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税法

FY2020 Tax Return

Who would have guessed that the impact of COVID-19 would also be felt when preparing your tax return?   With various restrictions in place since March 2020, meaning many people have been work from home, more than ever it is important to understand what expenses you can and can’t claim as a tax deduction.   In recognition that going through expenses and apportioning what relates to work might not be most people’s cup of tea, the ATO has introduced a new method for calculating your deduction for work-related expenses for the 2020 financial year (called the “shortcut method”) with the view to reducing complexity.   We have set out a summary of the three methods of calculating your deductions in the table below.   If you plan on using a method other than the shortcut method, you will need to bear in mind the following general principles when claiming a deduction:   You must have spent the money. The expense must be directly related to earning your income. You must have a record to prove it.     So no, that shiny new coffee machine you bought is not likely to be deductible, even if you feel it’s the only way you can get through your working day.   What you can claim What you can’t claim Requirements Shortcut method 80c for every hour worked at home for the period from 1 March to 30 June 2020.   If you work 38 hour weeks, this would mean a deduction of just under $500. Actual costs of your expenses (e.g. utilities and equipment) – the 80c per hour is meant to cover all this. Record of the hours you have worked from home (e.g. timesheet, roster, diary, work records).   Fixed-rate method ·         52 cents for every hour worked at home to cover the cost of electricity, gas and depreciation of home office furniture. ·         Actual costs incurred for phone calls, internet, stationery. ·         Full cost of work-related equipment costing less than $300 (e.g. PC monitor). ·         Decline in value of work-related equipment over $300 (e.g. laptops and phones), based on their effective life.   For laptops this is 2 years,  desktops are 4 years, mobile phones are 3 years. See link below for ATO’s ruling as to effective life.     Actual costs of electricity, gas and home office furniture (covered by the 52c per hour deductions).   Non-deductible expenses, e.g: -       Snacks -       Toilet paper -       Coffee, tea and milk -       Luxury stationery -       Childcare or home schooling costs -       Items reimbursed by your employer. Dedicated workspace   Comprehensive records: -       receipts or other written evidence of amounts spent -       statements with breakdown between work and private calls to determine percentage of work-related use for a representative period (4 weeks) -       diary covering the representative period showing usual pattern of work -       your work-related internet use -       the percentage of the year you used depreciating assets exclusively for work. Actual expenses method ·         Actual cost of utilities, i.e. electricity and gas. ·         Actual cost of cleaning for the work area. ·         Actual costs incurred for phone calls, internet, stationery. ·         Repair costs for equipment and furniture. ·         Full cost of work-related equipment costing less than $300 (e.g. PC monitor). ·         Decline in value of work-related equipment over $300 (including furniture and fittings), based on their effective life. Non-deductible expenses per above. Dedicated workspace.   Comprehensive records (as described above) of all costs.   Can you claim the value of equipment you bought pre-COVID-19? You can claim the decline in value attributable to the period you used the equipment for work at home, provided it has not been written off already.   For example, a laptop (which has an effective life of 2 years) bought one year ago will have one year of effective life left. If you used the laptop for work purposes, then you will allowed a deduction corresponding to the decline in value for that period.   Say the laptop was worth $4000, and you used it for work purposes 50% of the time during 1 March and 30 June 2020. The deduction you get is under the prime cost method is:   $4000 × A × B × C = $330   Where: A = 50%, being the percentage representing 1 year of the 2 year life; B = 33%, being the percentage representing 121 days of the year; C = 50%, being the proportion used for work.   In this case, you are most likely already better off claiming under the fixed-rate method than the shortcut method, even if you don’t claim anything else (i.e. approximately $500 vs $654).   On the other hand, if you bought the laptop more than 2 years ago, there will be no deduction.   Can you claim expenses like your mortgage, rent and council rates? Most likely not if you are an employee simply working from home due to COVID-19 restrictions. These expenses can be claimed for example if you run a small business from home.   The key criteria are: 1.    The area claimed for occupancy expenses must be used extensively and systematically for taxpayer's work. This generally requires almost exclusive use for work such that the taxpayer and family have forgone domestic use of that room and/or that the room is not readily adaptable back to domestic use. 2.    The home office is not just a mere convenient place to work.   Note you don't get the full main residence exemption if your home is your principal place of business, although you're probably entitled to a partial exemption.   Can I claim a deduction for amounts where my employer provided an allowance? Yes, but only if the allowance is included as income in your tax return (and assuming it is not a reimbursement).   Can you claim travel from your home office to your actual office? No - your home is still a private residence and you cannot claim your trip from home to your regular workplace.   Is Jobseeker tax-free? It depends. Jobseeker will still constitute income, so you will need to include it on your tax return. If you remain under the tax-free threshold (taking into account all your other income), then you will not need to pay any tax. If your income is over the $18,200 threshold, then you will need to pay tax.   Early super withdrawals Please be warned that if you made an early withdrawal of your super improperly, there is a good chance the ATO may catch you in an audit. To have been eligible for the scheme, you must have been made redundant, working reduced hours of at least 20%, be unemployed or be eligible for welfare assistance such as JobSeeker (not JobKeeper), Youth Allowance or Parenting Payment. If you are a sole trader or run your own business, and have experienced a 20% or more fall in revenue, you are also eligible.   If you made a withdrawal even though ineligible, you will be liable to pay tax on the amount withdrawn as well as penalties. If this is your situation, the best way forward is to come clean and make a voluntary disclosure. If you need assistance in this regard (or any other tax matters), please feel free to contact us.   Link to ATO website: Home office expenses https://www.ato.gov.au/Individuals/Income-and-deductions/Deductions-you-can-claim/Home-office-expenses/   Link to ATO website: TR 2019/5 – Income tax: effective life of depreciating assets https://www.ato.gov.au/law/view/document?DocNum=0000014624&PiT=99991231235958&FullDocument=true


