Federal Budget 2018-19

The key changes proposed for SMSFs, superannuation and business are:

Three‑yearly audit cycle for some self‑managed superannuation funds

The Government will change the annual SMSF audit requirement to a three yearly requirement for SMSFs with a history of good record keeping and compliance. The measure will start on 1 July 2019 for SMSF trustees that have a history of three consecutive years of clear audit reports and that have lodged the fund’s annual returns in a timely manner.

Expanding the SMSF member limit from four to six

As already announced, the Federal Government confirmed its decision to expand the number of members allowed in an SMSF from four to six. Expanding the definition of an SMSF to a fund with a maximum of six members will provide greater flexibility in how funds can be structured.

Work test exemption

The Government will provide more time for Australians aged 65 to 74 to boost their retirement savings, by introducing an exemption from the superannuation work test.

This exemption will apply where an individual’s total superannuation balance is below $300,000 and will permit voluntary superannuation contributions in the first year that they do not meet the work test requirements.

Life insurance cover in super to be opt-in for individuals under 25 years of age

The Government will legislate that life insurance cover in superannuation will be opt-in for those individuals under 25 years of age or with account balances under $6000 to ensure that unnecessary fees do not erode smaller balances. Life insurance cover will also cease where no contributions have been made for a period of 13 months.

 Other Super Changes

  • Individuals whose income exceeds $263,157, and have multiple employers, will be able to nominate that their wages from certain employers are not subject to the superannuation guarantee (SG) from 1 July 2018.
  • Individuals will be required to confirm in their income tax returns that they have complied with “notice of intent” requirements in relation to their personal superannuation contributions, effective from 1 July 2018.
  • A 3% annual cap will be introduced on passive fees charged by superannuation funds on accounts with balances below $6,000, and exit fees on all superannuation accounts will be banned.

Older Australian package

The Government introduced the following measures to enhance the standard of living older Australians:

  • Increase to the Pension Work Bonus from $250 to $300 per fortnight.
  • Amendments to the pension means test rules to encourage the take up of lifetime retirement income products.
  • Expansion of the Pensions Loan Scheme to allow more Australians to use the equity in their homes to increase their incomes.

Personal income tax bracket changes

The Government has provided personal income tax relief to lower and middle income earners. A Low and Middle Income Tax Offset will now be available for individuals with incomes of up to $125,333.

The $87,000 income threshold, above which a 37 per cent tax rate applies, will increase to $90,000.

Business Income Tax

  • The $20,000 instant asset write-off will be extended for small businesses by another year to 30 June 2019.
  • Payments to employees and contractors are no longer deductible where any amounts that are required to be withheld are not paid, from 1 July 2019.
  • Significant changes to the calculation of the R&D tax incentive will commence for income years beginning on or after 1 July 2018. Additionally, a maximum cash refund will also apply for some entities.  

Black Economy

  •  The taxable payments reporting system for payments to contractors will be expanded to include security services, road freight transport and computer system design industries, effective from 1 July 2019.
  • Businesses can no longer receive cash payments above $10,000 for goods and services, from 1 July 2019.

Other changes

  • A surplus of $2.2 billion is expected in 2019-20, one year ahead of schedule.
  • The Government’s planned increase in the Medicare levy from 2 per cent to 2.5 per cent, to fund the National Disability Insurance Scheme, will now not go ahead due to increased tax revenues.

How can we help?

We will provide further information about the proposed changes as it becomes available.

If you have any questions or want a meeting to discuss your taxation or superannuation matters please contact our office.

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