The financial year has almost drawn to a close, however there are still many effective strategies you might be able to put in place. These strategies will ensure that you pay no more tax than you have to for the 2020-21 year and maximise any refunds you might be entitled to.
Although the best tactics are adopted as early as possible during a financial year and not at the end, it’s important to remember that proper tax planning is more than just sourcing bigger and better deductions. The best tips involve assessing your current situation and planning your associated income and deductions from income year to income year.
Here is a list of tips that will provide you with some of the possibilities that may get you thinking along the right track.
Temporary Full Expensing
The temporary full expensing regime is now operable for depreciating assets acquired after the 6th October 2020 and prior to 30th June 2023. The full cost of acquiring depreciating assets is deductible in the year of income in which the asset is first held, provided the item is first used, or installed ready for use, by 30th June 2023.
The cost of improvements made to a depreciating asset is also tax-deductible in the year of income the improvements are made (no later than 30th June 2023). In contrast to the instant asset write-off rules, there is no upper limit on the amount that can be fully deducted in respect of any asset.
This may enable some effective tax planning between the 2021 and 2023 tax years where there are assets you have been looking to acquire or improve.
Use the CGT Rules to Your Advantage
If you have made and crystallised any capital gain from your investments this financial year (which will be added to your assessable income), think about selling any investments on which you have made a loss before 30th June. Doing so means the gains you made on your successful investments can be offset against the losses from the less successful ones, this will reduce your overall taxable income.
While there may be many opportunities to realise capital losses in the current situation, you should be aware that the deliberate realisation of capital losses for the purpose of reducing capital gains in some cases may trigger a response from the ATO.
Keep in mind that for CGT purposes a capital gain generally occurs on the date you sign a contract, not when you settle on a property purchase or share transaction. When you are making a large capital gain toward the end of an income year, knowing which financial year the gain will be attributed to can be a handy tax planning advantage.
Of course, tread carefully and don’t let mere tax drive your investment decisions – but check to determine whether this strategy will suit your circumstances, and whether you risk attracting the attention of the ATO in any way.
Expenses stemming from your rental property can be claimed in full or in part, so, if possible, it can be helpful to bring forward any expenses that can be undertaken before 30th June and claim them in the current financial year. If you know that your investment property needs some repairs, some gutter clean-up or some tree lopping, you could find out if you are able to bring the maintenance and (deductible) payments into the 2020-21 year.
It should also be noted that deductible rental property expenses remain deductible even if the property is not rented as long as it is genuinely available for rent which is relevant during the covid-19 pandemic.
Pre-pay Investment Loan Interest
If you have some spare cash, it would be wise to see if you can negotiate with your finance provider to pay interest on borrowings upfront for the investment property or margin loan on shares (or other loan types) and make that deduction available this year. Most taxpayers are able to claim a deduction for up to 12 months ahead. However, make sure your lender has allocated funds secured against your property correctly, as a tax deduction is generally only allowed against the finance costs incurred for the purpose of earning assessable income from investments.
Keep in mind that a deduction may not be available on funds you redraw from a loan of this type that is put to other purposes. Also, a component of the National Rental Affordability Scheme payment is not assessable income and therefore the deduction on these properties may need to be apportioned.
Bring forward expenses or defer income
Try to bring forward any other deductions (like the interest payments mentioned above) into the 2020-21 year. If for example you know that next income year you will be earning less (for example, due to maternity or partner leave or going part-time), then you will be better off bringing forward any deductible expenses into the current year.
An exception will arise if you expect to earn more next financial year. In that case it may be to your advantage to delay any tax-deductible payments until next financial year, when the financial benefit of deductions could be greater. Tax planning is the key, as your personal circumstances will dictate whether these measures are appropriate.
It’s probably leaving it a bit late to adopt this strategy now, but you could consider a tactic that can take advantage of this sort of timing and place money into a term deposit that matures after 30 June 2022. Then interest will form part of your taxable income in the following tax year.
Again, this type of strategy may be invaluable if you are anticipating less or more income next year as a result of some of the more longer-term effects of the covid-19 pandemic has on the economy.
Additional Information for Last Minute Tax Planning
You are able to claim up to $300 of work-related expenses without receipts, provided the claims are reasonable for outgoings related to earning assessable income. If the total amount you are claiming is $300 or less, you need to be able to show how you worked out your claims, but you do not need written evidence.
N other person knows your affairs better than yourself, so you will recognise if any of the above tax tips applies to your circumstances. But no-one is better informed as to what is appropriate, or indeed allowable, than your tax agent (and don’t forget, any fee is an allowable deduction in the year it is paid).
Every individual taxpayer is required to lodge their return before October 31, but tax professionals are generally given more time to lodge, which can be a handy extension to a payment deadline if any arises.
Of course, if you’re sure you are going to get a refund there is no use delaying, so in these cases it is worth getting all of your information in and your return lodged as soon as you can after the 1st July especially if the value of a refund is important for your current situation.
The team at C&D Restructure and Taxation Advisory are here to help. As part of the Vault Group we can offer the full suite of financial products and advice to help you navigate the business landscape. Schedule a meeting here via Calendly or give us a call on 07 36086800.
The team at C&D Restructure and Taxation Advisory are here to help. As part of the Vault Group we can offer the full suite of financial products and advice to help you navigate the business landscape. Schedule a meeting here via Calendly or give us a call on 1300 1 VAULT (1300 182 858)
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