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Businesses can claim an additional tax deduction when they buy certain assets, and when they spend money to improve existing assets, for a limited time. It’s called the Small Business and General Business Tax Break – ‘business tax break’ for short.

The Australian Government announced the tax break as an ‘investment allowance’ in December 2008 aimed at helping businesses meet the challenges of the economic downturn.

The government later extended this tax break in the May Budget to allow small businesses to claim a 50% tax deduction on eligible assets bought by 31 December 2009.

Source  :   www.ato.gov.au

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  • Banks say they will be forced to lift rates
  • Will be more than official RBA rises
  • Facing higher costs of raising money
  •  

     

    BANKS have confirmed homeowners’ worst fears: they will increase mortgage rates by more than the official Reserve Bank rises in the coming months.

    The Big Four banks claim they will be forced to lift interest rates beyond the official RBA cash rate increases because they are facing higher costs of raising money in the wholesale markets.

    Full story  :  http://www.news.com.au/business/money/story/0,28323,26194165-5013952,00.html

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    The AMA wants the government cash incentive scheme designed to lure nurses back into the workforce to be extended to include nurses who want to work in general practice.

    It was reported this week (The Australian, 27 August 2009) that the Federal Government’s program to bring nurses back into the workforce was failing to meet targets, with only 541 nurses recruited.

    AMA President, Dr Andrew Pesce, said nearly $40 million over five years in funding had been set aside for the Bringing Nurses Back Into The Workforce program and it was vital that the money was used effectively.

    “The Government’s initiative is too restrictive because it only targets public hospitals, private hospitals and aged care facilities,” Dr Pesce said.

    “The Bringing Nurses Back Into The Workforce program ignores the important contribution that nurses can make in other parts of the health sector such as general practice.

    “The program’s guidelines should be relaxed so that nurses who want to return to the workforce to take up a position in general practice will be eligible for funding.”

    Around 60 per cent of general practices employ practice nurses who work collaboratively with doctors.

    “General practice can offer nurses a very rewarding career and a great work/life balance,” Dr Pesce said.

    “Getting more nurses into general practice supports multidisciplinary care and will free up GPs to see more patients.”

    The AMA also believes general practices should be better supported to employ practice nurses by making practice nurse grants available to all general practices and ensuring that the Medicare Benefits Schedule recognises the full scope of patient care that GP practice nurses can provide.

    Source
    Australian Medical Association

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    twitterTWITTER is the new tool being used to fight against high supermarket prices across Australia.

    Following the failure of the Federal Government’s Grocery Choice website – set up to help shoppers find the lowest grocery prices in supermarkets around the country – a group of IT experts are using Twitter and Google Groups to develop Price Check, a website they hope will save shoppers money.

    Using crowd-sourcing technology, shoppers will eventually be able to log onto the web or via a mobile phone application to find the best-priced supermarket items in their area.

    The website will allow shoppers to enter their entire shopping list on the website to find the best prices.                                                                                                     

    Users will also be asked to update price items.

    “I think I am heavily in favour of an open system and I believe there should be access to the public,’’ idea developer Rob Mason told news.com.au.

    “(Users) will be able to enter their postcode … and source products on the site linked to the data base and compare prices and find which supermarket is best-priced.”

    Mr Mason said the more the public demand access to cheaper prices, the more likely supermarket giants such as Coles and Woolworths will comply.

    He said the response from Twitter users has been “fantastic”.

    “If we get people involved and active, we can get all the prices in all the supermarkets,” he said.

    “The feedback has been really good; we have gathered as much followers as the big supermarkets.”

    Mr Mason said the major supermarkets have a responsibility to be open about their prices.

    He admitted if successful, the Price Check idea would be unpopular with the supermarket chains.

    “There is absolutely no commercial gain for them to be had by being open and transparent,” he said.

    “At the moment it is more of a social thing, supporting an open system rather than saving heaps of money … but there is a potential.”

    Follow @price_check for notification of the website launch.

    Source www.news.com.au

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    • Last-minute tips to save on tax
    • What to claim, how to file
    • Plenty of help on ATO website

    HAPPY New Year! Well, almost. With only 24 hours left until the end of financial year, what should you be doing today to ensure that you don’t end up with a big tax hangover tomorrow?

    “Don’t forget to pay your expenses,” says Tracey Nicholson, the Assistant Commissioner of Taxation.

