Info base

Info Base

Our Info Base is a collection of fact sheets, templates, downloadable forms, lodgement checklists, taxation details and other relevant information. 

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  • INFO BASE

    • Resources

      • Individuals

          Residents: Personal tax rates and thresholds

          These rates apply to individuals who are Australian residents for tax purposes: 

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          Non-Residents: Personal tax rates

          Non-residents are not subject to the $18,200 tax free threshold and are not required to pay the Medicare levy.   

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          Rental Properties

          Purchasing a rental propertyWhen purchasing a financed rental property you may consider:o The interest on the debt is deductible in contrast to the interest on the debt for your main…

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          Motor Vehicle Deductions

          Since 1 July 2015 there are only two methods available for claiming a deduction for motor vehicle expenses:Logbook, orCents per kilometre All motor vehicle claims need to be supported by…

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      • Tax Rates

          Residents: Personal tax rates and thresholds

          These rates apply to individuals who are Australian residents for tax purposes: 

          read more »

          Non-Residents: Personal tax rates

          Non-residents are not subject to the $18,200 tax free threshold and are not required to pay the Medicare levy.   

          read more »

          Weekly, Fortnightly & Monthly Tax Tables

          To calculate the Pay As You Go (PAYG) withholding tax amount for your employees download the weekly, fortnightly or monthly tax tables below, depending on your agreed pay frequency. These schedules incorporate the…

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      • Lodgement Dates

          Tax Return Lodgements 2017

          A list of lodgement dates applicable to tax returns for the 2016 - 2017 financial year is below:Individual Tax Returns –• Individuals who lodge their own tax returns, the due date…

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          BAS Lodgements 2017-2018

          The lodgement program due dates for the 2017 - 2018 financial year are listed below for all quarterly and monthly activity statements, including PAYG withholding payments. Please note the different…

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      • Checklists and Downloads

          Personal Tax Return Checklist

          Income:• Group certificate(s)• Statements of any allowances, Centrelink benefits or pensions• Details of interest received on bank accounts• Dividend statements• Rental property statements from managing agent or details of any…

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          Tax Return Checklist for Rental Property Income

          Income & Expenses:• Rental statements from property agents – these will include the rental income, property agent fees and commissions, and advertising expenses• Body corporate / strata fees•…

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          Requirements for BAS

          Below is a list of the detail required to be able to process BAS documentation for lodgement:Bank statements for the full BAS period – Make sure you have all the…

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          Spreadsheets - Business Income & Expenses

          It's not always necessary to purchase, install, create and update complicated accounting package programs when starting up a business. Sometimes a simple Excel spreadsheet can be more suitable, particularly with sole traders and…

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          Spreadsheet - Rental Property

          This spreadsheet is a useful tool for monitoring your rental property's income and expenses for your year end tax return. Keep track of your quarterly earnings and expenditure, as well as capital purchases…

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          Spreadsheet - Motor Vehicle Expenses

          This spreadsheet is a useful tool for monitoring and recording your motor vehicle expenses for your year-end tax return. Keep track of your quarterly expenditure, including lease payments and interest on loans…

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          Template - Motor Vehicle Logbook

          A logbook can help you get the most from your business or work-related motor vehicle use. Download this template so you can keep track of each business or work-related trip…

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      • Superannuation

          Consolidating your super

          There are numerous benefits to keeping your super in one place.  Apart from only paying one set of fees, you will also be able to keep track of your retirement…

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          Binding Beneficiaries Nominations

          Under superannuation law, the Trustee of your super fund has the discretionary power to decide which of your dependents receives your super if you die before you retire. The law…

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      • Estate Planning

          Template - Last Will & Testament

          A Will is a legal document that clearly sets out your wishes for the distribution of your assets after your death. Having a clear, legally valid and up-to-date Will is…

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      • Starting a New Business

          Starting Up Your Business

          1.  Business PlanBefore you register for an ABN and start trading it is vital to sit down and flesh out the finer points of your business idea: Consider the different…

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          Company & Trust Set Up

          If you decide on a company or trust structure for your new business AFYF can assist you in meeting the various legal, ATO and ASIC documentation necessary for registration and…

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          Registering a Business Name

          When you first get started in a business you should register your business name with ASIC. Registration of a business name lasts for either one or three years, depending on the…

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          Company & Partnership Agreements & Deeds

          When first setting up your partnership, company or trust there may be a requirement to draw up and sign an agreement or deed. These agreements can regulate the arrangements between partners,…

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          Invoicing - What to Include

          Invoices can be hand-written, carbon copies or computer generated from programs like Xero or MYOB, but they all need to include certain details.  For businesses registered for GST invoices need…

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      • BAS & GST

          BAS Lodgement Dates 2017-2018

          The lodgement program due dates for the 2017 - 2018 financial year are listed below for all quarterly and monthly activity statements, including PAYG withholding payments. Please note the different…

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          Requirements for BAS

          Below is a list of the detail required to be able to process BAS documentation for lodgement:Bank statements for the full BAS period – Make sure you have all the…

          read more »
      • Business Planning

          Business Planning

          A business plan is an essential tool in starting up your business. It allows you to set a clear direction for your business, to communicate planning objectives and strategies to…

