Discretionary Trusts + Keeping It In The Family

A family trust is a form of a Discretionary Trust and one of the most important investment vehicles that individuals can look at starting.  They are very useful in particular for building wealth for the benefit of future generations, flexibility in daily operations, family investments, holding and protecting your family’s properties and other assets.  These assets could include investment properties, share portfolios, personal use assets (holiday homes, boats, land, antiques etc.).

Many of our clients also prefer to keep properties used in their business under a trust structure while carrying on their operations from other business entities under a rental agreement to protect their assets from creditors and other third party legal action.

The purpose of a trust is to hold these assets and cash flow for the benefit of the members of the “family group”.  Their operation is for the most part subject to the terms of the trust deed which is prepared when a trust is established.  This makes the trust deed the single most important document for this structure.  It dictates various things including:

  • Who is the Trustee (who looks after the legal property of the trust for the benefit of the family members and decide on annual distributions – generally mum and/or dad)
  • Who is the Appointor (Person in charge of selecting the trustee)
  • Who will be the beneficiaries (those entitled to the trust’s income and/or those who have right to trust’s assets)
  • Definition of trust income including how, to whom and what type of income will be distributed.
  • What happens when a trust vests or ends.

 

Due to the fact that the trust deed of the trust defines who the potential recipients of trust income will be on formation (usually family members), trust is a structure very much favored by family businesses (I.e. a Family Trust) who can provide capital if expansion is required in the future, investments need to be purchased or excess cash of family members needs to be loaned to the trust.  This is because, besides commercial loans, it is not possible to pursue external investor capital as a family trust.

If succession planning and keeping the business with in the family is the main goal, then this is the ideal business structure.  Discretionary trusts allow the business to be passed down to the next generation of family members.  In this case, the trust deed must allow for the change of Appointor or Trustee.  As there is no change in beneficial ownership of the trust and given all family members are beneficiaries of the trust, the changeover in the control of business within the family is not subject to any CGT implications.

This trust structure offers various benefits such as:

  • Being an ideal tool for succession planning and transferring within the family without immediate tax implications.  For example, when you want to hand down the family business to your next generation while avoiding any CGT implications.  This is true, as long as they are deemed to be beneficiaries as per the trust deed which also needs to be carefully drafted.
  • Strong asset protection is provided from creditors (for instance, in the event a family member experiences bankruptcy or a related entity is going through insolvency).  This requires that the trustee is a company and trust deed limits the trustee’s liability upon being sued to the share capital invested in the trustee company.  Please note that exceptions do apply when it comes to family law.
  • High degree of flexibility in distribution of income to various beneficiaries in the most tax effective way including family and friends ensuring all the family members tax free thresholds are fully utilized.

Distributions can also be varied every year to reflect changing income of family members.

  • Access to various small business Capital Gains Tax (CGT) concessions on sale, restructure of and retirement from business.  The individual also receives a 50% CGT discount when distribution is received from the trust.
  • Overall flexibility in operation of trust as it is mainly governed by the trust deed.

One of the main drawbacks of a trust structure would be that losses cannot be distributed and there are substantial hurdles to recoup such losses.  However, trust losses can be carried forward to future years and offset against future tax income.

Due to the trust offering such significant benefits and potential tax savings, the ATO have been looking more closely into them recently.  Recent changes included reduction in distributions to minor members of the family (usually under 18 years old).

All in all, it can be quite complex and challenging to identify your business needs and selecting the appropriate business structure or combination of entities.  Furthermore there are various commercial and taxation implications when it comes to family trusts.

Keeping your business circumstances in mind, and to ensure there is a seamless transfer of wealth between generations, it is recommended to get professional advice before making any such decision so you can customise your entity structure to your business needs.

 

Humam Siddiqui – Accountant

BComm

Geelong Cancer Rehabilitation

Kerry Browne is the incredible woman behind Geelong Cancer Rehabilitation, with over 20 years of experience as a physiotherapist, her passion for optimal wellness for her clients inspired her to train as a lymphoedema therapist.

 

What is Geelong Cancer Rehabilitation?

Geelong Cancer Rehabilitation sees patients from diagnosis, through post-operative phase and treatment and then onto a guided exercise program to optimise physical and functional recovery.  We specialise in prevention and treatment of lymphoedema, treatment of cording and post-operative scar management.  We also assist in continuation or return to physical activity following cancer treatment.

How is it that Geelong Cancer Rehabilitation come to life…?

I have over 20 years’ experience as a physiotherapist and spending the first 15 years of my career specialising in musculoskeletal injuries, it was the work I did whilst in London 15 years ago at a clinic specialising in low back pain led me to train as a polestar pilates practitioner.  After returning to Australia, I worked at a busy Melbourne practice specialising in the rehabilitation of cancer patients using both manual and pilates skills.  A real passion for optimal wellness for these clients inspired me to train as a lymphoedema therapist.

I moved to Geelong 5 years ago and decided to open my own Oncology practice.

What keeps you coming back to work everyday…?

I am very privileged to be in the position to help people who are dealt the terrible cancer card.  I meet them when they are at a difficult time juggling the stress of diagnosis, treatment and their work and family lives and I then watch them come out the other side and return to what they love and enjoy.

My work keeps me grounded and also motivates me to continue to strive to use best practice to help my patients.

Is your job exciting or do you just hang out with people who are struggling with movement?

Day to day I probably wouldn’t describe my work as exciting.  Yes I am often dealing with patients who are struggling not just physically but also mentally however their strength and resilience continues to astound me.  What is exciting is the research which has recently been published which has confirmed the importance of exercise and movement during and after cancer treatment in decreasing cancer recurrence!

What is planned for the future of Geelong Cancer Rehabilitation?

I will continue to manage cancer patients on a day to day basis but would also like to be involved in some further research into optimising wellness for my clients.

How can I get in contact or find out more about Geelong Cancer Rehabilitation?

My contact number is 0401916365 or you can go to http://www.geelongcancerrehab.com.au

Kerry Browne – Geelong Cancer Rehabilitation

We Bring Home an International Award

The PANALITIX conference is a premier annual even where accountants from across the globe converge to learn on accounting best practice from industry influencers, thought leaders, technology and solution providers as well as international outstanding accounting firms.

Directors, Amanda Wilkens and Krystine Canny-Smith and Manager Helen Yau travelled across the globe to San Diego in November to take part in the conference.  Not only bringing back extra suitcases and excess baggage, they also managed to bring home the Best in Team Development Annual Award for 2018 from 12 awards.

The ‘Best in Team Development’ category aims to reward those who strive to create an amiable work environment for their team, while consequently providing continuous team development and engagement, resulting in business growth.

http://atthepac.com/thepac-awards/

How To Set New Year Resolutions and Stick To Them

So 1st January you have your list of resolutions and you are completely committed… 2nd January you are distracted with ‘life’ and by 7th January they are in the ‘too hard, stinks of effort’ basket if you haven’t forgotten about them already.

Well this year is going to be different and this is how;

1. Think of the top 3 things you want to change in your life – business or personal.  Any more than this and it gets too complicated and overwhelming and this is where the failure rate creeps in.

2. Think about the length of time you need to achieve each goal and diarise the date that they each need to be completed by. Be realistic here but it must be within the year.

3. Contact the people or business that will help you achieve your 3 goals.  If it is getting your Will done, call your lawyer and make the appointment.  If it is getting fit, call a Personal trainer.  If it is starting a new business or expanding, call your Accountant.  If it is making more time to see your parents or friends get on the phone now and just do it!

4. Decide on the reward you will give yourself when these are completed.

It is likely that you can’t do all this alone so don’t be afraid to delegate to the experts who can help you.

Business goals are no different to personal goals in terms of the way you should ‘attack’ them.  You must be methodical and committed otherwise you are wasting your time, money and that of those that are prepared to help you.

We have many clients who say at the beginning of the year that they want to ‘increase their income’ or ‘decrease their costs’.  These are sweeping statements and we can help you do this, but first we will help you determine what the figure is and what and how they can be achieved.  It takes time and thought to plan this.

 

In 2019 we will be holding our popular ‘One Day Plan sessions’ each month commencing in March in our new premises at the Federal Mill.

These whole day sessions are designed to establish what your goals are and we work with you to determine the path you will take to achieve them.  So it doesn’t just have to be at New Year that you can make resolutions!

The dates for these sessions will be released in our February Newsletter and are open to existing clients or new.

