Autumn 2011 Newsletter
FRINGE BENEFITS TAX (FBT)
The Fringe Benefits Tax time of year is fast approaching with the 31 March cut off only a few weeks away. For all you employers who are registered for FBT, you will be receiving an FBT package from us soon which requests information and includes motor vehicle declarations (if applicable) which need completing.
Things to remember:
- For all motor vehicles held by the company, you need to make sure the odometer readings are taken at 31 March;
- If you are intending to use the log book method which shows the private percentage use of a vehicle, you need to ensure
you hold a valid log book. A valid log book is one which has been completed for a minimum 12 week period and is not more than 5 years old;
- If you wish to use the actual method for calculating entertainment, you need to ensure you have kept accurate records
including how many people attended each event;
- FBT returns are due for lodgement and payment (if applicable) 28 May 2011. It is very important that you try and send
to us all FBT information requested as early as possible to ensure your FBT return is lodged on time.
The ATO are increasing their review and audit activities in all areas which includes FBT. They are especially focusing on motor vehicles so it is very important valid log books are kept and are current.
PAID PARENTAL LEAVE SCHEME
What is it?
The Paid Parental Leave Scheme started on 1 January 2011. This scheme provides 18 weeks of government-funded pay to eligible employees who have a child from 1 January 2011, have been your employee for at least 12 months prior to the expected date of birth and will remain your employee during the paid parental leave period.
The rate of pay is equivalent to the national minimum wage. Full-time, part-time, casual, seasonal, contract and self-employed workers may be eligible.
The Paid Parental Leave Scheme does not provide eligible employees with a new entitlement to leave. The existing minimum entitlement to 12 months unpaid parental leave for long-term employees, in the National Employment Standards under the Fair Work Act 2009, is unchanged.
Paid parental leave is voluntary for employers from 1 January 2011. It becomes compulsory from 1 July 2011.
Employees wishing to receive paid parental leave must apply through the family assistance office directly. The family assistance office will then check the employee’s eligibility to receive paid parental leave and notify you (their employer) of your obligations.
If you have employees that are applying for paid parental leave, you will need to register for the scheme through Centrelink’s Online Services.
Once Centrelink has both your information and the employee’s entitlement details, they will transfer the funds to your bank account to then pay on to your employee. This will not affect your cash flow as you are not obliged to pay the leave until receipt of the payment from the Government.
For more information go to http://www.familyassist.gov.au
BAS PAPER LODGEMENT CONCESSION NO LONGER AVAILABLE
The ATO has phased out the business activity statement (BAS) paper lodgement concession from quarter 3 (January - March 2011).
In previous quarters, if you had a registered tax agent and lodged your BAS via paper, you were given a two week extension to lodge and pay. This concession has been removed meaning if you continue lodging your BAS via paper lodgement, you will not be given any extensions and the BAS will be due
4 weeks after quarter end. Example, if you lodge the 2010-11 quarter 3 BAS via paper, the due date for lodgement and payment will be 28 April 2011.
You may be eligible for a two week electronic concession if you lodge your BAS using an online channel. Refer to online services for more information.
As registered agents, if we lodge your BAS electronically on your behalf, you still receive the four week lodgement and payment concession for most eligible quarterly BAS's (except quarter 2 - October - December which automatically receives an 8 week extension).
If you require assistance with BAS preparation or require us to prepare and lodge your BAS on your behalf, please contact us.
FAIR WORK ACT – change to definition of “Small Business Employer”
From 1 January 2011, a ‘small business employer’ is now defined under the Fair Work Act as being a business that employs less than 15 staff on a head count basis. This now means that a ‘small business employer’ is one that employs less than 15 employees in total which would include part-time and casual employees.
Prior to the change a ‘small business employer’ was defined as a business that employed less than 15 full-time equivalent staff.
This change may be relevant to your business because under the Act:
1. small business employers are excluded from the obligation under the Act to pay redundancy/severance pay
to employees who are terminated for redundancy; and
2. subject to satisfying certain other criteria (eg. earnings less than $113,800 per annum), an employee who has
been terminated can access the unfair dismissal regime under the Act only if they have served a minimum period of:
i) 12 months with an employer who is a small business employer; or
ii) 6 months with an employer who is not a small business employer.
