Important Superannuation Changes effective 1 July 2017
If you meet one of the following criteria then the fact sheet found here is important for you and will warrant careful consideration;
- You are receiving income from a Transition to Retirement Income Stream (TRIS), an Accounts Based Pension (ABP) or a Define Benefit Pension
- Your individual superannuation member balance (all funds combined) is nearing or exceeding $1.6 mill
- You have a binding death benefit nomination or provision for a reversionary pension
- You have large surplus capital available, or are expecting to receive such an amount, which would be available to contribute to Super
- You intend to invest money for your children to help fund their retirement
- You have been relying on the existing $35,000 contribution limit to maximise your superannuation for retirement
- You have a salary sacrifice arrangement with your employer involving superannuation
Effective 1 July 2017 many changes will come into effect in relation to Superannuation. These changes are briefly summarised in the Fact Sheet. If any of these matters are of interest or concern, please contact our office to discuss how they might impact you personally, and determine what strategies may be available.
Australia's Unclaimed Money - Could some of it be yours?
Unclaimed money is typically money from lost bank accounts, shares, investments and life insurance policies. This money becomes lost when you move house and forget to update your details with a financial institution or company. Unclaimed money received by ASIC is transferred to the Commonwealth of Australia Consolidated Revenue Fund but is available to be claimed at any time by the rightful owner and there is no time limit on claims.
Bank accounts become unclaimed after 7 years if the account is inactive (no deposits or withdrawals). Life insurance policies become unclaimed 7 years after the policy matures and is not claimed.
To stop your money from becoming unclaimed either:
- Make a deposit - For bank accounts, make a small deposit (even 5 cents will do) or a small withdrawal at least once every 7 years or
- Update your details - If you move, change your email, change your phone number or change your name, make sure you tell your financial institution, or other organisations that you have financial arrangements with.
To check if the Government is holding any of your funds simply click here and enter your name. If you are lucky, make a claim.
There are hundreds of grants targeted at small/medium enterprises offered by the Australian, state and territory governments. The amount of the grant assistance varies but on average is around 50% of the cost of a particular project. Some of the grants, incentives and special loans that you might be interested in include:
- Industry Capability Network – this is a great way to get noticed! The network involves all of the Australian government's together with the New Zealand government and offers a unique opportunity for a business to complete a Capability Statement that is then incorporated into a very large network database that is brought to the attention of large developers and other businesses that might be looking for someone with a particular skill to undertake an assignment. There are potential benefits for virtually every business in Australia from being registered on this network.
- Business Export Loan – this is a loan for small businesses which are exporting that is available from the Export Finance Insurance Corporation. The loan is only available if your bank has declined to assist. The minimum loan is $50,000 and a business that has exported at least once in the last two years and has annual revenues of $250,000-$10 million can apply. The grant is not available to sole traders and partnerships.
- GP Doctors and Specialists – to relocate to outer metropolitan areas, regional or remote areas. Grants up to a maximum of $120,000 are available for relocation to very remote areas payable over two years.
- Business Growth Grant is available for businesses that operate in the "growth sector industries" as deemed by the Australian government including:
- advanced manufacturing
- oil, gas and energy resources
- medical technologies and pharmaceuticals
- mining equipment technology and services
- food and agribusinesses; or
- businesses working in the following industries that are working or proposing to work with businesses in the "growth sector":
- professional services – mainly scientific areas
- freight and logistics
- infrastructure -related construction
- information and communications technology
- Grants of up to $20,000, on a 50% basis, are available to carry out projects which are anticipated will "enhance the business' performance". Applicants must be companies with a minimum turnover of $1.5 million (in northern Australia $750,000). Companies must have operated for a minimum of three years.
Business Activity Statement Changes Coming
The Australian government has announced changes to Business Activity Statements to operate from 1 July 2017. Business Activity Statements are being simplified for small businesses and will only require small businesses to report:
- GST on Sales
- GST on Purchases
- Total Sales
The effect is to reduce the number of labels to be completed by a small business on a Business Activity Statement from 7 items to 3 items for all businesses with sales of up to $10 million.
Privacy Act - Notifiable Data Breaches
The legislation relating to the "Notifiable Data Breaches Scheme" was passed by the Australian Parliament in February 2017.
The Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC) is developing guidance and organising events to help organisations understand their obligations and be prepared for the commencement of the Notifiable Data Breaches Scheme in 2018. The legislation establishes a mandatory data breach notification scheme. The legislation requires businesses, which are covered by the privacy act, to notify any individuals affected by a data breach that is likely to result in serious harm.
The scheme strengthens protection for everyone's personal information and will improve transparency in how the public and private sectors respond to serious data breaches. The legislation also gives individuals the opportunity to take steps to minimise the damage that can result in the unauthorised use of their personal information. An organisation must notify of a breach within 30 days of a breach.
The scheme applies to organisations governed by the Privacy Act which generally relates to businesses with a turnover of more than $3 million. However some small/medium enterprises are required to comply with the Privacy Act.
The legislation refers to APP entities (Australian Privacy Principles). These include all private health providers and some small businesses that handle, use and manage personal information. APP entities can include an individual (including a sole trader) body corporate, partnership, unincorporated association and trust. Personal information is information, or an opinion, that identifies, or could reasonably identify, an individual. Some examples are name, address, telephone number, date of birth, medical records, bank account details and opinions.
The Privacy Act also regulates the handling of an individual's consumer credit information, including credit reports. Small businesses participating in the credit reporting system are required to comply with the legislation.
The Privacy Act also regulates the handling of an individual's tax file number information.
The following is a brief summary of some questions you might ask yourself to determine whether a small business has to comply with the privacy act:
- Does your business handle personal information?
- Does your small business have an annual turnover of more than $3 million?
- Does your small business trade in personal information?
- Does your small business only trade in personal information without the consent of the individual and without being required or authorised by law?
- Is your small business a health service provider?
- Is your small business related to a larger body corporate that is subject to the Privacy Act?
- Is your small business a Commonwealth contracted service provider?
- Are you a reporting entity or authorised agent of a reporting entity under the Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism Financing Act 2006?
- Does your small business operate a residential tenancy database?
- Does your small business carry on a credit reporting business?
- Is your small business a service provider that is required to comply with the data retention provisions in Part 5-1A of the Telecommunications (Interception and Access) Act 1979?
If you answered yes to any of these questions you probably are required to comply with the Privacy Act. Our recommendation is that you consult with your legal advisor on your legal responsibilities under this legislation. Small businesses can voluntarily opt into the Privacy Act. If you opt into the Privacy Act your business could experience a number of benefits including increased consumer confidence and trust in your business operations.
"You can be appointed a ruler, governor, commander or a manager, but you are not a leader until your appointment has been ratified in the hearts and minds of those under you"... Prof John Adair.
The best leaders are also credible managers who are respected for their professional capabilities as well as their personal characteristics and behaviour.
Anyone responsible for the supervision of others needs to lead rather than just "manage" or "supervise" their work. Management comes from the head; Leadership comes from the heart.
Team members expect their leaders:
- to give the reasons for and the purpose of assignment tasks
- to give regular and adequate feedback and coaching, if necessary
- to openly discuss issues and listen to ideas and suggestions