Common reporting standards

36 | Common Reporting Standards

Common Reporting Standards are at the core of a perfect storm. It has become relatively easy to establish a company or trust in a tax haven. And at the same time it is becoming a lot easier for the ATO, and tax authorities worldwide, to find these companies or trusts.

And the main reason for this are the Common Reporting Standards. But what are these? Ben Sewell of Sewell & Kettle in Sydney provides a helpful overview.

The Panama Papers

30 | The Panama Papers

The Panama Papers were the scandal the world had to have. The US was already two years into FATCA. And Australia deep into the implementation of CRS. It was as if the Panama Papers were to confirm the urgency with which things had to change. To show that Lichtenstein wasn't a one-off. The Paradise Papers a year later just confirmed that point, in case there were any doubters. 

In this episode Ben Sewell of Sewell & Kettle in Sydney tells us how it happened and what it meant.

car parking fringe benefits

29 | Car Parking Fringe Benefits

Car parking fringe benefits provided by employers to employees might be subject to FBT. But only if there is commercial all-day parking within 1km of the employer's premises. This is good news. It means that most employers in outer suburbs and country areas will never have to worry about car parking fringe benefits.

But this is also how car parking can suddenly turn into a huge FBT headache. Claire Thornett of WLF in Hobart has the details.

estate planning

28 | Estate Planning

Estate planning is complex because it involves so many areas: trust law, super law, tax law, family law. There are so many questions to answer. So many documents to prepare. And then they all need to sync. And stand the test of time. Or a party contesting. And that is even before looking at the tax side. 

In this episode Ben Symons, a barrister in Sydney, walks you through the legal side of super and testamentary trusts in estate planning. 


27 | The Story of BGL

BGL is currently the main player in the SMSF software market, holding a 70% market share. That is an impressive achievement. Not even Coca Cola holds a 70% market share. How did this come about? How did BGL start? And where are they heading now?

Here is Ron Lesh, the managing director of BGL in Melbourne. Telling the story of BGL. 

offshore tax havens

26 | Offshore Tax Havens

Offshore tax are used for many different purposes, but often to avoid tax. If some of our clients consider moving assets to an offshore tax haven or have already done so, then this affects us. Hence the need to better understand how tax havens work. 

Ben Sewell of Sewell & Kettle in Sydney will discuss what it takes to set up shop in a tax haven.

25 | Partial Commutations Require an AFSL

Most of us will have had some clients last year with pension balances in excess of $1.6m. And so most of us partially commuted these balances back to accumulation. But are we allowed to do this without an AFSL – an Australian Financial Services Licence ? Are we providing financial advice the moment we whisper the word "commutation" into our clients' ears? 

Here is David Moss of Merit Wealth in Sydney on this issue.

NSW payroll tax exemptions and rebates

24 | NSW Payroll Tax Exemptions And Rebates

NSW payroll tax exemptions and rebates are specific to NSW. While Australia harmonised most of its payroll tax system in 2007, this didn't include exemptions and rebates. So to understand these we need to look at each Australian state and territory separately. 

In this episode Andrew Fricot and Ankur Dhar of Revenue NSW in Parramatta discuss NSW payroll tax exemptions and rebates. 

23 | Insights of a Mortgage Broker

Mortgage brokering is a $344b industry and sitting right in front of us in the supply chain, meaning mortgage brokers get involved at the very start of an investment cycle, while we tend to come in later handling tax deductions, capital gains and other issues. And yet we tend to never meet or talk.

In this episode Jonathan Preston of Home Loan Experts in Sydney discusses the mortgage brokering industry and much more.


Meal Entertainment

22 | Meal Entertainment Fringe Benefits

Meal entertainment is confusing. There are so many moving parts that it is easy to lose track. One reason for this confusion is that an employer can choose how to treat meal entertainment, either under Div 9A FBTAA or as a property or residual fringe benefit. This tends to make it so confusing. And the fact that the definition of meal entertainment is fairly vague.

In this episode Claire Thornett of WLF in Hobart discusses the ins and outs of meal entertainment.

