Using Beer To Explain How Tax Concessions Work


Let’s put tax concessions for superannuation in terms everyone can understand.

Suppose that every night, ten men go to their favorite bar for a few beers. The tab for all tenBeer Fund
comes to $100. If they paid their bill the way we pay our taxes, it would go something like
this:

  • The first four men (the poorest) would pay nothing.
  • The fifth would pay $1.
  • The sixth would pay $3.
  • The seventh $7.
  • The eighth $12.
  • The ninth $18.
  • The tenth man (the richest) would pay $59.

So, that’s what they decided to do. The ten men drank in the bar every night and seemed quite happy with the
arrangement, until one day, the owner threw them a curve ball.

“Since you are all such good customers,” he said, “I’m going to reduce the cost of your nightly tab by $20.”

So, now drinks for the ten only cost $80. The group still wanted to pay their tab the way we pay our taxes.  So, the first four men were unaffected. They would still drink for free.

But what about the other six, the paying customers?

How could they divvy up the $20 windfall so that everyone would get his ‘fair share’?

The six men realized that $20 divided by six is $3.33. But if they subtracted that from everybody’s share, then the fifth man and the sixth man would each end up being ‘PAID‘ to drink beer!

So, the bar owner suggested that it would be fair to reduce each man’s bill by roughly the same amount, and he proceeded to work out the amounts each should pay.

And so:

  • The fifth man, like the first four, now paid nothing (100% savings).
  • The sixth now paid $2 instead of $3 (33% savings).
  • The seventh now paid $5 instead of $7 (28% savings).
  • The eighth now paid $9 instead of $12 (25% savings).
  • The ninth now paid $14 instead of $18 (22% savings).
  • The tenth now paid $49 instead of $59 (16% savings).

Each of the six was better off than before. And the first four continued to drink for free. But once drunk and outside the bar, the men began to compare their savings.

“I only got a dollar out of the $20,” declared the sixth man. He pointed to the tenth man “but he got $10!”

“Yeah, that’s right,” exclaimed the fifth man. “I only saved a dollar, too. It’s unfair that he got ten times more than me!”

“That’s true!!” shouted the seventh man. “Why should he get $10 back when I got only $2? The wealthy get all the breaks!”

“Wait a minute,” yelled the first four men in unison. “We didn’t get anything at all. The system exploits the poor!”

The nine men surrounded the tenth and beat him up.

The next night the tenth man didn’t show up at the bar, so the nine sat down and drank without him. But when it came time to pay the tab, they discovered something important. They didn’t have enough money  between all of them for even half of the tab!

And that, ladies and gentlemen, journalists and Mr Turnbull and Mr Morrison, is how our tax system works. The people who pay the highest taxes get the most benefit from a tax reduction or concession like the Superannuation contribution tax rate. Tax them too much, attack them for being wealthy, and they just may not show up to pick up the tab anymore.

In fact, they might start drinking overseas, where the atmosphere is somewhat friendlier.

For those who understand, no explanation is needed.
For those who do not understand, no explanation is possible

This article has been adapted to Australian circumstances and is based on what is believed to have originally been a letter to the Chicago Tribune by a Mr Don Dodson in March 2001 (Source SNOPES.com )

As always please contact me if you want to look at your own particular situation as we specialise in plain English strategies. We have offices in Castle Hill and Windsor but can meet clients anywhere in Sydney or via Skype.

Liam Shorte B.Bus SSA™ AFP

Financial Planner & SMSF Specialist Advisor™

Verante Financial Planning

Tel: 02 98941844, Mobile: 0413 936 299

PO Box 6002 BHBC, Baulkham Hills NSW 2153

5/15 Terminus St. Castle Hill NSW 2154

Corporate Authorised Representative of Magnitude Group Pty Ltd ABN 54 086 266 202, AFSL 221557

This information has been prepared without taking account of your objectives, financial situation or needs. Because of this you should, before acting on this information, consider its appropriateness, having regard to your objectives, financial situation and needs. This website provides an overview or summary only and it should not be considered a comprehensive statement on any matter or relied upon as such.

.

What information do I need to provide for my SMSF Audit


At the end of each financial year your Self-Managed Super Fund will need to be audited by an independent third-party SMSF auditor. 