    “Ensuring that expenses are paid and claimed in the correct tax year can save a lot of headaches in having tax returns amended down the track.”

    Ms Nicholson suggests that some top-priority things for taxpayers to do prior to lodging their return include:

    • Go surfing! The ATO website, that is.

    “There is a wealth of information on the ATO website, both general as well as information that’s specific to various professions,” says Ms Nicholson. “It’s a great place to start your research on what you may be able to claim as a deduction.”

    • Spring clean the house to find your receipts.

    “At the end of the day you need to keep your receipts to substantiate your claims,” says Ms Nicholson.

    • Lodge online.

    If you are DIYing your tax, Ms Nicholson recommends the online e-tax process as a great way to complete your return.

    “It’s free, and has a great step-by-step process that will help remind you of anything that you have forgotten,” she says.

    It can be worth getting professional advice as well though. Bill Keays, founding director of WA-based Hales Keays Chartered Accountants says that in his experience there are a number of tax-related benefits that people sometimes overlook.

    “Motor vehicle expenses are often overlooked,” he says.

    “You can claim up to 5000 kilometres of work-related use based on a reasonable estimate of business kilometers, without needing to keep a log book. But some people think that if they haven’t kept a log book, they can’t claim.”

    Another forgotten area, according to Mr Keays, is depreciation on a rental property.

    “Sometimes clients are not aware of how much depreciation they can claim,” he says.

    “For taxpayers who have a relatively modern rental property, engage a quantity surveyor to prepare a depreciation report. They will typically save you many times more than their fee due to the deductions they identify.”

    But lest you get carried away with all the potential deductions out there, remember that you do need the paperwork to back it up.

    “We conduct plenty of audits,”says Ms Nicholson.

    “We’re going to have a special focus on truck drivers, sales and marketing managers, sales reps and electricians this year – but any taxpayer has the chance of being audited.”

    And while it may be too late for this financial year, consider getting some professional advice for next year’s tax return because sometimes you don’t know what you don’t know.

    “There’s usually always some way in which we can save clients extra money, either by identifying deductions or simply getting their tax structures right to start with,” says Mr Keays.

    “The Small Business CGT concessions are a great example.

    “One of my clients was expecting to pay capital gains tax of approximately $240,000 when he disposed of his business and he ended up paying nothing by applying these concessions.”

    Your tax time checklist                                                                                                                                                                                           

    To help you get the best tax return possible, here’s a few things to tick off your “to do” list today:

    1. Are you eligible for the Superannuation Co-contribution? If so, it’s up to $1,500 of free money.

    2. If you use your car for work, don’t forget to estimate your motor vehicle expenses.

    3. A 20% tax offset is available for out of pocket medical expenses over $1500.

    4. Donations of over $2 made to a deductible gift recipient are tax deductible.

    5. The cost of having your tax return prepared is also an allowable deduction.

    6. Income Protection insurance premiums can also be a tax deduction.

    7. Small business owners who are selling business assets can take advantage of extremely generous “small business CGT concessions.”

    8. You can claim up to $300 of work related expenses without the need to have written receipts. However once your claim exceeds $300 you must have receipts for the full amount.

    9. Don’t forget all those miscellaneous work expenses such as union fees, seminars, trade journals, software and home office expenses. Even an appointment diary can be deductible.

    10. Check the deductions fact sheet for your specific occupation to ensure that you are claiming everything that you are entitled to.

    Source  :   www.news.com.au

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    A FINANCIAL adviser has barely escaped with his life after being beaten and held hostage for four days … by a gang of old-age pensioners.                                           

    American James Amburn was beaten until his ribs broke, burnt with cigarettes and hit with a Zimmer frame by the gang of five pensioners furious that he’d lost their £2 million ($4.1 million) savings.

    Living in Germany, Mr Amburn was ambushed as he left a café and driven in the boot of an Audi to a house, where he was dumped in a cellar.

    “I was jumped from the rear and struck,” he told UK tabloid The Sun.

    “Then they bound me like a mummy with masking tape. It took them quite a while because they ran out of breath.”

    In four days, the pensioners fed him just two bowls of soup, burned him with cigarettes and threatened to kill him “again and again”, angry that he had invested their money in a failed Florida property scheme.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       

    He escaped once but was recaptured and beaten until his ribs broke.

