on the aggregate value of the three properties as at 30 June 2013 and 30 June 2014 respectively. The Tribunal affirmed the Commissioner’s decision, holding that the taxpayer was the “owner” of the properties and it was not convinced that there was a “constructive trust”. Therefore, it held the exemption under the Land Tax Act 2010 (Qld) to assess separately trust land did not apply. In this case, the Tribunal hinted at the possibility that in future assessments the taxpayer could, on sufficient evidence, persuade the Commissioner or Tribunal otherwise.
For parents looking to assist their adult children with buying homes, this case highlights the need to consider land tax implications. It is important to note that the land tax regimes differ from state to state. Please contact our office for assistance.
Superannuation concessional contributions caps must be observed
An individual taxpayer has been unsuccessful before AAT in seeking to have excess superannuation concessional contributions for the 2014 financial year ignored. In addition to having a full-time job, the individual also held a number of casual part-time jobs. To grow his retirement savings, he salary sacrificed super, but he did not check on his super balances. In June 2015, the individual was advised by the ATO that he had excess concessional contributions of around $11,000 for the 2014 financial year, an amount which was added back to his taxable income. He was therefore charged interest of $250. The AAT praised the individual’s efforts to save for his retirement, but it said the circumstances did not amount to “special circumstances” in which it could invoke its powers to ignore the excess contributions.
The taxpayer’s ultimate tax bill in this case would have been the same if he had stayed under the relevant cap, albeit the tax bill would have been met by PAYG deductions over time. Even so, this case is a good reminder for to monitor your super balances to ensure you don’t have a tax burden caused by extra contributions being added back to your taxable income.