On 31 March 2019, the Fringe Benefits Tax (FBT) year ended. With the ever increase budget deficits, the ATO will be
reviewing whether all employers who should be paying FBT are, and that they are paying the right amount.
To help you meet your fringe benefits obligations, we’ve put together a list of essentials every employer needs to know about FBT and review every year, such as:
These questions are all answered for you below, as well as some log book management tips and new rules that have been introduced to salary
sacrificed meal entertainment benefits.
1. SHOULD YOU BE REGISTERED FOR FBT?
Generally, if you have employees, including directors and you provide them with cars, car parking, entertainment (food and drink), employee discounts, reimburse private expenses etc, then you are likely to be providing a fringe benefit, and we will need to register your business for FBT.
It’s important you start gathering all the details of these provided benefits as soon as possible using our annual FBT-Questionnaire-2019.pdf and Schedules, so we can calculate any potential FBT liability and lodge your FBT return on time – due 25 June 2019 with payment to be made by 28 May 2019.
2. WHAT ITEMS ARE EXEMPT FROM FBT?
If you’re providing items like mobile phones, laptops, tablets, portable printers, protective clothing, tools of trade etc., or minor and infrequent benefits that are less than $300 in value, you are unlikely to have to worry about FBT.
The exemption only applies if the benefits are both minor and infrequent. To find out if you pass of these tests – check out our FBT-Minor-and-Infrequent-Benefits.pdf factsheet.
You can fill out our FBT-Questionnaire-2019.pdf and
Schedules to be 100% sure.
3. AN EASIER WAY TO MANAGE YOUR VEHICLE LOG BOOKS
For employers with 20 or more ‘tools of trade’ cars – a car required for the job, like for a sales rep travelling extensively for the business – the ATO has a new process for validating the business use percentage of the car.
It’s called the ‘simplified method’, and if you meet the access conditions, you can apply an average business use percentage to all ‘tools of trade’ cars in your fleet for the first log book year and the next 4 years. Conditions to be met are:
4. ARE YOU AWARE OF THE NEW SAFE HARBOUR PROVISIONS FOR WORKHORSE VEHICLES?
For the first time the ATO has now released safe harbour guidelines for employees that are provided with workhorse vehicles. In a nutshell, the ATO has provided that where the vehicle first meets the definition of a workhorse vehicle, and provided that the private use of the vehicle satisfies the following conditions that car will be exempt from FBT:
For more information on the safe harbour provisions please refer to our FBT-Workhorse-Vehicles-and-new-Safe-Harbour-provisions.pdf
5. SHOULD YOU LODGE AN FBT RETURN EVEN IF NO FBT IS PAYABLE?
Where no FBT is payable there is legally no need to lodge an FBT return, but should you lodge one anyway?
Our answer to this question is has changed over the past years from no.... to… yes. With the focus of the ATO and increased audit activity, we recommend that you, even where no legal obligation exists, lodge an FBT return regardless. The primary reason for this is that it then reduces the ATO’s audit window to only three years.
We have compiled a short factsheet that outlines some of the simple points that the ATO will review if you are selected for audit – FBT-How-the-ATO-identifies-potential-audits.pdf Together with some material that outlines why an FBT return is a good idea even where no FBT is payable –FBT-Why-should-you-lodge-a-return-when-no-liability.pdf
6. WAYS YOU CAN REDUCE YOUR FBT LIABILITY
Here are some ways in which you can reduce your FBT liability:
7. HOW AN ASSOCIATE LEASE CAN IMPROVE YOUR FAMILY’S AFTER-TAX CASH FLOWS
Finally, we have put together a factsheet that outlines how an associate lease can be used to help improve your employees after tax cash flows, where one spouse earns considerably more than their partner. Our FBT-Using-an-Associate-Lease-to-boost-family-income.pdf factsheet outlines the following:
If you would like further information on associate leases and whether they would be beneficial to your family, please contact us today.
HOW WE CAN HELP YOU!
The FBT year ended on 31 March 2019, so be sure to complete and return the FBT Questionnaire and Schedules as soon as possible so you don’t miss the lodgment date of 25 June 2019 and meet the payment due date of 28 May 2019.
We look forward to helping you meet your FBT obligations and are available anytime to answer any questions you have around reducing your FBT
liability or creating effective salary sacrifice arrangements. Please contact the office to receive any of the fact sheets.
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