Taking payroll pain off your shoulders

Among those who have their own business, there’s little doubt that payroll and bookkeeping can present challenges to businesses of all sizes. Handling time and attendance, payroll taxes and workers’ compensation can be difficult for even the most experienced business owners. That’s where payroll services and bookkeeping companies come in. These companies take the stress out of payroll and its related processes by providing intuitive services to companies of all sizes and industries.

It is the responsibility of a bookkeeper to provide accurate, up-to-date financial data so that your accountant can prepare annual financial reports as well as tax returns for your business. These accounting reports can also be used by you as a business owner to help make important decisions for your business.

At The Hrkac Group, we partner with SIBS Bookkeeping Geelong to provide our clients with bookkeeping services. They specialise in payroll services in Geelong and work with you to ensure that your employees are paid on time and that all of your legal obligations as an employer are met, taking the worry out of your payroll processes. This allows you as a business leader to focus on important enterprise tasks instead of worrying about how and when individual employees will be paid. Here’s a breakdown of just a few of the services that a professional Bookkeeper can assist you with.

 

1. Payroll STP (Single Touch Payroll) Finalisation Process

Single touch payroll is a recent regulation that changed when and how small businesses report payroll activity to the Australian Tax Office (ATO). Businesses used to be required to report this information to the ATO once a year. Now, you must send a report after each payday. And those reports must be submitted digitally, in a specific format. As an employer, You need to make sure you can submit compliant reports every payday.

You also need to make a finalisation declaration by the 14th of July each year. If you do not finalise by this date, you should do so as soon as possible to ensure your employees can access their information to complete their income tax returns. If you can’t make a finalisation declaration by the due date, you will need to apply for a deferral.

If you don’t already use an accountant or bookkeeper, this could be a good time to start. They can take care of your STP requirements throughout the year and also the finalisation process.

 

2. WorkCover Annual Declarations

You must have a valid Victorian WorkCover Policy if your total remuneration to employees and rateable Subcontractors is $7,500 per annum or more. If you are registered for Victorian WorkCover, you must submit an Annual Declaration to WorkSafe VIC stating the cost of remuneration paid to your workers (including rateable Subcontractors)  over the year and an estimate of their remuneration for the following year.

You would usually log in to WorkSafe’s Online Employer Services (OES) to complete the declaration; another set of logins to remember, more data you need to find and keep handy to be compliant. Or, you can have a professional Bookkeeping/payroll service take care of this for you.

(*Please note other Australian States and Territories may have different requirements).

 

3. Payroll Tax Annual Declarations

The payroll tax applies if you pay wages (including rateable Subcontractors) in Victoria and your Australian remuneration exceeds this year’s monthly threshold of $58,333 (year ended 30th June 2022). There is also the mental health and wellbeing surcharge, which commenced on 1 January 2022. You must pay this surcharge if you pay Victorian taxable wages and your Australian wages exceed the first annual threshold of $10 million, with a first monthly threshold of $833,333. (*Please note other Australian States and Territories may have different requirements).

You must register with the State Revenue Office (SRO) to pay payroll tax where you exceed the relevant monthly threshold regardless of your annual remuneration paid. You will need your payroll records handy to help you. Penalties and interest may apply if you do not register.

Once registered, you can use the SRO’s secure online system Payroll Tax Express (PTX Express) to lodge monthly returns, pay your tax, complete your annual reconciliation, apply for a refund and update your records. If you are registered to lodge and pay monthly, you must submit your wage details every, even if you do not have a payroll tax liability. Employers self-assess their liability on a monthly basis and pay by the seventh day of the following month or the next business day (many businesses are eligible to report and pay on an annual basis depending on their total remuneration paid).

If this all sounds like too much work, payroll tax declarations are a specialty service of Bookkeepers. They can take your Payroll Tax Annual Declaration off your plate so you can get back to running your business.

 

4. CoINVEST Quarterly lodgements

CoINVEST is the construction industry long-service leave fund in Victoria, governed by the Construction Industry Long Service Leave Act 1997. The scheme was established in 1976 to ensure workers in the construction industry would have access to long-service leave, even if they didn’t remain with a single employer for the required seven years. CoINVEST operates as a fund into which you as a construction industry employer must pay a quarterly contribution fee proportionate to the size of your workforce’s total wages.  After seven years of working in the construction industry, workers can claim their long-service leave from CoINVEST.

