Tax

GETTING AHEAD

Form-filling is worth all the pain if a tax refund’s on the cards

David Potts 11:30 AM   The choice is yours when it comes to taking advantage of that hard-earned refund.

SMSFs want lifetime contribution cap

Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry chief Kate Carnell is one of seven signatories to a joint submission to the tax inquiry calling for an overhaul of the way super contributions are capped.

Sally Rose   Self-managed super funds have urged the government to replace the $30,000 annual cap on super contributions with a lifetime cap to encourage more people to save.

Schlumberger agrees to pay $51m to settle ATO claim

Schlumberger has been one of the biggest contractors to BHP in the past three years, particularly in the US shale sector.

Peter Ker   A multinational contractor to oil giants BHP Billiton and Chevron has agreed to pay more than $51 million to the Australian Tax Office to settle a "transfer pricing" claim.

Abbott's advisor wants more tax on super, capital gains

National Commission of Audit chair Tony Shepherd.

Peter Martin   The head of Tony Abbott's Commission of Audit has broken ranks with the Prime Minister on the question of superannuation, saying it's time to ask whether the multi-billion dollar system of tax concessions is achieving its aim.

Non-profit super labels deal on retirement incomes review a farce

Australian Institute of Superannuation Trustees chief executive Tom Garcia.

Sally Rose    The government's promise to review the retirement incomes system, in order to secure support from the Greens for its planned changes to the aged pension test announced in the May federal budget, has been labelled a farce.

TAX TRICKS

Seven days - and ways - to strike it rich

Think smart and get your tax affairs in order before the start of the new tax year.

Nicole Pedersen-McKinnon   There's a week to go until the end of the financial year. Seven days. Seven chances to save money.

GETTING AHEAD

End the financial year on an upswing

If the end of the financial year isn't going to be party for you,  there are steps you can take now to add some fizz to your financial affairs.

David Potts   A financial nip-and-tuck is just the thing to think about before June 30.

DONATIONS

Getting clarity on charity giving

Brisbane resident Lauren Clemett chooses to support Nourish The Children, a charity which uses most of the money it receives to actually deliver.

Christine Long   As Australia's charities swing into end-of-financial-year donation drives, the question about administration costs often arises. So how can you work out which charities are worthy and which are not passing your money on to where you'd like it to go?

FIFO setback for BHP workers

A federal court ruling says employees travelling to remote locations should not be subject to fringe benefits tax.

Peter Ker   BHP has been told it cannot have workforces that are 100 per cent fly-in, fly-out, while companies running FIFO operations may soon enjoy a tax windfall.

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YOUR QUESTIONS

Let super take care of tomorrow while you live for today

If you plan to retire early, make sure your retirement plan has legs.

George Cochrane   Debt-free and planning to stop working in seven years. Will it all work out?

Abbott happy to blow air into housing bubble

Going up: Rising prices mean sliding affordability.

Peter Martin   Tony Abbott wants house prices to rise and more affordability too. This is plain silly because you can’t have both.

WELL-HEELED

It’s our civic duty – but paying too much tax is crazy

It's all a game really.

Melissa Browne   If you're looking at ways to cut your taxable income, here are a few things you need to know.

BUDGET 2015

So what does it all mean for you?

Dan Steiner would have liked some restrictions on the superannuation tax concessions that go to the very well off.

John Collett   Small business owners have come out smiling, as have 50,000 pensioners. But the budget takeaway is less palatable for others,

TAX PLANS

Death of the tax return?

Embracing greater automation may mean we've seen the last of this.

David Wilson   Sick of shoe-boxes of receipts? Hi-tech solutions could spell the end of the tax-time grind.

Call to tax the rich and save $19.5b a year

The Australia Institute proposed a "Buffet Rule" of a minimum tax rate of 35 per cent for someone on $300,000 a year.

Nassim Khadem   Superannuation tax concessions are mostly benefiting the wealthy at significant cost to the federal budget, but by making changes to super and other tax breaks the government could save up to $19.5 billion a year.

YOUR QUESTIONS

Open to ideas for growing savings

Many people with elderly parents may expect a hefty inheritance in a few years.

George Cochrane   My mother's 93 and will – at some point – leave me a significant sum. What's the best way to make it work for me?

Why Hockey's Netflix tax could 'fail'

Joe Hockey wants to embrace widespread changes in tax for overseas digital companies, such as Netflix.

Jared Lynch   Netflix is Joe Hockey's lightning rod to collect more tax from overseas technology giants.

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Inspector-General to handle ATO gripes

Ali Noroozi, Inspector-General of Taxation, said it will be better for his office to handle tax complaints.

Nassim Khadem   Over 1300 individual complaints made each year about the Australian Taxation Office will now be handled by the Inspector-General of Taxation Ali Noroozi.

ASSET CHECK

Get that home loan paid off

The return from paying down a house mortgage is risk and tax free.

Daryl Dixon   Whether interest rates rise or fall, the most rewarding and tax-effective strategy is to pay off debt on the family home as soon as possible.

Treasury overlooks chief tax shelter

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Daryl Dixon

Daryl Dixon   The Treasury tax discussion paper fails to address the gross inequities in both the tax and social security systems.

YOUR QUESTIONS

Pensions a problem for older migrants

New Zealand citizens who have migrated to Australia face a complex set of rules to qualify for the Age Pension.

George Cochrane   What's the best course open to someone who wants to stay in the country she would love to call home?

Joe Hockey steps in to protect suspected tax dodger multinationals from being identified

Treasurer Joe Hockey is not keen on a Glencore/Rio Tinto merger .

Heath Aston   Treasurer Joe Hockey personally approved a decision to shield companies sending billions of dollars offshore as part of apparent tax-dodging strategies from being named.

TAX TRAPS

Ways to ensure a great divide

Max Newnham

Max Newnham   Replacing one old home with two new ones is tempting. But what are the tax pitfalls?

ON THE CREDIT SIDE

Dividend franking gains a reprieve

"We are operating in a less risky world in terms of leverage in the banking system and, at the global level, with a far smaller shadow banking system," Pimco said.

David Potts   Relax. The fact Treasury thought better of mentioning one of the major arguments against franking suggests it's not fussed either way.

BOURIS ON MONEY

Tax tactics can make your money grow

Money growing

Mark Bouris   If you're trying to create financial security, always remember that the tax system can be on your side.

GETTING STARTED

Treasury getting its tax ducks all in a row

In its sights: But the gaps in the Treasury list also show a pattern.

David Potts   Negative gearing isn't a problem but the discount on capital gains tax is.

ASK NOEL

What can I do to cut my tax bill on sister’s rent-free home?

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Noel Whittaker.

Noel Whittaker   What's the tax position on property we bought jointly 15 years ago?

ASK NOEL

Dipping a toe in the investment water

 

Noel Whittaker   I'm 31 and nervous of investing my hard-earned savings in shares. What should I do?

YOUR QUESTIONS

Managing mother's spare money

Investments need to be made with an eye to the future.

George Cochane   Should my mum put half her savings into the share market?

YOUR QUESTIONS

What's my super plan?

Thinking of retiring? 
It pays to do your homework first.

George Cochrane   I intend to retire this year and have to decide what to do with my superannuation that will complement my part aged pension.