Blog

Nov30

Looking for QLD business grants

Flor- Hanly - Monday, November 30, 2020

Looking for funding to support your business in QLD? 

There sure is no shortage of financial support for businesses in Queensland, it’s just a matter of finding the one that’s right for your business, so make sure to do your research and always check the eligibility criteria.

QLD GRANTS FOR WOMEN

Queensland’s women in business receive support through the innovative and inspiring Spark Female Founders Program. There’s also a Women’s Research Assistance Program (WRAP) available for female scientists to continue their research while on maternity or adoption leave.

GRANTS FOR ABORIGINAL AND TORRES STRAIT ISLANDER PEOPLE

The Business Development and Assistance Program provides Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in businesses with access to finance products, advice, training, and workshops to start or grow a small-to-medium business. There’s also the Indigenous Innovation and Entrepreneur Pathway (IIEP) Program QLD, the Indigenous Pathways Scholarship Program, and the One Business program.

QLD SOCIAL ENTERPRISE FUNDING

In this category, businesses can apply for grants to help Queenslanders improve their local communities. For example, through the:

QLD TOURISM AND EVENTS GRANTS

While travel might not be front of mind right now, it will be again at some point. So for ventures looking to boost the local events and tourism industry, there are funding options such as the Queensland Destination Events Program and the Attracting Tourism Fund.

COVID-19 AND DISASTER-RECOVERY GRANTS

If your business has been affected by COVID-19, the Queensland Government offers support in the shape of the Small Business COVID-19 Adaption Grant for small and micro-businesses. There are also Small Business Disaster Recovery Grants and Drought Relief Assistance Scheme (DRAS) for those affected by extreme weather and natural disasters.

Need support or advice? Contact the team at Flor-Hanly in Mackay on 07 4963 4800.

Source: Business Australia

Nov24

Small business grants in Queensland

Flor- Hanly - Tuesday, November 24, 2020

Support for businesses in QLD

How do you know if there’s something for you? Read on to learn more about some of the grants available in QLD.

QLD GRANTS FOR INNOVATION

While business grants for innovation open, close and change over time, the Queensland Government’s ‘Advance Queensland’ programme is generally a good place to start. Here, the state government updates and lists grants for everything from small businesses to female founders and much more.

For example, there’s the Advance Queensland Industry Attraction Fund (AQIAF), an Indigenous Native Food Program and even the Business Development Fund QLD.

RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT (R&D) GRANTS AND TAX INCENTIVES

In the life sciences sector, the Life Sciences Catalyst provides access to capital and knowledge as well as training and resources to help businesses scale up or diversify into new markets. The R&D Tax Incentive Program helps offset money spent on R&D which benefits the wider Australian economy.

QLD GRANTS FOR STARTUPS

Startups should look at the Startup Onramp Regional Queensland Program which provides training and an accelerator program for high-growth startups. The Business Growth Fund Program also provides targeted assistance for small and medium businesses that demonstrate high-growth and employment aspirations.

SMALL BUSINESS GRANTS IN QLD

The Small Business Artisan Producer Grants Program is designed to help artisan producers of gourmet food grow their business. There’s also the Small Business Digital Grants Program to improve access to digital technologies and services and the Small Business Entrepreneur Grants Program which matches funding to help newly established businesses access professional advice and support in the early stages.

Need support or advice? Contact the team at Flor-Hanly in Mackay on 07 4963 4800.

Source: Business Australia

Nov02

Simple approach to cybersecurity

Flor- Hanly - Monday, November 02, 2020

4 easy ways to keep your data safe from cybercriminals

Cybercrime has become a profession and the demographic of your typical cybercriminal is changing rapidly, from bedroom-bound geek to the more organised, who use advanced techniques and are highly technically skilled.

According to the data provided by software company, VMware, 52% of all cyberattacks in March 2020 were finance-related. We outline simple actions you can take to secure your data and keep your business safe.

1. Phishing is an attempt to get information for malicious reasons.

The most common example is receiving an email with an enticing heading like you’ve won millions or a lost inheritance. Clicking on this seemingly harmless email and the links within it could land you in big trouble, for starters, the sender might ask you for more data than you should be sharing. We hear you saying “I’d never fall for that”, but cybercriminals are very clever and it’s hard to distinguish the real from the fake.

So what can you do? Always check the URL before you open anything and try to navigate using HTTPs. This means the data between your computer and the server is encrypted, but contrary to common belief it doesn’t guarantee that the server is trustworthy. Any hacker can create a server with HTTPs capabilities. So long story short, not using HTTPs is a red flag, but using it isn’t 100% bulletproof; the most important thing to do is to make sure we recognise the URLs before opening them

Another trick is to think about the information you are being asked for. For example, say you got a free subscription to a financial publication, but they ask for your passport number – that’s a red flag. Try to be mindful and ask yourself “do they really need this information?” especially if they are asking for it urgently.

