Don’t get caught out by the ATO.

Don’t get caught out by the ATO.

ATO’s data matching technology shining light on undeclared income. Here’s what you need to know.

The progression of technology has seen many changes, both good and bad. This progression in technology is now assisting the ATO to ensure that people and businesses comply with their tax and super obligations and is also assisting in detecting fraud.

Data is first collected from;

  • Your employers
  • Bank and financial institutions (including overseas banks)
  • Health insurance funds
  • BAS statements
  • Superannuation accounts
  • Property information from the state

Armed with this data, comparisons are made to the information provided in your tax return. The intention of this technology implementation is to identify taxpayers with any omission of income or fraudulent deductions.  The ATO can reassess previous year’s tax returns with the power to issue fines and penalties, even interest in some cases for non-compliance.

The technology is especially advantageous in ensuring all income from secondary jobs such as rent from Airbnb, Uber and Cryptocurrency are declared. As written about last month, the gig economy is taking on the economy.

Further, “Crypto transactions, in particular, will undergo greater scrutiny than ever before, with the ATO estimating that records relating to between 500,000 and 1 million individuals, who have or may be engaged in buying, selling or transferring cryptocurrency, will be analysed by the ATO this tax time.” Mark Chapman explains.

Similarly, tradespeople and sole traders who may have been working ‘off the books’ are now at risk with the ATO checking bank accounts and cross referencing to any ABNs.

Remember that data matching is here to stay and it’s not too late to rectify with the ATO offering “voluntary disclosures”.

For further information call your Prime Accountant today on 9415 1511 or email reception@primeadvisory.com.au.

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How to enjoy a stress-free holiday season.

How to enjoy a stress-free holiday season.

Dr Leanne Wall shares her 7 tips on staying healthy and happy this holiday season.

I’m sitting at a local café in sunny Byron Bay as I write this article.  My second gin and tonic from a local distillery tastes divine, and I’m seriously thinking about having a third.  The gin is so light and refreshing and its holiday time isn’t it?  Whether it is that 3rd cold beer or that added portion of chips on the side haven’t I earned it? What is a little bit of indulgence and haven’t I worked my butt off in anticipation of these few weeks off over the festive season? Sound familiar?

In all seriousness, the silly season can be a time of fun and celebration however it can also take its toll on our physical, emotional and mental health.  Spending time with that relative who gets under our skin can be exhausting.  Managing a packed calendar of lunches with those ‘have to see friends because we haven’t seen them for a whole year’ and those end-of-year work functions filled with small talk can be energy sapping.  Not to mention the financial pressures of paying the shopping and vacation bills.  In fact, this end of year holiday season can be even more stressful than day-to-day life.

RECOGNISE IF YOU ARE STRESSED

Feeling stressed or anxious on an ongoing basis is not normal.  Mild to moderate stress for short periods with time for recuperation can see us perform at our best, both at work and at home.  However, moderate to severe stress with no recovery can wreak havoc on our health. Stress shows up in lots of different ways from having trouble sleeping and overeating to feeling fatigued, headachy, moody, irritated and impatient.  Perhaps we find ourselves getting upset at the slightest thing.

If this is you or you catch yourself feeling stressed over the holidays, there are so many ways you can help relieve your stress.  Here are some tips to help you take care of your overall wellbeing through the holidays.

  1. GET ACTIVE

Walking for 30 minutes a day a few times a week is a tremendous short-term de-stressor.  Gentle exercise is all you need to see a benefit.  Take the dog for a walk or walk with a family member or friend, stroll on the beach or join in with holiday fun and games.  If you need your own headspace then walk on your own and even better in a park surrounded by nature.  Keeping active will not only make you physically fitter and stronger but will lift your mood and improve your self-esteem.

  1. HEALTHY EATING

Your overall wellbeing and mood can be improved by the nutritional quality of the food you put in your mouth.  Not only will this increase your energy levels and your motivation, but it will get rid of that sluggish feeling that we often have over the holidays.

