Personal Income Tax Rate Changes To Get Excited About

There has been some exciting changes to the personal income tax rates thanks to the new Federal Budget that has been handed down.  However, there is certainly some confusion around what the tax cuts actually mean and who is effected by them.

Essentially, there are three “tax brackets” that have changed, and these changes have been backdated to 1st July 2020.

  • The 19% rate applies to income between $18,200 – $45,000
  • The 32.5% rate applies to income between $45,001 – $120,000
  • The 37% rate applies to income between $120,001 – $180,000

The Budget was applied on 6th October 2020, so when you do your 2021 income tax return, you will benefit from the excess tax you have been paid between 1st July and 6th October 2020 as a larger refund (or reduction in the amount that is payable).  So let’s put into practice these changes for the exciting personal income tax rates so you can see where the benefits lie…

FOR EXAMPLE

Oliver earns $44,000 per year;

  • Under the old tax rate, he would pay $5,847 (excl Medicare Levy)
  • Under the new tax rate, he would pay $4,902 (excl Medicare Levy)

Taylor earns $79,000 per year;

  • Under the old tax rate, he would pay $17,222 (excl Medicare Levy)
  • Under the new tax rate, he would pay $16,142 (excl Medicare Levy)

WHAT IS THE MEDICARE LEVY?

The Medicare Levy helps fund some of the costs of  Australia’s public health system, known as Medicare.  The Medicare levy is 2% of your taxable income, in addition to the tax you pay on your taxable income.  It is possible for there to be a reduction or exemption from paying the Medicare Levy, depending on your and your spouse’s circumstances.  You need to consider your eligibility for a reduction or an exemption separately.  Have a look at the Medicare Levy calculator to work out your Medicare levy.

LOW INCOME TAX OFFSET

As an added bonus, there has also been some changes to the Low Income Tax Offset and the Low and Middle Income Tax Offset, see below:

  • The Low Income Tax Offset has also increased to $700 per year for incomes under $37,500 and then reduces
  • The Low and Middle Income Tax Offset has been retained for another year and is $1,080 for taxable incomes between $48,001 – $90,000.  A further $255 for taxable incomes of less than $37,000

If you would like more information on any of the Federal Budget that was handed down earlier this year, get in touch with our team and we would be happy to go through these changes with you.

 

Amanda Wilkens – Director

CPA

International Men’s Day – “Better Health For Men + Boys”

“Try not to become a man of success, but rather try to become a man of value” – Albert Einstein

On the 19th of November, Australia and over 80 other countries will host the annual international men’s day to celebrate and reflect on the men in our lives whether it be a father, brother, uncle, nephew, husband or friend and to express appreciation for their efforts and contribution to our lives and society as a whole.

It has been found that men are less likely to see treatment for depression, and this can intensify the associated personal and financial problems they experience.  Melbourne psychologist Shaun Delaney, author of the study Divorce and the experience of Australian men, says “research has consistently found that men avoid or delay seeking help for physical and mental health problems”.  A common issue encountered by Delaney in his interviews with men was a feel of despair over the loss of financial security and a pessimism about future projects.

Stephen Carbone from the mental health advocacy group Beyond Blue, says despite increasing awareness about depression, men very often do not recognise that they have a mental health condition, or if they do are less likely to reach out.  “There is a reluctance to seek help, so they struggle on without help and put themselves more at risk,” Carbone says.  The symptoms of depression can include persistent flat moods, pessimism, hopelessness about the future, irritability, anger, diminished confidence and lack of motivation.  “All of these conditions affect your day-to-day life including your ability to do your work to the best of your ability,” Carbone says.

As a result, men’s mental health and financial security can deteriorate, making it increasingly difficult for men to function in their day-to-day life.  The additional burden of financial stress can have serious long-term effects on their health, finances, and future prospects, including their plans for retirement.  One participant of Shaun Delaney’s study said: “As a man after 28 years of marriage I don’t have the financial means or my youth to start again.  My future is bleak, and I foresee that I will be in the workforce until I die.”

In addition, financial stress and insecurity can lead to harmful activities like gambling.  When the Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation conducted a comparative study of men and women gamblers in Victoria in 2014, it was found that men have higher participation rates than women in most forms, including informal betting, gaming machines, table games, race betting, sports betting and Lotto.  Men also spend more on average in a year on their man gambling activities than women, $2,959 vs $664.  Gambling can exacerbate existing mental health issues and lead to sever financial stress and insecurity for these men and their families.

