With the end of the financial year only a few weeks away, now is an opportune time to review your business affairs as part of your year-end tax planning.

Are you complying with the latest tax requirements? Could you be better maximising – or accessing – the deductions available to you? Have you accounted for COVID-19 related stimulus correctly?

As we countdown to 30 June, here are some considerations as you wind up another financial year.

Changes in corporate tax rate

For the year ending 30 June 2021, companies with an aggregated turnover of less than $50m – that derive no more than 80% of their income from passive sources – qualify for the base rate entity corporate tax rate of 26%. This rate decreases to 25% from 1 July 2021. Companies that do not meet this criteria will have the higher corporate tax rate of 30%.

Companies with a turnover in the vicinity of $50m should closely monitor their turnover in the lead up to the end of June, as additional sales could push them over the $50m threshold and result in a higher tax rate. Likewise, companies that previously had an aggregated turnover of more than $50m last year may have experienced a reduction in turnover and qualify for the lower tax rate this year.

For businesses with aggregated turnover less than $50m, there may be opportunities to defer income until next year and pay tax at the lower corporate tax rate of 25%, or bring forward deductions into the current financial year and claim them at the current tax rate of 26%.

The change in corporate tax rate also impacts a company’s maximum franking rate. Businesses with a turnover less than $50m are able to pay dividends up to a maximum franking rate of 26% until 30 June 2021 – however, this decreases to 25% from 1 July. The lower franking rate means additional top-up tax paid by the shareholders and can result in franking credits being trapped in the company. Consideration should be given to whether there is an advantage to declaring dividends prior to 30 June.

Temporary full expensing of eligible assets

Businesses with an aggregated turnover under $5b are able to claim an immediate deduction for the business portion of eligible new depreciating assets. The eligible new asset must be first used or installed ready for use between 6 October 2020 and 30 June 2022, with the deduction able to be claimed in the financial year the asset was first used or installed ready for use. As part of the recent Budget announcements, the Federal Government announced that the temporary full expensing of eligible assets will be extended by 12 months to 30 June 2023.

For businesses with a turnover of between $50m and $5b, the asset must be a newly-acquired asset. For businesses with an aggregated turnover of less than $50m, the immediate deduction also applies to second-hand assets.

However, the immediate deduction does not apply to buildings and capital works or assets that are located outside of Australia.

Maximising deductions

  • Bad debts – review your trade debtors and consider whether all are recoverable. Consider writing off any non-recoverable amounts as a bad debt to claim the tax deduction this financial year.
  • Superannuation contributions – contributions are not deductible until paid and received by the complying superannuation fund. Look to pay contributions prior to 30 June to enable a tax deduction in the current financial year.
  • Repairs – Prior to 30 June may be an opportune time to have any plant and equipment in need of service or repairs attended to and capture the tax deductions this side of 30 June.
  • Consumables – stock up on non-perishable consumables, such as stationery, printing and office supplies before 30 June and claim a deduction in the current year.
  • Accrued Expenditure – identify and accrue any expenses that have been incurred but not paid as at 30 June. This could include interest on business loans, commissions owing to sale personnel, salaries, wages and bonuses or utility accounts.
  • Trading Stock – complete a stock take at 30 June. Write off any obsolete of damaged stock and where the market selling value is less than the cost of the stock, look to write down the stock to the lower value.

Income received in advance/work in progress

Where income has been received in advance of services being provided, that income may not yet be derived and subsequently not be taxable until the services are delivered. Any income received in advance as at 30 June should be identified and either allocated to a liability account in the financial statements or adjusted for in the tax return.

Similarly, identify any work in progress that has been recognised as income through your accounting system as at 30 June but not yet invoiced. The work in progress is likely to not be assessable income until the following financial year once the invoice has been raised.

Review and vary PAYG instalment

Many businesses progressively pay PAYG instalments throughout the year towards their estimated tax liability for the current year. Regardless of whether they are using the Instalment Rate method or accepting the ATO determined Instalment, the amount payable is generally based on the ATO’s assumption that the profit of the business will be an improvement on the last financial year. Where businesses experience a decrease in profit relative to the prior year, this can result in additional PAYG instalments being paid throughout the year. Whilst any overpayment of income tax will be reconciled upon lodgement of the tax return, the payment of additional tax can put pressure on the working capital requirements of the business. June is an opportune time to review the businesses expected tax liability and vary the June instalment to reduce the instalment payable or claim back any excess instalments paid during the year.

Capital gains tax

Shares and real estate held for capital gain are deemed to be disposed of on contract date for tax purposes, rather than when settlement occurs. For any upcoming disposals, consider whether the contract should be entered into this side of 30 June, or after 30 June.

ATO cash flow boost and COVID stimulus grants

Some of the stimulus grants received throughout the 2021 financial year, like the cash flow boost, are non-assessable for tax purposes. Ensure these amounts are adequately narrated and separately accounted for in your accounting system so that they are not inadvertently treated as assessable income.

Loan/payments from companies

Loans and payments made by private companies to shareholders and their associates may be treated as assessable income to the shareholder under the provisions of Division 7A.

Where loans and payments have been made during the current financial year, consider if these amounts can be repaid to the company prior to 30 June. If not, consider whether a loan agreement should be put in place between the company and shareholder to repay the loan over a maximum term of seven years.

For loans that arose in a prior year and are subject to a complying loan agreement, ensure the minimum loan repayment is made prior to 30 June.

Trust distribution resolutions

Trust Deeds of most discretionary trusts require the trustee to make a determination on or prior to 30 June each year to determine how the net income of the trust is to be distributed.

In conjunction with your advisor, you should be carefully considering the requirements of the Trust Deed, income of the trust for the year and to which beneficiaries – and in what proportions – the income will be distributed.

Ensure the determination is documented by way of a distribution resolution and signed and dated by the trustee in accordance with the requirements of the Trust Deed.

There’s a bit to consider and work through the next few weeks. Please reach out to your Grant Thornton contact if you have any questions on the above or require assistance with your year-end tax planning.

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