税法

印紙税・土地税アップデート

背景 2020年6月18日、NSW 州税法の改正に関わる法案が州議会にて通過されました。この改正法案により、外国人による不動産購入に際し課せられる外国人特別課税(印紙税・土地税)が、「裁量信託(discretionary trust)を介し不動産を購入する場合、どのように適用されるか」という点が明確になりました。また、「裁量信託に対し外国人が受益者となることを除外した際の、外国人特別税の返金や課税適用の除外」に関する条項も改正されることになります。   印紙税・土地税の外国人特別課税とは NSW州において外国人が居住物件を購入・所有する際には、通常の印紙税・土地税に加え、外国人特別税(surcharge)として、通常の印紙税に加えて8%の追加課税、そして毎年12月末に、通常の土地税に加えて2%の追加課税が生じます。 通常適用される土地税の非課税限度(tax-free threshold)は、外国人特別課税については適用されません。つまり、通常は土地税が非課税となる評価額(例えば$500,000)の不動産であったとしても、外国人特別追加税(2%=$10,000)が課税されることとなります。   家族信託(family trust)も特別追加課税の対象となり得る オーストラリア国籍や永住権を持たない個人は、当然ながら上記の外国人特別課税の対象となりますが、ここで特記すべきは、原則的に裁量信託として国内で設立される家族信託(family trust)の多くが、「外国人」の定義に含まれることです。これは、仮にその信託の受益者になる可能性がある者の中に、一人でも外国人が含まれる場合には、その信託は「外国人」とみなされるためです。この際、受託者が実際に外国人受益者に信託財産を分配するか否か、または分配する意思があるか否かは無関係となります。また、そうした外国人受益者の存在が信託証書に明示されている必要もなく、外国人が受益者になり得るという点のみによって、該当する家族信託は外国人とみなされます。 しばしば家族信託の信託証書では、核家族だけでなく、広く親族を受益者として設定する場合があります。また、そうした受益者が所有する会社やチャリティー組織など、関連法人を受益者として指定するケースもあります。     例えば、上記の図のような当事者関係において、XYZ裁量信託の受益者として「A氏(オーストラリア人)」並びに「A氏が権利を有する会社・信託」が指定されていたとします。更に、99%の株式が外国人によって持たれているABC社があったとして、A氏はABC社に1株のみを所有しているとします。このような場合、「ABC社はXYZ裁量信託の受益者になる可能性がある」ということになり、XYZ裁量信託は「外国人」とみなされ、外国人特別課税の対象となります。XYZ裁量信託がABC社に対し信託財産の分配をした事実が無く、今後分配する意思が一切無くとも、この場合は無関係となります。 別の例として、当事務所が直近で確認した裁量信託証書では、その受益者として「大学・カレッジ等の教育機関(その種類を問わず、また所在のオーストラリア国内外を問わない)」という表記がされていました。この信託もまた、「外国人」の定義に含まれることとなります。 また、家族信託の受益者となり得る「親戚」の中に、外国人が含まれ得るような場合にも、その家族信託は「外国人」とみなされることとなります。 今回の法改正により、「信託の受益者となり得る者において、外国人を除外しない限り、裁量信託の受託者は、外国人受託者とみなされる」ということが明確になります。これにより、上記のような「みなし外国人信託」のカバー範囲の広さが改めて強調されると同時に、外国人が受益者に含まれないことを明記することで、外国人信託とみなされるリスクを回避することができることになります。   終わりに 仮に裁量信託を通じて不動産の購入を考えている場合、あるいは既に裁量信託によって不動産を所持している場合であっても、本法案が許容する猶予期間である2020年12月31日以前であれば、そうした裁量信託の証書に「受益者に外国人は含めないものとする」という条項を挿入・修正することができることになります。 2020年末までまだ半年ほどあるものの、家族信託が外国人信託とみなされ、特別課税の対象となるリスクを回避するためにも、早急に信託証書の修正を実施することをおすすめいたします。 外国人特別課税リスク回避や、信託証書の確認及び修正につきましては、どうぞお気軽にH&H Lawyersまでご相談ください。  