“It’s the nature of mental health conditions that they don’t allow you to be at your best, at your full potential,” Carbone says.  Understanding more about depression and its causes can help to empower men to overcome their illness, and it supports them in improving their lives, personal finances, and future prospects for themselves and their families.  In addition, a sound financial plan that incorporates a long-term approach to saving, investing, and achieving financial security can help to improve future prospects and lead to better outcomes.  The best time to start a new and improved financial plan is now.  It is never too late to start and sometimes it can make all the difference to someone’s outlook on life and their own financial situation.

International Men’s Day main purpose is to show the positive value men bring to the world encouraging the practical side of male identity as well as highlighting the social issues that men and boys face.  The 2020 theme is “Better health for men and boys”, focusing on mental health, improving gender relations, gender equality, and highlighting of positive male role models.

THE STATS:

November 19th is also a day to raise awareness to the challenges that men face in life – especially in relation to the international male suicide rate.  Some key statistics on social issues men face that need awareness are:

  • Men make up an average of six out of every eight suicides every day in Australia, nearly double the national road toll
  • One in eight men will experience depression and one in five men will experience anxiety at some stage of their lives
  • Men are 32% less likely than woman to visit a health professional
  • Men are twice as likely to die of drug or alcohol abuse
  • Men make up 94% of all workplace fatalities and have an average life expectancy almost five years less than women

None of these issues are unique to men specifically or are being used to try and diminish similar issues woman face but it is important to see how overrepresented men are in some of these areas.

GOOD EMPLOYEE HEALTH IS GOOD FOR BUSINESS:

It is also important to be aware about the direct impact mental health can have on a business and workplace.  Making up roughly 54% of the workforce it is important for men that workplaces encourage prioritising their own health and wellbeing and promote the message that there is nothing wrong with looking after yourself or admitting that something is wrong.

Studies show that more than half of men suffer from work-related stress; with 13% of them citing their stress as unmanageable.  Workplaces are working towards helping de-stigmatise discussing mental health and acknowledge normal feelings of sadness or anxiety especially during this year with so much uncertainty due to the global pandemic.  This will not only improve peoples’ engagement in their overall wellness but significantly boost the health, wellbeing, and peace of mind of the workforce.  The benefits towards the business have been shown to improve morale and productivity, decreased sick leave, lower turnover, and increased loyalty.

If you or someone you know needs support and would like to talk to one of our team members, our doors are always open and you are always welcome to contact us!  We have also listed a number of crisis support services that can be reached 24 hours a day:

Lifeline 13 11 14

Suicide Call Back Service 1300 659 467

Kids Helpline 1800 55 1800;

MensLine Australia 1300 78 99 78

Beyond Blue 1300 22 4636

 

 

Get Motivated For Spring Cleaning!

Don’t think you need to spring clean your business affairs? Perhaps not, but what if I told you this was a great time to set yourself up for success. 

Your spring clean can get you organised, get your filing done, and get your desk and your mind clear to set goals and make great decisions!  Having clarity on your situation when making decisions and setting goals is hugely valuable. 

CAN TECHNOLOGY HELP YOU? 

You bet!  Did you know that Xero has an app called HubDoc that you can load on your phone, take a picture and send that to your digital filing cabinet?  If it is a receipt you have done this with before, it can even file the receipt for you AND send the information straight to your Xero accounting system. All from your phone! 

There are other tech tools that can help you automate your spring cleaning, and once you have it set up, keep that spring clean feeling through the year! 

WANT TO SUPERCHARGE YOUR SPRING CLEAN? 

If you don’t know where to start, then call in the experts.  We can guide your clean! 

And, when you have the hard work done, we can help you supercharge your spring clean by providing insight and advice to turn your new found clarity into actions and help you achieve your goals. 

Whether you want to set up a budget and turn that into a cashflow forecast, get to work on optimising your tax position for 2021, or considering how best to invest in your business, calling in the experts can really supercharge your spring clean! 

 

Adam Ramage – Senior Business Adviser + Accountant

B.Bus, CA

Financial Health + Wellness – Does It Matter?

Many of us are aware of the importance of improving our physical and emotional health. We have heard it many times, that regular exercise and eating balanced and healthy meals can result in long term health benefits. But did you know there is a direct correlation between our physical well-being and financial health?  

