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A recent Full Federal Court decision handed down on 21 August 2019 confirmed that all employees (including part-time employees) are entitled to  10 "working days" of personal/carer's leave per year under the Fair Work Act, regardless of how many hours the employees work per day or how many days are worked per week.

The decision will have wide-ranging implications for employers, the overwhelming majority of whom do not presently accrue personal/carer's leave in this manner.

WHAT THIS MEANS FOR EMPLOYERS
Most payroll systems accrue personal/carer's leave on an hourly basis. Rather than expressing an employee's leave entitlement in days or weeks, payroll software tends to record the accrual as an hourly amount (with 7.6 hours often reflecting one day's accrual).

Most payroll systems tend to accrue 76 hours of personal/carer's leave per year for full time employees, and a pro-rata amount for part-time employees.

If your payroll system works in this way, you will need to ensure that:

  • 12 hour shift workers either accrue 120 hours of personal/carer's leave per year (instead of 76) or, alternatively, only have 7.6 hours leave deducted from the personal/carer's leave balance, yet pay the shift worker for the entire shift whenever they are absent from an entire 12 hour shift
  • similar treatment is afforded to other shift workers who work more than 7.6 ordinary hours in a day; and
  • part-time employees accrue a full 10 working days per year (as opposed to a pro-rated amount based on their shorter working week).

From 1 July 2018 if you have a total superannuation balance of less than $500,000 on 30 June of the previous financial year, you may be entitled to contribute more than the general concessional contributions cap and make additional concessional contributions for any unused amounts.

2019-20 is the first year you are entitled to use carried forward unused amounts. Unused amounts are available for a maximum of five years, and after this period will expire.

For example, if you had concessional contributions of $3,000 in 2018-19, your unused concessional amount carried forward to 2019-20 is $22,000. Your general concessional contributions cap in 2019-20 is $25,000, allowing a maximum concessional contribution in 2019-20 of $47,000.

WORK CHRISTMAS PARTIES AND GIFTS

The Fringe Benefits Tax and Income Tax rules surrounding work Christmas parties and gifts are complex.

A brief summary of the most commonly encountered scenarios for employers using the actual FBT method is provided below with full details at https://www.ato.gov.au/general/fringe-benefits-tax-(fbt)/in-detail/fbt-and-christmas-parties 

           
  Fringe Benefits Tax  Income Tax   GST
 Christmas Party - food drink and entertainment: cost $299 or less per employee  Exempt from FBT  Not tax deductible No GST credit claimable
 Christmas Party - food drink and entertainment: cost  $300 or more per employee  Subject to FBT  Is tax deductible GST credit claimable
 Food drink and entertainment provided to client/supplier  Exempt from FBT  Not tax deductible No GST credit claimable
 Gift to employee: $299 or less - not entertainment**  Exempt from FBT  Is tax deductible GST credit claimable
 Gift to employee: $299 or less - entertainment  Exempt from FBT  Not tax deductible No GST credit claimable
 Gift to client/supplier - not entertainment  Exempt from FBT  Is tax deductible GST credit claimable

* Entertainment = theatre, movie or sporting event tickets, gym membership, sporting club memberships
** Not entertainment = bottle of wine, Christmas hamper, perfume, flowers, pen

The superannuation concessional contribution cap for the 2019-20 financial year is $25,000.

Concessional contributions include:

- compulsory employer contributions (superannuation guarantee)
- any additional concessional contributions your employer makes
- salary sacrifice payments made to your super fund
- contributions you are allowed as an income tax deduction*

*  Eligible employees are now able to claim a tax deduction for contributions personally made to a superannuation fund.  The total of all concessional contributions including superannuation guarantee, salary sacrificed contributions and personal deductible contributions must not exceed $25,000 per year.

TAX TIME 2019

TAX PLANNING - HOW MUCH TAX WILL YOU PAY IN 2019?

Tax planning offers many opportunities for taxpayers:

- Legally arrange your affairs in a manner to minimise your taxation liabilities
- Control the amount of tax you pay
- Maximise your access to tax rebates
- Plan your cash flow by knowing your taxation liabilities in advance.

