Business Pivot OR Business Adaptation?

As we look forward to relaxation of lockdown in our lives and businesses, it can be difficult to find or maintain motivation.  But let’s take a look at a quote attributed to Albert Einstein: “In the midst of every crisis, lies great opportunity”.So, the question is, what opportunities are there for you, or for your business?

Business Pivot or Business Adaptation – What is your “great opportunity”?

You might think in these JobKeeper days that you or your business has to undertake a significant “Pivot”, and radically change the way you do things to ensure not just survival but success.

But equally, that may not be what you want, or more importantly what your customers want. You may need to make smaller changes, refine processes, update your systems or even just modify the language you use to talk to your customers.

Be it Pivot or Adaption, considering your customer needs and wants should be a significant part of your plan.

Now, this article is about motivation, so the words above are about WHY you may want to change. The most difficult part can be making the first step.


STEP ONE // DO NOT LET THE OPPORTUNITY PASS

STEP TWO // WHEN IN DOUBT, REFER TO STEP ONE

 

Every one of you who has got this far does need to find your own motivation.  Is the crisis enough, or is there something about your situation that you really want to change?  Sometimes the biggest obstacle is not knowing how you can possible achieve your goals.  This is where the team at Canny Group can really help. We spend time with our clients understanding goals.

But it is the next part that can be the “secret to motivation”.  Rather than stopping at identifying goals, we can work with you to identify the action steps, what you actually have to do, to move toward your goals. Not only that, we can keep you accountable to those actions.

This could be to do with your business goals, where our Accounting team will work with you.

It could be to do with your financial or retirement goals, where our Advisory team will work with you.  And if you have goals with succession planning, litigation or asset protection the Legal team will work with you.  Best of all, if you have goals the encompass a mixture or all of these, you can rest easy knowing we will work together to help you achieve them all.

A FINAL WORD ON MOTIVATION FOR CHANGE:

“It is not the most intellectual of the species that survives; it is not the strongest that survives; but the species that survives is the one that is best able to best adapt and adjust to the changing environment in which it finds itself”

This quote could almost have been tailored to the times we find ourselves in today, but is also one that is often mis-represented as being a quote from Charles Darwin tied to his work “On the Origin of Species”.  It was actually written by the significantly less famous Leon C. Migginson in “Civilisation Past and Present” in 1963.  Fast forward 57 years and the quote holds true.

 

Adam Ramage – Senior Business Adviser + Accountant

B.Bus CA

Keeping Vigilant During Troubling Times

The COVID-19 crisis has shocked and astounded us all, and we are a long way from knowing where it will end.  Both the local and global economies are under tremendous pressure and we are all being heavily tested on multiple fronts.

It is pleasing to hear some early good news, with signs that here in Australia, and in other parts of the world the tough measures that we are taking seem to be having an impact and slowing the number of cases.

Sadly, though, while our minds are all so focused on this important situation, cybercriminals are using this crisis as an opportunity to exploit people and to fill their own pockets.  We are intercepting an increasing number of COVID-19 related email threats, as well as other malicious email scams, so this is not a time that we allow ourselves to complacent in keeping our computers, and personal information safe from threats, and even more so now that many are working from home, on personal computers, laptops and mobile devices, and perhaps have lower security configurations that those of workplaces and manages office systems.

Last week AustCyber [The Australian Cyber Security Growth Network], a federal government initiative, also shared similar sentiments encouraging Australians to:

  • TRAIN THEIR TEAMS, WITH CYBER SECURITY TRAINING
  • STAY ACROSS THE LATEST SCAMS, INCLUDING THOSE EXPLOITING COVID-19 CRISIS IN PARTICULAR
  • REPORT IT IF YOU’VE RECEIVED AN SMS OR EMAIL YOU THINK IS A SCAM TO SCAMWATCH [OR YOUR LOCAL AUTHORITIES] TO VERIFY IF WHAT YOU’RE SEEING IS REAL OR MALICIOUS
  • USE LOCAL IT SUPPORT SPECIALISTS TO PROTECT YOU AGAINST THREATS + PROVIDE INFORMED ADVICE ON HOW TO ADVICE BEING TAKEN ADVANTAGE OF

So, in light of the above, here are just a few ways that scammers and cybercriminals are using to take advantage of the unsuspecting.  Knowledge is power, so simply being aware of these mechanisms with thwart cybercriminals and give you back some much-needed control and prevent you, your workmates and loved ones from being exploited.