What is financial health and why is it important to a happy and successful life?  

Financial health is a term used to describe the state and stability of an individual’s personal finances and financial affairsGood financial health is about taking control of your finances, having the financial freedom to make choices now, and in the future, and being ready to cope with unforeseen changes to your financial circumstances, such as job loss. It is important to review your financial health as poor financial health can lead to financial stress. Stress in itself is not necessarily harmful but when we experience prolonged financial stress, it can affect our physical and mental health.  Financial stress can create emotional exhaustion, anxiety, insomnia, depression, and can affect our relationships with family and friends.  

Understanding your financial situation is the first step to improving your financial health. Below are 6 strategies to improve your financial health. 

1. KNOW YOUR BUDGET

If you don’t already have one, create a budget to help you plan your expenses and identify areas where you can cut back on. For example, can you cancel memberships you no longer use? Work out what are your needs and wants and avoid buying under stress or impulse. Stick to your budget even though your income increases. Do an annual health check on utilities, insurance, phone bank charges, and mortgage to ensure you are not paying for expenses any more than you need to. 

2. SET SAVINGS GOALS

Once you have worked out your budget, work out a savings plan. Perhaps you are saving for a house deposit, new investment, or for a holiday. Saving for something takes time and its important to be realistic about how long it will take. But having a savings plan and sticking to it will help you reach your savings goal sooner. It will also give you a sense of achievement and satisfaction that you have worked hard for something without needing to borrow funds. Some people found setting up automatic transfers to a separate savings account which they could not easily access was helpful. 

3. HAVE AN EMERGENCY FUND

Do you have an emergency fund for that rainy day that you have set aside to access in the case of unexpected costs, such as a loss of employment, major repairs, or medical emergency? Generally, it is recommended to set aside 3 to 6 months’ worth of expenses for your emergency fund.  

4. PRIORITISE HIGHER INTEREST DEBT

 Credit cards and personal loans often have higher interest rates that are not tax-deductible and therefore considered bad debt. Focus on paying off these debts first or if possible, consider consolidating the debt to reduce what you pay in fees and interest. 

5. PAY MORE THAN THE MINIMUM

Your home loan is also another bad debt. Consider reviewing your home loan to ensure that you are getting the best deal on the market and look at whether you can increase your repayments on a weekly or fortnightly basis. By increasing your minimum repayments and making home loan repayments weekly or fortnightly rather than monthly you can significantly reduce the interest you are paying in the long run and repay your debt faster. 

6. SEEKING HELP

If you are feeling overwhelmed, remember it’s ok to ask for support. You may want to seek professional help from a Financial Planner or avail yourself of free financial counselling offered by community organisations, community legal centres, and some government agencies. 

 

Helen Yau – Manager + Financial Planner

CA, BCom, Dip Fp, SSA

How To Avoid A Tax Debt

Sometimes when you were expecting a nice little tax refund into your bank account and you end up with a tax debit, it can be a little hard to swallow and leave you wondering why!?  If you have been in this position, we have put together a few points on how to avoid this same situation happening next year and how you can prepare in advance!

If your refund is less than you expect, these are the most common reasons which you may not have taken into consideration:

  • The refund amount has been offset against another debt, either another tax debt (previous income tax bill, or activity statement debt), or another government agency debt (Centrelink, or Child Support Agency)
  • Compulsory payments, such as: Higher Education Loan Program (HELP); Trade Support Loan (TSL); VET Student Loan (VSL); or Student Financial Supplement Scheme (SFSS) repayments
  • You need to pay Medicare levy surcharge because you stopped paying private patient hospital cover and your income is above a certain threshold
  • New or amended income tests
  • Excess concessional contributions to a super fund
  • Your employer incorrectly reporting reportable employer superannuation contributions on your payment summary
  • Tax was not withheld from a taxable payment (such as Jobseeker payments) and your total income for the year was more than the tax-free threshold
  • You incorrectly claimed the tax-free threshold.
  • You are an employee and enough tax has not been withheld from the payments made to you by your employer
  • You are a sole trader and have not paid enough tax to the ATO throughout the year
  • Receive other income where no tax was withheld such as Centrelink payments
  • Working for more than 1 employer and have compulsory payments, such as: Higher Education Loan Program (HELP); Trade Support Loan (TSL); VET Student Loan (VSL); or Student Financial Supplement Scheme (SFSS) repayments