If suspicious, double-check the source. If Xero is sending you an email, go and check if that’s the right email address from the Xero website or if any other website is sending you information, check that those are the right links. It’s as simple as Googling the company to see if that’s the first website that comes up there.

2. Account takeovers occur when cybercriminals find a way to log into your account.

They do malicious things like change account details, send out phishing emails pretending to be from you, steal financial information or sensitive data, or use any stolen information to access further accounts within your business.

These are more common than you think and cybercriminals have a variety of entry points when attempting to gain access to your personal information – they generally choose the simplest entry point. It can start with any piece of personal data that’s used when logging in, such as an email address, full name, date of birth, or city of residence, all of which can be found with minimal research.

Over 80% of web apps are using stolen or brute-forced credentials – so it’s a simple message – use a password manager to keep track of your passwords and always use strong, unique passwords combined with two-factor authentication.

3. Two-factor authentication (2SA) is a method of confirming your identity by using a combination of two different components.

Xero uses a username and password to sign in as the first factor and a one-time-valid, dynamic passcode, consisting of six digits as the second factor. The code is generated by a one-time-passcode-generator like Google Authenticator or Auty. The combination of two different factors to enter your account makes it exponentially harder for cybercriminals to gain access and steal your personal data or identity.

Enabling two-factor authentication on your accounts, deadbolts your data and prevents cybercriminals from accessing your information. We highly recommend enabling two-factor authentication on Xero, in addition to enabling it on your email account.

4. Anti-virus scanners and disaster recovery plans

Running an anti-virus scanner on your machines regularly is another great step you can take to help keep your systems secure. A step beyond that is having a disaster recovery plan (DRP) in place, in case things go wrong. That isn’t just about keeping computers and other hardware safe; it’s also about protecting your ability to provide customer service and keep your business running. When DRPs are properly designed and executed they enable the efficient recovery of critical systems and help your business avoid further damage to mission-critical operations. Benefits include minimal recovery time and possible delays, preventing potential legal liability, improving security, and avoiding potentially damaging last-minute decision making during a disaster.

Cybersecurity is a shared responsibility, a system is only as good as the weakest link in the chain.

Security needs to be strong on all fronts and it’s important that small businesses and their advisors are committed to protecting themselves and their customers from attacks.

As a business owner, it’s your responsibility to safeguard not only your own information but, more importantly, the sensitive data that your customers and employees have entrusted you with. By keeping informed about cybersecurity and instilling the importance of security practices throughout your business, together we can build a stronger, more secure online community.

Flor-Hanly Commercial and Agribusiness Accountants in Mackay QLD are Xero Platinum Certified Partners. Call us on 07 4963 4800 for any help with setting up or optimising how you use Xero on your farm or in your business.

Source: 4 easy ways to keep your data safe from cybercriminals | Xero Blog. (2020). Retrieved from https://www.xero.com/blog/2020/10/simple-approach-to-data-safety/

Oct26

Instant asset write-off and the car limit

Flor- Hanly - Monday, October 26, 2020

If your business is eligible to claim the instant asset write-off, you need to consider the car limit.

The car limit is the maximum depreciation expense you can claim for a car.

The car limit applies to the cost of some passenger vehicles. It applies to passenger vehicles designed to carry a load less than one tonne and fewer than nine passengers. It does not apply to motorcycles or similar vehicles, or to vehicles fitted out for use by people living with a disability.

The car limit is:

  • $57,581 for the 2019–20 income tax year
  • $59,136 for the 2020–21 income tax year.

Here are some tips to help you get it right:

  • If the car limit applies to your vehicle, you can only claim a deduction for the business portion of the car limit.
  • To use the instant asset write-off you must have used your vehicle, or had it delivered ready for use, between 12 March and 31 December 2020.

When calculating car depreciation amounts:

  • If you're registered for GST and can claim the full GST credit, exclude the GST amount you paid on the car.
  • If you're not registered for GST, include the GST amount you paid on the car.
  • You can't claim the excess cost over the car limit under any other depreciation rules.

Remember, registered tax agents like Flor-Hanly can help you with your tax.

Flor-Hanly operates throughout Mackay, Clermont and Central Queensland. Our accounting team works with you to help you determine, focus on and achieve your personal and business goals. Call us on 07 4963 4800.

Source: Instant asset write-off and the car limit. (2020). Retrieved from https://www.ato.gov.au/Newsroom/smallbusiness/General/Instant-asset-write-off-and-the-car-limit

Oct19

Know your boosts inside and out

Flor- Hanly - Monday, October 19, 2020

If you've received a cash flow boost, you may be wondering if the amounts you've received affect your income or deductions this tax time.

