The New Employer’s Guide to Superannuation

It’s not easy to start a new business. What is even harder is learning all the legal requirements, not to mention an employer’s responsibilities with regards to salaries, benefits, and superannuation, which is one of major payments for employees.

New employers may find it difficult to understand superannuation. However, it is quite simple; all you need to do is understand some core concepts:

Keep comprehensive records

Your records need to include the name of the super funds where your super contributions are being sent, how much you are paying for each fund, the date of payment, and the period covered by the payment.

In case a worker’s employment contract is terminated, the records must detail the manner by which the termination was executed, whether by consent, by notice, etc.

Picking the super fund

Do employees have to right to pick their super fund? Employees are not permitted to pick their own under some awards and agreements.

Employees who want to pick their own fund must be provided by a standard choice form by their employers. The ATO website offers more information about standard choice forms.

SuperStream it!

Beginning 1 July 2015, a new standard called SuperStream will become mandatory for employers. It simplifies the process of reporting superannuation contributions to the government, as well as saves a lot of time for employers.

The Superannuation rate

There have been quite a few changes in the superannuation rate over the last several years. But here are the important numbers:

  • 1 July 2015: 9.5%
  • 1 July 2021: 10%
  • 1 July 2023: 11%
  • 1 July 2024: 11.5%
  • 1 July 2025: 12%

Payment Dates

Contributions are paid to employers every quarter. Each quarterly period has its corresponding due date. Here they are:

  • Quarter 1, 1 July – 30 September: Due 28 October
  • Quarter 2, 1 October – 31 December: Due 28 January
  • Quarter 3, 1 January – 31 March: Due 28 April
  • Quarter 4, 1 April – 30 June: Due 28 July

Make sure your business is always updated with tax changes, including the new SuperStream system, by subscribing or upgrading to MYOB software.

If you are just starting a business and know little about superannuation, meet with one of our experts who can guide you through the process. If you want to know more about super and your obligations as an employer, contact PJS Accountants.

Christmas crackers – Our favourite cracker jokes

We all know Christmas cracker jokes are fairly bad but we still read them anyway. Here are our top 10:

  1. Who hides in the bakery at Christmas? A mince spy.
  2. What would you call a person who is afraid of Santa? Claustrophobic.
  3. What do you give someone who has everything? Penicillin.
  4. What did Adam say on the day before Christmas? It’s Christmas, Eve!
  5. A chess club threw a party at a hotel. Afterwards, several members were standing in the lobby discussing their recent tournament victories. After an hour, the manager came out of the office and asked them to leave. After they left, the manager’s assistant asked, “Why did you make them leave?” “Because,” the manager replied, “I can’t stand chess nuts boasting in an open foyer.”
  6. If Santa and Mrs Claus had twins what do you think they would call them? A pair of subordinate clauses
  7. What did the reindeer say before launching into his comedy routine? This will sleigh you.
  8. How does Santa’s accountant value his sleigh? At its net ‘present’ value.
  9. What did one Christmas cracker say to the other Christmas cracker? My POP is bigger than yours!
  10. What’s the favourite Christmas Carol of new parents? Silent Night!

Santa ‘Clauses’ – 5 Festive Season Problem Areas

1. An anti-social media Xmas party

people vectorJust imagine that embarrassing photo from the Christmas party (you know the one with the glass of champagne and the photocopier) being circulated to your key customer contacts, or even worse, your mother.

Social media creates a whole new way for that expensive company image to be trashed by team members not thinking through what they are doing. Social media is such a part of many people’s lives that it’s a given that if they are having a good time, or someone is doing something silly, a photo of it is going to be circulated via facebook, instagram or some other medium.

There is also the question of what happens when one employee loads an embarrassing photo of another employee on social media without their permission. In those situations, they don’t just damage the company’s brand but their colleagues.

Most businesses have a good understanding of the impact of alcohol, sexual harassment, bullying and anti-social behaviour at Christmas parties. It’s a good time to remind employees that the staff Christmas party is considered to be the workplace and they need to protect the reputation of the company.

2. Gift giving

In November 2010, Clive Palmer reportedly gave 750 long term employees of the Yabulu Refinery luxury overseas holidays for two for Christmas. Fifty of his most valued employees received a new Mercedes Benz. Nice.

For the rest of us, we tend to work on a return on investment principle. You want the gift to have an impact for the investment made and if you can do this in a tax efficient way then all the better. Mr Palmer certainly got the impact part right. When it comes to tax efficiency however, it’s likely that he received a very large Fringe Benefits Tax New Year hangover.

So, how do you avoid incurring more tax than you need to at Christmas?

If the gifts are for employees, you need to keep the cost of the gift below $300 per person – sorry, no Mercedes this year team. The gifts also need to be ad-hoc so splitting a $2,000 gift voucher into 10 x $200 vouchers and giving them to an employee at the end of each month won’t fool the ATO. If the gift is ad-hoc and below $300, the Tax Office considers it to be a minor benefit and as such, exempt from FBT. Gifts above this level are deductible to the business but FBT will apply.