  1. RELAX

Take time out to sit and do nothing.  “ponder your naval” as my father used to say.  Exercising regularly and making an effort to relax more, can help reduce the signs of stress and help you gain more control when having to deal with stressful situations.  Start with listening to relaxing music, a meditation CD and/or practising controlled breathing.  Research shows that by slowing our breath, we switch on our rest and digest nervous system allowing us to relax.

  1. SLEEP

Sleep is crucial for long-term stress management, as it allows the brain to replenish its energy.  Try and establish a routine for bedtime.  Wake up and go to bed at the same time every day.   If you are struggling to sleep in general, keep this routine up on the weekends too.  This will help train your brain to sleep.  Try not to drink alcohol before bed, eat large meals or watch TV in bed.  Relaxing and exercise will also help you get a better night’s sleep.

  1. CONNECT

Humans are DNA wired to connect!  Connecting with others is showing to be essential to improving our mental and emotional wellbeing.  Maybe catch-up with a friend or family member that you have neglected this year.  Take an interest in other people and if you are feeling down because you are not with your family (or you are), try and make time to give to others by volunteering for a worthy cause.

  1. SET YOURSELF A CHALLENGE

Set yourself a goal that is achievable over the holiday period, and that is not related to work.  Make sure it is realistic and will challenge you but won’t run you ragged.  Maybe pick up a hobby you used to enjoy that you have let slip or perhaps taking up something new that you have always wanted to do.

  1. DRINK SENSIBLY

It would be remiss of me not to end with a tip on sensible drinking.  Remember that alcohol acts as a depressant and drinking too much can cause low mood, irritability and in some aggressive behaviour.  Try and enjoy alcohol, not ‘use’ it to relax and space out.  Take notice and be aware of why and how much you are drinking.

 

Whatever your plans, I wish you a fabulously relaxing break filled with fun, excitement and adventure with people you love.  Make great memories and having some luxurious idle downtime.  Remember life is not a dress rehearsal!  On that note, I will refrain from ordering that 3rd gin and tonic and instead go for a gentle stroll on the beach.

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Christmas Dessert Sorted!

Christmas Dessert Sorted!

Staff member shares her special Nutella® pastry Christmas tree recipe that will be loved by all this Christmas!

Need some inspiration for dessert this Christmas?

PrimeAdvisory are here to help with this easy but delicious and very festive Christmas Tree-at!

Ingredients:

  • 1 (500g) packet ready to roll puff pastry
  • 4 to 5 tablespoons Nutella® hazelnut spread, at room temperature
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 190 degrees Celsius and prepare baking tray by lining with baking paper then also grease with butter.
  2. Roll out one puff pastry sheet into a large rectangle on a lightly floured surface and place on the prepared baking sheet.
  3. Lightly score puff pastry into the shape of a Christmas tree (triangle) with a wide base. Spread chocolate-hazelnut spread over the triangle in a thin layer with the back of a spoon.
  4. Roll out the second sheet of puff pastry to a large rectangle and place on top of the first one. Carefully trace the shape of the chocolate covered triangle underneath and cut out the Christmas tree shape and the trunk. Remove excess pastry.
  5. Lightly score 2 lines down the middle of the triangle to form a tree trunk that is narrower at the top and gets wider towards the base. Using the trunk as a guide, cut branches into the sides of the triangle.
  6. Finally, the tree will be ready for twisting!
  7. Beginning at the base, twist the pastry away from you, trying to get in two turns on the lower branches.
  8. Continue moving up the tree, twisting away from you as you go.
  9. At the top of the tree you may only get a single twist in the top branches. If desired, cut out a star with the pastry trimmings and place on the baking tray.
  10. Brush the entire tree with lightly beaten egg.
  11. Bake in the preheated oven for 12 to 15 minutes, or until risen and golden brown. Let cool slightly before enjoying.

Want to watch it being made, click here.

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Having trouble sleeping?

Having trouble sleeping?

I was coaching a client recently who had been reprimanded by their manager for an emotional outburst at a leadership team meeting.  Not just a mild emotional outburst but one that involved him throwing a coffee cup across a boardroom table at a peer who just wouldn’t let up.  And yes, the coffee cup was full and still pretty hot!  A potential career-limiting move, not to mention a safety risk.