Having your SMSF audited isn’t exactly exciting, but it is an essential part of the compliance process. Looking to save money on the audit by going for a cheap service may come back to bite so I always recommend paying a decent fee to an experienced auditor is worthwhile. If they are not doing at least 25 audits a year then don’t use them as experience is crucial and it is necessary to have knowledge of what to look for and how to guide you the ultimate client.

The SMSF audit involves a review of your fund and the strategies and transactions during the year to ensure it remains a ‘complying fund’ in line with the ATO’s definition.

Who can audit my SMSF?

Your SMSF can only be audited by an approved SMSF auditor.  SMSF auditors are most commonly qualified accountants; however there are some additional requirements.

Members of the following organisations are qualified SMSF auditors:

  • SMSF Specialist Auditors, accredited by the SMSF Professionals’ Association of Australia (My personal preference)
  • CPA Australia
  • The Institute of Chartered Accountants Australia
  • National Institute of Accountants
  • Association of Taxation and Management Accountants
  • Fellows of the National Tax and Accountants Association Ltd

SMSF Specialist Auditors, as appointed by the SMSF Professionals’ Association of Australia, are also qualified to complete this important SMSF function.

SMSF Audit Check-list

The person performing the SMSF audit will require a number of documents and may seek these from your Administrator, accountant or directly from you the Trustees.  The auditor will generally have a standard SMSF audit check-list, however the following will give you some guidance on what you are generally asked to provide:

  • Financial statements of the fund.
  • Cash Management and Bank statements for all fund accounts including Cheque, Savings and Term Deposits.
  • Managed fund /Wrap annual transaction and income report.
  • Share Broker’s statement showing all transactions.
  • Holding statements for all shares held during the year and the end of year balance.
  • Buy & sell contracts for all shares held during the year including Off Market Transfers and any corporate actions.
  • Statements showing clearly the ownership of all fixed interest securities like bonds, hybrids and notes.
  • Contracts for any property purchased or sold
  • Copy of the Title deed showing evidence of ownership for any property in the correct name.
  • Property valuations and updated if starting a new pension.
  • Building & Liability insurance certificates of currency
  • Lease agreements and rental income statements
  • Documentation for any art or collectables including evidence of Insurance in the name of the SMSF.
  • Details of any debts owed by the SMSF including loan statements showing repayments
  • Documentation of any related party loans or investments
  • Confirmation of any contributions or withdrawals
  • Confirmation that the member is eligible for contributions or meets a condition of release for withdrawals
  • Pension or lump sum benefits payment details including copies of Pension Agreements and minutes.
  • Information on any  other investments not mentioned.
  • Completed SMSF Investment Strategy in writing including consideration of members’ insurance needs.

This is not an exhaustive list and your SMSF auditor may require additional documentation.

For further information on the issues raised in this blog please contact our Castle Hill SMSF Centre or Windsor Financial Planning Office. While we are not auditors we can point you in the right direction of people you can trust.

I hope this guidance  has been helpful and please take the time to comment. Feedback always appreciated. Please reblog, retweet, put on your Facebook page if you found information helpful.

Liam Shorte B.Bus SSA™ AdvDipFS AMC

Financial Planner & SMSF Specialist Advisor™

 Follow SMSFCoach on Twitter  Liam Shorte on Linkedin  NextGen Wealth on Facebook   

Verante Financial Planning

Tel: 02 8853 6833,  Mobile: 0413 936 299

PO Box 6002 BHBC, Baulkham Hills NSW 2153

5/15 Terminus St, Castle Hill NSW 2154

308 George St, Windsor NSW 2756

 

ABN 20 060 778 216 • AFSL No.232686

Liam Shorte is a partner in VERANTE, Corporate Authorised Representative of Genesys Wealth Advisers Limited, Licence No 232686, Genesys Wealth Advisers Limited ABN 20 060 778 216.

Important information :

The information in this article is provided for illustrative purposes only and does not take into consideration your personal circumstances. You are encouraged to seek financial advice suitable to your circumstances to avoid a decision that is not appropriate. Any reference to your actual circumstances is coincidental. Genesys and its representatives receive fees and brokerage from the provision of financial advice or placement of financial products.

Superannuation — tax certainty for deceased estates – Government MYEFO announcement good for SMSFs


The release of draft taxation ruling TR 2011/D3 in July last year caused much concern when it suggested that the pension exemption ceases automatically upon death (unless a reversionary pension was in place).