If you would like any further information on this matter and how it impacts the unfair dismissal and redundancy pay provisions of the Act or any other aspect of the Act then please contact us.
ATO KEY DATES
Due date for lodging and paying February 2011 monthly activity statement
Income tax returns for companies, super funds, trusts and individuals with a 31 March due date are due for lodgment and payment (except for individuals where payment date is per assessment notice - usually 21/4/2011)
Due date for lodging and paying March 2011 monthly activity statement
Income tax returns are due for lodgement for individuals, companies and super funds with a 15 May due date.
Due date for lodging and paying April 2011 monthly activity statement
Quarterly activity statement, quarter 3 (March), 2010–11: due date for lodging and paying if you are lodging via Champion’s (ELS)
Fringe benefits tax annual return – due date for lodging and paying
Final date for payment of Income tax returns for trusts, partnerships and individuals with a 15 May due lodgement date
Due date for lodging and paying May 2011 monthly activity statement
CHAMPION'S STAFF NEWS
Day of Inspiration 2011
Each year the Tour De Cure, an organisation set up to raise money for cancer research, runs a fundraising event called “Day of Inspiration”. Some of our team here at Champions were fortunate enough to attend this year’s event on 15 February held at Dolton House in Sydney. Speakers at the day included well known Australians such as Dr Charlie Teo, Michael Milton, and Peter Baines.
Inspiration is both at a personal level and at a professional level. It is something that must come from within oneself in order for it to be harnessed to help us achieve our goals. It requires change of mindset and a balance of life. There should be desire, drive and determination to achieve your goals. You should be resilient and any setbacks should be seen as an opportunity. Further, the opportunity should always be taken to let your family and friends know how you feel about them as you may not get a second chance.
We would like to share with you below some of the insights we gained during the day.
Dr Charlie Teo
Dr Charlie Teo is a high profile neurosurgeon, who has established an internationally acclaimed centre specialising in the treatment of adult and childhood brain tumours. The techniques and skills that he offers has saved or extended the lives of many children with so called "inoperable" brain tumours. He has continued to develop pioneering brain surgery procedures and is invited to the USA at least four times a year to teach courses in the key-hole approaches to surgery. He gave us all a sense that the next big break-through in cancer treatment could be close at hand.
Michael Milton is one of Australia's best know athletes. Skier, cycler, adventurer, world and Australian record holder Paralympic Olympian. His medal haul of four golds at the 2002 Winter Paralympic games earned him the title of Laureus World Sports Person of the Year with a Disability. He is a success not only on the ski fields or the cycling track, but also in his greatest battle, that against cancer. His leg was amputated at the age of 9 when doctors discovered he had cancer but this did not deter him and he continued to push forward to achieve the success he has had. We all felt that if an obstacle like cancer at such a young age can be overcome so successfully, then surely we can do the same with the obstacles we face.
Peter Baines worked for the forensic area of the NSW Police for 22 years in a role that took him to the centre of crisis such as the Bali bombings and the Boxing Day Tsunami. More recently he has been involved with a charity called Hands Across the Water in building orphanages in Thailand, this is what he spoke to us about. It didn’t take very long for us to get a keen sense of how difficult life is for the poorer people of Thailand and to develop a much greater appreciation for how good we have it here.
Team Member Profile - Meet Chantelle Shephard & Sally Be..........
Chantelle Shephard – Junior Accountant
Chantelle began working at Champions straight out of high school, and has now been a member of the Champion’s team for 2 years. Chantelle is currently in her third year of University studying to attain a Bachelor of Business and Commerce majoring in Accounting.
Chantelle is a junior member of the team at Champion’s and assists all of the managers across the office on various different income tax and annual compliance related tasks.
Sally Be, CA - Senior Accountant
Sally joined Champion in June 2010 as a senior accountant having had five years experience in business services at a top 100 Sydney based firm. Sally furthered her degree in Accounting and Finance by qualifying as a member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants Australia in 2008.
Sally works closely with the client managers of the firm to ensure quality tax compliance. She has worked on high net worth individuals, companies, trusts and self managed superannuation funds. She enjoys her varied role and is able to utilise her extensive tax and business knowledge to provide clients with a valuable service.