Here are the four essentials you need to know when lodging your tax return:

  • You don't pay tax on cash flow boost amounts as they're non-assessable non-exempt income. You may still need to report the amounts in your tax return for other purposes. Read the relevant tax return instructions for your business structure for more information.
  • You're still entitled to a deduction for the payments made to your workers provided you have complied with the pay as you go (PAYG) withholding and reporting obligations for that payment.
  • If you pass the cash flow boost on to others, there may be tax consequences for the recipient.
  • If you claim the research and development tax offset, your claim isn't affected by any cash flow boost you receive.

Remember, a registered tax agent like Flor-Hanly Accountants can help you with your tax.

Flor-Hanly operates throughout Mackay, Clermont and Central Queensland. Our accounting team works with you to help you determine, focus on and achieve your farm and business goals. Call us on 07 4963 4800.

Source: Know your boosts inside and out. (2020). Retrieved from https://www.ato.gov.au/Newsroom/smallbusiness/Employers/Know-your-boosts-inside-and-out/

Oct12

Who in your business is eligible for JobKeeper?

Flor- Hanly - Monday, October 12, 2020

Did you know that if your business is enrolled for the JobKeeper Payment, you may be able to claim payments for an eligible business participant?

An eligible business participant is an individual who is not an employee of your business, but who is actively engaged in its operation.

For example, they might manage the sale of your business’s goods or exercise control over your business strategy.

To be eligible for JobKeeper payments, the business participant must be an individual who is:

  • a sole trader (and is not bankrupt)
  • a director of a company
  • a shareholder in a company
  • a partner of a partnership (but not through an interposed entity, for example an individual trustee of a trust that is a partner in a partnership)
  • an adult beneficiary of a trust (who is not the trustee).

The individual must also meet other criteria, including having been actively engaged in the business at 1 March 2020.

You can only nominate one eligible business participant, even if several people meet the criteria.

Unlike employees, the key date for assessing business participants' eligibility is still 1 March 2020.

As of 20 July 2020, approved providers of child care services can't claim JobKeeper payments for business participants.

The individual must be engaged in the fortnight that the JobKeeper payment is claimed. For instance, if your eligible business participant is on leave, you cannot claim JobKeeper payments for JobKeeper fortnights that fall in that time period.

Flor-Hanly operates throughout Mackay, Clermont and Central Queensland. Our accounting team works with you to help you determine, focus on and achieve your farm or business goals. Call us on 07 4963 4800.

Source: Who in your business is eligible for JobKeeper? (2020). Retrieved from https://www.ato.gov.au/Newsroom/smallbusiness/General/Who-in-your-business-is-eligible-for-JobKeeper-/

Oct07

2020/21 Federal Budget Summary

Flor- Hanly - Wednesday, October 07, 2020

Flor-Hanly Federal Budget Summary 2020/21

1. Personal income tax changes

1.1 Changes to personal income tax rates

The Government has announced that it will bring forward changes to the personal income tax rates that were due to apply from 1 July 2022, so that these changes now apply from 1 July 2020 (i.e., from the 2021 income year). These changes involve:

  • increasing the upper threshold of the 19% personal income tax bracket from $37,000 to $45,000; and
  • increasing the upper threshold of the 32.5% personal income tax bracket from $90,000 to $120,000.

These changes are illustrated in the following table (which excludes the Medicare Levy).

ℹ️  The Government advised that the personal income tax rate changes that have already been legislated, effective from 1 July 2024 (i.e., from the 2025 income year), remain unchanged. These involve abolishing the 37% personal income tax bracket, reducing the 32.5% personal income tax bracket to 30%, and increasing the upper threshold of the reduced 30% tax bracket from $120,000 to $200,000.

1.2 Changes to the Low Income Tax Offset (‘LITO’)

The Government announced that it will also bring forward the changes that were proposed to the LITO from 1 July 2022, so that they will now apply from 1 July 2020 (i.e., from the 2021 income year), as follows:

  • The maximum LITO will be increased from $445 to $700.
  • The increased (maximum) LITO will be reduced at a rate of 5 cents per dollar, for taxable incomes between $37,500 and $45,000.
  • The LITO will be reduced at a rate of 1.5 cents per dollar, for taxable incomes between $45,000 and $66,667.

Note that, the Government also announced that the current Low and Middle Income Tax Offset (‘LAMITO’) would continue to apply for the 2021 income year (which is available in addition to the LITO for eligible taxpayers). For example, the maximum LAMITO of $1,080 will be available to taxpayers with taxable incomes of between $48,000 and $90,000 in the 2021 income year.