税法

Single Touch Payroll

Purpose   Approximately 2 years have passed since the federal government introduced the rules pertaining to ‘Single Touch Payroll’ (‘STP’). The particular policy enables the government to undertake more stringent monitoring over employers who are operating businesses within Australia in relation to their reporting obligations.   Businesses operating with an employee headcount of 20 or more on the 1st of April 2018 were required to begin reporting to the ATO through a STP-enabled solution. For all other businesses, the use of STP had been implemented voluntarily through an opt-in solution.   From the 1 July 2019, it has since become mandatory for all businesses to observe the new rules, regardless of the number of employees. Prior to the new rules, businesses had supplied their payroll data through generating payment summaries on an annual basis. The new system, however, will allow for businesses to automatically report their payroll data to the ATO on a pay-by-pay basis.      Who needs to report?  As previously mentioned, from 1 July 2019, all employers will be required to submit the following information to the ATO:  Salaries & Wages and PAYG Withholding amount Ordinary Time Earnings   Superannuation Guarantee Contribution  The ATO has improved its operational framework by introducing the Super Cleaning House in relation to the employer's superannuation contributions, which simplifies for the ATO to learn any non-payments by the employers. Consequently, in light of the forthcoming implementation of the Single Touch Payroll starting from May this year, employers should be well prepared for the ATO's monitoring and regulation of any arrears of their superannuation contributions.  By replacing the previous system, the STP system no longer requires employers to produce payment summaries to its employees. In addition, the new regulations carve out an exception when it comes to closely held payees. Accordingly, for those payments made to family members within a family business, company directors and shareholders and beneficiaries of a trust, the new regulations will not be made applicable until 1 July 2021.     When must I report?   STP reporting must occur prior to or on the day payments are made to the employee.     How do I report?   Most existing payroll or accounting solutions will likely include a function to report STP data to the ATO (E.g. Xero, MYOB). Employers who do not utilise payroll or STP-enabled software may nonetheless satisfy their reporting obligations by installing AusKey - an alternate software launched by the ATO. After installation, users may log into their Business Portal and report directly to the ATO. However, the alternative solution is time consuming with increased room for error when entering in key information. Thus, best practice would posit the use of STP-enabled software for fulfilling reporting obligations.     Failure to comply  From the 1 July 2019, in the event that an employer fails to comply, the ATO may impose relevant sanctions. Additionally, employers may find themselves subject to tax benefit exemptions or penalised for income tax. These may arise if, for example, employers make a salary payment without reporting PAYG withholding tax or failing to submit relevant tax returns.      Taxable Payments Annual Report  In addition to labour contracts, businesses operating in the provision of building and construction services, cleaning services and courier services were required to report any payments made to their contractors. Since the expansion of the new regulations, additional classes of businesses will be required to fulfil the same obligations.   As a result, from the 1 July 2019, businesses providing the following services will also need to report information pertaining to payments made to their contractors for services:   Security Service   Road Freight   IT Service  The new STP regulations have introduced vital changes when it comes to employers’ reporting obligations. Stakeholders to which the new rules intend to cover will need to be all the more vigilant in ensuring compliance with the rules in order to avoid potential violation and associated sanctions.       Written by Ben Youn, CPA & CTA quantum house    