Grouping Provisions

21 | Payroll Tax Grouping Provisions

Before the introduction of payroll grouping provisions, it was easy to avoid payroll tax. The payroll tax grouping provisions are to prevent this.  If entities meet certain criteria, they are treated as one business with one threshold. 2007 saw the harmonisation of grouping provisions across Australia. So these provisions apply in all Australian states and territories.

Here are Andrew Fricot and Ankur Dhar of Revenue NSW in Parramatta with the ins and outs of grouping.

TRIS to an ABP

20 | TRIS to an ABP

How do we convert a TRIS to an ABP after 1 July 2017? The industry had a clear idea how this should work. A TRIS converts to an ABP when meeting a condition of release - no need to stop and start. But then the ATO declared that a TRIS can't do that. A TRIS does not automatically convert to an account-based pension. A TRIS can only ever be a TRIS. This is bad news.

David Moss of Merit Wealth in Sydney discusses the current status of this issue.

family law

18 | Family Law

With time most of us will see at least one client go through a divorce or relationship breakdown. This usually comes with a splitting up of assets, and that often has significant tax implications. But before we look at the tax side, let’s look at the family law that governs this splitting of assets.

Angelina Torrisi of Family Law Practice Australia will walk us through the legal side of divorce and relationship breakdowns. Because it is difficult to work on the tax side, when we know little about the legal side.

SMSF Estate Planning

17 | SMSF Estate Planning Post July 2017

The new superannuation rules have changed estate planning within the SMSF environment post July 2017. Especially the transfer balance cap might make a previous strategy untenable. What are the issues? Will the trust deed cope with the intended changes? How to avoid the potholes?

In this episode Chloe Ward of Intello at the Gold Coast gives an overview of the issues SMSF estate planning faces post July 2017.


16 | What is a CFD?

Most retail clients trading CFDs seem to make a loss, so it is important to clarify how these losses are treated under TR 2005/15.  But before we do this in another episode, let's discuss what a CFD actually is.

Jonathan Preston of Home Loan Experts in Sydney traded CFDs for quite a few years and will walk us through the ins and outs of CFD trading.

fringe benefits tax

15 | Fringe Benefits Tax

Since 1986 Australia charges Fringe benefits tax (FBT) on most, but not all non-cash employee benefits an employer might provide to an employee. These non-cash employee benefits are referred to as fringe benefits.  It is  the employer who pays FBT even though the employee is the one receiving the benefit. In Australia FBT raises around $4 to $5b per tax year.

In this episode Claire Thornett of WLF in Hobart gives a comprehensive overview of the FBT system in Australia.

14 | Events Based Reporting Turnaround

Events based reporting experienced an impressive turnaround. It changed from affecting every SMSF to only affecting funds with a balance of $1m or more. And it changed from a tight schedule of 10 days after month end to a much more lenient deadline of 28 days after quarter end. How did this turn around come about? 

In this episode Ron Lesh of BGL in Melbourne tells his view of the events.

nonresident alien spouse

13 | US Nonresident Alien Spouse

The US taxes its citizen and Green card holders based on worldwide income irrespective of residency. How does this affect the Australian de facto or spouse of a US citizen or Green card holder? Will they one day get a US tax assessment? When do you fall into the claws of the US tax system? 

In this episode Jane Bruno of Bruno American Tax Services in Florida discusses when a nonresident alien spouse might be subject to US tax.

payroll tax contractor provisions

12 | Payroll Tax Contractor Provisions

Payments to contractors are subject to payroll tax if paid under a 'relevant contract' without an exemption.  This single sentence is full of issues. Who is a contractor? What is a relevant contract? What exemptions apply? Mistakes can cost a business a lot of money.

In this episode Andrew Fricot and Ankur Dhar of Revenue NSW in Parramatta give an answer to all these questions and more. 

Events Based Reporting

11 | SMSF Events Based Reporting

Are you ready for events based reporting? From 1 July 2018 all SMSFs in Australia need to report certain events to the ATO if they have members with total superannuation account balances of $1 million or more. What needs to be reported? When and how? What do we need to do and change to get ready for events based reporting?

Listen in as Chloe Ward of Intello on the Gold Coast gives an overview of the issues around events based reporting.