2. Changes affecting business taxpayers

2.1 Expanding access to Small Business Tax Concessions

The Government has announced that it will expand the concessions available to Medium-Sized Entities to provide access to up to ten Small Business Concessions.

For this purpose, a Medium-Sized Entity is an entity with an aggregated annual turnover of at least $10 million and (less than) $50 million.

The expanded concessions will apply in three phases, as follows:

  1. From 1 July 2020, eligible businesses will be able to immediately deduct certain start-up expenses and certain prepaid expenditure.
  2. From 1 April 2021, eligible businesses will be exempt from FBT on car parking and multiple work-related portable electronic devices, such as phones or laptops, provided to employees.
  3. From 1 July 2021:
    • Eligible businesses will be able to access the simplified trading stock rules, remit pay as you go (PAYG) instalments based on GDP adjusted notional tax and settle excise duty and excise-equivalent customs duty monthly on eligible goods.
    • Eligible businesses will generally have a two-year amendment period apply to income tax assessments for income years starting from 1 July 2021.
    • The Commissioner of Taxation’s power to create a simplified accounting method determination for GST purposes will be expanded to apply to businesses below the $50 million aggregated annual turnover threshold.
2.2 JobMaker Hiring Credit

The Government will introduce a JobMaker Hiring Credit to incentivise businesses to take on additional young job seekers.

From 7 October 2020, eligible employers will be able to claim $200 a week for each additional eligible employee they hire aged 16 to 29 years old and $100 a week for each additional eligible employee aged 30 to 35 years old. New jobs created until 6 October 2021 will attract the credit for up to 12 months from the date the new position is created.

The JobMaker Hiring Credit will be claimed quarterly in arrears by the employer from the ATO from 1 February 2021. Employers will need to report quarterly that they meet the eligibility criteria.

The amount of the credit is capped at $10,400 for each additional new position created. Furthermore, the total credit claimed by an employer cannot exceed the amount of the increase in payroll for the reporting period in question (see employer eligibility requirements below).

2.2.1 Who is an eligible employee?

Employees may be employed on a permanent, casual or fixed-term basis.

To be an ‘eligible employee’, the employee must:

  • be aged (i.e., at the time their employment started) either:
    • 16 to 29 years old, to attract the payment of $200 per week; or
    • 30 to 35 years old to attract the payment of $100 per week;
  • have worked at least 20 paid hours per week on average for the full weeks they were employed over the reporting period;
  • have commenced their employment during the period from 7 October 2020 to 6 October 2021;
  • have received the JobSeeker Payment, Youth Allowance (Other), or Parenting Payment for at least one month within the past three months before they were hired; and
  • be in their first year of employment with this employer and must be employed for the period that the employer is claiming for them.

Certain exclusions apply, including employees for whom the employer is also receiving a wage subsidy under another Commonwealth program.

2.2.2 Who is an eligible employer?

An employer is able to access the JobMaker Hiring Credit if the employer:

  • has an ABN;
  • is up to date with tax lodgement obligations;
  • is registered for Pay As You Go withholding;
  • is reporting through Single Touch Payroll;
  • is claiming in respect of an ‘eligible employee’;
  • has kept adequate records of the paid hours worked by the employee they are claiming the hiring credit in respect of; and
  • is able to demonstrate that the credit is claimed in respect of an additional job that has been created. Broadly, there must be an increase in the business’ total employee headcount and also in the payroll of the business for the reporting period (based on a comparison over a specified reference period).

Employers do not need to satisfy a fall in turnover test to access the JobMaker Hiring Credit. Certain employers are excluded, including those who are claiming the JobKeeper payment.

New employers created after 30 September 2020 are not eligible for the first employee hired but are (potentially) eligible for the second and subsequent eligible hires.

2.3 Tax-free business support grants

The Government has announced that the Victorian Government’s Business Support Grants for small and medium businesses, as announced on 13 September 2020, are non-assessable, non- exempt income for tax purposes. The Government may extend this arrangement to similar future grants from all States and Territories on an application basis. Eligibility for this treatment will be limited to grants announced on or after 13 September 2020 and for payments made between 13 September 2020 and 30 June 2021.

2.4 Uncapped immediate write-off for depreciable assets

The Government has announced it will introduce the following changes to the Capital Allowance provisions:

  1. Businesses with an aggregated annual turnover of less than $5 billion will be able to claim an immediate deduction (what the Budget terms as ‘full expensing’) for the full (uncapped) cost of an eligible depreciable asset, in the year the asset is first used or is installed ready for use, where the following requirements are satisfied:
    • The asset was acquired from 7:30pm AEDT on 6 October 2020 (i.e., Budget night).
    • The asset was first used or installed ready for use by 30 June 2022.
    • The asset is a new depreciable asset or is the cost of an improvement to an existing eligible asset, unless the taxpayer qualifies as a small or medium-sized business (i.e., for these purposes, a business with an aggregated annual turnover of less than $50 million), in which case the asset can be second-hand.
  2. As is currently legislated, businesses with aggregated annual turnover between $50 million and $500 million can still deduct the cost of eligible second-hand assets costing less than $150,000 that are purchased from 2 April 2019 and first used or installed ready for use between 12 March 2020 and 31 December 2020 under the enhanced instant asset write-off.