Under those proposed rules if an SMSF member died with assets carrying unrealised Capital Gains, even if the deceased were receiving a pension, upon death the pension would cease (unless the pension qualified as an auto-reversionary pension). If SMSF assets were then sold/transferred, the SMSF would have CGT implications.  (more…)

Is your SMSF lending money to someone?


Is that loan in your SMSF’s best interest?

The Tax Office issued an information sheet on their website last November warning trustees about the perils of lending an SMSF’s funds to the wrong person. This includes your own business, someone who advises you or a family member or friend.

An all too common occurrence is the practice adopted by some people of withdrawing funds from their SMSF to “temporarily” help keep their business afloat when cash flow is tight.

Has your SMSF loaned money? If so, you need to make sure the loan terms comply with the law and are in the best interests of your funds sole purpose test which is to provide for your retirement.

The boys and girls at the ATO are rightly concerned some trustees are lending money from their fund to people who provide advice or assist in the running of the fund. This may not be in the best interest of your SMSF, and may place your retirement savings at risk. If someone is recommending you set up a SMSF and then to lend them or a related party money for a development, you have to ask yourself in who’s best interest are they working? Might be time to scrutinise the minute details of this “too good to be true one time only opportunity”.

So when would a loan agreement not be seen to be in the best interest of your SMSF ? Basically, when you have given discount loan rates or favourable terms – this could have serious consequences. Here is one example they give:

 when you have given discount loan rates or favourable terms – this could have serious consequences. In addition to putting your member’s benefits at risk, your SMSF could be found to be non-complying and would, therefore, not qualify for concessional tax rates.

They advise that before lending any money, you should consider your fund’s investment strategy and determine whether the investment is appropriate and, in particular, whether lending money to people providing you with services or advice is in the best long-term interests of your SMSF.

If you are not sure about making these types of investments choices, they recommend that you seek advice before entering into such arrangements.

If you still decide to go ahead and lend money from your SMSF, the ATO advise that “you should:

  • write an appropriate loan agreement and have it signed by all the parties involved
  • ensure the loan agreement specifies all the terms of the loan, such as:
    • what the security for the loan
    • what is the repayment period
    • when repayments will be paid
    • the amount of the repayments
    • the interest rate
  • ensure the interest and repayments are received by the fund according to the loan agreement
  • take appropriate action to protect the fund’s investment if the loan agreement is not followed
  • ensure the loan is sensible and does not put the members’ benefits at risk
  • ensure that the conditions of the loan agreement do not provide the borrower with favourable terms.

Remember that you are the one ultimately responsible for running your SMSF, and you must make sure you understand your duties, responsibilities and obligations.”

With regards to taking funds out to help your business, you need to firstly know that should the business go under that your Superannuation is in most cases protected in bankruptcy from creditors so you should be careful about accessing this protected asset.

Regardless of how much you trust a person even if they are your accountant, lawyer, financial planner, mortgage broker or best mate, you need to get independent third-party advice. Don’t be embarrassed about not completely trusting the promoters scheme as it is often too late later to get your funds back and hindsight is a cruel tormentor when facing loved ones having lost your retirement nest egg.

For further information on the issues raised in this blog please contact our Castle Hill SMSF Centre or Windsor Financial Planning Office.

I hope this guidance  has been helpful and please take the time to comment. Feedback always appreciated. Please reblog, retweet, put on your Facebook page if you found information helpful.

Liam Shorte B.Bus SSA™ AFP

Financial Planner & SMSF Specialist Advisor™

SMSF Specialist Adviser 

 Follow SMSFCoach on Twitter Liam Shorte on Linkedin NextGen Wealth on Facebook   

Verante Financial Planning

Tel: 02 98941844, Mobile: 0413 936 299

PO Box 6002 BHBC, Baulkham Hills NSW 2153

5/15 Terminus St. Castle Hill NSW 2154

Corporate Authorised Representative of Magnitude Group Pty Ltd ABN 54 086 266 202, AFSL 221557

This information has been prepared without taking account of your objectives, financial situation or needs. Because of this you should, before acting on this information, consider its appropriateness, having regard to your objectives, financial situation and needs. This website provides an overview or summary only and it should not be considered a comprehensive statement on any matter or relied upon as such.