TIPS FOR AVOIDING TAX DEBT AT THE END OF THE YEAR

  • Claim tax free threshold only from 1 employer in a financial year
  • If you have HECS debt and you are working for 2 employers, you need to pay extra tax based on percentage of your total income from both employers. Check your HECS repayment rate on https://www.ato.gov.au/Rates/HELP,-TSL-and-SFSS-repayment-thresholds-and-rates/
  • Set up PAYG instalment payments with ATO if you are sole trader
  • Ask Centrelink to withhold tax on any benefits received from Centrelink
  • Seek financial advice if you are planning to contribute a big amount to your super fund.
  • If you are earning more than $90,000 or earning more than $180,000 as a family, seek advice to get private health insurance cover to avoid Medicare levy surcharge
  • Know in advance if you have any debts with ATO or Centrelink or another government agency.

 

Kim Sandhu – Senior Accountant

CPA – B.Com M.Acc

2020 Tax Returns + 3 Ways To Make The Most Out Of It!

It’s that time of year again, Tax Time!  For individuals who have a tax agent, like our team at Canny Group and their accounting team on hand, we will lodge your tax return for you on your behalf and you have until 15 May 2021 to do this.  However, if you lodge your own tax return you have until 31 October 2020 to have it lodged.

Either way, we have put together some tax tips that you should consider before 30 June 2020 to help; reduce your taxable income, maximise deductions, take advantage of tax offsets, accessing free money from the Government as well as COVID-19 in many different ways, and we have put together these tips to help you be as prepared as possible and hopefully empower you to maximise your refund when it comes to lodge your tax return.

TAX TIP #1 // WAYS TO REDUCE YOUR TAXABLE INCOME

  • SUPER CONTRIBUTION // make a personal deduction superannuation contribution. Check with payroll to determine how much has been contributed so far.  The concessional contribution cap is $25,000 for the 2019/20 income year.
  • UNUSED CONTRIBUTION // do you have any carry forward unused concessional contribution from the 2018/19 income year? If your total superannuation balance is under $500,000 at 30 June 2019, you may benefit from making a catch-up deductible super contribution.  This may be especially beneficial to those who have additional income due to sale of investments such as shares or property.
  • DEFER INCOME // are you nearing retirement? It may be worthwhile to defer you income until after 30 June if your income will be smaller in the subsequent year.

TAX TIP #2 // MAXIMISE DEDUCTIONS!

  • MOTOR VEHICLE EXPENSES // individuals who use their car for work related travel can claim 68 cents per kilometre up to 5,000km for business travel or claim under the logbook method of car expenses. Canny Group’s team of accountants will be able to determine which method yields the greatest deduction for you.
  • WORK-RELATED EXPENSES // consider if you need any work-related items such as tools for trade, computer, subscriptions or work clothing and whether you could purchase or pay for those expenses before 30 June to increase your deductions.
  • DONATIONS // or gifts of $2 or more to a deductible gift recipient are tax deductible. Where spouses are on different marginal rates, consider making donations by the spouse that is in the higher tax bracket to maximise the benefit of the deduction.
  • HOME OFFICE // if you have been working at home due to COVID-19, you may be eligible to claim a rate of 80 cents per hour for all of your running expenses from 1 March to 30 June. Multiple people living in their house could each individually claim the 80 cents per hour rate.
  • PROTECTIVE CLOTHING // did you buy protective items such as gloves, face masks, sanitiser to use at work due to COVID-19? If your specific employment duties require you to have physical contact or be in close proximity to customers or clients while carrying out your duties or you are involved in cleaning premises, you can claim a deduction for protective items.  The ATO considers those that work in the following industries or occupations are exposed to the risk of illness in the course of working:
    • Medical Industry
    • Cleaning Industry
    • Airline Industry
    • Hairdressing + Beautician Industry
    • Retail, Cafe + Restaurant Industry

TAX TIP #3 // TAX ADVANTAGE OF TAX OFFSETS!

  • SPOUSE OFFSET // receive a $540 tax offset by making a person contribution up to $3,000 to super on behalf of your spouse. Only available if your spouse’s taxable income is less than $37,000.  A lower offset may be available if you contribute less than $3,000 or your spouse earns between $37,000 and $40,000.
  • LOW + MIDDLE INCOME OFFSET // individuals on a taxable income of $37,000 or less will receive up to $255 tax offset and those on taxable incomes between $48,000 and $90,000 will receive the maximum of $1,080 offset. Incomes between $90,000 and $126,000 will receive partial offset.  This is not a tax refund but a tax offset.