    The Government has announced that it will extend the period in which such assets must first be used or installed ready for use by 6 months, until 30 June 2021.

  3. Small businesses (i.e., with aggregated annual turnover of less than $10 million) can deduct the balance of their simplified depreciation pool at the end of the income year while full expensing applies (i.e., up to 30 June 2022).

    Furthermore, the provisions which prevent small businesses from re-entering the simplified depreciation regime for five years if they opt-out will continue to be suspended.


3. Changes affecting companies

3.1 Temporary loss carry back for eligible companies

The Government has announced that it will introduce measures to allow companies with a turnover of less than $5 billion to carry back losses from the 2020, 2021 or 2022 income years to offset previously taxed profits made in or after the 2019 income year.

This will allow such companies to generate a refundable tax offset in the year in which the loss is made. The tax refund is limited by requiring that the amount carried back is not more than the earlier taxed profits and that the carry back does not generate a franking account deficit.

The tax refund will be available on election by eligible companies when they lodge their tax returns for the 2021 and 2022 income years. Note that, companies that do not elect to carry back losses under this measure can still carry losses forward as normal.

3.2 Clarifying the corporate residency test

The corporate residency rules are fundamental to determining a company’s Australian income tax liability. The Government will amend the law to provide that a company that is incorporated offshore will be treated as an Australian tax resident if it has a ‘significant economic connection to Australia’. This test will be satisfied where both the company’s core commercial activities are undertaken in Australia and its central management and control is in Australia.

This change will ensure the principles governing the residency of foreign incorporated companies will reflect the position prior to the 2016 court decision in Bywater Investments Limited & Ors v. FCT; Hua Wang Bank Berhad v FCT [2016] HCA 45 (after this decision the ATO withdrew Taxation Ruling (‘TR’) 2004/15 and later released TR 2018/5, incorporating the High Court’s residency test).

The measure will have effect from the first income year after the date of Royal Assent of the enabling legislation, but taxpayers will have the option of applying the new law from 15 March 2017.

3.3 Meetings conducted via virtual attendance

In order to reduce regulatory barriers, the Government has announced it will undertake public consultation on making permanent changes to the Corporations Act 2001. These changes would allow companies to call and conduct meetings electronically (with a quorum achievable through virtual attendance of shareholders and officers) and also to provide certainty that company officers can electronically execute a document.


4. FBT changes

4.1 FBT exemption for retraining and reskilling employees

From 2 October 2020, the Government will introduce an FBT exemption for retraining and reskilling benefits provided by an employer to redundant, or soon to be redundant, employees, where the benefits may not be related to their current employment (e.g., where an employer retrains a sales assistant in web design in order to redeploy them to an online marketing role in the business).

This measure is designed to encourage employers to assist redundant workers to transition to new employment opportunities within or outside an employer’s business (e.g., to prepare such employees for their next career), without triggering an FBT liability.

Currently, FBT is payable if an employer provides training to redundant, or soon to be redundant, employees and that training does not have a sufficient connection to their current employment.

The FBT exemption will not extend to retraining acquired by way of a salary packaging arrangement. It will also not be available for Commonwealth supported places at universities (which already receive a benefit) or extend to repayments towards Commonwealth student loans.

The Government will also consult on allowing an individual to claim a tax deduction for education and training expenses they incur themselves, where the expense is not related to their current employment (e.g., where the expense relates to future employment).

4.2 Reducing the compliance burden of FBT recordkeeping

The Government will provide the ATO with the power to allow employers to rely on existing corporate records, rather than employee declarations and other prescribed records, to finalise their FBT returns. The measure will have effect from the start of the first FBT year (i.e., on 1 April) after the date of Royal Assent of the relevant legislation.

Currently, the FBT legislation prescribes the form that certain records must take, and forces employers (and in some cases employees) to create additional records in order to comply with FBT obligations.

This measure will allow employers (with what the Commissioner determines as adequate alternative records) to rely on existing corporate records, removing the need to complete additional records. This will reduce compliance costs for employers, while maintaining the integrity of the FBT system.