10 | Objections & Appeals

When a tax audit ends badly, you can object and appeal. But how does this work exactly?  What other options do you have? What does it mean to serve a section 14 ZYA notice?  How does an ADR work? Why the AAT ? And when to appeal directly to the Federal Court? 

In this episode King Tan of King & Wood Mallesons in Sydney covers these questions and many more.

US tax obligations living in Australia

9 | US Tax While Living in Australia

As a US citizen or Greencard holder, the US will tax your worldwide income irrespective of your residency, so even while you live in Australia. So you got the Australian tax system to deal with plus the US. Both countries will want to tax your income. How does that work? And how do you avoid paying tax twice? 

In this episode Jane Bruno of Bruno American Tax Services in Florida discusses the US tax obligations for US Citizens and Greencard holders living in Australia.


8 | The Story Behind the Bywater Case

We have all heard of Bywater, but what actually happened? How was it set up? And how did the ATO find out about it? 

Robert Campbell of McLeod Campbell in Sydney wanted to know more and researched online what is publicly available. It is only a small insight but throws a fascinating light into a case that left many shaking their heads - and led the ATO to withdraw its longstanding TR 2005/17 replacing it with TD 2017/D. 

risk review

7 | Risk Reviews & Tax Audits

A risk review or tax audit can easily escalate to a lengthy appeal and that costs time and money. So it is important to manage the risk review or tax audit correctly to stop this from happening. But how to achieve this? How to communicate with the ATO? And what to do when you lock heads?

In this episode King Tan of King & Wood Mallesons in Sydney freely shares his knowledge and expertise and digs deep into risk reviews and tax audits.

Australia's tax residency rules

6 | Australia’s Tax Residency Rules are Broken

Residency is the gateway into our tax system. Something as fundamental as this should result in a clear answer. Resident or not. But it doesn't. Australia's residency rules are anachronistic and removed from the practical realities of life and commerce in the 21st century. Ceasing to be a resident is often very hard.

Too hard as Clint Harding of Arnold Block Leibler in Sydney will argue. 

tax residency

5 | Tax Residency of Individuals & Companies

Tax residency and source are the gateway to the Australian taxation system and hence play such a vital role. If Australia was a low-tax haven, residency would probably never be an issue. But because Australia is a high tax country, residency is a constant source of conflict.

In this episode Robert Campbell of McLeod Campbell in Sydney digs deep into Australia's tax residency rules for individuals and companies.


ATO Tax Dispute

4 | Lifecycle of a Tax Dispute

Every ATO tax dispute is different. But taking a step back and looking at the bigger picture, there is a lifecycle that most ATO tax disputes run through, ending at different stages with different outcomes. From pre-engagement, risk reviews and tax audits to tax debt management, objections and appeals.

In this episode King Tan of King & Wood Mallesons in Sydney does a wide sweep through the lifecycle of a tax dispute.

commercial debt forgiveness

3 | Commercial Debt Forgiveness

Commercial debt forgiveness plays a big role in insolvency. But isn't a top-of-mind topic - bankruptcy sounds more dramatic. Nevertheless it is important. Get it wrong and you could tip an entity into insolvency - the exact opposite of what debt forgiveness is trying to achieve.

In this episode Robert Campbell of McLeod Campbell in Sydney gives a helpful overview of Australia's commercial debt forgiveness provisions.

offshore SMSF work

2 | Why Not To Offshore SMSF Work

Whether to offshore SMSF work or not sounds like a simple straight forward question. But it isn't. The answer - whether it is a yes or a no - has wide-ranging consequences affecting everything we do - internal processes, software, technology and of course HR. If we stay, how do we compete? 

In this episode Chloe Ward of Intello in Brisbane tells us why Intello decided to keep all SMSF work in Australia and how they remained competitive.

Payroll tax

1 | Payroll Tax

Payroll tax is a state tax, so feels less important than the “big” federal taxes. We tend to know little about it as we start out. And it has a relatively high threshold, so might not affect many of our clients anyway. But forgetting payroll tax can cost dearly. 

In this episode Andrew Fricot and Ankur Dhar of Revenue NSW in Parramatta discuss the parts of payroll tax legislation that have been harmonised across Australia. So this episode will apply to wherever you are in Australia.