It turns out that my client hadn’t had a good night’s sleep in weeks, and the pressure he was under at work had been unrelenting for several months. ‘If I get 4 hours a night (of sleep) I am lucky” he lamented.  Even my partner has moved to our spare room because they cannot take the tossing and turning during the night.

Lack of sleep raises our stress levels, and high-stress levels affect our sleep.  We know from research that 75% of insomnia is caused by stress and that a night of poor sleep can make us cranky the next day. Now, this doesn’t mean that we start throwing coffee cups around when we are tired.  However, if we are exhausted and energy depleted due to lack of sleep, the chances are that we are more emotionally labile, less patient and willing to compromise and more likely to react to situations versus respond thoughtfully and deliberately.

Getting quality sleep regularly can help improve all sorts of issues, from our mood to our ability to focus.  If you are one of those “I only need 3-4 hours of sleep a night thank you very much” then it would be worth highlighting what a good night’s sleep can do for us.  And when we talk about a good night’s sleep, sleep studies show that 8-9 hours of sleep is ideal regardless of our adult age.  Yes, isn’t that nirvana you may be thinking; however, it is worth looking at why.

Razer-sharp Brain

Have you ever found it difficult to concentrate or recall information after a lousy night’s sleep? That’s because sleep plays a big part in both learning and memory. Without enough sleep, it’s tough to focus and take in new information. Our brain also doesn’t have enough time to properly store memories so we can pull them up later.  Sleep lets our brain catch up, so we’re ready for what’s next.

Mood Stability

Our brain processes emotions while we sleep. When we cut our sleep short, we tend to have more negative emotional reactions and fewer positive ones.  Long term sleep deprivation has also been linked to mood disorders. A large study showed that when we have insomnia, we are five times more likely to develop depression.  Our odds of developing anxiety and panic disorders are also higher.  One of the first questions a doctor should ask when a person comes to them because they are feeling down is ‘How are you sleeping?”

Happy Heart

Sleep allows our blood pressure to go down, which in turn gives our heart and blood vessels a ‘rest.’ The less we sleep, the less cardiovascular rest we get during a 24-hour cycle.  This is particularly significant if we already have a higher than normal blood pressure because what we know is that high blood pressure leads to heart disease and stroke. The message is clear – short-term downtime can have long-term payoffs.

Workout Effectiveness

Sleep enables our bodies to repair muscle and replenish our energy banks.  It goes without saying that low energy and poor muscle repair and recovery will impact our workouts and the benefit we gain from exercise. Lack of sleep also saps our motivation to exercise, and we find it a harder mental and physical challenge to get to the finishing line.  Not to mention that our reaction time is slower. Resting properly sets us up for our best performance.

Blood Sugar Stability

During the deep, slow-wave part of our sleep cycle, the amount of glucose in our blood drops. If we do not spend enough time in this stage of sleep, it means that we don’t get that break to reset.  It is like turning the volume up on our car radio and leaving it up.  As a result, our bodies have a harder time responding to our cells’ need for sugar and managing our blood sugar levels.  Allowing ourselves to reach and remain in this deep sleep phase, reduces our chances of developing diabetes in adulthood.

Fighting Germs

Insomnia changes the way our immune cells identify and destroy bacteria and viruses in our body.  They may not attack as quickly, and we could get sick more often. Have you ever wondered why you can’t get rid of that cold that has been hanging around for weeks instead of the standard 3-4 days? It could be your sleep.

So, what can I do about it you may ask?  Enough of the ‘why sleep is important’ and tell me more about the how.  The National Sleep Foundation recommends the following tips on how to get a good night’s sleep.