5. Other budget announcements

5.1 Removing CGT for ‘granny flat arrangements’

A targeted CGT exemption will apply from 1 July 2021 (subject to the passing of legislation), for ‘granny flat arrangements’. Broadly, these involve older Australians or people with disabilities transferring their home or the proceeds from the sale of their home (and/or other assets) to their adult children or other trusted persons in return for the promise of ongoing housing and care.

Under this exemption, CGT will not apply to the creation, variation or termination of a formal written granny flat arrangement providing accommodation for older Australians or people with disabilities.

This change will only apply to agreements that are entered into because of family relationships or other personal ties and will not apply to commercial rental arrangements.

This measure is consistent with the recommendations made in the Board of Taxation’s Review of Granny Flat Arrangements, the Government’s National Plan to Respond to the Abuse of Older Australians announced on 19 March 2019, and the 2017 Australian Law Reform Commission’s Report: Elder Abuse — A National Legal Response.

5.2 Superannuation reforms

The Government will provide $159.6 million over four years from 2020/21 to implement reforms to improve outcomes for superannuation fund members.

Currently, structural flaws in the superannuation system mean that unnecessary fees and insurance premiums are paid on multiple accounts, members pay too much in super fees, underperforming products are costing members in lost retirement savings, and there is inadequate transparency on how funds are spending members’ money.

From 1 July 2021, the proposed reforms will make the system better for members in four key ways:

  • Your superannuation follows you – An existing superannuation account will be ‘stapled’ to a member to avoid the creation of a new account when that person changes their employment.
  • Empowering members – A new, interactive, online YourSuper comparison tool will help members decide which super product best meets their needs.
  • Holding funds to account for underperformance – MySuper products will be subject to an annual performance test. Funds that underperform will need to inform their members. Funds that fail two consecutive underperformance tests will not be permitted to receive new members unless their performance improves. By 1 July 2022, annual performance tests will be extended to other superannuation products.
  • Increased accountability and transparency – The Government will strengthen obligations on superannuation trustees to ensure their actions are consistent with members’ retirement savings being maximised. For example, trustees will be required to comply with a new duty to act in the best financial interests of members.
5.3 Clarifying income tax exemptions for individuals engaged by the IMF and the World Bank group

The Government will clarify privileges and immunities, including income tax exemptions, available to Australian individuals performing short term missions on behalf of the International Monetary Fund (‘IMF’) and three institutions of the World Bank Group (‘WBG’). The measure will apply retrospectively from 1 July 2017.

This measure will clarify that Australian short-term experts are entitled to an exemption from income tax for their relevant income from the organisations. This aligns Australia’s domestic legislative framework with its international obligations and provides certainty for taxpayers. This outcome is consistent with Australia’s longstanding support for and contributions to the IMF and the WBG.

5.4 Additional funding to address serious and organised crime in the tax and superannuation system

The Government will provide $15.1 million to the ATO to target serious and organised crime in the tax and superannuation systems. This extends the 2017/18 Budget measure Additional funding for addressing serious and organised crime in the tax system by a further two years to 30 June 2023.

5.5 Supporting the mental health of Australians in small business – COVID-19 response package

The Government will provide $7 million in 2020/21 to support the mental health and financial wellbeing of small businesses impacted by COVID-19, including:

  • $4.3 million to provide free, accessible and tailored support for small business owners by expanding Beyond Blue’s NewAccess program in partnership with the Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman; and
  • $2.2 million to expand a free accredited professional development program that builds the mental health literacy of trusted business advisers so that they can better support small business owners in times of distress, delivered through Deakin University.
5.6 Insolvency reforms to support small business

The Government will implement certain insolvency reforms, effective from 1 January 2021 (subject to the passing of legislation) to support small business, including the following:

  • The introduction of a new streamlined process to enable eligible incorporated small businesses (broadly, those with liabilities of less than $1 million) in financial distress to restructure their debt.
  • Simplifying the liquidation process for eligible incorporated small businesses (to allow faster and lower-cost liquidations, increasing returns for creditors and employees).
  • Support for the insolvency sector (to ensure it can respond effectively to increased demand and to the needs of small business).

Currently, the insolvency system faces a number of challenges. These include an increase in the number of businesses in financial distress due to COVID-19, a ‘one-size-fits-all’ system, and high costs and lengthy processes that can prevent distressed small businesses from engaging with the insolvency system early thereby reducing their opportunity to restructure and survive.

Temporary insolvency and bankruptcy protections that were introduced in March 2020 to provide relief for businesses impacted by COVID-19 are due to expire on 31 December 2020 (e.g., under these measures, directors are temporarily relieved from personal liability for trading while insolvent). However, the number of companies being put into external administration is expected to increase significantly, putting additional stress on the system. Therefore, the above proposed reforms will help more businesses to successfully get to the other side of the crisis.

