Tax tips and tax return hints
Super tax hints
Superannuation is a very tax-effective vehicle to save for retirement. Following are some tips to help you maximise your super.
For the 2018/19 financial year the maximum non-concessional (or after-tax) super contributions are capped at $100,000 per person per year or up to $300,000 over three years using the bring-forward provisions. The ability to make non-concessional contributions and take advantage of the three-year bring-forward provision is subject to your total super balance at 30 June the previous financial year, your age and whether you have satisfied the work test (if between ages 65–74).
Concessional contributions, or those made with pre-tax money, are limited to $25,000 per person per year. Please note voluntary concessional contributions such as salary sacrifice or personal deductible contributions are subject to age restrictions and the ‘work test’ (if between ages 65–74).
A salary sacrifice strategy allows you to make contributions to super from your pre-tax salary. Your salary is then reduced by the amount you choose to sacrifice. The benefits of this are two-fold: not only does your super balance increase, but this strategy could also reduce your taxable income and therefore the amount of tax you pay. Also, super contributions are concessionally taxed at just 15% (up to 30% for individuals with income over $250,000) instead of your marginal tax rate, which could be as high as 47%.
Personal deductible contributions
From 1 July 2017, if you are eligible to contribute to super, you may make voluntary personal contributions and claim a tax deduction up to your concessional contribution cap.
This gives you greater flexibility to top up your concessional contributions made by your employer, especially if your employer does not offer salary sacrifice. For instance, you can time your final contributions leading up to 30 June each year and make the most of your concessional contribution limits and the resulting tax benefits.
If you receive at least 10% of your income from employment or self-employment and you earn less than $37,697, you may be eligible for the maximum super co-contribution of $500 from the Government for an after-tax contribution to super of $1,000. The co-contribution phases out once you earn $52,697 or more.
The ATO uses information on your income tax return and contribution information from your super fund to determine your eligibility.
If you want to split your super contributions with your spouse, don’t forget this usually can only be done in the year after the contributions were made. Therefore, from 1 July 2019, you may be able to split up to 85% of any concessional (or pre-tax) contributions you made during the 2018/19 financial year with your spouse.
Apart from making the most of your super, there are other ways you can minimise your tax liability.
Capital gains and losses
A capital gain arising from the sale of an investment property or shares and capital losses can be used to offset the capital gains. For example, you may have sold investments that were no longer appropriate for your circumstances and any capital losses realised as a result can be offset against any capital gains you have realised throughout the year. Unused losses can be carried forward to offset capital gains in future years.
Specialist advice should be sought before making changes to your investments.
If you have an investment loan you can arrange to prepay the interest on that loan up to 12 months and claim a tax deduction in the same year the interest was prepaid.
Negative gearing is another strategy used to manage tax liabilities. Geared investments use borrowed funds to enable a higher level of investment than would otherwise be possible. Negative gearing refers to the cost of borrowing exceeding the income generated by the investment. This excess cost can reduce the tax you pay on other income. If you invest in shares, you may obtain imputation credits which can be used to further reduce the amount of tax you pay.
Income protection insurance
If you hold an income protection policy in your name, then any premium payments you make are tax deductible.
Resident tax rates for 2018/19
Note: Medicare levy of 2% will also apply where applicable.
Individual tax rates for the year-ended 30 June 2019
- Up to $18,200 – Nil
- $18,201 to $37,000 – 19% of the portion over $18,200
- $37,001 to $90,000 – $3,572 + 32.5% of the portion over $37,000
- $90,001 to $180,000 – $20,797 + 37% of the portion over $90,000
- Over $180,000 – $54,097 + 45% of the portion over $180,000