1. PHISHING EMAILS // the word “phishing” [aka “fishing”] was coined around 1996 by hackers stealing America Online accounts and passwords.  By analogy with the sport of angling, these internet scammers were using e-mail lures, setting out hooks to “fish” for passwords and financial data from the “sea” of internet users.

In layman’s terms, scammers sent out [literally] millions of emails to unsuspecting users by pretending to be from a legitimate source.  For example, from a social media or email account [Facebook, LinkedIn, SnapChat, Gmail, Microsoft Office, Telstra Bigpond], or from a web page you use for internet banking or financial services [Westpac, NAB, Commonwealth Bank, PayPal, Western Union], or from a whole myriad of other businesses.  Because we do so many things online, it’s really easy to grab a business that has a login page online, and pretend to be that businesses.

Here is an example which we recently received which was actually really professionally done:

  • A Scammer sent an e-mail pretending to be from “Westpac” to indicate that the person’s bank account had fraudulent activity and had been “locked” to prevent any possible exploitation.
  • The e-mail asks the user to click on the link contained in the email and to enter their username and password for the person’s internet banking in order to confirm that the activity was from them and to prevent the account being locked.
  • If the customer was to click on that link it would take them to a “bogus” web site which the scammer has copied to look like the normal login page for Westpac Internet Banking, but is really just a front.  When the person types their real username and password t o log into their bank account, they are simply giving up their details directly to the scammer.
  • The website then [automatically] diverts the customer back to the “real” Westpac site where the message will pop up that they entered their details incorrectly, and to retry.  The customer enters them again, and then they login to their normal internet banking, none the wiser that they have just given cybercriminals the keys to the financial bank accounts.
  • A short time later the cybercriminals will login to Westpac using the customers *actual* login details and proceed to transfer funds to their own accounts [usually via a series of other stolen or illegal money laundering accounts or other bank accounts etc.]
  • By the time the customer realises that their account has no money left, the criminals have withdrawn the funds or transferred them to offshore bank accounts which are no longer accessible, leaving the end user high and dry, leaving them to try and sort out with their bank to try and recover their money.

There are a whole host of variations on the above scam.

In another variation of the scam, a hacker tries to “phish” out a business username and password to an e-mail account, and then [once has access] will sift through the sent items folder looking for invoices or statements that the business has sent to their clients, and will then form them, changing the bank account payable details on the invoice and re-sending them to the original recipients, asking them to take note that the business has changes their bank account details and to make payment into the [criminal’s] bank accounting instead of the legitimate one.  The list of variations on such scams is endless, but the fact of the matter is that the cybercriminal does not actually “hack” into anyone’s systems, they just fool the legitimate owner into simply “telling” the criminal what their login details are, and then it’s easy street for them to take advantage of that to exploit wherever and however possible.

The lessons to be learned from the above:

  • NEVER click on links directly in e-mails to get to websites
  • NEVER call back numbers sent to you as an SMS
  • ALWAYS treat e-mails or SMS text messages asking you for login detail or personal information as suspicious, and never give anyone your personal details, logins or passwords either via email, or over the phone.
  • REMEMBER that your bank, or ISP, or service provider will already have your details, and they can reset your password if you have lost it.
  • IF YOU DO NEED to verify a suspicious transaction, call your bank, ISP, service provider on their known, registered phone number, and ask them to verify and suspicious activities.
  • CHANGE YOUR PASSWORD REGULARLY, and especially if you feel something suspicious has happened – change it anyway, just to be safe.
  • IF POSSIBLE, use 2-factor authentication on any/all of your online services wherever possible to thwart illegal transactions occurring without you knowing.

2. VIRUSES + WORMS // as our PCs, laptops and phones become more and more sophisticated, viruses, trojans and worms [all different types of programs used to infect your technology] are becoming scarcer, however, there are still viruses out there which are still seen from time to time.  Once again, the aim is to exploit the end used by any means possible.

Cryptolocker is a really nasty virus, for example, that will infect a PC or Mac and systematically “scramble” all documents, files, photos, videos, emails and other critical data on your computer, and then demand a ransom payment in order for you to get your information back.

Others are less obvious – for example another type of virus called a “keylogger” will sit quietly on your computer just “looking” at you typing all your personal information, and then sends it to a listening criminal.  It’s the more sophisticated variation of the “phishing” scam, but you are unaware it’s even happening.

