Category Archives: Tax Planning

Tax Office Targets Real Estate Agents

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TV and radio airwaves have been awash with the annual announcement of who the Australian Tax Office will be targeting for the 2012/13 income tax year. Every year the ATO releases its Compliance in focus report. This time around the real estate industry, amongst other sectors, has been highlighted.

What does this mean for you?

Real estate has been singled out for non-payment of superannuation:

“Every time an employee tells us that their employer has not paid their superannuation guarantee entitlement, we investigate. In the coming year we expect to contact around 12,000 employers as a result of these complaints.” Source: ATO Compliance in Focus 2013-14 report

This is a serious matter. Although lagging super payments during times of tight cash flow may seem logical, it could put the spotlight on your business for the 2013/14 tax year.

Also relevant to real estate agents are the ATO emphasis on employers’ compliance with:

– Identifying and reporting for FBT – see p8
– Fraudulent Phoenix Activity – see p8
– Workers incorrectly treated as contractors rather than employees – see p8
– Payment of superannuation guarantee – see p8 and p20

Essentially, the ATO examines businesses by size and transaction type as part of its annual compliance strategy. The announcements are nothing new. They simply state where the ATO is placing greater emphasis and enforcement of existing tax laws.

If you have any concerns or doubts, the simplest solution is to speak to your Tax Accountant and follow their advice. One of the best ways to avoid non-compliance is to have an experienced, qualified bookkeeper in your business. A good bookkeeper will handle these matters along the way, and where needed can get the right answers directly from a Qualified Tax Agent.

If you don’t know who to speak to, or for help managing your real estate books, please contact us at Live Bookkeeping. We really know real estate, and will save you time, money and headaches.

Take care, and I hope your sales and rent rolls are growing. As I always advise, keep your tax up to date. The ATO is always a better friend than enemy.





EOFY Tip #1 – Speak To Your Tax Accountant

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Have you spoken to your Tax Accountant? For so many small business owners a tax accountant could be called a “psychic”, they hope the accountant will have a symbiotic relationship with them, and know where their business is at before they (the business owner) do.

Wrong, obviously I hope you have a strong Tax Advisor, but they only can assist you based on your information. Questions they may ask you, to help them understand your circumstances, include;

  • Is your business profitable for the current financial year?
  • If so, higher or lower than last year?
  • What is the cash flow of the business looking like?
  • What is your superannuation plan?
  • Do you have any investments outside of your business? etc.

This event should happen between April and May ideally, or when you’re aware that the performance of your business has changed from the previous years, for better or worse. Sound tax advice is absolutely critical for every business owner, make sure you are prepared for your meetings and have an agenda for the points you want to cover. Your accountant will help to the best of their abilities, but only based on the information you have supplied them, they are professionals, not psychic’s.