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10 super and tax planning tips for end of financial year

1. Make a contribution to your super

Before 1 July, you may want to consider taking advantage of the current contribution caps before they are reduced.

Concessional contributions

The current concessional contribution cap is $25,000, regardless of age. If you are a sole trader or small business owner, making a concessional contribution before 30 June is a great way to boost your retirement savings and reduce your tax this financial year. However, you will need to be vigilant as tax penalties may apply if you exceed the contribution limit.

Non-concessional contributions

The current non-concessional contribution cap is $100,000. If you have money sitting in a bank account, you may want to consider contributing some of it to super. You could save thousands of dollars now and in retirement with the tax advantages offered by super. Those eligible may also want to take advantage of the bring-forward rule which currently totals to $300,000.

2. Split your super with your spouse

With the introduction of the $1.6 million pension cap on all new and existing pension accounts , you may want to consider splitting your superannuation with your spouse. Contribution splitting allows you to transfer a certain percentage of your concessional contributions made this year to your spouse. Your spouse must be under 55 (if retired) or between 55 and 65 (if not retired) and the split must be completed before 30 June. Contribution splitting potential benefits:

  • Potentially gain access to your super sooner (if your spouse is older)
  • Reduce your total balance if you are nearing the $1.6 million cap
  • Boost your spouse’s retirement savings

3. Reconsider your transition to retirement income stream (TRIS)

If you are one of the many Australians who, at some stage, started a transition to retirement income stream (TRIS), you may need to consider the impacts of recent changes and determine if maintaining your TRIS is still worthwhile, or if there is an alternative tax-effective strategy. Recent key changes which impacts individuals receiving a TRIS are:

  • Individuals will no longer be able to elect to take payments as lump sums
  • Removal of tax exception for income related to TRIS as 15.0% tax was recently introduced

Transition to retirement income streams were designed with the aim of helping individuals with the transition from workforce to retirement, allowing them early access to their super in the form of an income stream. Despite the changes, there are cases where TRIS pension accounts may still be beneficial and tax-effective for super members. It would be worth seeking professional advice to determine if you should keep your TRIS active, or consider an alternative strategy.

4. Review your super strategy in light of the $1.6 million pension cap

If your pension account is nearing, or exceeds, the $1.6 million pension cap, you will need to review your superannuation strategy to avoid potential penalties. There are a few options you can consider. Firstly, you can transfer the excess back into accumulation phase, where the earnings are taxed at 15%. Alternatively, you can withdraw the excess (providing you satisfy condition of release) and invest it elsewhere, where earnings are taxed at your individual marginal tax rate. Either way, it is important to remember there will be tax penalties involved from 1 July for pension accounts which exceed the cap and so action is required before end of financial year.

This cap will also apply to reversionary pensions whereby the total amount after the transfer of one pension to the other following death must remain below $1.6 million. Therefore, if the total pension balance between you and your partner exceeds $1.6 million, you may also need to review your estate plan to ensure you and your family get the best financial outcomes in the future.

5. If your business turnover is under $10 million, you now have access to some small business entity concessions

  • Small business concessions summary

Small business concessions summary:

If your turnover ranges from less than $2 million to less than $10 million then the following may need to be considered. Follow the links to read more.

If you are a small business (with a turnover of less than $10 million), you can immediately deduct the business portion of most assets that each cost less than $30,000 (the instant asset write-off threshold) if they are first used or installed ready for use from 7.30pm (AEDT) 2 April 2019 to 30 June 2020.

6. Thinking of buying a new asset? Up to $30,000 immediate asset write-off for small business entities as announced in 2018/19 budget.

Small businesses with an aggregate annual turnover of less than $10 million are able to immediately deduct the cost of each and every depreciating asset that they purchase for less than $20,000. In order to access the deduction, the asset must be purchased, installed, and ready for use before 30 June 2018. An immediate deduction can be claimed to the extent to which the asset is used for income earning activities (i.e. business purposes).

All assets (including new and second hand) are eligible, except for a small number of exclusions. There is no limit on the number of eligible assets costing less than $20,000 that you can immediately deduct.

7. Small business tax cuts

As you may be aware, the company tax rate has been reduced from 28.5% to 27.5%. This lower rate will now apply to small businesses with an annual aggregated turnover of up to $50 million regardless of whether small business structure is Company, corporate unit trust or public trading trust. The company tax rate will remain at 30% for all other companies that are not classifies as small business entities.

8. Pre-pay your interest on your investment loans

When you borrow money to make an investment that will generate assessable income (often called gearing), you are generally entitled to claim a tax deduction for the interest on the money borrowed.

Considering interest rates are low at present, it may be worth considering prepaying up to 12 months interest on the loan if you currently have a geared investment portfolio or rental property. Doing so will allow you to lock in the interest rate you pay for next financial year (giving you certainty around the cost of your investment) and will bring forward your tax deduction to this financial year.

9. Pre-pay your income protection premiums

If you have income protection insurance, you could claim your premiums as a tax deduction. If you choose to pre-pay your premiums for the next 12 months, you can bring forward a tax deduction from next year to the current year – potentially reducing your taxable income this financial year.

10. Year- end trust distributions – planning in advance is essential

A trust resolution determines which beneficiaries will receive distributions and what portion of trust income they will receive for that financial year. Trust distribution resolutions must be made prior to 30 June. If they are not made by this date, the income of the trust will be subject to the highest marginal rate of tax (which could be significantly higher than the rate which would otherwise apply). In addition, the trust deed should be reviewed to consider how trust income is to be determined and to which beneficiaries’ income can be distributed for the most tax effective outcome.

If you would like more information on any of the strategies mentioned above, please get in touch with us on 07 3252 9990 or by email admin@lifeassets.com.au before 30 June to allow enough time for us to assess your situation and implement any strategies that may be of benefit to you.