To protect yourself from viruses and hackers:

  • NEVER click on links directly in e-mails to get to websites
  • NEVER click on random links on websites which are dubious and resist the temptation of clicking into illicit websites [many criminals will deliberately host porn sites and other questionable web pages purely to lure unsuspecting users, and then use it as a springboard to infect computers].
  • ANTI-VIRUS, make sure you use a reliable anti-virus package and keep your anti-virus up to date [and yes, Mac Users, that means you too – Macs CAN and DO also fall prey to most scams and also have viruses, there are just fewer Mac users than PCs, so they are less publicised].
  • IF YOUR COMPUTER IS INFECTED, [particularly with a cryptolock virus] DO NOT pay any ransom demands – you will NOT get your data back, even if you do pay, you’re just going to lose money to top losing your data.
  • BACKUP, make ABSOLUTELY sure that you BACKUP your data.  Syncing your data to the OneDrive, DropBox or other Cloud service is NOT good enough – that can also be scrambled.  Use a verified, secure, offline backup mechanisms to that if something does happen to your data, you have something to recover from.

3. SCAM PHONE CALLS OR SCAM E-MAILS // this is also becoming extremely prevalent these days.  Scammers [usually from overseas] will just systematically call numbers listed in the phone book and spin up a story to fool you: “Sir/Madam, this is John Doe from Microsoft and I’m calling you because we have detected a virus which has been sent from your computer“, then try and get you to allow them to connect to your computer remotely so that they can [again] perpetrate some kind of scam to either exploit you, siphon funds from your bank account, or perhaps convince you that your computer is infected, and charge you a “bogus” amount of money to “clean” it for you.

A variation of this is being perpetrated about the current COVID-19 virus asking for donations to support fundraising efforts for a cure or asking for some kind of payment.

And then you have the classic scam where someone tells you that you have a “long lost relative” who has died, and you have some fortune to inherit, but you just need to pay for some legal/admin fees in order to access it.  The mind boggles on the sheer number of variations criminals use to exploit people.

Some simple guidelines to follow:

  • NEVER trusts a total stranger cold calling you.  If you have any doubts, call back businesses or organisations using their *published* known phone numbers.
  • NEVER divulge personal information over the phone.
  • NEVER make payment or provide credit card details or banking information to anyone on the phone, and never allow anyone access to your computer remotely unless you know they are a reputable IT support provider [preferably ones that you know personally].
  • AND if something sounds too good to be true – it probably is.  [If you really had a long-lost uncle John who was the sole heir to a fortune, they you will soon know about it via official channels when the executor of their will sends you the details].

I hope the above examples give you reason to pause when dealing with e-mails, text messages and phone calls, and disarming criminals from doing you any harm.

Despite the increased risk to you or any of your staff members – whether they’re on the front line in high-pressured healthcare or emergency services roles or working remotely to keep the economy on its feet, our IT managed services and my team are committed to stopping any threats intent on doing your business harm.  That’s the last thing that you need right now.

If you find yourself doubting an e-mail, text or phone call, then pause and seek help and clarification.  Please reach out to our support team should you require assistance, at support@universal.com.au or on our dedicated support lines for customers and partners on +03 5277 9797.

To our customers and partners here in Australia, and to those throughout the world, my thoughts are with you and your teams for continued good health and safety.  In times like these, it is important that we stick together and survive personally and on the business front, and I sincerely appreciate you sticking with us.

 

Nenad Saflin – Managing Director

Universal Computer Solutions

COVID-19 // Economic Stimulus + Survival Guide

The Federal Government and State Government have together announced multiple stimulus packages to help support everyone affected by Covid-19 [Corona Virus].  With that in mind, we want to try to provide you with a brief and up-to-date rundown of the benefits for individuals and Small to Medium Sized Businesses [SME’s].  Please note that this is not exhaustive, and we have provided links to original Government releases, so you can double check all information and keep abreast of developments.

April 2020

April Announcements
If you are an EMPLOYER – click here.  

Also important for employers to register with the ATO here AND here.  If you are an employer and have a State Revenue Office payroll tax registration click here.

If you are an EMPLOYEE – click here

If you are a SOLE TRADER – click here.  

Also important to for sole traders to register with the ATO here AND here.