Are SMSF Investors really comparing Hybrids vs. Company Shares?


 

ID-100385312

Every article I  read at the moment the commentators are more and more sceptical about the recent issues of Australian listed hybrids and notes. They constantly compare the hybrid against the equity in the actual shares of the issuer.

And yes I have been saying to younger clients who wanted to invest that I personally would buy the shares of the blue chip issuers, not the hybrid, because the successful hybrid issue shifts risk from equity investors to the hybrid investors and if you are going to take long-term risk then get recompensed for it from the  issuer.

Yet the majority of people buying these hybrids are not my younger clients and they probably don’t look at the case for hybrids vs. shares. They are my SMSF Retiree and Pre Retiree clients. They look at the investment case of hybrids vs. their HISA (High Interest Savings Accounts) rates and term deposit rates. I know from these clients the majority of the demand for Australian hybrids has come from maturing term deposits and falling interest rates as the RBA cuts.

The banks and their advisers have worked out these “yield plays” seem to be in favour and hybrid issuance is increasing as term deposit and cash rates fall. They are tempting clients to put some of their “defensive portfolio” in to this sector rather than trying to grab some of the Share portfolio allocation.

Commentators say that the banks who are the main issuers are getting the best deal and yes their ratings have been improving when they finalise these issues.

They recommend that you buy the Shares in these companies rather than the “mutton dressed up as lamb” hybrids.

Christopher Joye in the SMH provided the following as an example where he compared the results using CBA PERLS IV vs. CBA Shares themselves over the period July 2007 to July 2012. Yes, with hindsight, you would be far better off owning the shares but they miss the point. Regardless of the outcome many SMSF trustees have a lower risk tolerance and they would be content with the returns from the PERLS IV (25.4% over 5 tumultuous years) during that period while they may have had a meltdown if in the CBA shares during the highlighted volatile period July 07-Mar ’09.

The other point I should make is that clients are making much smaller risk adjusted plays in these hybrids by quality issuers only and are willing to hold to maturity. When they have  a $100K Term Deposit maturing they are placing 10K-30K in to one or two of these hybrids and putting the rest back on Term Deposits. It is recognition that these hybrids do carry more risk and that they understand that risk.

Their aim is not to attain equity like returns but an average portfolio income in the 5.5-6% mark and that can no longer be achieved by cash and TDs alone. So yes they are taking on more risk to achieve their objectives but they are not being silly and getting over exposed. That is why we have avoided Crown, Caltex, Bendigo & Adelaide and even SunCorp issuances.

So yes the Banks get the benefit of cheaper finance but SMSF investors get access to that yield, in bite sized manageable chunks that they require with less volatility than the underlying share. The risks in hybrids are not to be scoffed at but if you do your home work, understand the risk, keep the allocations small and think long term, then they may have a place in your portfolio.

If you want to read more about hybrids generally, the ASX has produced a guide – Understanding hybrid securities – that you can download here.

Are you looking for an advisor that will keep you up to date and provide guidance and tips like in this blog? Then why now contact me at our Castle Hill or Windsor office in Northwest Sydney to arrange a one on one consultation. Just click the Schedule Now button up on the left to find the appointment options.

Liam Shorte B.Bus SSA™ AFP

Financial Planner & SMSF Specialist Advisor™

SMSF Specialist Adviser 

 Follow SMSFCoach on Twitter Liam Shorte on Linkedin NextGen Wealth on Facebook   

Verante Financial Planning

Tel: 02 98941844, Mobile: 0413 936 299

PO Box 6002 BHBC, Baulkham Hills NSW 2153

5/15 Terminus St. Castle Hill NSW 2154

Corporate Authorised Representative of Magnitude Group Pty Ltd ABN 54 086 266 202, AFSL 221557

This information has been prepared without taking account of your objectives, financial situation or needs. Because of this you should, before acting on this information, consider its appropriateness, having regard to your objectives, financial situation and needs. This website provides an overview or summary only and it should not be considered a comprehensive statement on any matter or relied upon as such.

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

2 Hits to Retirees On The Cards – Term Deposit Rates down & Swanny On The Pillage


Danger to Retirement IncomeWait until you see the news reports this week talking about how great it is for mortgage holders and first home buyers rejoicing at the drop in interest rates by the RBA on Tuesday. In reality only 1/3 of the population has a mortgage but they get the headlines.