TAX TIP #4 // ACCESS FREE MONEY FROM THE GOVERNMENT!

CO-CONTRIBUTIONS // receive a Government co-contribution of up to $500 paid into your superannuation by making an after-tax superannuation contribution of $1,000 or more.  Full amount is available to those with taxable income less than $38,564 and a reduced amount is available to those with taxable income less than $53,564.

TAX TIP #6 // RETIREES!

  • REDUCE PENSION // the minimum drawdown requirements for account-based pensions has been halved for the 2019/20 and 2020/21 income year. This will benefit retirees with account-based pension by reducing the need to sell investment assets to fund minimum drawdown requirements.
  • SOCIAL SECURITY // in light of the low interest rates on savings, the Government has reduced social security deeming rates from 1 May 2020. You could be eligible for Centrelink entitlements such as the age pension or Commonwealth Seniors health care card with the lowering of deeming rates.

Now that we have your sorted for maximising your tax return outcome, let’s talk about what you’re going to be doing with the hard-earned money you’re hopefully on the way to receiving back!

Did you know that the average Australian received a tax refund of $2,381?  That’s enough to splurge on some new furniture or an LED Smart TV, right?  Well, before you head down to your local shopping centre with your tax refund in hand, take a look at three ways we’ve come up with to spend your tax return.  We’re confident that the following strategies will help you make the most out of your tax return and create positive change in your life.

STRATEGY #1 // SET UP AN EMERGENCY FUND

Research conducted in the last year’s Financial Consciousness Index found that a concerning 13.4 million Australian’s do not have emergency savings to fall back on if they were unable to earn an income for more than three months.  The study also found that 7.5 million Australian’s struggle to pay their bills and are not saving money regularly.

So, with this in mind, why not use this year’s tax return to set up an emergency fund and make this the start of your savings plan?

STRATEGY #2 // MEET WITH AN ESTATE PLANNING LAWYER

As the saying goes, there are only two certainties in life; death and taxes.  Unfortunately, more than half of Australian adults do not have a Will.

So, with this years tax return, why not protect your loved ones and sit down with an estate planning layers to draw up a Will or Testamentary Trust?

STRATEGY #3 // STARTING YOUR SIDE HUSTLE

If you have an idea of starting a side business, use this year’s tax return to kick-start this one and for all.  It doesn’t take much more than $2,381 to get started these days: a basic website and some Facebook and Instagram paid advertising campaigns to attract your first paying customers.

So, why not make this the start of your side hustle and see if you can generate a return on investment and get your business off the ground?

The question is, how will you spend your tax return this year after you’ve put into place our tax tips on maximising your refund?

HAPPY EOFY – Tax Tips for Small Business + Sole Traders

What a time we have had over the last six months, first with the devastating bush fires and now with the Covid-19 pandemic, it certainly has been a different time, the likes that many of us have not seen before.

Many small businesses and sole traders would have been entitled to receive Government assistance during this period including grants and concessional loans for those affected by the bush fires and JobKeeper reimbursements, cash flow boost for employers and State Government grants for those affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Of these assistance packages some will be tax-free, while others will be considered taxable income.  Here are some of the packages and their tax treatment:

  • DISASTER RELIEF PAYMENTS [BUSH FIRES] // these are non-taxable payments + do not need to be included in your tax return
  • JOBKEEPER REIMBURSEMENT [COVID-19] // as the name implies, these are reimbursements + are therefore considered taxable income
  • CASH FLOW BOOST [COVID-19] // these payments are tax free.  They are not required to be paid back once the business’ cash flow improves
  • STATE GOVERNMENT BUSINESS SUPPORT FUND GRANT [COVID-19] // this one-off payment to eligible businesses is considered taxable income

Due to Covid-19, your business income may have been affected to such a degree that you will not have any issues with the 2020 Financial Year tax, but if you will here are some tips to help reduce your taxable income:

  • SUPPLIER INVOICES // pay any supplier invoices prior to 30 June, even if they are not due until July or later.
  • SUPERANNUATION // pay the June quarter superannuation obligations prior to 30 June.  Generally, it takes 5-7 business days for payment to be received by the employees superannuation fund, so payment will need to be processed earlier to allow for this.
  • BUSINESS OWNERS // if you are a business owner, you could pay an additional superannuation contribution to maximise the $25,000 concessional contributions cap.
  • SOLE TRADER // if you are a sole trader, you may take a concessional contribution to your superannuation fund and claim a tax deduction for it.
  • INSTANT ASSET WRITE-OFF // the threshold currently stands at $150,000, so any piece of equipment or business vehicle, below this threshold, will be able to be deducted in full in the 2020 financial year, if purchased and in use by 30 June 2020.