Flor-Hanly operates throughout Mackay, Clermont and Central Queensland. Our accounting team works with you to help you determine, focus on and achieve your personal and business goals. Call us on 07 4963 4800 for specific Budget advice for your business or farm.

Source: National Tax & Accountants’ Association Ltd 6 Oct-2020

Oct06

Returning to work after COVID19

Flor- Hanly - Tuesday, October 06, 2020

What to consider as you bring employees back to the workplace

As lockdowns flare up and ease, gradually more people are returning to work. For many, this is a significant and potentially anxiety-inducing step. As a business leader, it’s important that everyone on your team feels comfortable about the return to work.

As well as making the workplace physically safe, supporting the mental wellbeing of staff as they return is equally important. Here are some of our tips to help you determine the right way to open your working space.

Back to work guidance

Any back-to-work plan needs to acknowledge the profound changes to ways of working as a result of COVID-19. This is likely to have a longer term impact on how we all work, with research showing that three-quarters of employees want to continue working remotely more frequently. Any plan will need to be based on the latest government guidelines, and you’ll need to be relatively flexible. As we’ve learned, circumstances may result in government guidelines changing unexpectedly.

All plans should include a robust hygiene management protocol that identifies risks and touchpoints in your working environment. You’ll likely need to have a phased return by introducing a small percentage of the team to test any new procedures. Once you’ve assessed whether these work, you can start a more formal reopening.

Empowering and managing your team

One thing that shouldn’t be overlooked is clear communication with your team. They should be kept in the loop so there are no surprises and everyone feels comfortable about what’s happening. Anonymous employee surveys are a good way to collect honest feedback, which will be crucial for a smooth transition back to work.

As changes to furlough come into effect and you start bringing staff back, it’s important these changes are recorded in your accounts. Xero is continuously updating Xero Payroll with new features to support changes to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme. They're working on a solution that enables employers to record flexi furlough, and will be in touch with updates as they occur. In the meantime, check in with Flor-Hanly's Xero Certified Advisers with any Xero or payroll questions you may have.

Supporting mental wellbeing

Supporting your team’s mental wellbeing is key for a successful return-to-work plan:

  1. Provide certainty: Provide certainty around your company’s return-to-work plans and the role each member of staff will play. This will help reduce anxiety for them in one area of their life and allow them to make plans for the future.
  2. Manage losses of freedom: Returning to the workplace ultimately means less time to spend with loved ones and on hobbies, which is something most of us have become accustomed to during lockdown. Consider whether you can offer to retain some of that freedom in your new working structure.
  3. Capitalise on the humanity we’ve gained: Work relationships will have changed during lockdown both for better or worse. Catching glimpses of each other’s personal lives help to forge open and authentic connections. Capitalise on that by identifying new working relationship dynamics.
  4. Signpost your support systems: Normalise the fact that current circumstances will impact mental health and signpost the available support to your entire workforce so that everyone knows who they can turn to.

Flor-Hanly Commercial and Agribusiness Accountants in Mackay QLD are Xero Platinum Certified Partners. Call us on 07 4963 4800 for any help with setting up or optimising how you use Xero on your farm or in your business.

Source: Xero

Sep28

How to manage employees when you sell or close your business

Flor- Hanly - Monday, September 28, 2020

Understand how to manage your employees and your obligations if you close or sell your business.

If you close or sell your business and you have employees who work for you, you have to let your employees know what happens next.

Your options and obligations to your employees

As the current business owner, you have limited options:

  • If you close your business, you have to let your employees go.
  • If you sell your business, your employees may transfer to the new business or end employment with the business.

You have several obligations to ensure that you fairly treat employees through this change:

  • provide notice
  • finalise payments (including any redundancy pay owing)

The award or enterprise agreement that applies to your business may have extra rules like needing to consult with staff or giving time off to look for other work, so remember to check what yours.

1. Communicate with your employees

Change can be stressful for employees. Communication is key!

One way to help your employees through this change is to give them as much notice about the change as possible. Read our how to manage change in your business information to help you.

2. Provide notice

It doesn’t matter if you close or sell your business, either change means that an employee’s position with you ends. You must give official notice or provide payment in lieu of notice to all employees.

If a transfer of business occurs before the notice period ends, you must still pay the rest of the notice period to your employees even if they continue to work for the new owner.

No matter if employees cease employment with the business or transfer to the new owner, the law requires you to give them official notice in writing.

The Fair Work Ombudsman provides more information about notice periods.

Let employees go

Whether you close your business or you sell your business and the new owner doesn’t need them, it is difficult to let employees go.

You may wish to talk to your employees directly and explain the situation. Good communication is key to ensure that this period of change is easier for both yourself and your employees.

Read our ending employment information to help you.