    Mr Amburn was eventually rescued after convincing his captors to let him fax a Swiss bank in an attempt to get their money.

    He left a note for police at the bottom of the fax and armed cops stormed the house in Bavaria on Saturday.

    The “Furious Five” as they have been dubbed, face 15-year sentences for hostage-taking and torture.

    Source  :  www.news.com.au  

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    The end of financial year can be a stressful time for small business owners, and that time is now upon us once again.  For those of you who are behind and not ‘in shape’ for the end of end of financial year financial year… don’t panic, right now there is still a very small window of time for you to get prepared for the end of financial year, but that time is ticking by.

    How can you get in shape?

    Before 30 June make it a priority to ensure all your bookkeeping and reconciliation is up-to-date, follow up payment of overdue invoices, pay outstanding bills and pay all super contributions (this should not only be for your employees, but for yourselves too). 

    With all your reconciliation up-to-date, such as your receivables, payables, bank accounts and inventory, once 30 June is here you will only have one month to reconcile and you can then move on to completing your BAS.  Getting on top of this will ease some of the stress you may feel when preparing your end of financial year documentation.

    For small business owners with employees, remember that you will also need to reconcile your payroll and send out payment summaries to your employees (before 14 July 2009).

    Following the completion of all your reconciliation and BAS, it’s time to run your end of financial year reports.  Having all your records and reports prepared prior to visiting your accountant will really save you time and money. 

    If you’re having difficulties with these tasks, speak to your accountant or bookkeeper, or alternatively a range of online resources, and even accounting software providers, have information on completing these activities.

    If you’re having difficulties with these tasks, Don’t forget to backup all your data.  You will also need to keep copies of your accounting records for at least five years (an ATO requirement).

    It is also important now to prepare for the 09/10 financial year, as no doubt you want everything to be ‘AOK with the ATO’.

    A number of new Federal Government compliance changes will apply from 1 July 2009 and these will affect small businesses.  Information about the new compliance requirements is available from the ATO, or your accountant will also be able to update you on the changes.

    If you use accounting/payroll software, you will need software updates that address the compliance changes.  Ensure you’re scheduled to receive the compliance update from your provider, so that you’re compliant for 09/10.

    This time of year is also good to consider what improvements you could make to your work practices to stay in shape and make the 09/10 end of financial year less stressful.  For example, implement work practices that ensure you stay on top of your bookkeeping requirements, keep up-to-date with inventory, cash flow and debtors and follow task lists.

    Yes, the economic downturn is having an impact on businesses and the pressure is really building, but this presents you with the opportunity to select your own course.

    It’s important that you take a step back and look at the ‘big picture’.  Instead of only responding to daily issues, now is the time to develop and implement a sound business plan for overcoming future challenges.

    Don’t be afraid to seek specialist advice.  Talk to your accountant.  They can not only help you with tax and accounting related matters, but they can also help you with your business planning, financial goal setting, cash flow and making sure your business is running at its best.

    Remember… It’s important to be prepared!

    Source  :  www.livenews.com.au

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    I know if Jane were here today, she would have been so happy to see that so many Australian women and their families are being helped by the work the McGrath Foundation is doing each day.

    Executive Director of the Foundation TracyBevan                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 

    Memorial services will be held across the nation today to honour breast cancer victims including Jane McGrath, one year after her death.

    The McGrath Foundation, led by her husband and former cricketer Glenn McGrath has raised more than $5.5 million for cancer research.jane McGrath

    Jane and Glenn co-founded the McGrath Foundation in 2002, to raise money for breast cancer nurses and to raise awareness about the disease.

    The cancer campaigner lost her own battle with cancer on June 22 last year, sparking an outpouring of grief.

    Today memorials will be held in the Art Gallery of NSW and at other sites across Sydney, as well as in Newcastle, Melbourne, Adelaide, Brisbane, Perth and Canberra.

    Executive Director of the Foundation Tracy Bevan says it’s a significant day.

    “Today is a hard day for us, but it’s also a very proud day. I know if Jane were here today, she would have been so happy to see that so many Australian women and their families are being helped by the work the McGrath Foundation is doing each day.”

    The foundation currently has 45 McGrath Breast Care Nurses working in health care facilities across the country, with another eight to be placed in coming months.

    Source  www.livenews.com.au

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