Book your tax planning appointment before 30 June 2019 to review your 2019 profit, to estimate your tax payable and to put in place tax minimisation strategies.

NEW REBATE FOR DRONES

The NSW quad bike safety rebate has been extended to include the purchase of a drone.  Only one $500 rebate per business can be claimed towards the purchase of an eligible drone. 

More details can be found here: https://www.safework.nsw.gov.au/resource-library/agriculture,-forestry-and-fishing-publications/quad-bike-pubs/quad-bike-safety-improvement-program-FAQs

OPT-IN OR LOSE YOUR INSURANCE COVER

The Government has recently passed new legislation that now requires you to opt-in by  1 July 2019 to retain the insurance cover you  have in your superannuation fund.

If your superannuation fund account has not received a contribution from you or your employer or a rollover in the previous 16 months, superannuation funds are required by law to discontinue your cover. 

This new legislation applies regardless of your superannuation fund's balance and applies to all types of insurance; life insurance, total and permanent disability (TPD) insurance and income protection insurance.

The insurance opt in requirement is part of a reform package called Protecting Your Super Package that commences on 1 July 2019 and includes:

• Insurance becoming opt-in for members whose accounts have been inactive for 16 months
• Fund members with balances under $6,000 whose accounts have been inactive for 16 months will have their accounts paid to the ATO, who will then chase taxpayers to consolidate their superannuation accounts
• Fee caps will be imposed on certain fees for account balances under $6,000
• Exit fees will not be charged for moving money from a superannuation account

The storm and flood event that occurred in the Hilltops and Cootamundra/Gundagai LGA's on 5 February 2019 has been declared a natural disaster.  Natural disaster relief loans are available to primary producers, small business, non-profit organisations and sporting and recreation clubs.

  Loan amount   Loan term   Interest rate    Loan purpose
Primary producers   $130,000  10 years  1.37% • continue to operate your farm business for the next twelve months or until the next income is received
• replace and repair damage caused to the property and associated improvements not covered by insurance.
 Small business  $130,000  10 years  1.37% • return to its normal level of trading or until the next major income is received within 12 months from the date of disaster
 • replace and repair damage caused to your small business and associated improvements not covered by insurance
 Non-profit organisations  $25,000  5 years  1.37% • for the restoration of essential facilities that have been damaged or destroyed by a natural disaster
• temporary storage or leasing of alternate premises
 Sporting and recreation clubs  $10,000  5 years  1.37% • meet the costs of restoring essential club facilities, equipment or other assets that have been damaged or destroyed by a natural disaster

A natural disaster assistance transport subsidy is available to eligible farmers who are affected by a declared natural disaster event. This subsidy pays for the cost of transporting:
• fodder and/or water to an affected property
• stock to sale or slaughter
• stock to/from agistment.
www.raa.nsw.gov.au/disaster-assistance/declared-natural-disasters

NSW Treasury grants for sporting and recreation clubs Further assistance may be provided to sporting and recreation clubs and associations for clean-up and removal of debris.

 A grant of up to $2000 is available to any single applicant from NSW Treasury.

To obtain an application for the grant assistance, contact NSW Treasury on 02 9228 5181 or send a request via e-mail to natural-disasters@treasury.nsw.gov.au.

TWOMEYS COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT

Several Twomeys team members and their partners attended Mercy Care Centre Young's annual charity cocktail party held at Clifton House & Gardens to raise funds for the refurbishment of the centre's palliative care unit.

 

L to R: 
Owen Mackie, Sarah Mackie, Amber Beath,
Merralee Gordon
 L to R: 
Stephen Thurn, Kim Knox-Thurn,
Merralee Gordon, Amber Beath,
Maree Twomey, Michael Twomey
 

 

 

All primary producers can claim a tax deduction for the full cost of fodder storage assets if the asset was acquired o first used to store fodder on or after 19 August 2018. Fodder storage assets include silos, bins, hay sheds, grain sheds and bunkers.

All primary producers can claim a tax deduction for the full cost of fencing and water facility assets if the asset was acquired on or after 12 May 2015. Water facility assets include dams, tanks, bores, pipes, pumps and windmills.