Every three months, you must complete a ‘Workers’ Days and Wages’ form. You record how many days your employees worked in the quarter and also how much the employee was paid over the same period. CoINVEST will then issue an invoice to be paid, currently based on 2.7 percent of total gross wages reported on the form.

This is something else a qualified bookkeeper can take care of for you; the SIBS Bookkeeping Geelong team is experienced in processing these types of quarterly payments.

 

5. Portable Long Service Leave Authority (PLSA)

Did you know that the Victorian Government has made permanent Long Service Leave Benefits Portability Regulations that came into effect on 1st October 2020?

Much like Co-Invest works for the relevant trades and construction industries – The PLSA allows workers in community services, contract cleaning, and security to take their long service entitlement with them if they change jobs but stay in the industry. There is a quarterly lodgement and payment required.

 

6. Incolink Monthly lodgements

Incolink provides a safety net for workers in the commercial building and construction industry where permanency and continuity of employment are significant issues. For you as an employer, Incolink takes care of your redundancy compliance obligations, avoiding any large payouts at the end of projects.

If you have a membership with Incolink, you need to make monthly contributions. This is another specialty service that SIBS Bookkeeping Geelong can assist you with.

 

7. Paying Superannuation on time

As an employer, you must pay super contributions for your eligible employees to avoid the Super Guarantee charge.

You must pay your employee Super Guarantee contributions electronically to either a complying super fund that meets specific requirements and obligations under super law, or a retirement savings account (RSA) which provides a low-cost and low-risk savings strategy for retirement. Each of your employees may have a different fund which will need to be set up when they join your payroll.

You must pay Super Guarantee contributions by quarterly due dates – 28 days after the end of each quarter to avoid the Super Guarantee Charge Liability *. Some super funds require employers to contribute monthly. By registering with these funds, you agree to make monthly contributions to that fund. You can also arrange to make post-tax super payments on behalf of your employees if they request this.

If this all sounds like a lot of hassle on your behalf, engage the services of a professional bookkeeper. They’ll take this payroll pain off your shoulders to give you back the time you need to run your business.

(*Please note that this is when the Employers or relevant Labour Hire Subcontractors Superannuation Fund must receive the quarterly contribution by – for many clearing houses – you must lodge the Superannuation payment request by around the 14th/15th days after the end of the quarter to avoid the Superannuation Guarantee Charge Liability)

 

In conclusion

One size does not fit all when it comes to bookkeeping and payroll services. Each individual business and industry comes with its own unique circumstances and requirements. That’s why The Hrkac Group partners with SIBS bookkeeping Geelong. They work with you to simplify your business’s internal processes when it comes to keeping the books up to date through innovative ideas and technology. They work offsite and online, allowing them to complete monthly bookkeeping in record time; ensuring the best results for your business.

Most importantly they give you more time to focus on what’s important to you; running your business. If you’re looking for Payroll Services Geelong, look no further. To learn more about what services SIBS Bookkeeping Geelong can offer you, contact us via email or phone 0488 614 668.

The information provided in this blog is of a general nature only and is not intended as either advice or recommendations and is not tailored to your specific circumstances. Please also note that this does include any information on any Payroll requirements imposed by any State or Territory Governments outside of the State of Victoria. Please contact our partner – SIBS Bookkeeping team or us – the Hrkac Group Accountants team – if you would like assistance as to how, or if, any of the abovementioned would apply to you.

Liability limited by a scheme approved under Professional Standards Legislation.

It seems like Superannuation Guarantee requirements are always changing. Just when you think you’ve got all the rules and eligibility criteria committed to memory, they evolve again. Today we’re discussing an important change to superannuation requirements that happened at the beginning of 2020, but it’s worth a reminder: Employers can no longer use money contributed by employees in salary sacrifice arrangements to meet or reduce their legal Superannuation Guarantee Contribution obligations.

Current Superannuation Guarantee legislation requires employers to contribute 10% of an employee’s base salary into their nominated super account. Prior to January 2020, employers could calculate this Superannuation Guarantee amount based on the reduced salary after any salary sacrifices. And because the Superannuation Act made no distinction between a contribution from salary sacrificing or an employer contribution, employers were also able to use employees’ salary-sacrifice super payments to meet their legal Superannuation Guarantee obligation.

