Important Dates to remember in the New Year

It’s that time of year when many Queensland businesses close or scale down to minimum staff over the Festive Season giving business owners and staff a well-deserved break.

If your business is closing over this period, before you ‘switch off’ and unwind, it’s worth looking beyond the festive season to check you have plans to in place to address a few key due dates that will come around quickly once the doors re-open:

  • 14 January 2019 – December Monthly Payroll Tax Returns and half yearly (July 2018 – December 2018) Payroll Tax Returns are due for lodgement and payment
  • 15 January 2019 – Large/Medium Company Tax Returns (June year end) are due for lodgement
  • 21 January 2019 – Monthly Instalment Activity Statements (IAS) / Business Activity Statements (BAS) due for lodgement and payment
  • 28 January 2019 – Quarterly Superannuation Guarantee Contributions must be paid to superannuation funds
  • 7 February 2019 – January Monthly Payroll Tax Returns are due for lodgement and payment
  • 21 February 2019 – January Monthly BAS / IAS due for lodgement and payment
  • 21 February 2019 – December Quarterly BAS due for lodgement and payment

On a more positive note, New Year’s Resolutions should not just be a personal matter. Whilst the year’s activities and results are top of mind, make a record of what worked well, what didn’t and what could have been improved. You can also capture ideas worth exploring in the new year. Having this note to refer to will give you some momentum when you start your planning process in 2019.

If you find yourself with a little more time on your hands in the final days of the year you can draft some new business goals, update your business plan and re-forecast your budget to set your business up for a successful 2019. If you would like some assistance with any of the above, please contact your Hanrick Curran advisor who would be happy to help.

 

Please note that this publication is intended to provide a general summary and should not be relied upon as a substitute for personal advice.

Supporting Small Business with the Entrepreneurs Grant

Business owners who are a few years into your entrepreneurial journey may notice the business starting to morph into something different from your original business plans.  Whether it be different/expanded services, markets, brand positioning, delivery mechanisms, a lot can change when you are nimble and responsive to market feedback.  When you find yourself at this juncture, taking time out to reset your strategic plan is a valuable exercise to refocus your future direction.  Strategic planning guides your day to day decisions and also helps to identify the areas within your business that need further investment.

Strategic planning is rarely something to approach alone, optimal outcomes emanate from being challenged to think beyond the ‘foreseeable future’ to ensure you set your sights on the long game.  Objectively drawing the bridge between where you are now and where you want to be, results in a strategic action plan, a road map, to long term success.

To help small business owners to access professional advice to support business success the Queensland Government has recently released a match funded Grant of up to $5,000 to support businesses who are in their first 4 years of operation.

To be eligible you must have registered a Queensland business within the last four years, employ less than 20 staff and seek to engage an adviser or service provider to deliver an engagement of up to 3 months duration which supports or develops the business.

The project that is funded must fall into one or more of the following areas:

  • mentoring/coaching
  • business and strategic planning
  • professional business advice (information technology (IT), legal or financial)
  • marketing strategy development (branding strategies, social media/digital strategies, market research).

Applications must be lodged by 13 December 2018, further details about the Grant are available here and you may preview the application form here.

Your Hanrick Curran adviser can assist in a wide range of ways to deliver support for business establishment and growth.  To explore avenues for you to focus on to build a better business please take our short business improvement survey and then discuss with your Hanrick Curran adviser the better business program that could be partially funded by the Entrepreneurs Grant.

For further information about Hanrick Curran’s Better Business Program or the Small Business Entrepreneur’s Grant speak with your usual Hanrick Curran adviser or Angela Winton, Matthew Beasley, Nathanael Lee, Stephen Brake, Robert Pitt or Scott Hutton.

Please note that this publication is intended to provide a general summary and should not be relied upon as a substitute for personal advice.

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7 Tips to a Successful Christmas Party

The festive season is almost upon us and the most anticipated staff event of the year looming. Staff and business owners alike are all looking for a successful party but what does a successful Christmas Party really look like?

For staff it might be to let their hair down, connect socially with their colleagues and score a decent secret Santa gift. On the flip slide the business owner whilst wanting their staff to enjoy themselves, coming away from the event ‘incident free’ is often the definition of success.

More often than not Christmas festivities involve consumption of alcohol which can result in poor judgement from those under the influence. To keep your party on track and to ensure it’s a success from everyone’s perspective here’s our top tips to a “successful” Christmas party:

  1. Ensure your staff understand what suitable workplace behaviour is. Check your workplace policies are up to date and if not, dust them off, refresh and communicate them to your staff. The high priority policies are a drug and alcohol policy, sexual harassment policy, social media policy and a discrimination and bullying policy.
  2. Prior to the event, remind your staff about the spirit of the staff Christmas Party, function start and end times and the expected behaviour. Reinforce the Christmas party is still a work function and their behaviour must comply with the workplace policies, in particular those noted above.
  3. Ensure the quantity of alcohol being served is proportionate to the food being served and have water readily accessible and replenished at the table.  Try to serve meals soon after guests arrive to reduce the amount of alcohol consumed on an empty stomach.
  4. Avoid unlimited alcohol or access to a full bar from function commencement as this increases the risk of drinking to excess.
  5. Ensure that you have at least one senior sober employee who will oversee activities and be able to make wise decisions in the event they are required.  Let the team know who that person is, and that they are there to help if needed.
  6. Outline transport options to and from the venue.  Make it clear it’s the staff member’s responsibility to drink responsibly and where appropriate legally. If they intend to drink more than the legal limit then they should ensure they have arrangements to get home safely.
  7. Finally, if you do receive complaints as a result of the event, ensure you deal with them promptly and thoroughly.

