Have you left your financial planning until the last minute? Go over this checklist with your accountant or financial planner as soon as possible. Some of these strategies apply every year, while others are specific to this year because of the changes in the tax rate, the end to the flood levy, and some changes to small business write offs in the next year.
Personal / Family
- Check superannuation contributions for year to date to see what leeway you have.
- Consider personal contributions for you and/or spouse. Check here for the benefit calculator.
- Consider spouse contribution for spouse earning less than $13,800 for tax offset of up to $540.
- Prepay margin / investment loans before June 29th.
- Prepay Income Protection insurance premiums to bring forward the tax deduction.
- Bring forward any medical costs if annual family next medical expenses are likely to be above $2000 and get 20% tax offset (rules change next year lowering the rebate and means testing the entitlement, so get in this year).
- If you’re a single person earning more than $84,000 or a couple earning more than $168,000, then consider prepaying your private health insurance as the rebate is means tested from July 1, 2012.
- Review all other rebates such as childcare expenses, dependent spouse rebate, low-income rebate and the tax offsets for mature-age workers and senior Australians.
- If you have a Capital Gain (lucky devil) then check other assets to see if you can trigger any losses to minimize gains.
- Try to defer bonuses or income until new rates apply in 2012/13 and the flood levy is gone.
- Review your own salary packaging arrangements for 2012/13 to ensure it’s within limits and correctly recorded.
- Be smarter with Term Deposits and have them mature after the end of the financial year in the future.
- Change savings accounts into the name of the lower income spouse before the start of the new financial year.
Small Business Owner:
- Check with your accountant or bookkeeper on how you are doing for the financial year. Mark it in your diary to do this in May next year!
- Prepay expenses or delay them until next year depending on your profit.
- No money to prepay? Order stock from suppliers and ask them to invoice you before June 30th. (Check with your accountant first.)
- For once, maybe delay large asset purchases until next year to get the higher $6500 immediate write off instead of $1500 this year.
- Make Superannuation payments for deductions in 2011/12 before June 26th, or to delay deductions make them after June 30th and before July 28th.
- Consider stocktaking to get true values, and write off obsolete stock.
- Private Company Loans: Any loan extending beyond June 30th must be documented and any payment terms followed.
- Bad Debts: If you want to claim for bad debts, remember that they must be bad and written off before the end of the financial year. Bad debts cannot be claimed by taxpayers who recognise income on a cash basis.
- Make sure you are on top of the PAYG Withholding tax scales for 2012/13 Click here for more details.
- If you think you are going to pay bonuses, then write them down now and claim the deduction even if paid after June 30th.
- Prepare to record Trust distributions before June 30th. Many small businesses use trusts as part of their overall corporate structure, and the rules on distributions have tightened.
- Over 60 and need a tax deduction in your business? Consider putting your Super into Transition to Retirement mode and take 10% pension and re-contribute for a tax deduction.
- Consider moving insurance cover into superannuation to maintain cover in hard times or make premiums more tax efficient. (See a planner as there are plenty of traps on this one.)
- Check the contributions of all members to this SMSF and to any retail or industry funds to ensure they’re below caps as they apply across all accounts.
- Don’t forget that payment of premiums for Insurance in Super are considered contributions too!
- Make sure Minimum Pensions taken include any increase because of consolidations.
- Check that Pensions Reversionary or Binding Death Nomination is in place. If not, then restructure on July 1 to save on fees and charges.
- Pensions started in June do not need to take a minimum pension for the year.
- Those ages 55-59 and fully retired can consider taking part of their pension amounts as a lump sum.
- In-specie transfer shares from your own names to the fund. This can also be treated as concessional contributions for self employed if you don’t have the cash to make a deductible contribution
- Consider Spouse and Co-contribution strategies for all eligible members.
- Accumulation stage: Defer tax returns as long as possible.
- Pension stage: Lodge as soon as possible to get those franking credit refunds!
Investment Property Landlord
- Get your annual Income and Expenditure Statements from your agent.
- Prepay for any Insurances for Buildings and Contents.
- Prepay expenses for items like pest control (your pest controller should have vouchers).
- Do any minor repairs now and bring forward the deduction.
- If your property is new or less than 25 years old then make sure you have a depreciation schedule prepared by an authorised Quantity Surveyor.
- Lodge your tax as early as possible to help ensure you receive your refund sooner.
- Keep clear records of deductible interest and non-deductible as the tax office is clamping down.
- Consider a PAYG variation for next year to bring forward the tax benefits throughout the year.
Any advice given is general only and has not taken into account your objectives, financial situation or needs. Because of this, before acting on any advice, you should consult a financial planner and/or accountant for tax matters to consider how appropriate the advice is to your objectives, financial situation and needs.