 

Danny Grigg – Senior Accountant

BComm CA

 

Adapt to Change + Come Out Thriving

Life has changed for us on a global scale and we are experiencing a collective loss of the world we once knew.  We are all unique and experiencing the grief in different ways.  We may be feeling the loss of physical touch or connection, playing sport, change in routine, gatherings with family and friends, workplace changes, job loss, loss of someone we know due to the virus, and most of all; our freedom.

Children are experiencing it too and may be showing it in their behaviour as they too miss connection with their family and friends, their sports, activities and school.

Our workplaces have changed whether it is dramatically, slightly or somewhere in between.

As if our working day didn’t already include enough moving pieces to manage, a lot of the population are now working and living under one roof 24 hours a day.  You may be living with family, friends or housemates; emotions will be fluctuating and at times we may feel like we are on an emotional roller-coaster, but keep in mind that difficult emotions don’t often last and will pass.

Many of us are home learning our children while working.  Our kids are having virtual morning school sessions, we are on zoom meetings, we all have work/school deadlines that need to be met. We are trying to get as much work done while kids nap or in their recess time and many of us are attempting to wedge the rest of the workday into the early mornings and post-bedtime.

We are all juggling our role as best we can on a day to day basis.  Some days are great and others may be very challenging.  It is important to know we are all in this together and that even though we are physically distancing we need to remain connected socially to those that love and support us; our family, friends and colleagues.  We will help each other through this time.  We will forge stronger bonds with some friends and work colleagues and we may also notice the leaders or managers in your workplace that thrive during this and other’s that struggle with offering compassion, empathy and kindness.

In these unusual times keep things simple.  To maintain good mental and emotional health, here are some ideas to help you sail through the coming months and allow yourself to ‘Thrive’ and not just ‘Survive’.

  1. Complete one satisfying activity and one pleasurable activity each day. Anything more is considered a bonus.
  2. Focus on the things we can control, rather than those out of our control. This may include our mindset each day, finding the fun in our day, switching off the news, having a break from social media if we are finding it too negative, being kind and showing gratitude towards others and ourselves.
  3. Get good quality sleep. Sleep is essentially our life support system; our swiss army knife of good health.  It is not only vital for our physical recuperation; it is essential for our emotional and mental health restoration.  Following good sleep hygiene is high on my priority list for better brain cognition, emotional stability and physical endurance.
  4. Go outside and soak in the Vitamin D we receive from the sun. Not only is Vitamin D essential for our bone health but for proper brain development and functioning.  Low levels of vitamin D can be associated with depression, anxiety and seasonal affective disorder (SAD).  Sunlight is the best form of Vitamin D.  Your body also needs it to absorb calcium so it’s a double bonus; by walking or exercising outdoors, you get your dose of Vitamin D but you are also strengthening your bone density which helps prevent osteoporosis, muscle spasms and aches.
  5. Do something that nourishes and nurtures your mind, body and soul. We are bounded for many hours a day within our four falls with our family or friends and it’s important we have some time out from each other.  Whether it is talking a warm magnesium bath, reading a book, going for a walk, colouring or painting, dancing to an uplifting song, writing a story, swimming in the ocean, calling a friend for a chat, gardening or knitting.  These mindful activities will help enormously with your mental health and keep you sane over the months ahead.
  6. Drink water regularly. It is important to stay hydrated.  Water helps with our motivation, clarity, productivity and our mood, along with all the awesome things water does for our body.
  7. Check in with our emotions and tune into how you are feeling regularly. The best way to do this is take time to breathe.  Do some regular deep breathing exercises to instantly calm our nervous system, boost brain function, reduce blood pressure and feel more relaxed and focussed instantly.  There are lots of different techniques which include Box breathing, alternate nostril breathing, 4-7-8 technique, abdominal breathing, yogic breathing (pranayama) or just taking a moment to focus on our breathe.  There are also great ones for your kids too like finger breathing, hot air balloon, bumble bee breath, elephant breathing and shoulder roll breathing to name a few.  These are also great for adults and have the fun element too.
  8. If you are saving several hours a day from not travelling to work, what positive things can you do in this time? Some of the activities that may have popped into your mind after reading #5.
  9. Be curious about things you notice, see or read. It will enhance your creativity and improve both your mental and emotional wellbeing.
  10. Eat well! Nourish yourself with fresh foods.  Consume a variety of foods that are nutrient dense. Choose a rainbow of fruit and vegetables.  Eat when we are feeling calm, happy or relaxed, rather than when we are stressed or upset as our digestion switches off if our mind is in a flight/fight state.