If you require assistance preparing your workplace policies, general HR assistance or to discuss how to avoid a repeat of prior year’s incidents, please contact our HR Consulting Division, Providence HR on 07 3218 3919.

Please note that this publication is intended to provide a general summary and should not be relied upon as a substitute for personal advice.

What you need to know to claim staff gifts and celebrations this year

The countdown to Christmas has begun!  Decorations are up and many Australian businesses will pay for their staff, and in some cases spouses, to kick up their heels at an end of year celebration or give a nice gift.

As an employer, there are a few things to be aware of when planning Christmas parties or giving gifts, if you want keep your tax bill in check or claim a deduction on your festivities.

 

Christmas Parties

Holding a Christmas party off-premises for your staff is regarded as an ‘entertainment’ expense.

No entertainment is tax deductible unless it is associated with paying Fringe Benefits Tax (FBT).

An exemption may be available for FBT if the cost per employee of the party is less than $300 (and similar celebrations are infrequent).  However, if no FBT, then it will not be tax deductible.

If you’re feeling generous and the cost is $300 or more per employee, then you can claim it as a tax deduction but you have to pay FBT.

If you plan to run a function for clients and referrers, there are no FBT implications for these individuals, but the costs are not income tax deductible either.

 

Gifts

Gifts below $300 are a tax deductible expense providing they are classified as a ‘non-entertainment’ gift. The same rule applies for other special occasions such as Birthday’s. As long as these gifts are ‘infrequent’, you can claim a deduction for amounts of less than $300 for employees and there is no FBT.  Gifts of $300 or more will be subject to FBT, but will still be deductible.

If your gift giving extends to your clients and suppliers, the gifts should still be tax deductible however the $300 limit does not apply.

One of the most important things to note when planning a deductible gift is to ensure it meets the ‘non-entertainment’ classification. Gifts such as gift vouchers, a bottle of alcohol, hampers, groceries, games, flowers, beauty products, computers all fit the ‘non entertainment’ classification.

Gifts that are considered ‘entertainment and therefore not deductible include theatre, movie or sporting event tickets, holiday or accommodation or tickets to amusement parks.

The GST input tax credits for the cost of the party or gift can only be claimed in the next Business Activity Statement if the cost of the party or gift is tax deductible.

The FBT and income tax implications of Christmas parties and gifts can change depending on the cost and types of FBT elections made.

Accordingly, before you put the finishing touches on staff Christmas festivities, discuss the tax implications and other strategies that can be considered with your Hanrick Curran Adviser or call Matthew BeasleyTim TaylorJamie Towers or Tony Hunt on 07 3218 3900.

Please note that this publication is intended to provide a general summary and should not be relied upon as a substitute for personal advice.

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Jamie Towers

Attention all Directors! What do the Consolidated Business Register and Director Identification Numbers mean for you?

The Federal Government has recently published two draft bills that will change (and hopefully simplify) corporate governance in Australia. The bills propose to introduce a single consolidated business register and impose a requirement on all directors to have a unique identifier known as a Director Identification Number (DIN).

Consolidated Business Register

The first draft bill aims to reduce the time that businesses spend complying with corporate administration by creating a user-friendly and streamlined registry service.

Similar to what occurred with MyGov (in which Centrelink, Medicare and ATO services were brought under one roof), the draft bill proposes to consolidate 35 business registers so that they can be administered all in the one place. Such registers include:

  1. the Australian Business Register;
  2. ACN Register; and
  3. the register of disqualified company directors.

Initially, only those registers maintained by ASIC and the Australian Business Register (which is under the purview of the ATO) will be subject to the regime. However, the Government plans on gradually including other business registers after a reasonable trial period has been successfully undertaken.

Director Identification Numbers

In an effort to promote good corporate conduct and combat the prevalence of illegal phoenixing, the second draft bill imposes an obligation on all directors to have a DIN.

The DIN will be a unique identifier assigned to each person who consents to being a director of an Australian company. Each time a person consents to become a director of a company, the unique DIN will need to be provided. As such, the DIN will provide traceability of director’s relationships across companies, enabling better tracking of failed companies and preventing the use of fictitious identities.

ASIC will be tasked with the responsibility of enforcing the DIN requirements through civil penalties and criminal offences (which can be quite severe).

Under the draft bill, a person must apply for a DIN within 28 days of:

  1. being appointed a director of a company; or
  2. the Registrar requesting that the person apply for a DIN.

Thankfully, the draft bill includes transitional arrangements for persons who are directors at the time the new requirement starts, providing 15 months to apply for a DIN rather than 28 days.

Commencement

Following public feedback of the two draft bills, the Government plans on releasing a second tranche of legislation which will merely highlight the remainder of referrals of functions and consequential changes from other Acts.

What does this mean for you?

With the consolidated register, now is the time to check your registrations, compliance and consistency with respect to the registers which are to be consolidated. While the consolidation may streamline services, rest assured that it will also provide further data-matching opportunities for the Government. Reviewing current reporting will help reduce any conflicts which could be identified and audited by the Government.

If you are currently a director of a company, keep an eye out for the changes becoming law and get your DIN sorted as soon as possible. This will avoid any risk of missing the 15 month deadline and facing penalties.

For more information about the changes or to check your registrations please contact your usual Hanrick Curran advisor. Alternatively, contact Tim Taylor, Matthew Beasley, Nathanael Lee, Jamie Towers or Simone Gordon on 07 3218 3900.

Thank you to McInnes Wilson for the article content.

Please note that this publication is intended to provide a general summary and should not be relied upon as a substitute for personal advice

Our Experts

Jamie Towers