Tax & Accounting FAQ

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Our experienced accountants have answered some Tax & Accounting FAQs. Contact us if we can help further

Quarles BFS has a wide range of experience in both personal and business taxation. If you need one or the other or even both, we can help you.

A good accountant should be:

  • Trustworthy – We find trust the most important part our relationships with our clients.
  • Client focused – Having a good grasp on the client’s goals and business needs.
  • Excellent communicators – Should be able to get their ideas across to their clients in plain language. Clear, effective and regular communication is important.
  • Adding value to a client’s business, providing more than just taxation compliance.
  • Forward thinking – looking to the future for the business, rather than getting bogged down in historical data. Planning for the future to meet client goals and reduce taxation.
  • Business-minded entrepreneurs – Understanding a variety of business models, to provide proper advice and guidance to meet a client’s goals.
  • Flexible and adaptive to new technology.
  • Accurate and detail orientated so that your records are correct and up to date.
  • Organised and able to provide an efficient service.
  • Excellent with time management so that your needs are always met on time and in full.

You need to know how you will be charged for the services you are interested in. What is included and what is not?

You should also know which staff members within the firm will be dealing with which part of your work.

You should know who to contact directly with any queries you have or help you may need and the best method for communicating.

Accountants are historically labour for hire firms, charging hourly rates and multiplying that by the hours spent on the job. We prefer to budget our work and provide either an upfront fee estimate or set up a fixed fee package for service. That way we are driven to produce our work in the most efficient manner, rather than wasting time with outdated processes and on charging clients for our lack of efficiency.

The actual cost to the client will vary greatly depending upon your needs. A simple tax return may cost you $150 plus GST, whereas a complex piece of tax advice that could save you $100,000 may cost you $10,000. Fees for annual financial statements and taxation returns could be between $1,000 and $50,000 depending upon the level of service you require.

The important part is open communication so that you know what you are receiving in exchange for the fee you will be charged. You can then make a value judgement on the cost. We hate the idea of surprise invoices for clients, so we try to provide fee estimates and fixed fee packages.

The Australian income year ends on the 30th of June each year. You have from 1st of July to 31st of October to lodge your tax return for the previous income year. However, if you are using a Registered Tax Agent to prepare and lodge your tax return, you may be able to lodge much later than 31 October. Quarles BFS is a Registered Tax Agent. Get in touch with the experts at Quarles BFS today to find out more.

When running a small business, one of the most challenging tasks is looking after your books. This issue can be amplified if your small business accounting software is not up to the task. Some software seems to make an already confusing job more so, and that’s the last thing you need when trying to run your business.

Xero is a cloud accounting software that has all the features you need in an easy to understand format. If you want to know more about what makes Xero such a hands down choice for small business accounting, keep on reading.

Xero accounting software can be set up manually by having your accountant enter some opening balances into the software and then connecting your bank account to it.

You can also often get a free software conversion for certain MYOB and Quickbooks files.

Your accountant should be able to help you set this up cost effectively. Often having to fix a problem is more expensive than setting things up correctly in the beginning.

Yes you can, but our work is not as efficient when using other products. We strongly recommend a conversion wherever possible.

Xero Accounting Software has an excellent catalogue of webinars and tutorials for new, intermediate and expert users.

Their help function is second to none and you can also contact Xero Support directly.

Being cloud software, you can contact us to fix the problem you are having in real time.

Usually there is. If you are doing payroll manually or using Excel products, then you can save a lot of time by moving to a cloud software solution, such as Xero Accounting Software. This allows employees to enter their timesheets as a time saver to you, who only needs to approve the hours. A quick check of the figures, click post and the weekly pay run is complete.

Check out: How to prevent common small business payroll mistakes

You do need a PAYG Payment Summary to submit your tax return. If you have lost yours, you can ask your employer for another copy. Alternatively the details from your PAYG Payment Summary may also be accessible by us via the ATO Portal. If you have lost your PAYG Payment Summary, get in touch and we will help figure out what the best option is for you to access the information you need.

If you are an Australian Tax Resident but are working overseas you must still lodge an Australian tax return and declare all foreign income, including any exempt income or income that has already been taxed in the county where you earned it.

A capital gain occurs when you dispose of certain assets for more than they cost you.

Holding an asset for longer than twelve months allows you to reduce the capital gain by 50%.

This creates a “net” capital gains, which is the assessable component.

The net gain is added to your taxable income and you pay taxation on your taxable income. Capital gains tax (CGT) is really just another form of income tax.

There are a series of small business CGT concessions available to save you taxation.

Sometimes a capital gains event can be triggered unintentionally, so be careful transferring assets or assigning wealth to another party. You could end up paying taxation without having collected any money.

A taxation return for a corporation, lodged annually. It also requires financial statements and minutes to accompany it

If you don’t submit your tax return by the cut off period the ATO may apply a Failure to Lodge (FTL) on time penalty. To avoid this, get in touch and ensure you have your return submitted on time. We can submit several years at once for you and help mitigate any penalties.

If you have more than one job you are only eligible to claim the tax free threshold from one of your employers. This may result in having a smaller tax refund than previous years or potentially a tax bill. To make sure this doesn’t happen get in touch and we can help make sure you are having the right amount of tax withheld at each of your workplaces.

If you are an Australian resident and take out a compliant health insurance policy (CHIP), you could be entitled to a government rebate. This can be claimed as a tax offset amount in your tax return or directly via your health insurer as a reduced premium.

You can object to most assessments made by the ATO within the relevant time frames (between 60 days – 4 years depending on the situation). Some things commonly objected to are:

  • Australian Business Number (ABN) cancellation
  • Excise
  • Fringe Benefits Tax (FBT)
  • Fuel Tax Credits
  • Goods and Services Tax (GST)
  • Income Tax
  • Luxury Car Tax (LCT)
  • Penalties and interest
  • Resource rent taxes (petroleum and minerals)
  • Superannuation and Excess Contributions Tax (ECT)
  • Wine Equalisation Tax (WET)

If you wish to object to an assessment made by the ATO, get in touch with the experts at Quarles BFS and we will be able to discuss if it is possible and what needs to be done.

Salary sacrificing is when you enter an agreement with your employer to forgo some of your wage in exchange for a benefit of a similar value. Commonly this is done with cars and superannuation. One of the bonuses is that your tax is assessed on the amount after the salary sacrificing, which means you would have a lesser assessable tax income and in turn less tax would be paid by you. It works best for hospital workers.

The Medicare Surcharge is an income tested surcharge that applies if you are an Australian resident for taxation purposes, earn over a certain amount and do not hold a complaint health insurance policy (CHIP).