However the self-funded retiree or those in pre-retirement looking to save for a decent income in retirement will not be rejoicing as they have to get used to a 4 in front of their Term Deposit rates and worry about the possibility of a 3 within 12 months. These are the people who often don’t have the ability to work a little extra overtime or take on part-time job to supplement their income as older workers aren’t exactly swamped with employment offers.

It may be time to bite the bullet and lock some of your funds in for 2-5 years for the best rate you can get as anything around the 5% mark is looking very attractive and not a big risk in terms of exposure to rising rates as the USA has guaranteed they will keep their rates at or near 0% until 2015. I can’t see Australia getting to far out of step with them in the coming years and it is more likely we will have to lower rates further to weaken our dollar for the economy’s sake.

Other governments are buying our Dollar to invest in what they consider stable Australian Government Bonds and Companies. A blog by my friends at Macro Business lists new countries targeting Aussie assets as reported by various media including the AFR is scary including:

Czech Republic, Kazakhstan, Switzerland, Brazil, Poland, Hong Kong Vietnam, Abu Dhabi, Kuwait,  Qatar , South Korea and of course China with possibly Peru, Malaysia and Singapore as well. All their interest means demand for our currency rises and the exchange rate goes up which the RBA has to try to manage through Interest rate strategies. All that does not bode well for your average Aussie SMSF investor seeking yield or in more simple terms income.

So time to either load up with the best long-term interest rate you can get risk free or prepare to re-enter or increase your exposure to the share market and other sources of income. Be careful chasing yield and understand the risk of any investment paying more than 1-2% above the RBA’s 3.25%.

The second possible hit is harder for me to discuss as I tend to be apolitical in my views under normal circumstances but I feel I have to say something as the leaks to the media in the last few weeks seem to be softening up the SMSF sector for some hard hits.

So on top of the interest rate cuts to your income  we have a Treasurer likely to just compound the problem because in his desperation not to give the Liberals ammunition to throw at him over budget deficits appears willing to destroy the confidence in the Australian Superannuation system by dipping his hands in to the “honey pot” that is the retirement savings of everyday Australians. He is being goaded on by the unions and industry fund sector who control a massive position of the retirement pot but mostly those with insufficient savings to fund their retirement. They seem hell-bent on making sure NO ONE can afford a comfortable retirement and all will depend on an Age Pension to some degree. They have Self Managed Super Funds (SMSF) in their sights! It may be more layers of compliance fees or reduction in tax concessions or some similar theft of your savings by stealth but we know something is coming so better to be prepared.

I urge all SMSF investors and self funded retirees in general to get on the front foot before the Half Year Budget update and be prepared to speak up to your local member of parliament and write tot he press now rather than later to try to stop this government pillaging your savings to fund a  meaningless surplus. If the opposition took the pressure off the need to bring in a surplus that would help too but I know I am dreaming with that idea. The short-term gain of accessing funding from our Superannuation will lead to a huge drop in confidence in a system that has already been hammered in the last few years by Government changes and the CFC.

For further information on the issues raised in this blog please contact our Castle Hill SMSF Centre or Windsor Financial Planning Office.

Are you looking for an advisor that will keep you up to date and provide guidance and tips like in this blog? Then why now contact me at our Castle Hill or Windsor office in Northwest Sydney to arrange a one on one consultation. Just click the Schedule Now button up on the left to find the appointment options.

Liam Shorte B.Bus SSA™ AFP

Financial Planner & SMSF Specialist Advisor™

SMSF Specialist Adviser 

 Follow SMSFCoach on Twitter Liam Shorte on Linkedin NextGen Wealth on Facebook   

Verante Financial Planning

Tel: 02 98941844, Mobile: 0413 936 299

PO Box 6002 BHBC, Baulkham Hills NSW 2153

5/15 Terminus St. Castle Hill NSW 2154

Corporate Authorised Representative of Magnitude Group Pty Ltd ABN 54 086 266 202, AFSL 221557

This information has been prepared without taking account of your objectives, financial situation or needs. Because of this you should, before acting on this information, consider its appropriateness, having regard to your objectives, financial situation and needs. This website provides an overview or summary only and it should not be considered a comprehensive statement on any matter or relied upon as such.

%d bloggers like this: