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Archive for Australia/Oceania

Australian Tax- The HECS, HELP, and TLS Shirt Tail Effect

Many overseas destinations welcome young Australians to live and work. For the best and brightest of Australia’s young, the expat experience is a rite of passage.

However, the best and brightest young Australians often have a HELP debt or Trade Support Loan (TSL). A visit to the Australian Taxation website shows your HELP and TSL debts are a trailing shirt tail that forever ties you to your home until they’re paid off.

Read more

101 Ways to Save Money on Your Tax Legally

101 Ways to Save Money on Your Tax – Legally! is the Australian taxpayer’s essential guide to maximising returns. Comprehensively updated for 2017-2018, this indispensable resource explains all of the changes to the May 2017 budget to help you pay what you owe and not a penny more.

You’ll find answers to common questions, tax traps to avoid and plenty of tips from Mr. Taxman himself that can save you hundreds or even thousands of dollars. Leverage your business, education, family, property, medical expenses, levies, shares and superannuation to get the tax return you deserve – and are fully entitled to under Australian law. Read more

Australian Tax Office BEPS “Progress Report”

In a speech last week ATO’s Mark Konza, Deputy Commissioner – International, gave an insight into the ATO’s activities in responding to a number of the OECD’s post Cairns G20 Minister’s Conference BEPS Action Plan items.

Deputy Commissioner Konza put particular emphasis on the ATO’s strategy in connection with “Action Item 1: address the tax challenges of the digital economy”. Commenting on the ATO’s work on this aspect he said-

“The broader digital economy is also being addressed through our four-year dedicated compliance program to address International Structuring and Profit Shifting (ISAPS). Tax and law professionals from external firms have been recruited into the ATO to help Read more

New Law On Australian “Thin Cap” Rules

The new law in brief

An important Bill affecting foreign investors into Australia was passed by the Australian Parliament, 25 September 2014, – the ‘Tax and Superannuation Laws Amendment (2014 Measures No. 4) Bill 2014’.

It affects two areas of taxation in Australia – tax deductibility of financing expenses in an international context, and the taxation of dividends in Australia received from abroad.

This note deals with the tax deductibility of financing expenses – the so-called ‘thin cap’ rules. (It does not deal with the thin cap rules applicable to financial entities and banks). Read more

Australian Tax Office’s Scammer Video

The Australian Taxation Office has a webpage dedicated to tax related scams. Their latest video advising taxpayer’s how to protect themselves against scam attempts can be seen below.

This is the Transcript of the ATO Video that can be seen below:

Your personal information, like your identity — is unique. You use it to verify who you are and to access things like bank accounts, loans and tax returns.

Protecting your personal information is important. But do you know what to protect?

Personal information includes your name, address, date of birth, credit card details, myGov details, tax file number and driver’s licence details. Read more

Australian Tax Office Tax Residency Determination Tools Released

The Australian Taxation Office recently published interactive “residency tools” to assist in determining whether a person arriving in or leaving from Australia, will be “resident” for tax purposes. The “tools” can be found at-

https://www.ato.gov.au/Tax-professionals/News-and-updates/Income-tax/Are-your-clients-residents-for-tax-purposes-/?tpissue-32-2014

Random “testing” of the “residency tools” indicates that the Tax Office is likely to regard non-citizens coming to Australia to take up contracts of 2 or more years to be resident for tax purposes. This can have serious outcomes for senior executives coming to Australia.

Being regarded as an Australian resident for tax purposes means that being exposed to Read more

Australian Tax Office Adopts “Voiceprint” Technology

The ATO has adopted voiceprint technology as an option for identification of callers. Members of the community who use a telephone to interact with the ATO can elect to have a short “voiceprint” recorded. This will be used to verify the person’s identity for subsequent calls.

Second Commissioner Geoff Leeper disclosed that “In the last fortnight, over 30,000 Australians have already chosen to use our voice verification technology.” The ATO believes that the “voiceprint” identification will allow it to provide a more efficient and secure service. This is in the context of a call rate of some 8 million per year.

The ATO’s “voiceprint” technology creates a digital representation of the sound, rhythm, Read more

Australian Tax Office (ATO) Also Warns On Scams

This week the ATO warned taxpayers to “…be aware of fraudsters as they target people lodging their income tax returns by the 31 October deadline”. It was revealed that 45,588 reports of actual or attempted tax scams had been recorded during the year to 30 June. The ATO encouraged taxpayers to report scams directly to them.

Chief Technology Officer Todd Heather said “This year we are seeing more targeted scams sent to taxpayers where the perpetrators make the email more convincing by using the latest ATO website imagery and the names and signatures of real ATO staff”. He also noted “…a nasty phone scam where taxpayers are threatened with arrest if they do not pay a fake tax debt over the phone”. Read more

Bitcoins Are Not “Currency” – Australian Tax Office

The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) has just issued a guidance paper stating: “The ATO’s view is that Bitcoin is neither money nor a foreign currency, and the supply of bitcoin is not a financial supply for goods and services tax (GST) purposes.”

Furthermore, the ATO says: “Bitcoin is, however, an asset for capital gains tax (CGT) purposes.”

For businesses that use Bitcoins (or any other crypto-currencies) to buy and sell trading stock, the transactions will be treated for tax purposes as a bartering arrangement. Buying trading stock with Bitcoins will require businesses to charge the 10% GST on the coins. Selling trading stock for Bitcoins will mean the business can claim an input tax credit for Read more

Australian “Significant Investor” Residence Visa Applicants Need To Consider Tax And Estate Planning Issues.

Australia’s 2012 “significant investor” residence visa scheme has attracted some 1,000 applicants who have committed to invest AUD4 billion in businesses or other complying investments. To date, the vast majority of applicants have been from Chinese nationals.

The scheme might have been expected to attract some interest from Russian entrepreneurs and investors. However, Australia’s personal tax rates may be a distraction (an effective maximum marginal rate of 49% currently applies to income in excess of AUD180,000 pa). Furthermore, the current geopolitical situation around Ukraine and the flight MH17 atrocity may now deter potential applicants who might be regarded as associates of the Russian leadership. Read more

Australian Tax Office To Publish Tax Data For Large Companies

The recent addition of §3C to Australia’s Taxation Administration Act 1953 mandates that the Taxation Office publish “as soon as practicable after the end of the income year” the following tax information relating to all companies with reported total income of $100 million or more-

1. Company name and Australian Business Number
2. Total income of the year
3. Taxable income for the year
4. Income tax payable for the year

Both publicly listed and large family companies will be affected by this “tax transparency” Read more

Australian Taxation Office Mines Data For Undisclosed Offshore Income And Assets

Information in an Australian Tax Office press release last Monday indicates that information designed to identify undeclared assets and income will be “mined” from:

• overseas tax authorities regarding Australians with offshore investments and bank accounts;
• Australian and foreign banks on fund flows, interest and account balances;
• informants about offshore accounts; and
• money transfers to and from offshore bank accounts.

In the press release, Deputy Commissioner Michael Cranston said “…the new information would be used to encourage people to disclose under Project DO IT, the Read more

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