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Sky Update – September 2019

Fair Work interactive templates

The Fair Work Ombudsman has released a number of interactive templates that employers can use to ensure that they are meeting their workplace obligations.

Templates currently available include:

  • Agreement to take annual leave in advance;
  • Casual conversion offer letter;
  • End of probation letter;
  • Notice of requirement to take annual leave; and
  • Warning letter.

The Fair Work Ombudsman intends to add further interactive templates in the future.

In the meantime, you can browse their templates page for a range of downloadable document templates that are useful for managing your employer obligations.

ATO hot to trot on GST fraud

A number of GST refund fraud cases have been in the media in recent months.  The most recent cases involving a property developer and a fake car salesman have resulted in prison sentences of 6 years and 9 months and 3 years respectively.

Like most of the cases seen in recent times, these cases involved taxpayers overclaiming GST credits in order to obtain refunds on their Business Activity Statements.

These cases serve to remind business operators that knowingly over claiming GST credits is a very serious offence.  Also, of the importance to maintain good quality records to prove that GST credits claimed are accurate.

If you need assistance to understand what GST credits can be claimed, and when, please get in touch.

Export Market Development Grants (EMDG)

The EMDG scheme is designed to encourage small and medium sized businesses to develop export markets by reimbursing up to 50% of eligible expenses.

To qualify, businesses must have incurred at least $15,000 of eligible expenses in promoting one of the following:

  • the export of goods or most services; or
  • inbound tourism; or
  • the export of intellectual property and know-how; or
  • conferences and events held in Australia.

Businesses that are interested in claiming the EMDG for the 2018/19 financial year have until 2 December 2019 to submit an application.

We recommend that the first step for interested businesses is to review the EMDG Eligibility Checklist that can be found on the Australian Trade & Investment Commission website.

If you would like to find out more about the EMDG, or need assistance to find an EMDG consultant, please get in touch.

ATO contacts SMSFs about investment strategies

In late August the ATO wrote to approximately 17,700 SMSFs concerning their investment strategies.  The SMSFs selected to receive the letters are those funds with 90% or more of their money invested in a single asset class.  In particular, SMSFs that have invested in property using Limited Recourse Borrowing Arrangements (LRBA).

Whilst it is permissible for SMSFs to invest in such a way, the ATO is concerned about the lack of diversification and whether or not the SMSFs have prepared an investment strategy that considers all relevant matters.

The Investment Strategy requirements applying to SMSFs are contained in Regulation 4.09 of the Superannuation Industry (Supervision) Regulations 1994 (SIS) and place an obligation on a SMSF to formulate, review regularly and give effect to an investment strategy that has regard to the following:

  • the risk involved in making, holding and realising, and the likely return from, the SMSF’s investments, having regard to its objectives and expected cash flow requirements;
  • the composition of the SMSF’s investments as a whole, including the extent to which they are diverse or involve exposure of the SMSF to risks from inadequate diversification;
  • the liquidity of the SMSF’s investments, having regard to its expected cash flow requirements;
  • the ability of the SMSF to discharge its existing and prospective liabilities; and
  • whether the SMSF should have insurance cover for one or more members of the fund.

As previously noted, it is not a requirement that a SMSF have diversified assets or insurance.  However, it is important that the SMSF documents that consideration has been given to those matters and can justify their absence.

If you need advice regarding the Investment Strategy requirements, please contact us.

Sydney’s “lock-out” law looks set to be relaxed

The Joint Select Committee on Sydney’s Night Time Economy is due to report to Parliament by the 30th of September.

It has been speculated that the report will pave the way for a relaxation of the “lock-out” law that has been criticised by many in the hospitality industry as being too restrictive for a modern city such as Sydney.

Premier Gladys Berejiklian has commented that she is willing to relax or even repeal the laws depending on the committee’s findings.

If changes do go-ahead, it is expected that the hospitality industry will benefit resulting in better profitability, more jobs and more options for people looking to enjoy a night out.

Email Address: [email protected]

Sky Accountants Ballarat

Phone: 1300 328 855

Office Address: 902 Howitt Street, Wendouree, Victoria 3355, Australia

Postal Address: PO Box 2234, Bakery Hill, Victoria 3354

Sky Accountants Gisborne & Macedon Ranges

Phone: 03 97444522

Office Address: 45 Hamilton Street, Gisborne, Victoria 3437, Australia

Postal Address: PO Box 270 Gisborne Victoria 3437