If you need information on ACCESS TO CREDIT for small business – click here

If you employ APPRENTICES – click here

If your income falls BENEATH $1,075 p/fortnight you may be entitled to the Coronavirus Supplement – click here

If you are a VICTORIAN small business with a turnover of +$75,000 – click here

If you are a TENANT – click here

 

March 2020

March Announcements
Small – Medium Businesses – https://treasury.gov.au/coronavirus/businesses

  1. Businesses with turnover of less than $50M who employ workers will be eligible for the “Boosting Cash Flow for Employers Package”.  All employers will receive a minimum payment of $10,000 [increased from the initial $2,000 announced in mid-March] and the maximum is calculated as 100% of the PAYG withholding withheld from employee wages up to a maximum of $50,000.  The amount is calculated on PAYG withheld between January and June 2020 and calculation varies depending on how often you lodge your activity statements.
  2. An additional payment is being introduced from the July – October 2020 period.  This amount will be exactly the same as the original amount received by the business.  This effectively doubles the amount received to a minimum of $20,000 and a maximum of $100,000 https://treasury.gov.au/sites/default/files/2020-03/Fact_sheet-Cash_flow_assistance_for_businesses_0.pdf.
  3. The Victorian Government has announced that SME’s with a yearly payroll of less than $3M, will be provided with 12 months Payroll Tax relief.  Businesses that currently pay payroll tax [ie. business with payroll, including superannuation, of greater than $54,166 per month] will receive a refund to their bank account of any payroll tax paid for the period 1 July 2019 to 29 February 2020.  In addition, there will be no further payroll tax payable up to 30 June 2020.  The Victorian Government advises that refunds will be accessed by 27 March 2020 https://www.premier.vic.gov.au/economic-survival-package-to-support-businesses-and-jobs/.
  4. There are also measures to temporarily assist businesses in financial distress, https://treasury.gov.au/sites/default/files/2020-03/Fact_sheet-Providing_temporary_relief_for_financially_distressed_businesses.pdf.
  5. Instant asset write-off is increased from $30,000 to $150,000 for those of you who are not concerned about cash-flow and view this as a good time to invest in assets for your business, https://treasury.gov.au/sites/default/files/2020-03/Fact_Sheet-Delivering_support_for_business_investment.pdf.  There are also measures around depreciating fixed assets faster, https://treasury.gov.au/sites/default/files/2020-03/Fact_Sheet-Delivering_support_for_business_investment.pdf.
  6. Wage subsidies are available for up to 50% of an apprentice or trainee’s wage for the nine months from 1 January to 30 September 2020.  Employers will be reimbursed to a maximum of $7,000 per quarter per apprentice/trainee, https://treasury.gov.au/sites/default/files/2020-03/Fact_sheet-Cash_flow_assistance_for_businesses_0.pdf.

March Announcements
Support for Cash Flow Needs for Small – Medium Businesses – https://treasury.gov.au/coronavirus/business-investment

  1. The Federal Government will provide a guarantee of up to 50% of loans made to SME’s https://treasury.gov.au/sites/default/files/2020-03/Fact_sheet-Supporting_the_flow_of_credit_1.pdf.
  2. Lenders will be provided with a temporary exemption from the responsible lending obligations to provide loans to existing small business clients to enable faster approval and provision of loans to SME’s, https://treasury.gov.au/sites/default/files/2020-03/Fact_sheet-Supporting_the_flow_of_credit_1.pdf.

March Announcements
Individuals + Households – https://treasury.gov.au/coronavirus/households

  1. Income support payments and coronavirus supplements to existing and new recipients of some Centrelink payments, https://treasury.gov.au/sites/default/files/2020-03/Fact_sheet-Income_Support_for_Individuals.pdf.  There will also be streamlined application for Centrelink benefits and reduced waiting times for payments.
  2. Two separate payments to recipients of social security, veteran and other support payments from Centrelink.  These are due to be paid as $750 on 31 March 2020 and $750 on 13 July 2020, https://treasury.gov.au/sites/default/files/2020-03/Fact_sheet-Payments_to_support_households.pdf.
  3. Temporary early release of superannuation amounts up to $10,000 for the financial year 2019-20 and again for the financial year 2020-21.  There will be no tax payable on the amounts withdrawn and they will also not effect Centrelink or Veterans’ Affairs payments, https://treasury.gov.au/sites/default/files/2020-03/Fact_sheet-Early_Access_to_Super_1.pdf.
  4. Temporary reduction in superannuation minimum drawdown amounts for those receiving a pension from their super fund, https://treasury.gov.au/sites/default/files/2020-03/Fact_sheet-Providing_support_for_retirees_to_manage_market_volatility.pdf.
  5. Reduced Centrelink deeming rates to support retirees, https://treasury.gov.au/sites/default/files/2020-03/Fact_sheet-Providing_support_for_retirees_to_manage_market_volatility.pdf.

