With the start of the Fringe Benefits Tax year looming on 1 April, businesses are being urged to review their Fringe Benefits Tax (FBT) position.
The ATO’s top FBT problem areas
FBT liabilities can trap unwary businesses, some of whom don’t recognise that there can be a tax consequence from providing benefits to staff such as entertainment.
It is important to understand there can be implications from seemingly straight-forward business activities across income tax and GST,
as well as FBT.
For some smaller businesses, it can come as a surprise that business related activities can fall within the FBT system. While there are some exemptions in place, businesses need a clear understanding that many benefits could come under the scrutiny of the Australian Taxation Office (ATO).
A small business owner might think it appropriate to take a good customer or supplier to lunch. It might also seem natural to take along a staff member to that lunch. But there could be an FBT liability that arises depending on the value of the food and drink on a per head basis and how frequently staff members receive similar benefits.
Excellent record-keeping is fundamental. It is crucial at lunches for example to note who was there because the portion relating to staff members might be subject to FBT while the portion relating to clients would not generally trigger FBT.
In addition to determining whether there is an FBT issue, these records will also generally be used to check whether the business can claim a deduction and GST credits for the expenses. The ATO's approach is very evidence-based, there needs to be documentation to back up whatever the business is claiming.
That record-keeping can be difficult, especially if they do not have a dedicated internal accountant.
Motor vehicles are another key FBT issue. Many businesses provide cars to staff or allow them to take vehicles home but this can easily trigger an FBT liability - although again, some businesses may be unaware of that.
While there are some exemptions that can apply to these benefits and it may be possible to reduce or eliminate the FBT liability completely, it is crucial that there is detailed record-keeping. For example, a car that is used solely for business purposes could still potentially trigger a significant FBT liability unless there is a valid log-book in place.
There can be questions raised by the ATO if for example a business has substantial motor vehicle expenses, yet they do not lodge an FBT return.
You cannot avoid the FBT system by simply not claiming a deduction for expenses relating to a vehicle.
You need SMART solutions for YOUR business, not just annual tax compliance! Get the SMART team working with you. Call SMART Business Solutions today on 03 5911 7000 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The 2020-21 Federal Budget is a road to recovery paved with cash. Some of the measures are aimed at addressing the harsh lessons COVID-19
has taught us and seek to centralise production back in Australia to ensure our industries can be self-reliant.
Reflecting on the past 6 months, particularly since the effect of Coronavirus on financial markets, I am concerned that many investors do not have a clear and tailored investment strategy. My observations are that investors seem to be failing to understand one basic investment principle; 'The higher the return the higher the risk’.
The updated alternative tests released by the Commissioner of Taxation are broadly similar to the alternative tests that were released in connection with the original decline in turnover test. However, there are some key differences.