This means that employees who believed they were boosting their retirement income by sacrificing part of their salary to pay extra on top of the compulsory amount paid by employers were inadvertently reducing their Superannuation Guarantee entitlements.

Prior to the introduction of this bill, employers typically calculated employees super guarantee contributions using one of three methods:

1. Based on the base salary (before any salary sacrifice is deducted)

Base salary $60,000
Salary Sacrifice $10,000
Taxable Salary $50,000
Employee Super Guarantee Contribution ($60,000 x 10%) $6,000

Under this method, the salary sacrifice deduction is not considered when calculating the Super Guarantee Contribution.

 

2. Based on the taxable salary (after any salary sacrifice is deducted)

Base salary per quarter $60,000
Salary Sacrifice $10,000
Taxable Salary $50,000
Employee Super Guarantee Contribution ($50,000 x 10%) $5,000

Under this method, the salary sacrifice amount is excluded from the Super Guarantee Contribution calculation and the final superannuation calculation is lower than Method 1.

 

3. The salary sacrifice amount is considered as part of the Superannuation Guarantee contribution by the employer

Base salary per quarter $60,000
Salary Sacrifice (Included in SGC calculation) $10,000
Taxable Salary $50,000
Super Contribution $10,000

Under this method, the employee’s salary sacrifice amount is included by the employer as part of their Employee Super Guarantee Contribution and no additional employer superannuation contributions are paid.

 

This is where the big change comes in. The Treasury Laws Amendment (2019 Tax Integrity and Other Measures No. 1) Bill 2019, came into effect January 2020. With the introduction of this bill, the Superannuation Guarantee contribution will need to be calculated using the first method listed above only, based on the employee’s salary base.

Since January 1 2020, employers have been required to pay the minimum Superannuation Guarantee Contribution calculated on their employees’ base salary, including any salary sacrifice amount, into their super to avoid the super guarantee charge. It also prevents employers from using any salary sacrifice contributions made by employees to meet their minimum Superannuation Guarantee Contributions.

Reporting requirements also changed. If an employer makes super contributions under a salary sacrifice arrangement or makes extra super contributions to a super fund for an employee, these extra contributions may need to be reported on your employee’s payment summary.

 

Unsure if you’re meeting your superannuation contribution requirements?

If you’re interested in knowing more about Superannuation Guarantee Contributions or reporting requirements, speak to an expert Geelong accountant at The Hrkac Group. when it comes to minimising your taxation liabilities and maximising your income, our team of Geelong accountants at The Hrkac Group is there to help you with practical, effective advice.

Take control of your tax planning and minimisation needs by meeting with one of the business accounting specialists at The Hrkac Group. To make an appointment to meet one of our friendly team today, feel free to contact us via email or phone (03) 5224 2366.

 

This information has been provided as general advice. We have not considered your financial circumstances, needs, or objectives. You should consider the appropriateness of the advice. You should obtain and consider the relevant Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) and seek the assistance of an authorised financial adviser before making any decision regarding any products or strategies mentioned in this communication.

If your work sees you involved in the world of high-stakes business or puts you at risk of bankruptcy, you may be concerned with how you can best protect your assets. Particularly an asset as important as the family home. One method of protecting assets is to make sure that they are not held in the name of the at-risk person, rather someone trusted, such as a spouse. But a recent judgment heard by the Full Court of the Federal Court will have a profound impact on the way accountants approach spousal assets.

The judgment held that a $4.5 million property acquired in the name of one spouse was in fact owned by both, equally. Below we discuss the ruling, its repercussions, and our advice on how you can best protect yourself and your family.

 

The ruling.

Mr. and Ms. Bosanac purchased a home in Dalkeith, Australia in 2006. They paid a $250,000 deposit with funds from a joint loan account in both their names and borrowed the remainder. Although both contributed to the purchase price equally, the property was transferred to Ms. Bosanac as the sole registered proprietor. Both Mr. Bosanac and Ms. Bosanac lived in the property up until they separated in 2015, after which Ms. Bosanac inhabited the property alone.

The property was used as collateral to acquire other investment assets. Pertinently, Mr. Bosanac used borrowed money secured by the mortgage to conduct share trading.

