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Superannuation increases?

There is a move to increase the basic super contribution rate for employers on behalf of their employees, taking it from 9% to 12% (in a few increments).

The Australian Institute of Superannuation Trustees, AIST, (and others I believe) have an online petition to show the Government the concept has the support of the general population.

Do you support it?

Maybe you haven’t even thought about it so here are a couple of my ideas on the topic:

  • an extra 3% of your salary each year has to give you a better chance of financial security in retirement so who would argue with getting it?
  • we’re often told we have an aging population so I have long thought I will need my own money (super or otherwise) as there may not be much of an age pension when I retire – again, more super from an employer has to help that!
  • an extra 3% on top of employee’s salaries could easily add up for any business owner so businesses may find the concept stressful, but
    • it isn’t immediate so businesses can prepare
    • if businesses have to increase prices to meet the 3%, living expenses will have another increase
    • base salaries (for new employees) may get reduced slightly so that packages aren’t significantly higher and that again may leave people financially tight in the present

From a purely super point of view, I totally agree with moving the minimum to 12%; from an overall perspective, I’m not so sure what is best and will need to read up on the potential impact – and I’d love to hear some different opinions from business owners, too.

Preparing for 30 June…

It is now June and the end of financial year is rapidly approaching – are you ready for it?

Here are some of the things I am considering at the moment to maximise my position at 30 June. Is there anything else you do at this time of year?

  • send out all pending invoices and statements as soon as possible – not only does it increase your cash flow this month, many other businesses will appreciate being able to pay (and claim a tax deduction) this financial year
  • pay off all outstanding invoices if possible – you may as well claim deductions now rather than in 13 months time! And the new tax rates may mean deductions this year will help your tax position anyway
  • consider making a contribution to your super fund – this is tax deductible for the self-employed now
  • if you or your business supports a charity and you haven’t made a donation yet, now is a good time to do so as it can then count as a tax deduction this financial year – I wonder how much their donations go up in June each year!
  • if you are eligible for a Government Co-contribution, your personal contributions of up to $1,000 must be made to your super fund by 30 June  – and changes from the budget or an increased income next year may mean you aren’t eligible next year so get in while you can!
  • consider making business purchases that will be needed soon. Not only can you claim it as a tax deduction, it may save you stress when you do actually need the item – printers notoriously run out of ink the day your proposal is due!
  • get your accounts sorted and in order – the more organised they are, the quicker you (or your accountant/tax agent) can get the return completed and submitted
  • collate related information, such as a travel log or noting the distances travelled, home office bills, private health insurance policy details, bank statements and PAYG statements
  • if you run a service business, check the proportion of income from each client as tax rules can change if more than 80% of your income is from one source. There’s not a lot of time to adjust that, but if you’re on 81 or 82% a few quick projects may make a difference
  • consider taking out health insurance if you are a higher income earner ($50,000 for a single or $100,00 for a couple/family) – the higher income brackets come into effect from 1 July 2008
  • check if there are any expenses you can (and will benefit from) pay now rather than later in the year – for example, insurance premiums and interest on investment loans can be paid in advance to be claimed as a tax deduction now, and are sometimes cheaper paid as a lump sum. Obviously, this affects cash flow and other factors so is not always the best plan, but it never hurts to research your options!

By preparing now, you may decrease your tax liability and be ready to start the new financial year with a clean slate.