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      • Employing People

          Weekly, Fortnightly & Monthly Tax Tables

          To calculate the Pay As You Go (PAYG) withholding tax amount for your employees download the weekly, fortnightly or monthly tax tables below, depending on your agreed pay frequency. These schedules incorporate the…

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          Job Descriptions with Various Templates

          The job description should be the very first step in the recruitment process. It provides a support for writing job advertisements, specifying necessary qualifications, interviewing candidates, planning job training and…

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          Letters of Offer & Example

          A letter of offer is an important aspect when hiring a new employee as it outlines the terms and conditions of the job being offered.Try to include as much detail…

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          Letters of Appointment & Example

          A letter of appointment is another aspect of the recruitment process that the employer should complete to confirm the details of employment. It generally only needs to be a short…

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          Issuing Payment Summaries to Employees

          Payment summaries must be issued to every employee paid during a financial year ending 30 June. These summaries should be given to employees by the 14 July each year.The information…

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      Don't fall for fraud

      Hilda, a German living in Zimbabwe whose husband apparently perished in a Spanish plane crash, wants to park $US10.5 million in my bank account so the rellies don't get their hands on it. All she needs is my full name, address, occupation, telephone numbers and marital status ... oh, and a scanned copy of my passport and driver's licence.

      Major Joseph Morgan, who says he's an engineer serving in Ba'qubah, Iraq, wants to send me $US25 million via diplomatic courier. It's oil money, apparently, and I get to keep 30 per cent. He needs to see my passport and driver's licence as well – to “build trust, okay?”

      Thomas Brown says I'm entitled to £15.6 million just because I have the same surname as his late client – in his words, “you are qualified by your surname identity”. I'm guessing he needs my bank account details.

      Sulinna writes (in capital letters) that her breast cancer means there's “know hope for me to be a living person again”, so can she send me $US4.5 million?

      Bernadette wants my help in donating $US2.5 million to charity but suggests contact by email is better than the phone “because of my brain cancer”.

      The spelling mistakes, bad punctuation and mangled syntax in these emails – just a sample of those in my junk mail folder in the past two months – mark them out as particularly crude attempts at emptying my account.

      However, they share a certain psychology with the much more sophisticated scams that are proliferating in the internet age. The people behind such schemes know the buttons to push and just how often they're going to hit the jackpot.

      According to a report released last year by the Australian Bureau of Statistics, one in three people aged 15 and over encountered some form of scam in 2007 – perhaps receiving emails like the ones above. Five per cent of them (806,000 people) made at least an initial response and 453,100 people lost money – almost $1 billion in total, or an average of $2160 a person. The ABS says this translates to a “victimisation rate” of 2 per cent. In other words, for every 100 emails “Major Morgan” sends out, he can count on two potentially lucrative replies.

      No particular group is more likely to be conned, according to the ABS study – it doesn't matter whether you're young or old, well-educated or not. “Anyone can fall for a scam,” the deputy chairman of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, Peter Kell, says. “There's still a view in much of the community that scammers are amateurs, that they're easy to pick, that they're a bit shabby. But these days, especially online, scammers are very clever and very professional.

      “Of course you've still got the 'Nigerian letters' and the offers of miracle cures but consumers need to be aware that many scams are now part of international criminal operations with a lot of resources behind them and therefore the ability to create more sophisticated offers.”

      A senior lecturer in marketing with Deakin Business School, Paul Harrison, says scammers use psychological principles such as trust and scarcity to draw us in, knowing our emotions will probably override the rational brain. “Once the pleasure centres start firing up, the rational brain really does get told to quieten down,” Harrison says.

      Scammers won't necessarily ask for money or personal information straight away but will “groom” victims – finding out more about them and building a relationship, Harrison says.

      In many scams, this is combined with the idea of scarcity. “If we think something is scarce, such as tickets to the Olympics, our mind will give it more weight,” he says. (Many people lost money to fake ticketing websites ahead of the Beijing Olympics.)

      Harrison says the best way to resist a scam is to create some form of “psychological break” so your rational brain has a chance to kick in again. Enforce a cooling-off period and talk to friends or family about the offer. “Just by saying it out loud, it can make you think: 'That's ridiculous,'” he says.

      Others suggest starting with your list of “cons” and only then considering the “pros”, because research shows that focusing on the positives first makes it harder to come up with the negatives. And turn technology against the people who are using it to fleece you by researching their background and their offer on the internet.

      Remember, "what's the worst that can happen?" is not a rhetorical question. “The answer to that is you could lose everything – absolutely everything,” says the senior executive leader for consumers and retail investors with the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC), Delia Rickard.

      With that in mind, here's our dirty dozen – the 12 telltale signs it's a scam.

      It's out of the blue
      The professionalism of many scams means they can be hard to pick. But Kell says one constant is the offer will have been unsolicited.
      “If you receive an email out of the blue from your bank, the alarm bells should go off,” he says.
      Harrison says unsolicited communication – phone, email, letter – is a no-go area. “Any unsolicited email should be ignored, whether it looks like it's from the bank or not. They'll get back to you if they need to.”
      ASIC has a blacklist of unlicensed, overseas “cold callers” on its consumer website (fido.gov.au).