If the gift is for a client, gifts are deductible as long as the gift is given by the business with the expectation that the business will benefit (i.e., the gift is given with the expectation of generating revenue).

3. Spreading the joy – entertaining clients

Entertaining your clients at Christmas is not tax deductible. So, if you take them out to a nice restaurant, to a show, or any other form of entertainment, then you can’t claim it as a deductible business expense and you can’t claim the GST credits either. It’s goodwill to all men but not much more.

4. 2 taxi rides and a Christmas cracker for each employee – the Christmas party dilemma

These days, it’s likely that the cost of taxi fares home from the team Christmas party are also included in your Xmas expenses – even if it’s just a backup for those staff members that go a bit too far. The simple reason is that your work Christmas party is generally seen by the law to be an extension of your workplace. So, if you have your team Christmas party at an external venue, you are responsible for the safety of your staff at the venue and travelling to and from it as they are there in the ‘course of their employment.’

To protect your team and your business, you need to make sure that there are clear rules around behaviour, the service of alcohol and everyone’s responsibilities, bullying, and sexual harassment, and that these rules are enforced at the event. There are far too many cases of violence at or after parties, staff members being sexually harassed or worse, and drink driving, not to be vigilant.

In terms of tax efficiency, taxi travel that starts or finishes at an employee’s place of work is exempt from FBT. If the party is not held on your business premises then the taxi travel is taken to be a separate benefit from the party itself and any Christmas gifts you have provided. In theory, this means that if the cost of each item per person is below $300 then the gift, party and taxi travel can all be FBT free. However, the total cost of all benefits provided to the employees needs to be taken into account in determining whether the benefits are minor.

You can’t deduct the cost of your Christmas celebrations for team members unless FBT applies.

5. Clause with a cause

Charity gifts are an increasingly popular form of corporate giving. For tax purposes, you can only claim a tax deduction for donations made to deductible gift recipients (DGRs). If you or your client receive anything for the ‘donation,’ like a teddy bear, biscuits etc., then it’s not tax deductible because you have purchased something rather than made a donation.

Gone Phishing – The Top Scams

Every year, thousands of people are caught by scams. A recent Australian Competition & Consumer Commission report stated that in 2012, Australians reported losing over $93m – that’s just the people who reported the scam.

From the ATO

The ATO has issued a warning about a new phishing email scam.

10Pretending to be from the ATO, the email claims that the recipient is entitled to a tax refund and states they should click the embedded link and complete the online form. The link however takes users to a fake webpage that attempts to obtain your tax file number.

The ATO will never email you asking for personal or credit card details.

This latest scam is just one of many. In another scam, an email purporting to be from the ATO asks the recipient to complete a form attached to the email to receive a tax refund. If opened, the attached zip file releases a virus.

Not the Yellow Pages

An old scam has resurfaced recently asking business operators to confirm Yellow Page Australia (notice it’s not Yellow Pages) and Open Business Directory listings. What appears to be a confirmation of contact details from Sensis Yellow Pages is actually an agreement to sign up to the directory for $99 per month for a minimum of 2 years.

In 2011, the Federal Court imposed penalties totalling $2.7m on two overseas companies, Yellow Page Marketing and Yellow Publishing Limited for misleading thousands of businesses into thinking they were dealing with real Sensis Yellow Pages.

Money mules – fake jobs and romance

Money mules are middlemen for stolen funds and usually receive a small commission on the transferred funds. They receive the funds into their account and then transfer them to another account.

Money mules are generally recruited through job advertisements offering quick commissions, or through romance scams where singles are asked to receive money with the promise of romance.

Not your bank

A phone call from the Australian Bankers Association might be following through to refund overcharged bank fees or completing a customer satisfaction survey. Both are scams starting with a few basic questions before delving into collect your personal information.

If you are considering outsourcing your bookkeeping, accounting and other business-related processes, but still allow you to make the big decisions and remain in control, contact PJS Accountants. We have has over 30 years experience with local Redlands businesses. Our team will be at your disposal, always ready to receive your calls and provide services, to help you to stay in charge of all aspects of your business. Call us for enquiries on how PJS Accountants can help you improve your business.

Baby Bonus Drops from $5,000 to $3,000

Under legislation recently tabled, from 1 July 2013, the Baby Bonus will be reduced to $3,000
for second and subsequent children.

Under the new Bill, the Baby bonus will continue to be paid at the rate of $5,000 for a family’s first
child, and for each child who comes into the family in a multiple birth, adoption or entrustment to care.

However, the amount of baby bonus for second and subsequent children who come into a family
from 1 July 2013 will be reduced to $3,000.

If you feel like you need support in making your way through the uncertainties and tough times ahead, or simply have a question or want more information, please contact PJS Accountants on (07) 33903177 or click here to contact us.