EOFY – You Snooze, You Lose

We’re heading towards the 30th June again and Wealthwise adviser Joseph Hoe argues that, like our Mums, our finances are something we should be thinking about all the time, not just one day a year.

EOFY – You Snooze, You Lose?

Let’s face it, most of us are lazy and, when it comes to dealing with our finances, it’s usually an impending deadline that spurs us into action. Sometime before the end of June you’ll probably remember to top up your SG contributions, or look at reviewing your income protection to try and get a bigger tax deduction. The thing is, while doing both of these could be financially beneficial, they should be among several areas of your finances that you review regularly and not treat as a last-minute End of The Financial Year knee-jerk reaction.

Below is a checklist of things you could consider talking to your financial adviser about. It is by no means comprehensive.

  1. We mentioned tax deductible income protection premiums, but also insurance companies are constantly updating and improving their products so it might pay to move your existing cover to a newer policy.
  2. Everybody is raving about Self-Managed Super Funds, but they are a bit like a puppy at Christmas – they are not for everyone, they are a big responsibility, and they need a lot of looking after.
  3. If you already have an SMSF, have you thought about contribution levels and the investments you want to hold there? Have you also looked into the pros and cons (and limitations!) of having life cover inside the fund?
  4. Keeping your estate planning up to date. Have you recently had a new child, got divorced or married, or want to change a beneficiary? These are matters that should be dealt with promptly as we could end up seeing our assets distributed (or redistributed!) in a way that is not according to our wishes.
  5. Millions of Australian have more than one super fund and by leaving their funds fragmented they are often missing out on the opportunity that one well-managed consolidated fund can provide. Time to look for that lost super?
  6. It might seem a silly question, but is your employer paying you the correct amount of super contributions? Until you know what your entitlements are, it’s a question that you can’t really answer.
  7. Related to the last point is salary packaging (aka salary sacrificing). Can you talk to your employer about restructuring your salary so you can pay for certain items with pre-tax dollars? However, be aware that unless you work for specified not-for-profit organisations, what you are eligible for is limited, though still financially beneficial.
  8. Finally, if you are nearing retirement age, have you looked at a Transition To Retirement strategy? The laws in Australia relating to TTR are among the world’s most generous so, if you are looking forward to that dream retirement, this could be one of the major building blocks in your strategy.

If you want to discuss anything in this article, or any other matter relating to your finances, please call your Wealthwise adviser on 9380 6333.

Federal Budget 2012-13 In-Depth Summary

Summary of Federal Treasurer Wayne Swan's 2012-13 Budget

  Now that we’ve had more time to digest Wayne Swan’s latest budget, we have prepared a more detailed summary of the major changes than the one we published on Wednesday.

 If you would like to discuss the details and how they impact your personal situation and financial strategies, please do not hesitate to call your adviser on (08) 9380 6333 or send us a message using our Contact Us page.

Superannuation

  •   Deferral of higher concessional contributions cap (for those aged 50 and over from 1 July 2012)
  •   Reduction of higher concession for contributions of very high income earners
  •   Minimum draw down relief for super pension holders remain in place, returning to the normal rates from July 1 2013
  •   Superannuation guarantee rate to progressively rise from 9% to 12%
  •   Maximum age limit for the superannuation guarantee to be abolished
  •   Low income superannuation boost

Social Security

  • Mature age worker tax offset (MAWTO) to be phased out from 1 July 2012
  •   FTB Part A increase
  •   Family Tax Benefit (FTB) A eligibility from January 2013
  •   Schoolkids Bonus
  •   Aged care reform from 1 July 2014
  •   Reduced payment period of Government Payments for people who are temporarily absent from Australia from 1/01/2013
  •  Australian residency requirements for the Age Pension from 1 January 2014


Taxation

  •   Increased Medicare levy low income thresholds from 1 July 2011
  •   Means testing of net medical expenses tax offset (NMETO) from 1 July 2012
  •   Accelerated real estate review from 1 July 2012
  •   Removal of the capital gains tax discount for non-residents
  •   Changes to tax rates for non-residents
  •   Company Loss Carry Back
  •   Small Business Immediate Write-Off Extension

Previous proposals shelved

  • Reduction of the corporate tax rate to 28%. The corporate tax rate will remain at 30%.
  • Standard tax deduction of $1,000 for work-related expenses and the cost of managing tax affairs.
  • 50% discount for the first $1,000 of interest income.

The following changes announced since last year’s budget will go ahead

  • Confirmation of changes to marginal income tax rates & thresholds
  • Allowances & supplements to reduce the impact of the introduction of a price on carbon.

End of Financial Year Tax strategies

With the end of the financial year fast approaching, it’s a great time to build and protect your wealth in a tax-effective manner.

But you’ll have to take action before 30 June to benefit from the opportunities available this year.

Following are12 strategies with tax advantages for this financial year and beyond. Each of these strategies has the potential to make a significant difference to your financial situation now and in the future.

It pays to be tax smart. No matter what your situation, age or income, Wealthwise financial advisers have the expertise and experience to help you build wealth and reduce your tax bill.

And in the current economic climate, it can be even more important to be tax smart.

Just a little bit of year-end planning can help boost your retirement savings, maximise your Government entitlements and reduce your tax payments.

You should speak to a financial adviser and/or taxation professional before you use any of these strategies; they can assess which year-end strategies suit you best.

Tax strategies to the left: