Tax – What The 2019 Federal Election Means For You!

Tax – What The 2019 Federal Election Means For You!

There is only a short time before the Federal Election on 18 May 2019, and there’s a lot of wild speculation and “fake news” in the media.

We’re not trying to recommend who you should vote for, but instead we believe that it is vital that our clients understand how they will be affected by the result of the Election.

Here are some of the key ways you may be impacted:

  • The amount of personal income tax and Medicare levy you will pay
  • The amount of capital gain that will be subject to personal tax
  • Opportunity to continue to convert excess franking credits into cash tax refunds
  • Altering the tax treatment of trust distributions
  • Ability to offset prospectively investment losses against other income (i.e. negative gearing)
  • Ability to claim a full deduction for the cost of managing your tax affairs; and
  • Remove deductibility on personal superannuation contributions and lower the annual concessional contribution cap

A note of caution here, as there is little detail associated with some of the proposed changes. While we have listed below the main policy announcements, the detailed legislation might differ substantially, so we encourage you to be mindful of this!

This is what we know so far (at time of writing):

LABOR’S TAX POLICIES

  1. A tax on those receiving distributions through Family or Discretionary Trusts at 30%. These are small business structures, and this will affect many business owners.
  2. Doing away with the cash refunds for excess franking credits through a SMSF.
  3. Increasing the personal tax rate in the top tax bracket by an additional 2%.
  4. Maintaining a company tax rate at the full 30 per cent (%) for companies with turnover exceeding $50 million.
  5. Higher personal tax rates at the top end and lower personal tax rates at the lower end (i.e. less than $125,000).
  6. Limit negative gearing on investment properties to newly built residential dwellings from a yet to be determined date after the election. Property investments made before this date will not be affected as they will be grandfathered. The ability to negatively gear other asset classes will also be restricted. If the total of the interest and deductions related to investments exceed the investment income, the excess will not be able to be used for offset against other non-investment income such as salary and wages. This excess will need to be carried forward for offset against future investment income or capital gains. It will apply on a prospective global basis to every taxpayer. In other words, it will apply to property and shares alike (and any other relevant asset classes) and it will apply by looking at a taxpayer and assessing their overall investment income as measured against their overall investment interest expenses;
  7. Providing landlords who build new residential dwellings an annual subsidy for 15 years of $8,500 a year if the home is let out at 20 per cent below market rates;
  8. Much higher capital gains tax when you sell an investment property or other taxable asset due to the halving of the Capital Gains Tax (CGT) discount to 25 per cent for individuals. All investments made prior to 1 January 2020 will be fully grandfathered, so the new rules won’t apply to them.
  9. A new deduction (the Australian Investment Guarantee) that will enable a 20 per cent deduction in respect of the purchase of any eligible asset worth more than $20,000.
  10. Capping of deductions for managing tax affairs to a maximum of $3,000. This cap will impact individuals, trusts and partnerships. A carve-out is to apply for individual small businesses with positive business income and annual turnover up to $2 million.
  11. Whistle-blower rewards for tax evasion; and higher penalties for tax exploitation promoters.
  12.  Superannuation:
    • Oppose catch up contributions on concessional contributions and tax deductibility on personal superannuation contributions;
    • Lower annual non-concessional contribution cap to $75,000 and reduce high-income super contribution threshold to $200,000 so that more Div293 Tax will be paid by higher income earners;
    • Increasing the superannuation guarantee to 12 per cent when fiscal circumstances allow;
    • Phase out the $450 minimum monthly threshold to receive super guarantee contributions, as part of a broader women’s super-security package; and
    • Higher penalties for employers not paying SG.

 

THE COALITION’S TAX POLICIES

  1. Companies with a grouped turnover of less than $50 million have a reduced company tax rate of less than 30 per cent. Tax cuts already enacted as follows:
    • 5 per cent 2019-20 income year
    • 26 per cent for the 2020-21 income year
    • 25 per cent for the 2021-22 income year and for subsequent income years

The government will no longer proceed with implementing its plan to have a 25 per cent tax rate apply to all companies;

  1. The government has legislated changes to personal income tax thresholds, as announced in the 2018-19 federal budget. Personal tax changes legislated are to be rolled out in three tranches over the next seven years as detailed in the table above;
  2. No change to current arrangements regarding negative gearing of investment property;
  3. No change to the CGT discount, which currently sits at 50 per cent for individuals;
  4. No change to the current arrangements regarding trust distributions from discretionary trusts. Currently distributions are subject to tax in the hands of beneficiaries at marginal income tax rates, which could result in a lower effective tax rate for those distributions;
  5. No change to the current arrangements regarding imputation, in particular the full refund of excess imputation credits. This means that excess imputation credits can be converted into cash refunds;
  6. Superannuation – While not directly a tax policy, the government is proposing a three-year audit cycle for SMSFs that have a history of good record-keeping and compliance;
  7. The $30,000 immediate asset write-off is available to 30 June 2019. There is no certainty beyond this date; and
  8. Establish a Small Business Concierge Service within the Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman’s office to provide support and advice about the Administrative Appeals Tribunal process. It will also create a dedicated Small Business Taxation Division within the AAT which will include a supporting case manager, a standard application fee of $500 and fast-tracked decisions to be made within 28 days of a hearing.

CONCLUSION

It’s hard to imagine not being impacted in any way.

There are many other election issues that will influence a voter’s preferences and, at the end of the day, it is about making informed choices.

Please contact us anytime if you would like our advice (before and after the Election) about these proposed tax policies and how they may affect you. We’re here to help you!

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The Major Parties’ Superannuation and Tax Policies

The Major Parties’ Superannuation and Tax Policies

The federal election has been called for May 18 and both major parties have outlined their superannuation and tax policies. With the federal election only weeks away many of our clients have been asking what the major political parties’ policies are that may impact their SMSF, individual taxation circumstances or personal investments.

If you would like more information on a particular policy announcement, please do not hesitate to contact our office to set up a time to discuss any requirements you may have.

Liberal-National Coalition

Superannuation
  • Australians aged 65 and 66 will be able to make voluntary superannuation contributions without needing to work a minimum amount. Previously, this was only available to individuals below 65.
  • Extending access to the bring-forward arrangements (the ability to make three years of post-tax contributions in a single year) to individuals aged 65 and 66.
  • Increasing the age limit for individuals to receive spouse contributions from 69 to 74.
  • Reducing red-tape for how SMSFs claim tax deductions for earnings on assets supporting superannuation pensions.
  • Delaying the implementation of SuperStream (electronic rollovers for SMSFs and superannuation funds) until March 2021 to allow for greater usability.
Taxation
  • From 2018-19 taxpayers earning between $48,000 and $90,000 will receive $1,080 as a low and middle income tax offset. Individuals earning below $37,000 will receive a base amount of $255 with the offset increasing at a rate of 7.5 cents per dollar for those earning $37,000-$48,000 to a maximum offset of $1,080.
  • Stage 1 tax cuts: From July 1 2018, increasing the top threshold of the 32.5 per cent tax bracket from $87,000 to $90,000.
  • Stage 2 tax cuts: From 1 July 2022, increasing the top threshold of the 19 per cent personal income tax bracket from $41,000, to $45,000.
  • Stage 3 tax cuts: From 1 July 2024, reducing the 32.5 per cent marginal tax rate to 30 per cent which applies from $120,000 to $200,000. The 37 per cent tax bracket will be abolished.

Australian Labor Party

Superannuation
  • Disallowing refunds of excess franking credits from 1 July 2019 – this would mean SMSF members in pension phase no longer receive refunds for the franking credits they receive for their Australian share investments.
  • Banning new limited recourse borrowing arrangements.
  • Reducing the post-tax contributions cap to $75,000 per year down from $100,000.
  • Ending the ability to make catch-up concessional contributions for unused cap amounts in the previous five years.
  • Ending the ability for individuals to make personal superannuation tax deductible contributions unless less than 10 per cent of their income is from salaries.
  • Lowering the higher income 30per cent super contribution tax threshold from $250,000 to $200,000.
Taxation
  • Labor supports the stage 1 tax cuts and will match the $1,080 low and middle income tax offset. From 1 July 2018, individuals earning below $37,000, will get a $350 a year tax offset, with this amount increasing for those earning between $37,000- $48,000 to the maximum $1,080 offset.
  • Introduce a 30 per cent tax rate for discretionary trust distributions to people over the age of 18.
  • Will limit negative gearing to newly built housing from January 1 2020. (Existing investments are grandfathered under the current law)
  • Reduce the capital gains tax discount for assets that are held longer than 12 months from the current 50 per cent to 25 per cent. (Existing investments are grandfathered under the current law)
  • Limit the deductions for the cost of managing tax affairs to $3,000.

How can we help?

If you have any questions or would like further clarification in regards to how the above policies may affect you and your fund, please contact us.

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