WHAT THE TAX?!! 
2018 tax planning for small businesses

As 30 June 2018 is fast approaching, we would like to advise you of some key tax planning opportunities that your business may be in a position to take advantage of before the end of the financial year.

Extension of instant asset write-off

It was announced, and expected to become law, that the instant asset write-off for small business will be extended 12 months to 30 June 2019. Entities with an aggregated annual turnover less than $10m will be able to immediately write-off an asset costing less than $20,000.

The change in the end date of 12 months reduces a potential cash-flow issue for small businesses.

Company tax cuts

Companies with annual aggregated turnover between $25m to $50m will have a reduced company tax rate of 27.5% from 1 July 2018. The change in tax rate will only apply to base rate entities.

Single touch payroll

Entities with 20 or more employees are required to report the following information to the ATO from 1 July 2018:

             • withholding amounts and associated withholding payments, on or before the day by which the amount is required to be withheld

             • salary or wages and ordinary time earnings information on or before the day on which the amount is paid, and

             • superannuation contribution information on or before the day on which the contribution is paid.

For the first 12 months, reporting entities will not be subject to administrative penalties, unless first notified by the ATO.

Division 7A

Although only due to commence from 1 July 2019, a change to Division 7A rules has been proposed where unpaid present entitlements will be included as a deemed dividend.

This announcement is perhaps part of a bigger regime of changes that may become law. The extension of the Division 7A regime was announced in the 2016 Federal Budget, as well as in the Board of Taxation review into Division 7A.

This may be the best opportunity to put systems in place to ensure a favourable position for Division 7A loan holders.

Trust distributions

Trust tax planning should be undertaken as soon as possible. The resolution appointing or distributing income to beneficiaries needs to be made on or before 30 June 2018, or earlier if required by the trust deed.

Capital gains

Capital losses realised before year's end can be used to offset capital gains of that year.

Deferral of income

Subject to cash-flow considerations and anti-avoidance rules, income could be deferred to the following year, particularly if:

             • income in the following year is likely to be lower, or

             • tax rates for the following year are expected to be lower.

Note: For cash businesses - deferral of income can be risky, especially when the deferral puts them outside the ATO small business benchmarks.

Prepayments

Subject to cash-flow considerations, deductible purchases could be made by year's end in order to accelerate deductions. This applies particularly if the income in the following year is expected to be lower than in the current year.

Trading stock

For obsolete stock, or in other special circumstances, a special lower valuation could be adopted. Also, no adjustment for closing stock is necessary when a reasonable estimate of closing stock is within $5,000 of opening stock.

Bad debts

A properly authorised resolution is required when writing off a bad debt and claiming a tax deduction. A GST adjustment may also be required on the original invoice.

Directors' fees

To claim a current year deduction for directors' fees, the company should have definitively committed itself to the payment, ie by passing a properly authorised resolution.

Superannuation

For the quarter ending 30 June 2018, employer superannuation contributions must be made before 30 June for a deduction to be available in the 2017/18 year.

For family businesses, it is important that annual caps for concessional and non-concessional superannuation contributions are not exceeded.

 Information sourced using CCH iknow