 

Amanda Wilkens – Director

B.Comm CPA

Geelong Pilates Studio

Pilates Movement Therapy Practitioner and Geelong Pilates Studio owner Lu Albrecht, has developed her method for her studio through many years of learning about the body.  We sat down with Lu to find out about how she is discovering the life changing benefits of Pilates and gaining a true understanding of the mind body connection.

What is Geelong Pilates Studio?

Geelong Pilates Studio is a boutique studio in the heart of Highton village.  Our core business is our small group Studio classes where we work with clients who need a specific program designed for them.  These classes are designed for those with injuries needing rehab, or with ongoing pain such as back pain and postural pain, and for those who simply want to keep themselves in a healthy routine and keep moving.  We use lots of props and each class is different.  We also offer a class called reformer (using the specialised Pilates equipment that allows clients to move without impact).  Reformer is a great way to condition and strengthen the whole body.  Consistency is the key to Pilates with most clients attending once or twice a week.

How did Geelong Pilates Studio come to life?

After many years of practicing and studying Pilates with some of the best practitioners that Melbourne has to offer, the dream was to open a studio that focused on a quality and not quantity – meaning that I really wanted to focus on a few clients and really work hard at getting them into shape rather than offer lots of classes with many clients and not be able to give everybody the attention and detail they deserved.

My goal was to help people and improve their quality of life.  I felt it was important to take time and care with every client, to build a strong and loyal customer base that would appreciate the power of incorporating Pilates into their lives.  It has taken years to build my business into the space that I originally envisaged.  Starting out, the space was too big and the offer was too varied as I was trying to be too many things with too many different types of client.  Since simplifying and going back going back to my original vision, I feel that the business and the clients I have attracted are now in line with my values and the work/life balance I have always wanted.

How long has Geelong Pilates Studio been up and running?

5 years, going into our 6th year in 2019.

What is planned for the future of Geelong Pilates Studio?

Now that the business is heading in the right direction with the correct offering, I would like to concentrate on building an even stronger client loyalty.  We will be introducing massage, Osteo and nutritional services so that our clients have more opportunity to work on their health with other types of health care professionals.  The intention is that all our practitioners will work together, referring clients and coming up with a holistic plan between us.

How do I get in contact to find out more about Geelong Pilates Studio?

Head to the website for detailed info on our classes, teachers and how you can get started today.

www.geelongpilatesstudio.com.au

Geelong Pilates Studio

Shop 8, No. 1 Bellevue Avenue, Highton 3216

(03) 5241 2661

info@geelongpilatesstudio.com.au

Lu Albrecht of Geelong Pilates Studio – Highton Village

Making Sure Your Small Business Doesn’t Break the Bank these Holidays

If you are like most small businesses, you may find Christmas and January the hardest time of year for cash flow!

Tradies find there is no income as building ceases and materials that haven’t already been received aren’t available until February.  This effects not only those directly in the building trade, but also concreters, plasterers, glaziers and everyone who supports the building trade.

For small businesses like ours, who support other small businesses, we find our clients close over the New Year and January.  It’s not just accountants though who are effected by this, it’s commercial cleaners, security firms, lawyers and all whose services support small businesses.

And if you support the education sector, then you can look forward to closing shop for around six weeks!  Small businesses that run schools (sport, art, dancing and music schools come to mind) or support education (cleaning, security or education providers) can be confident there won’t be much hitting their bank account in January!

Yes, things get hard when cash flow is tight, but there are a few simple things you can do to help manage it.  Remember that forewarned is forearmed!

  1. Talk to your clients/customers and let them know you need them to pay before Christmas. If you are able to reduce your outstanding debtors and get this money in the bank, it will help cover the Christmas wages and also January when receipts are low.  Ideally, all your customers should finalise all accounts that are over 30 days before Christmas.  This will make an enormous difference to your cash flow.
  2. If possible, invoice clients in advance.  A very clever client of ours (who shall remain nameless and who knows exactly what work will be provided in January), offered her customers the opportunity to pay in advance.  If you operate a larger business, it may be convenient to pay January in advance to your suppliers.  Then you won’t have to worry about bills over the holiday period.  If some of your customers fall in this category, consider invoicing in advance.
  3. Speak to your bank about an overdraft.  Although we generally like to avoid overdrafts and minimise borrowing, there are times each year when you may need extra help to meet the bills.  If you can get approval for an overdraft this is a good safety net.
  4. Last, but not least, put off paying any creditors you can.  Naturally it feels bad putting off paying our suppliers.  However, if we contact them in advance and let them know how much we will be paying and when they are usually happy to accommodate.  We all know from our businesses, that if we know when someone is paying and how much they are paying, we feel more comfortable than if we don’t hear from them or they avoid our calls.

Don’t forget that the superannuation for your employees is due before 28th January 2019, so make sure you have enough in your account to cover that.  Your BAS will generally be due before 25th February 2019 (unless you are a monthly BAS lodger), so thankfully cash flow should return to normal by then.

In the meantime, if you need any help with cash flow or want any information to help you budget over Christmas and January, please don’t hesitate to contact our Accounting team.

 

Krys Canny-Smith

Director – CPA, BComm

Taxable Payments Annual Reporting (TPAR)

Businesses operating in the cleaning industry or the courier industry, take note:

Commencing 1 July 2018 if you operate a business which provides cleaning services or courier services you will now need to report to the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) the payments made to contractors for provision of cleaning or courier services. These payments will need to be reported for each financial year to the ATO using the Taxable Payments Annual Report (TPAR). The first TPAR for those operating in this industry will be for the financial year ended 30 June 2019 and will be due with the ATO by the 28 August 2019.

WHAT ARE CLEANING SERVICES?
Cleaning services include, but are not limited to, any of the following activities undertaken on a building, residence, structure, place, surface, transport/vehicle, industrial machinery or equipment and for events:

  • interior cleaning
  • exterior cleaning (except sandblasting)
  • carpet cleaning
  • chimney cleaning
  • gutter cleaning
  • road sweeping and street cleaning
  • swimming pool cleaning
  • park and park facilities cleaning.

WHAT ARE COURIER SERVICES?
Activities where goods or items such as parcels, packages, letters and food  are collected from, and or delivered to any place in Australia using a variety of methods such as car, truck, station wagon, van, ute, motorcycle, motorised scooter, drones, bicycle or other non-powered means of transport, or on foot will be deemed courier services.

Courier services will not include the following:

  • delivery of goods your business provides where delivery is the only method your customers have of receiving the goods
  • passenger transport services, i.e. buses and taxis
  • transporting of blood, blood products, organs or tissue, or
  • freight transport.

WHAT IF MY BUSINESS PROVIDES MIXED SERVICES?
If less than 10% of your businesses total turnover is from services from cleaning or courier activities you will not need to report payments made to contractors.

WHAT NEEDS TO BE REPORTED?
The details you need to report for each payee / contractor include the:

  • ABN (where known)
  • Name (business name or individual’s name)
  • Address
  • Total amounts for the financial year of the:
    • Gross amount paid (including GST plus any tax withheld)
    • Total GST you paid them
    • Total tax withheld where ABN was not quoted.

WHAT DON’T YOU NEED TO REPORT?
Businesses in these industries are not required to report on the following payments:

  • Payments for materials only
  • Unpaid invoices as at 30 June each year (for an annual report)
  • PAYG withholding payments, as these are already reported elsewhere, and
  • Payments within consolidated groups

 

Note, other industries to come under these ATO reporting obligations from 1 July 2019 will be those business that supply road freight, security, investigation, surveillance or IT services.

If you would like further information and if you wish to discuss if your business needs to comply with these reporting obligations please contact our Canny Accounting team.

 

Gabriella Gibney – Manager

B.Com CA

Fairwork Announces New Flexible Working Arrangements

Have you heard of the flexible working arrangements that have now become law in Australia?

Flexible working arrangements may allow an employee to make arrangements with their employer to have work conditions that better suit their needs.  This may allow the employee to have a better work/life balance and can even help the employer improve productivity and efficiency in the workplace.

The employee and employer can negotiate the flexibility of either working hours and where the work is performed, for example, at home.

There are 2 formal ways employers and employees can make their workplace more flexible:

  • Flexible working arrangements – certain employees have the right to request flexible working arrangements,
  • Individual flexibility arrangements – employers and employees can negotiate to change how certain terms in an award, enterprise agreement or other registered agreement apply to them.