Self-Education

It’s February and so in keeping with the ‘Back to School’ theme I thought I would revisit the opportunities that are available for self-education and professional development.

Whether you are supported by your employer or not you may be able to claim a tax deduction for self-education expenses if they relate to your current work activities.  You cannot claim the costs however if it is for the purpose of new employment or to open up a new income earning occupation. Some of the costs that you can claim are:

  • COMPUTER + STATIONARY CONSUMABLES EG. PAPER, PRINTER CARTRIDGES
  • COURSE FEES [IF PAID BY YOU]
  • PURCHASE OF EQUIPMENT, OR IF THE COST IS OVER $300, DEPRECIATION OF EQUIPMENT
  • INTERNET USAGE
  • STUDENT UNION FEES
  • TEXTBOOKS
  • TRAVEL; BETWEEN HOME + THE PLACE OF EDUCATION + BETWEEN WORK + THE PLACE OF EDUCATION

Likewise, there are also opportunities to claim the cost of professional development.  If you are in an occupation that requires a certain number of certified professional development hours, the costs of attending relevant seminars and conferences can be quite high, however if they are relevant to your employment they can be claimed as a tax deduction.  If you are a business paying this cost for your employees this is a claimable business expense.

Aside from the bonus of a tax deduction, it is a great idea to keep up to date with ideas, techniques and changes in the law no matter what industry you are in.  Maintaining your knowledge is both good for your self esteem and enhances your chances of maintaining your employability.

If you are thinking of taking on additional study and are unsure about how this will affect your tax or your business, just call our office and one of our qualified team will be happy to help you.

 

Amanda Wilkens – Director

CPA

Kick-Ass New Years’ Resolutions

It is common to come up with New Years’ resolutions in January that reflect the way we feel after all the celebrations over Christmas and New Year.  We can pretty much guess that the resolutions will revolve around:

  • Partying less;
  • Eating more healthily; and
  • Exercising more.

That’s all great, however these reflect only the prior three weeks.

What if we could put together resolutions that reflected the prior year or several years?  These resolutions would generally revolve around;

  • Holidaying more frequently;
  • Spending more time with family and friends;
  • Purchasing a house or paying off the one we have; and
  • Becoming more financially independent and secure.

These resolutions are great to work with, and the good news is that they don’t exclude the first set of resolutions – there is no reason why we can’t do both!  Here are the top three questions I am asked by clients starting their road to a “kick-ass” financial future.

  1. WHEN SHOULD I START?  NOW, NOW and NOW!  It’s easy to think that you don’t have anything yet and don’t earn a lot so can’t start – but it’s wrong!  I started saving at 18 years old by putting away $70 a month in a savings plan.  This isn’t a lot but I found I didn’t miss the money.  When it was time to buy a house 12 years later I was well on my way to a deposit.  Remember that everyone has to start somewhere.
  2. HOW OLD SHOULD I BE TO START PLANNING A “KICK-ASS” FINANCIAL FUTURE? There’s no age required, but start now! The sooner you start the sooner you are on your way.  We have probably all heard the Chinese proverb “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step” and I suspect we all use this.  I know I think of that whenever I have to complete a mammoth task.  Runners often count steps on long runs, cyclists count kilometres and we all count sleeps to Christmas [even if it’s for our kids].  The best way to achieve anything is to simply start.
  3. OKAY, I’M GOING TO START – WHAT DO I DO?  There are several things to do – all steps on your journey to a “kick-ass” financial future.  Don’t be overwhelmed and don’t think you need to do them all today.  Here are a few things to look at, and I recommend aiming to tackle one item per month [or two months if your life is hectic]:
  • Review your income protection insurance. You may or may not need it, and it totally depends on your circumstances.  However, if you are the main income earner for a family and you have others relying on your income, you at least need to review it.
  • Have wills and powers of attorney prepared. Again, horses for courses, but if you have children you at least need to consider who will look after them if you are no longer able to.  Make sure you document your wishes as it isn’t enough to verbally pass them on.
  • Review your death cover. Once again, you may or may not need it, but if there will be debts within your family should you pass, you need to at least consider whether you should have death cover that is sufficient to pay off the debts.
  • Review your superannuation. Your super may be able to include income protection and death cover, so you may want to review this first.
  • Start saving. A financial plan, or even a small savings goal will put you on the right path.  Set a budget and put away even a few dollars each week.

If you decide you want to start your journey to a “kick-ass” financial future, contact us!  Our team can cover the financial advice, legal and accounting to get you on your journey.

If you just feel like you’d like more information and want to learn more before you start – our Health and Wealth seminar is for you.  It’s free and will give you lots of practical tips to start your journey.  You’ll also have the chance to meet our team in a casual relaxed setting.  Just go to our website and use the links to register.

 

Krystine Canny-Smith – Director

CPA

Christmas + FBT

It’s coming up to the Christmas holiday period which means scheduling the staff Christmas party and purchasing gifts for your employees, but as we skip into the month of December, it’s important that we remember what is deductible in relation to gifts and entertainment provided and how fringe benefits tax [FBT] relates with these actions.

FBT is payable by employers on the value of certain benefits that have been provided to their employees in respect of their employment. The purpose of the legislation to ensure fair tax treatment between cash paid to employees and benefits provided to them during their employment. Fringe benefits can include but are not limited to: providing an employee a vehicle that is owned by the business to drive, providing a loan to an employee with no interest, and also functions and gifts provided to an employee at Christmas time.

Towards the end of December, many employers schedule a work breakup or event to celebrate the holidays with their employees or purchase a gift for the employees and their families. These events can include costs such as venue hire, food and alcohol purchases or booking entertainment such as a band. Are these expenses tax deductible? Is the employer entitled to claim goods and services tax [GST] back on those expenses incurred?

Generally, providing entertainment to an employee is not tax deductible unless FBT is paid. Employers cannot claim deductions for the cost of Christmas gifts purchased for employees if the gift directly provides entertainment by way of food, drink or recreation. Similarly, the expense of a staff Christmas function would not be deductible as it involves the provision of entertainment.

However, there are some exceptions. The cost of a Christmas party is tax deductible if provided on a working day on the business premises and consumed by current employees. Another exception is providing a minor benefit by ensure the cost of the Christmas party and gifts are less than $300 per employee. And when it comes to GST, the credit is available if FBT is paid or the benefit is exempt from FBT and a tax deduction can be claimed.

If you are providing more than salary and wages to an employee, now is a good time to book an appointment with one of our accountants to ensure you are not inadvertently paying more tax than necessary by providing a non-cash benefit to your employees.

 

Jamie Arrington – Manager

B.Com CA

Financial Plans Are COOL

IT IS PRETTY COOL TO HAVE AN ACTUAL FINANCIAL PLAN AND NOT JUST ‘ONE IN YOUR HEAD’

Whilst seeing a client, our discussion often turns to managing personal cash flow.  Some people are happy just living from pay-to-pay and don’t give much consideration to plans for the medium or long term.  Others haven’t really given the idea any thought but think it will all be “OK”.  However, more and more people are thinking about this, but don’t know where to start.

Financial management and retirement planning help people determine their personal saving targets, what they can afford to spend, and how best to arrange their financial affairs.  Retirement planning can quantify how much you need to have saved to retire.  When you are years away from retirement and your personal finances are ever-changing, this can seem like a challenging concept, but it is important to remember that a financial plan is a process, not a product.  It is something that requires discipline to start and at least annual maintenance and review.

A financial plan should include:

  • INVESTMENT PLANNING;
  • INSURANCE + RISK MANAGEMENT;
  • FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT;
  • RETIREMENT PLANNING;
  • TAX PLANNING; +
  • ESTATE PLANNING + LEGAL ASPECTS

Most people insure against at least some of the risks of financial loss due to death, medical issues and damage to property.  You could look at a well-structured and maintained financial plan as insuring against financial difficulty later in life.

Estate planning may also be an overlooked financial planning exercise.  The thing about estate planning is that it should go beyond simply preparing a will just to check off a box and say that it is done.  In a financial planning context, it is important to consider things like who your beneficiaries will be, joint asset ownership, income tax liabilities.  In the same way a married couple may plan for retirement together, it is important to consider what might happen if one spouse or the other died prematurely.  This may be as much a financial planning exercise as an estate law one.

Our financial planners – Samantha Butcher and Helen Yau can get you started on this journey and will assist and advise along the way.  Why don’t you call and make an appointment today, it’s that easy!

 

Amanda Wilkens – Director

B.Comm CPA

Buy Low Sell High

Buy Low Sell High is the first seminar in our free Property Seminar Series.

Buy Low Sell High is designed to provide an overview of the sale process, from engaging a real estate agent right through to handing the keys to the purchase.

We delve into:

  • WHO // you will need to engage to sell + why
  • WHAT // who does what, from the agent to the stylist right through to the broker + lender
  • CONVEYANCING // the general conveyancing process
  • SETTLEMENT DAY // what to expect + what happens if there is a delay
  • TRAPS + PITFALLS // that you should be wary of when consider to sell your property

So when the time is right to move on to your next dream home, selling your property for the best price will be a breeze!

Secure your FREE ticket through Eventbrite here.. https://www.eventbrite.com.au/e/buy-low-sell-high-tickets-75801936633

REFRESHMENTS INCLUDED + ALL CHILDREN WELCOME!

New Labour Hire Laws In Victoria

ATTENTION ALL BUSINESSES.. does your business or organisation use labour hire workers?  If this applied to you, then you need to be aware of the new labour hire laws that are now in place, and how they may affect you and your business!

 

Under the Labour Hire Licensing Act 2018, labour hire providers will have until 29 October 2019 to apply for and be granted a licence by the Victoria Labour Hire Authority to operate in Victoria.

Licences can be applied for from the Labour Hire Authority website.  These licences are valid for a period of no more than three years.

There is a test that needs to be satisfied to obtain and maintain a licence.  This is known as “fit and proper test”.  Businesses will need to prove past compliance with the applicable employment, tax, immigration and workplace health and safety laws.

To ensure compliance of the new licensing system, the Victoria Labour Hire Authority will employ inspectors.  These inspectors will be able to enter and search premises, examine, seize or inspect anything suspected of relating to a possible contravention.

KEY POINTS FOR BUSINESS OWNERS:

  • LABOUR HIRE PROVIDERS MUST REGISTER ONLINE TO CREATE AN ACCOUNT + then apply for a licence.
  • LABOUR HIRE PROVIDERS WILL HAVE SIX MONTHS, or until 29 October 2019 to register online + apply for a licence.
  • IF PROVIDERS DO NOT APPLY FOR A LICENCE within the six-month transition period, they will be prohibited from providing labour hire services from 30 October 2019
  • UNLICENSED LABOUR HIRE PROVIDERS CAN FACE SUBSTANTIAL FINES, with a maximum penalty for a natural person being more than $120,000 + for a corporation exceeding $500,000.
  • HOSTS [BUSINESS WHO UTILISE LABOUR HIRE WITHIN THEIR BUSINESS] who enter into an arrangement after 29 October 2019 with a labour hire provider who has not applied for, or who has been refused a labour hire licence face substantial fines ranging from a maximum in excess of $120,00 for a natural person to in excess of $500,000 for a corporation.
  • THERE IS AN APPLICATION FEE, + ANNUAL LICENCE FEE, payable by the labour hire provider.

If your business uses labour hire workers in Victoria, we recommend you begin enquiringly with the providers as to their intentions with respect to applying for a licence.

Please contact Canny Legal on 5278 9500 if you have any queries regarding the new Labour Hire regime.

Property Seminar Series

With Spring in the air it’s no secret that it’s one of the best times of the year to go house shopping!  With that in mind, Canny Legal have put together their very own Property Seminar Series, with seminars covering the following topics:
  • SELLING A PROPERTY
  • BUYING A PROPERTY
  • INVESTMENT PROPERTIES
  • FIRST TIME HOME OWNERS
  • PURCHASE OF A COMMERCIAL PROPERTY
  • RENTAL/LEASING MATTERS
As well as our experienced and friendly team, we will also have special guests including local real estate agents, builders, financial brokers and many more to share their tips and tricks.

State of Wellness Summit

STATE OF WELLNESS SUMMIT // Creating Sustainable Positive Changes In The Lives of Women

We are honored to be sponsoring this amazing wellness movement that is all about creating sustainable positive changes in the lives of women.

You will be able to find our team on Thursday 10th October at GMHBA stadium sharing our knowledge with everyone on how NOT to sweat your finances.

Hosted by Geelong’s charismatic and life-changer Roxie Bennett, there will also be speakers including:
LAUREN BURNS // Olympic Gold Medalist, Naturopath/Nutritionist
JANE KINNEAR // Positive Change Coach, Speaker + Registered Nurse
REBECCA WINKLER // Naturopath + GAPS Practitioner
JO SURKITT // Though Leader, Speaker, Leader + Positive Change Creator
CAL STEWART // Feng Shui Consultant
MADELINE WEST // Food and Mood Centre at Deakin University
KIM BYRNE // Female Mentor, Author + Acclaimed Surfer
AMANDA WILKENS // Canny Group Director, CPA, Chief Financial Operator + Supporter of Women in Business
SAMANTHA BUTCHER // Financial Adviser
DR. CAROLINE TAYLOR-WALKER // Principal Doctor + Lecturer

THURSDAY 10TH OCTOBER 2019
HIGHER MARK @ GMHBA STADIUM GEELONG

Director Amanda Wilkens along financial adviser Samantha Butcher are going to be on stage from 3.30pm for the Q+A Expert Panel answering all of the questions related to women finances.

By using the following link, https://www.stateofwellness.com.au/ we are lucky enough to be able to offer a $50 discount on all tickets that are purchased, just enter CannyFriend as the promo code to apply your discount.

Deceased Estates

There are no inheritance or estate taxes in Australia.  The person responsible for administering a deceased estate is most commonly referred to as an executor, but could also be an administrator where letters of administration are granted by a court.  Both are considered a legal personal representative by us.

When a person dies, there are some important tax and superannuation issues for the executor and the beneficiaries, including:

 

IF YOU ARE A BENEFICIARY OF A DECEASED ESTATE

There may be some tax obligations for beneficiaries, depending on the nature of any distribution they may receive:

RECEIVING SUPER BENEFITS

If the deceased person had super, the super fund’s trustee will work out who to pay any benefit to [either as a lump sum or an income stream].  Super paid after a person’s death is called a ‘super death benefit’.  The tax on a super death benefit depends on:

  • WHETHER YOU WERE A DEPENDENT OF THE DECEASED UNDER TAXATION LAW
  • WHETHER IT IS PAID AS A LUMP SUM OR INCOME STREAM
  • WHETHER THE SUPER IS TAX-FREE OR TAXABLE AND WHETHER THE SUPER FUND HAS ALREADY PAID TAX ON THE TAXABLE COMPONENT
  • YOUR AGE AND THE AGE OF THE DECEASED PERSON WHEN THEY DIED (FOR INCOME STREAMS).

RECEIVING ASSETS

Capital gains tax (CGT) applies to the disposal of an asset; so if you receive an asset you are not affected by CGT.  If you later sell that asset, CGT may apply.

EARNING INCOME

If you as a beneficiary are presently entitled to income of the deceased estate, the income is assessable in the year your present entitlement arose, not in the year the amount is received.

For example, if you were presently entitled to the deceased estate income on 30 June 2018 but did not receive it until September 2018, you are personally assessable on that amount in the year ended 30 June 2018, not in the year ended 30 June 2019.

COMPLETING YOUR TAX RETURN

As a beneficiary, you need the following information:

  • YOUR SHARE OF TRUST INCOME TO WHICH YOU ARE PRESENTLY ENTITLED
  • THE AMOUNT OF YOUR ENTITLEMENT THAT WAS PAID TO SOMEONE ELSE FOR YOUR BENEFIT
  • THE ASSESSABLE INCOME AMOUNT
  • YOUR SHARE OF FRANKING CREDITS ASSOCIATED WITH ANY DIVIDENDS IN THE TRUST DISTRIBUTION
    • THIS MEANS THAT THE COMPANY PAYING THE DIVIDENDS HAS PAID INCOME TAX FOR THE AMOUNT.
    • IF YOU ARE AN AUSTRALIAN RESIDENT BENEFICIARY, YOU ARE ENTITLED TO THE ASSOCIATED FRANKING CREDIT WHEN THE INCOME DISTRIBUTION IS INCLUDED IN YOUR TAX RETURN FOR INDIVIDUALS.

BENEFICIARIES PRESENTLY ENTITLED BUT UNDER A LEGAL DISABILITY

If you are a beneficiary presently entitled but under a legal disability you also need to know the amount of tax the trust paid on your behalf.  If you need to lodge your own tax return you are entitled to receive a tax credit for this so that the same amount isn’t taxed twice.

NON-RESIDENT BENEFICIARIES

If you are a non-resident beneficiary, you will also need to know the amount of:

  • INTEREST IN YOUR DISTRIBUTION AND THE WITHHOLDING TAX PAID
  • UNFRANKED DIVIDENDS IN YOUR DISTRIBUTION AND THE WITHHOLDING TAX PAID
  • FRANKED DIVIDENDS IN YOUR DISTRIBUTION
  • TAX THE TRUST PAID ON YOUR BEHALF

 

Kim Sandhu – Senior Accountant

CPA – B.Com M.Acc