      It's too good to be true
      The ACCC has been hammering this message home for years but it bears repeating: if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is – whether it's an investment offer, a weight-loss product or incredibly cheap, prescription-free pharmaceuticals.
      “The question consumers need to ask themselves is, if it's such a great way to make money, why aren't the operators using it themselves rather than trying to sell it to me?” Kell says.
      Be sceptical about tags such as “guaranteed” and “no risk”. There are no shortcuts. There are also scams where the promoter is careful to offer believable returns, because they don't want to ring alarm bells. Whether the promises are big or small, do your homework.

      You must act now
      Scammers don't want you to have time to make the checks that are essential, Rickard says. That's why they tell you to “hurry, invest today”. If it's a company, the first thing ASIC would suggest checking is whether it's registered. If it's offering a financial product or service, it should have an Australian financial services licence. You can search ASIC's registers at asic.gov.au.

      It's exclusive
      Many scams seek to attract people by colouring the deal as open only to a privileged few. People are made to feel they've been specially chosen, Harrison says. This taps into an emotional vein among those who feel they deserve something better out of life.
      In the US, jailed financier Bernie Madoff was able to relieve his followers of $50 billion by building up an aura of exclusivity around investing with him. In reality, he was running a giant Ponzi scheme, where the “returns” relied on new investors contributing funds. This exclusivity may be dressed up with a sense of “authority”. The scheme may be “managed by (unnamed) Harvard graduates”, for instance (or, in our example, by an army officer in Iraq).

      You have to send money overseas
      Any requirement to send money offshore is a clear warning sign, the regulators say.
      “A lot of scams are run from overseas and they're in 'boiler rooms' that can be closed down and moved on quickly,” Rickard says. Once the money trail heads overseas, it's much harder to follow.
      The best protection is to deal only with registered companies and licensed individuals, so you have access to a recognised dispute-resolution scheme.

      It asks for personal details
      These days, a scam won't necessarily involve a request for money, Kell says. Scams are also about identity theft. Rather than cold, hard cash, the scammer may be trying to get information that would help them assume your persona and pass an identity check.
      Apply the “man in the street” test – if you were asked the same questions by a stranger on the street, would you answer? There are more tips at protectfinancialid.org.au and stopidtheft.com.au.

      It taps into an anxiety
      It's not expertise, education or income that determines whether a scam will be successful but how anxious or vulnerable the target feels, says Harrison, from Deakin.
      “If someone is feeling vulnerable at a particular point in time about their financial situation, they'll sign up even though they'd normally go: 'This can't be real.'”
      One example is the proliferation of illegal “early release of superannuation” schemes. People are having their super stolen after rolling it into an unregistered fund on the promise they'll gain access to the money. You can check whether a fund is “complying” via the ATO's Super Fund Look Up service at ato.gov.au.

      It creates a sense of panic
      In the past two months I've been told that access to my (non-existent) credit union account will be restricted if I don't update my account information within 48 hours; that my (non-existent) Abbey Bank account may be suspended unless I do the same; and that the most recent payment to my (real) internet service didn't go through, and – you guessed it – I need to confirm my billing information. These emails conveniently provided a link to click. I didn't. The Australasian Consumer Fraud Taskforce's SCAMwatch website (scamwatch.gov.au) says you should never follow a link in an email.

      It's a secret
      “The transaction desires absolute confidentiality and professionalism in the handling of this matter,” Mr Maxwell Stephens entreats in his email about sending “investment funds” to my bank account. Well he would say that, Harrison says, because if you spoke to someone else the first thing they'd say is the plan is ridiculous.

      You feel obliged
      Apart from sob stories, scammers may offer “free” gifts or discounts that leave you feeling obliged when they start seeking a greater commitment. A heavily discounted holiday in return for “just 90 minutes of your time” is a sure sign there'll be some pressure selling.

      The contact details are sparse
      A genuine business includes its physical address, telephone numbers and registration details on its website and in any correspondence. If there's not much more than an email address, your antennae should go up. (Major Morgan, ever the optimist, uses LuckyMail.) Ask for full contact details and check them out. You can see whether corporate HQ is in fact an ice-cream parlour by viewing the physical address on Google Maps (maps.google.com.au).

      The promoter doth protest too much
      Scammers may try to add credibility via testimonials and biographies of people who don't exist. But it doesn't matter how many testimonials a promoter comes up with, Rickard says, the bottom line is you should do your own research.

      KEY POINTS

      • Scams are proliferating in the internet age and are increasingly professional.
      • Identity theft is said to be the fastest-growing crime in the world.
      • The ABS recently estimated nearly half a million people lost a combined sum of almost $1 billion to personal fraud in a year.
      • Research shows no age group nor income group is immune to being taken in by a scam.
      • The people behind such schemes know which psychological buttons to push.

      Lesley Parker
      September 30, 2009
      Money, The Sydney Morning Herald


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