 

Flexible working arrangements are only available to certain employees.  The must have worked with the same employer for at least 12 months, and meet one of the following criteria:

  • Are a parent or are responsible for the care of a child who is school age or younger,
  • Are a carer,
  • Have a disability,
  • Are 55 years of age or older,
  • Are experiencing family or domestic violence, or
  • Provide care or support to a member of their household or immediate family who require care and support because of family or domestic violence.

 

The request for flexible working arrangements must be in writing, explain what changes are being requested and explain the reasons for the request.

Employers can only refuse a request for flexible working arrangements on reasonable business grounds.  These may include the following:

  • The arrangement would be too costly,
  • Other employees’ working conditions can’t be changed to accommodate the request,
  • It would result in a significant loss to productivity or have a negative impact on the business.

 

For more information on flexible working arrangements and individual flexibility arrangements, visit the Fairwork website, via the link https://www.fairwork.gov.au/employee-entitlements/flexibility-in-the-workplace

 

Danny Grigg – Senior Accountant

B.Comm, CA

5 steps to help you understand if your business if performing

It is important to understand if your business is actually profitable or not.  It is easy to be trapped into thinking you are making money whilst there are lots of transactions both in and out and you get caught up in the day to day operations of your small business.

Visibility is one of the keys to managing profitability and making sure that your business growth is sustainable.  What I mean by that is, that it is easy as a small business owner to lose track of the true performance as the business grows and activity increases.

  1. You must maintain good and accurate records of your daily transactions.  It doesn’t matter if these are recorded manually or by a software package, it is essential that you understand what you are looking at.  If your profits vary from say month to month, you should be able to spot the reason and have clarity around how you are performing and why.  Properly constructed financial reports are a must!
  2. Targets and forecasts are an invaluable tool to measure your performance against.  Preparing a budget for both income and expenditure and then comparing actual transactions against the budgeted figures will give you a guide on how you are travelling and will make any ’overspending’ or any unexpected costs standout.
  3. You should know and understand how each product line or service is performing.  Don’t let the high performing areas of your business cover up the under performers.
  4. It is important to manage working capital.  If your business is not generating enough profit it will run out of cash.
  5. Many small businesses have good growth opportunities and it takes skill to manage this.  Having a clear financial plan will help guide you and ensure that you are not making economic commitments that can’t be supported.

If you would like to discuss how to set up your financial reporting or understand the information contained in financial statements, budgets or plans we would be happy to help.

Should you require further information, please get in touch with our team.

 

Amanda Wilkens – Director

B.Comm CPA

Single Touch Payroll

With the dawn of the current financial year, regulatory compliance for employers has become even more stringent with the introduction of Single Touch Payroll (STP). STP is a reporting framework for businesses with 20 or more employees to provide payroll and superannuation information to the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) on or before the day on which these amounts are paid. This is as opposed to providing this information partly through a monthly or quarterly business activity statement.

The framework was introduced in an effort to reduce the costs to employers of meeting their PAYG withholding obligations. STP will reduce the need to complete activities such as reconciling data between regular payroll payments and data used to complete an activity statement or reconciling and producing an annual payment summary for an employee at year end. Conversely, employees will be able to access their information in real-time via online MyGov accounts and know when payments have been made and how they have been calculated. All in all, this seems like a win-win for both employers and employees alike. However, with real-time data comes real-time errors and penalties.

Previously, if employers calculated incorrect PAYG withholding amounts or didn’t pay their employees’ superannuation on-time, there was time to fix up the errors or make any late payments with little or no ramifications. However, with the introduction of STP, the ATO will know in real-time when an employer hasn’t met their payroll and superannuation obligations.
Furthermore, STP does not only apply to just employees’ salary and wages. It also applies to other payments such as director’s fees and, with withholding obligations having to be calculated on a weekly, fortnightly or monthly basis, gone are the days when an employer could wait until year end to calculate how much to pay as a director fee or wages. This could result in the ATO levying a penalty against an employer for non-compliance with payroll and superannuation law. And to make the matter even more tricky, it looks like all employers will be required to use STP by 1 July 2019.

Not all is bad – this is a good opportunity for employers to get on top of their obligations and bring forward their tax planning for the year which can provide more relevant and timely information for their businesses. It’s important to get this right and understand your obligations as an employer in an increasingly regulatory environment. There’s no better time than now to setup an appointment with your accountant to discuss these matters in detail.

Should you require further information, we are always here to help. Please get in touch with our team.

 

Jamie Arrington – Manager

B.Com CA