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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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