As a means to recover an outstanding debt owed by Mr. Bosanac to the Australian Taxation Office, The Commissioner of Taxation sought a declaration from the court that Ms. Bosanac, as the sole registered proprietor of the family home, held 50% of the beneficial interest on trust for her husband. The matter primarily centered around the question of whether Mr. Bosanac had an equitable interest in the residential property for $4.5million which had been registered solely in the name of Ms. Bosanac.

Ultimately, the Federal Court judgement held that the property was jointly owned, enabling the Commissioner of Taxation to make a claim on the family home for Mr. Bosanac’s unpaid taxes.

 

Repercussions.

With the Commissioner of Taxation being successful in the second-highest court in Australia, this decision has significant repercussions in accounting. It overturns current asset protection methods used by accountants where an asset is held in a spouse’s name to protect against litigation and other claims against the at-risk spouse.

The case sets a new precedent for such matters. Based on the ruling, effectively this is the new law and the Commissioner of Taxation can be expected to enforce it in future cases. Clients in a similar position should immediately seek advice from their accountant on changes required to be made to their asset protection structures.

 

How you can protect your most important assets.

As accountants, we cannot give asset protection advice. Our expert legal team is on hand to help you ensure your assets are protected. But there are a few takeaways from this new Federal Court judgement for accounting. If your line of work puts your assets, including your family’s home, at risk, here are some things you may like to take into consideration.

  1. The property title should be solely in the name of the not-at-risk person.
  2. The bank account that loan repayments are taken from should also be solely in the name of the not-at-risk person.
  3. The at-risk person should not contribute directly to the loan.

Every situation is different, and there is no one size fits all approach to taxation planning and asset protection. Talk to our professional, approachable, and proactive Geelong Accountants to make sure you are best positioned to make the most out of taxation legislation, including investment-based tax-minimisation measures. If you want extra protection for your assets, seek advice from Hrkac Group Legal Services in Geelong, we have the experience to help you resolve any problems quickly, inexpensively, and with minimal stress.

Make an appointment today via contact us, or phone 03 5224 2366.

Liability limited by a scheme approved under Professional Standards Legislation.

Although speaking about mental health is becoming more accepted in society, unfortunately, the issue of mental health encompasses a complex and often ‘taboo’ subject within the workplace.

The trust clients hold in their accountants is a relationship unlike many others. With 9 out of 10 clients trusting their accountant beyond compliance and more than half of small business operators stating that running their own business has led to feelings of anxiety and depression, largely caused by financial and cash flow concerns, the accounting profession is evolving into a lot more than reconciliation, profit, and loss. Trusted advice does not always have to be all about the numbers, more so a realisation that sometimes it’s more about listening to the person sitting in front of you and what you can do to help them.

With the term ‘accidental counsellors’ being used around accounting firms more frequently, a typical day as an accountant can entail wearing a large array of hats. We may find ourselves dealing with a client-facing bankruptcy, someone going through a messy divorce, a small business owner struggling to support themselves and their family, or someone fighting to get on top of a mountain of debt.

As accountants, we are often working with people and businesses who are experiencing some level of stress about their finances, and we must be careful to ensure we don’t carry and absorb too much of the stress ourselves. This occupational hazard is a natural reaction as there is always a sense of genuine care toward our clients.

We must be conscious about how taking on other people’s stresses and issues can make an impact on our mental health. In Australia, nearly a third of accountants suffer from mental health issues, with more than half admitting depression and anxiety leaves them dreading going to work. We are all guilty of taking our work home with us during particularly busy and demanding times but, having a good work, life balance and feeling comfortable in the workplace is essential to maintaining positive mental health.

Cultivating an environment in which both employees and colleagues feel safe to talk about their mental health and the issues their clients or themselves are facing is vital to maintaining a supportive and collaborative working environment. To tackle the stigma, The Hrkac Group, along with some other leading accountancy firms, are increasingly adopting new measures and initiatives within the workplace.

From basic mental health awareness programs, maintaining open communication within the workplace, senior leaders endorsing mental health as being important, boosting mental health awareness and knowledge within the workplace is continuing to improve.

For further mental health resources, please visit the World Mental Health Day website.

If you or someone you know is suffering from mental health issues, please contact Lifeline on 13 11 14.