税法

退職年金と相続計画

1991年に退職年金制度が導入されて以来、ほとんどのオーストラリア人は資産の一部として年金を保有するようになりました。ほとんどの場合、定年に近づくまでに、退職年金は通常、彼らの居住用の不動産財産以外の最大の資産になるでしょう。  若い世代は、キャリアをスタートしたばかりの頃、自分の為の退職年金や資産を蓄積する機会があまりなかったでしょう。ほとんどの若い人にとって相続とか遺言状などは考慮しないものです。 しかし、退職年金は若い世代を含むすべての年齢層にとって重要です。その理由は、ほとんどの退職年金は生命保険に連動するものです。退職年金に入る時、生命保険にも入る場合が殆んどです。若年成人が死亡した場合、生命保険からの退職年金死亡給付金(Superannuation Death Benefit)が退職年金残高を遥かに超えています。そして、その退職年金死亡給付金は死亡した若年成人が身内の為に残す最大の資産になります。 ほとんどの人は、退職年金死亡給付金は自動的に近親者に支払われると仮定します。しかし、法的拘束力のある受領人指定(Binding Death Benefit Nomination)しないと多くの場合、退職年金管理受託者(Trustee of the superannuation Fund)の退職年金管理会社が死亡給付金の支払いの裁量権を行使します。 1993年退職年金産業法(SIS法)では、退職年金死亡給付金は以下の通り支払うと定めてあります。 現在の配偶者; 故人の子供(現在の配偶者の子供を含む)。 故人との相互依存関係にある人(Interdependency Relationship) 故人の法定代理人(Legal Personal Representative)。 SIS法第10条は、故人との相互依存関係に有る人とは死の直前の期間に相互依存関係が存在する人と述べています。 密接な個人的な関係を持っています。 一緒に暮らしてる同居人。 一方または各々は、他方に財政的支援を提供する事。 一方またはそれぞれが、他方に家庭および個人的なケアを提供している事。 上記に関連して遺言状の作成をしてないまま死亡した18歳の男性に関するSuperannuation Complaints Tribunal, SCT)の実例を見ますと、彼は死亡する3か月前からガールフレンドの実家に住み込み同居し始め週70ドルを払ってきました。故人の死亡時に、故人は退職年金口座に蓄積された貯蓄額はわずか1,537ドルでした。しかし、生命保険のために、故人の退職年金からの死亡給付金は$131,437になってました。故人の退職年金管理基金の管財人は当初、故人の両親に死亡給付金額を支払うことを決定したが、故人のガールフレンドは、彼女が故人との相互関係にあることを示す苦情をSCTに提出しました。 裁判所は、故人の両親に死亡給付金の支払いを与えるという管財人の当初の決定を覆すことを決定し、彼が3ヶ月間一緒に住んでいたガールフレンドに131,437ドルを全額授与しました。 ほとんどの人にとって、これは不公平な決定のように思われるでしょうが、故人が彼の家から離れて住んでいたという事実と、退職年金産業法SIS法によってリストされたカテゴリのいずれかに分類されていないなどを理由に彼の両親は受領が資格が無いと指摘しました。拘束力のある死亡給付金の指名がないことと共に、SCTは、彼らがわずか3ヶ月間1つの屋根の下に住んでいたという事実にもかかわらず、ガールフレンドが故人の死亡時に「相互依存関係」の定義に適合する唯一の人物であることを指摘しました。 故人が彼の親族(この場合は両親)が彼の死亡給付金の受益者になることをもし望んでいたのなら彼は受領者を「法定代理人」を指名する遺言状の作成をしておくべきであります。