Transfer employees

If you're selling your business and your employees will transfer with the business, you need to:

  • provide up to date employee records to the new owner
  • notify the new owner of any contractual, leave, financial and legal obligations you have with your employees
  • work out with the new owner what obligations you'll be responsible for and what obligations will be transferred to the new owner
  • provide your employees with notice of ending employment and let them know that they'll need to sign a new contract with the new owner

The Fair Work Ombudsman provides information on rights and obligations for employees and employers when businesses change hands.

Read about what happens to employee entitlements when businesses change owners.

3. Finalise payments

Remember that you still have to make payments to your employees even when you close or sell your business.

These payments include:

  • entitlement payments
  • employment termination payments
  • employee tax payments

Entitlement payments

If your employees transfer to the new owner, which entitlements you pay will depend on what you negotiated with the new owner. The new owner must recognise some entitlements, but others they don’t. If they choose not to recognise some entitlements, you are responsible to pay them.

Entitlements can include:

  • outstanding wages
  • accrued leave

The final entitlements you need to pay your employees depend on:

  • the terms of your existing contract
  • the relevant modern award
  • the number of employees your business has
  • whether the employee is entitled to redundancy
  • the state your employee is employed in
  • if long service leave is payable

The Fair Work Ombudsman’s final pay information will help you finalise pay to your employees.

Go to the FWO website to find out more about employee entitlements on a transfer of business.

Employment termination payments

Employment termination payments (ETPs) are lump sum, one-time payments when employees no longer work for you.

An ETP may include:

  • payment in lieu of notice
  • redundancy or severance pay
  • a gratuity or ‘golden handshake’
  • compensation for the loss of a job
  • unused rostered days off
  • unused annual leave or long service leave

The Australian Taxation Office provides more information about employment termination payments and their tax implications.

Employee tax payments

You need to finalise tax issues for your employees when you close or sell a business.

These tax issues can include so make sure you consult with the team at Flor-Hanly in Mackay on 07 4963 4800:

  • fringe benefits tax
  • pay as you go
  • superannuation

Source: How to manage employees when you sell or close your business | business.gov.au. (2020). Retrieved from https://business.gov.au/people/managing-and-developing-staff/how-to-manage-employees-when-you-sell-or-close-your-business

Sep21

Selling online?

Flor- Hanly - Monday, September 21, 2020

Here’s why you need an accountant if you're selling online

Going online is a great opportunity for small businesses. It can help expand their offering and grow their customer base (including their international reach). However, setting up a successful ecommerce platform comes with its own challenges. 

With many businesses still closed and everyone spending more time online, it’s no surprise that there’s been an explosion in demand for online shopping. 

It’s essential to have your financial house in order before you start expanding into new areas. It’s also vital to implement best practices from the beginning of your ecommerce journey to avoid headaches down the line. Fortunately, accountants can offer expert guidance through the world of digital sales. 

Breaking down reports

If you don’t know your numbers, you’re flying blind – but Amazon, Etsy, eBay, and other online sales platforms all use vastly different reporting methods. If you’re using multiple platforms, this can quickly become tricky to manage. Fortunately, accountants can interpret the various reports and ensure nothing slips through the cracks.

It’s vital that ecommerce businesses understand the options available for reporting provided by the various selling platforms to obtain correct information. For example, there are so many different Amazon reports. An accountant specialising in ecommerce can make sure that you’re using the right one.

Management reporting is essential for any business launching in a new industry. Financial reporting allows you to view the areas of your business that are profitable and make relevant business decisions. eCommerce is fast-moving and requires sellers to quickly adapt to remain profitable. Entrepreneurs require transparency and easy access to their accounts so they can make quick business decisions.

Juggling tax regulations and legislative changes

eCommerce business leaders have the luxury of storing and sending goods from wherever they like. That can mean keeping costs down, faster delivery times or boosting supplier relationships. However, there are hidden tax implications to where you choose to store your stock if you’re selling in multiple countries. 

Choosing an accountant with a sound knowledge of currency, import and export rules, and the compliance issues around that are vital for ecommerce businesses.

Currency conundrums

One significant benefit of ecommerce is the ability to sell globally. However, this means that foreign income needs to be considered. While losing amounts to currency transactions can seem minor at the time, these losses can quickly add up. Accountants are in the best position to advise on ways to minimise exchange losses.

Setting up a currency account will enable you to hold funds in a certain currency and then make relevant payments in that currency also, meaning no exchange into your domestic currency needs to take place. 

Bring on an accountant

Expanding your business onto an ecommerce platform is a great opportunity. It’s important to work with accountants like Flor-Hanly who understand online sales and cross-border tax implications to help you avoid any pitfalls along the way. Call our team in Mackay on 07 4963 4800.

Source: Xero

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