  1. Have a sleep schedule. Go to bed and wake up at the same time every day, including on weekends. This effectively regulates your body’s clock and could help you fall asleep and stay asleep for the night.
  1. Have a relaxing bedtime routine. Try activities that are relaxing before bedtime. Put the TV, your laptop and mobile phone off, ideally an hour before you go to bed.  Turn the lights down so that your brain gets the message that it is heading to bed and can start producing melatonin, the hormone needed for sleep.
  1. Avoid naps during the day (especially the afternoon) if you have trouble sleeping at night. Many of us may take a power nap to help us get through the day, however, if you are not sleeping well at night eliminating these short catnaps may help.
  1. Daily exercise. An exercise that gets your heart rate up is the best; however, even light exercise is better than none.  Walking, jogging, cycling can be done at any time of the day, so make some time to include exercise in your weekly routine.
  1. Bedroom bliss. Have a look at your bedroom to determine if you have a ‘sleep-inducing’ environment.  Do you have a comfortable mattress because we know that the lifetime of an average good quality mattress is 8-9 years?  What is the temperature in your room, as an ideal temperature for sleep is 21 degrees Celsius?  Is your room too light at night?  Perhaps black-out curtains or eye shades may help as the darker the room, the more your brain will switch to sleep. Finally, is your partner noisy?  A big snorer?  Or is their white noise such as humidifiers, fans, “white noise” machines.  Using earplugs is an option.
  1. Alcohol, cigarettes, coffee and heavy meals in the evening. We know that all four can disrupt sleep.  Try to avoid eating large meals for 2-3 hours before bedtime.  Spicy and big meals can also cause indigestion which can make it hard to sleep.  Ever tossed and turned at night after that spicy Indian curry?  If you are still hungry, try a light snack 45 minutes before you go to bed.
  1. Winding down is underrated. Because your body needs to switch into sleep mode, try and focus on calming activities at least an hour before you go to bed. Don’t take your laptop to bed as the blue light causes the brain to think it is daytime and not sleep time. The same goes for that phone of yours. Don’t have it next to your bed and charge it outside of the bedroom.  This will make it harder for you to lean over and grab it if you find you are struggling to get to sleep..
  1. Sleep and sex. Use your bed only for rest and sex to strengthen the association between bed and sleep.  This is the reason sleep experts instruct parents not to allow their children to play in bed, because the brain then associates bed with play, and not sleep only. If we regularly do work on our laptop while in bed our brain thinks bed is for work.

And if you are still having trouble sleeping, no matter what you try, chat to your doctor who will be able to assess if there is anything else causing your sleep issues, and perhaps a referral to a sleep specialist may be in order.

In closing, I wanted to look to the Irish and this old proverb …

“A good laugh and a long sleep are the best cures in the doctor’s book”.

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Retirement on your mind?

Retirement on your mind?

As you saw in our previous month’s client video with Steve Fairall, he’s been retired for 2 years and it looks pretty good! Steve says, “there was a stage when we had 4 young kids, we wanted to provide them with a good life in Sydney, help them grow and get well educated whilst also setting ourselves up for the future.”

But there’s a lot of work and strategy that goes into a financially effective retirement.

Let me explain,

As you would know if you meet certain requirements you can add up to $25,000 per year into your superannuation fund as a concessional contribution and up to $100,000 can be added as a non-concessional contribution each year. 1

During the accumulation phase of your superannuation, contributing to your fund can ensure that you will have ample funds held tax effectively during your pension phase. Most people think after you are 65 years old and no longer working that you are unable to make voluntary contributions. However, this is where the strategy comes into play.

It is called the “downsizer contribution”, put simply if you are aged 65 or older and you have owned your principal place of residence for at least 10 years you may be eligible. This means you can make a tax-free contribution into your super of $300,000 and as a couple you can contribute $600,000 irrespective of having a total superannuation balance in excess $1.6 million.

Prime Wealth’s Senior Advisor Angus Rodgers says, “Where it applies, this is an awesome strategy to ensure retirement funds are maximised and invested tax-effectively.”

Still confused or want to know more about this strategy, the tax and social security implications talk to our advisors today on (02) 9415 1511 or email us.

1 This contribution will be considered at 30 June of the financial year in which the contribution is made, when the total superannuation balance is recalculated.

This strategy is not for everyone and has been provided as general information only and prepared without taking into account your financial position, objectives, and needs. You should consider its appropriateness and seek financial advice before making any financial decisions.

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