It will be interesting to see what our workplaces look like after this.  Our leaders and managers have the opportunity to choose quality work over quantity of work from their team. They may now value the creative ideas that emerge after a midday walk, rather than having sat at our desk without a break.  They may stop rewarding the faster response over the better and more thought out response, or the longer workday over a more productive workday.

Will the values of the workplace change?  Will employers and managers rely more on the ‘soft skills’ like Emotional Intelligence including: resilience self-regulation, self-awareness, motivation, empathy and social skills which are all prime at this point of time more than ever.

As Ben Crowe, an expert on Mind Health said, ‘It’s our decisions, not the conditions, that determine our mindset, our attitude, our outcomes and our self-worth’.

We are often looking for the extraordinary moments, let’s look at making meaningful moments during this pandemic and these will be the most memorable when we look back on this time of our lives.  Our grandkids and their grandkids will be learning about this time in history class.

I would like to end with this quote.

‘Hard times are like a washing machine,

They twist, turn and knock us around,

But in the end, we come out cleaner, brighter and better than before’.

 

Let’s remain hopeful and optimistic.  See you on the other side!

 

Jo Surkitt – Revitalize Lifestyle

__________________________________________________________________________________________________________

For more information on Jo Surkitt head to www.josurkitt.com.au

Jo has just released a free meditation on Adapting to Change.  Here is the link:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UAJKaRjYP_s&feature=youtu.be

Jo Surkitt runs a series of sessions on Creating Positive Change.

The series is called: Move from Overwhelmed to Empowered

Session 1: Resilience: Adapting to Change during a pandemic and mindful movement

Session 2: Excellent Sleep Practices – Create your best sleep hygiene

Session 3: Cleanse, detox, declutter your life – Creating optimal health

For more information about the online programs head to https://www.josurkitt.com.au/online-training

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

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

Christmas + Gift Giving

Christmas is a weird and wonderful time of the year, filled with family, friends, good times, presents, and that confusion of what day of the week is it, and how many days of leave are left.  Not to mention the confusion of still writing 2019 down as a date, three weeks in to the new year.

Christmas can also be very stressful when it comes to the awful topic of money, and spending money.  For those that are running a tight ship, it’s a stressful time, because they might not be able to do everything they can or want to.  Then there are those people that won’t be able to achieve what they can or want to.

The age-old adage of Charity begins at home doesn’t hold true as much as it may have in the past.  There are a lot of people doing it tough, and they need a hand through times such as this.  There are many great ways in which this can be done, whether it’s buying extra presents to donate under wishing trees, making up hampers as a work place, and donating to families in need, or simply through a cash donation to one of the many charities that help families have a great Christmas as well.  I know this is something we do at the Canny Group, and something that I do personally as well.

One hangover that you don’t want to have to deal with after Christmas, is the debt that we tend to rack up from overspending.  It’s not just credit cards, it is zip pay and afterpay as well.  As of 30 June, there was almost a billion outstanding in afterpay, and 60% of that was attributed to people aged between 18-34, which is staggering.

In December last year, $30 million was borrowed in Credit Cards.  Want to hear something scary?  If you owe $2,000 on a credit card and make the minimum repayments, it takes 17 years to clear the debt!  I guess the moral of the story is to not overspend or start planning earlier.  I know that in my family, on one side we do Kris Kringle, that way everyone gets one good present, rather than lots of presents that end up being forgotten or put away to never see the light of day again. Try not to let this time of the year overwhelm you and have loads of fun!

See you in 2020!

 

Steve Reynolds – Certified Financial Planner

BComm, Dip.FS[FP]

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