News and views from PSZ

Read the latest from PSZ. Stories about our own PSZ team. Profiles of our inspiring clients and how we’ve helped them succeed. Updates from the ATO as well as financial reminders, checklists and tips. Please visit again soon.

Carole Herriman, Retired Management Consultant: Client Q&A

Long-term PSZ client Carole Herriman has retired from her management consultancy but is more engaged with the community than ever.

What did you do during your working life?
I was an early recruit to computer programming and worked in Australia, Canada and the US, mostly in universities. On returning to Australia, I moved into senior roles in IT. This was followed by years in my own company undertaking strategic management consulting where most assignments had an IT component.

How did you know it was time to retire?
When I moved to the east coast more than 10 years ago, I decided the time had come. Having worked all my adult life, I was in an acceptable financial position.

As a career high achiever, has retirement had its challenges?
One tends to define oneself in terms of career, so retirement does have its challenges. After moving to Sydney, the settling in and renovating processes took about a year. Subsequently, some of the need to achieve was sublimated into coaching for executive women in information and communication technology.

You’ve moved from Perth to Sydney, yet you’re still with PSZ. Please explain.
Internet, telephone and Australia Post mean that, aside from the time difference, it makes no difference where you live.

What services has PSZ provided for you apart from the obvious tax returns?
Through PSZ I have set up an SMSF and a family trust. In addition, a business of which I am a co-director uses PSZ as our registered office and for all our accounting needs. The financial planning arm of PSZ Partners has also very efficiently reorganised my super fund shareholdings.

How do you spend your days?
My family is spread widely and I spend quite a bit of time visiting nationally and internationally. I am a member of two Sydney art galleries and often attend courses at the Art Gallery of New South Wales as well as philosophy and Spanish language courses. From time to time, I copy-edit academic papers and theses.

How have you become part of your local community?
I am a member of the Glebe Society and have undertaken a number of different roles such as organising their community talks. Locally we have a wonderful bookshop, Gleebooks, which has interesting talks and book launches.

Favourite travel destination?
For family reasons, our most frequent destination is Edinburgh. My partner and I have also taken some educational tours to Europe. Sicily won our hearts, and London and Paris are wonderful cities for a visitor.

ATO cracks down on false claims

Each year, the ATO cracks down on certain hotspots to ensure everyone is paying their fair share of tax. This year, it’s claims for “other” expenses.

This tax return season, the tax office is shining the spotlight on false work-related deductions so it’s important to ensure that any work-related expenses you are claiming are legitimate expenses in earning your income.

We can advise you on what’s claimable and what’s not. Allowable claims can include home office expenses, mobile phone and internet bills, and work equipment.

But the tax office believes many of the more than six million Australians who claim this type of deduction are over-claiming. Many people don’t understand what qualifies as a work-related expense and many others don’t keep the receipts required as evidence.

Here’s a simple way to distinguish a dodgy claim from a bona fide one. To claim work-related expenses, you must satisfy these four points:

  • You must have spent the money yourself
  • You were not reimbursed for the money spent
  • The expense must be directly related to earning your income
  • You must have a record to prove it – paper or electronic receipts are acceptable

Accounting software such as Xero makes it easy to keep track of your receipts electronically.

Remember too that if your expenses are for both work and private use you can only claim a deduction for the work-related portion.

Wondering what kind of claims don’t make the grade with the ATO?

One example is a salesman who tried to claim $5,400 worth of “secretarial” payments to his seven-year-old son who sometimes ran upstairs to the study when the phone was ringing, answered the phone and then handed it to his father.

The same man also tried to claim as deductible “stationery” a Dora the Explorer pencil case, heart and star-shaped stickers, crayons and art brushes.

You have to give him points for trying.

We’re approaching peak tax return season so we suggest you make an appointment sooner rather than later to discuss yours. Our 2018 tax return checklist will help you get prepared.

Contact us today to book in your tax return.

Garth Gilmour and Joe Jooste, Gilmour & Jooste Electrical: Client Q&A

Garth Gilmour and Joe Jooste have amped up their business to a workforce of around 30 with the help of PSZ.

You started your electrical contracting business in 2005. How did it happen?
We first worked together on a job for another electrical contractor. We subsequently helped each other out on many occasions and decided it was more practical to become partners.

You’ve grown from two partners and two apprentices in 2005 to a thriving business of around 30 staff. How have you achieved that?
We needed more staff after winning a government contract. More apprentices were employed when our original apprentices became electricians. We always have teams of electricians and apprentices working together.

Is there a particular aspect of electrical work you focus on?
We concentrate on doing maintenance for larger organisations, government bodies and local shires, and we still love doing new installations and renovations.

What’s the biggest challenge in running your business?
Coordinating people and tasks, and working with ever-changing cashflows.

How long have you been a client of PSZ?
We’ve been with PSZ since 2011 through a recommendation from a customer. When we met Carlo and listened to his suggestions we knew PSZ would be great accountants for us.

What services has PSZ provided for you apart from the obvious tax returns?
Carlo revamped our whole financial structure and has ensured we have solid systems in place. First up was a partnership agreement and then all the necessary trusts, companies and insurances along with the usual ATO dealings. Then there was the setting up of each partner’s self-managed super fund and estate planning.

What about the associated services offered through PSZ Partners?
We’ve also used Richard for insurance and Steve for finance broking.

Any key pieces of advice PSZ has given you?
Paying off our BAS account monthly helps with cashflow.

What do you like to do when you’re not working?
Garth: I enjoy spending time with my wife and two girls, get-togethers with family and friends, and boating.

Joe: Like Garth, I like to spend time with my wife and two daughters. I love a good barbecue, the beach, scuba diving and socialising with family and friends on hot summer days.

Your 2018 tax return checklist

To maximise your deductions and ensure that your tax return is complete, please review the following items and advise us of any that apply to you.

  • PAYG payment summary (employment)
  • Allowances / tips / director’s fees
  • Employer lump sum payment
  • Centrelink / pension income
  • Annuities / superannuation lump sum payments
  • Interest amounts and TFN credits
  • Dividend statements
  • Employee share schemes
  • Partnership and trust distributions
  • Business income
  • Capital gains / losses – property / shares
  • Foreign income
  • Rental property income
  • Royalties
  • Taxable scholarships
  • Jury service payments

Contact us today for expert assistance to prepare your tax return and maximise your tax refund.

It’s EOFY tax planning time!

We invite you to get in touch now to discuss how you can save on tax. There are many tax strategies that may work for you but you need to act well before 30 June 2018.

With the end of financial year (EOFY) fast approaching, now is the time to discuss with us the actions you can take before 30 June to reduce your tax and grow your wealth.

Key priorities for 2018 are likely to be:

  • Maximising super contributions without exceeding the relevant caps
  • Bringing forward deductible expenses
  • Deferring taxable income
  • Managing capital gains

This is the first EOFY since the super reforms came into effect. So there are new contribution limits to consider, as well as new opportunities for you to grow your super and pay less tax.

The sooner we get started, the sooner we can help you save tax. You need to talk to us well before 30 June to allow sufficient time to implement your tax saving strategies.

Imagine what you could do with the tax you save.

  • Reduce your home loan
  • Top up your super
  • Have a holiday
  • Put a deposit on an investment property
  • Upgrade your car

For more information, check out our detailed tax minimisation guides below.

Minimise your business tax guide 
Minimise your personal tax guide

Contact us today to get your tax strategies in place well before 30 June 2018 to meet the EOFY deadline.

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