Sky Update – April 2019
In this Sky Update, we bring you all the latest tax news along with some other items that may pique your interest.
Federal Election Called
On the 11th of April the Federal Election was called for Saturday the 18th of May 2019.
A consequence of the election being called is that the House of Representatives is dissolved until the election results are announced. This means that the “Caretaker Conventions” are currently in-play whereby the Government must:
- Avoid making major policy decisions;
- Avoid making any significant appointments; and
- Not enter into any major commercial transactions.
A further consequence of the election being called is that all of the Bills before Parliament lapse.
A list detailing the status of the numerous tax related announcements from recent budgets and the MYEFO can be found here.
This means that there will be no movement on any of the previously announced measures, including those in the recent Federal Budget, until after the election result is known.
It remains to be seen what the legislative agenda of the new Government will be, and which previously announced measures they will choose to pursue.
Consequently, we urge caution to anyone considering acting in response to any changes that have been announced but not legislated. We also encourage readers to get engaged with the political process and to carefully consider the policies and announcements of all sides of politics when determining how to cast their vote on the 18th of May.
Single Touch Payroll (STP) Start Date
We take this opportunity to remind “small employers”, being those employing 19 or fewer employees, that the obligation to start reporting through STP commences on the 1st of July 2019.
The reporting requirements can be met by employers through the use of STP enabled software such as Xero, MYOB, Quickbooks, etc.
If you need assistance to implement STP or require further information, please contact our office.
Additionally, we note that the ATO have announced that where small employers commence reporting between the 1st of July and the 30th of September 2019, they will be deemed to be reporting on time.
This gives those businesses extra time to get up to speed without being subject to compliance action.
Public Holidays & Employees
The recent Easter and ANZAC day Public Holidays are reminder of employers to be careful in managing their staffing and payroll obligations.
There are a multitude of issues that can arise ranging from whether employees can be requested to work, whether staff who do not work are entitled to be paid and the rates of pay that are applicable. Information on these items can be found on the Fair Work Ombudsman’s website.
These issues are particularly challenging for businesses operating in the tourism, hospitality and retail industries.
Further to the legislative requirements, employers must make decisions of a commercial nature around issues such as whether they will trade on Public Holidays and how to manage their staff rosters accordingly.
If employers are unsure of their obligations, we encourage them to reach-out for support.
Additionally, we recommend that employers with complex staffing requirements look at options to assist them with their rostering so that they can achieve maximum profitability.
There are now many great, low cost software options available. If you would like advice on the options that may be suited to your business, please get in touch.
2019 Fringe Benefits Tax (FBT) Returns
With the FBT year having ended on the 31st of March, employers who provide non-cash benefits to employees need to assess their FBT obligations, and where necessary lodge a FBT return.
The due date for lodgement, where lodging electronically through a Tax Agent (eg Sky Accountants) is the 25th of June with the payment date being the 21st of May 2019.
Common examples of Fringe Benefits are:
- Private use of business vehicles;
- Car parking;
- Provision of entertainment;
- Payment/reimbursement of private expenses;
- Provision of loans;
- Provision of goods/services from the business; and
- Living Away From Home Allowances (LAFHA).
For more information, watch this short ATO video.
If you have provided any non-cash benefits to employees during the last twelve months, you should seek advice on how the FBT rules apply to your business.
For those businesses that offer salary packaging, it is also a time to review those packages to ensure that they are correctly set for the 2020 FBT year.
If you require assistance to review the FBT position of your business, or advice on how to achieve the best outcomes, please do not hesitate to contact us.
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