30 Mar

Start NOW to beat the Taxman

Not only are these legal ways to cut your tax bill, they’ll give you more money to build your wealth.

 

While the taxman is targeting investors hiding assets overseas, there are much less complicated ways to cut your tax bill. Here are 6 legal tax-minimising strategies that you can easily use – and they can make a significant difference to your overall wealth creation.

  1. Mortgage Offset Account

Have you accumulated some cash and you’re not sure about what to do with it? If you have a home loan, putting the extra cash into an offset account can not only reduce the amount of interest payable on the loan, but it will also stop you paying tax on the interest you would otherwise have earned.

  1. After-Tax Super Contributions

Using some of your after-tax earnings to contribute into super may make sense for you. The thing to focus on is the environment that your money is invested within. Compared with investing after-tax money in an investment in your own name, investing via super is taxed at a maximum of 15% on earnings and 10% on capital gains, and for those eligible for transition to retirement their money grows in a zero tax environment.

  1. Discretionary Family Trust

An effective way to hold investments, a trust is a separate investment structure where assets are controlled by one or more persons (the trustees) on behalf of a group of other persons (the beneficiaries). A discretionary trust allows the trustee to decide who gets the income and capital the trust owns. These can suit someone on the highest tax bracket with family members who are on lower tax rates.

  1. Transition to Retirement

If you are over 55, the combination of salary sacrificing pre-tax income into super, and drawing an income from super benefits can be very tax effective. Not only does it get more into your super fund but your cash flow remains the same. The income tax reduction comes about thanks to receiving less salary income (and therefore paying less tax) and more concessionally taxed pension income from your super fund.

  1. Investment Bonds

Earnings from an investment bond are excluded from personal income tax because the bond provider pays the tax at 30% internally, leaving you nothing to declare on your tax return. To get the full benefits, you have to leave your money in the bond for 10 years. After this, there is NO tax to pay! It is possible to get access to the money before 10 years, but then there will be some tax payable.

  1. An Investment Company

Setting up a company through which investments are bought is one way of ensuring the tax paid is never more than 30%. Income type assets are best held in a company, and growth style assets are best held by a super fund where the tax on capital gains is just 10%.

For more information contact the team at Stafford Accounting to establish any of these ideas and get ready to start saving!

For more information on how we can help you and your business, contact us today.

28 Mar

Buying property through your Super?

Property is the most trusted asset class for Australians, yet only around 3.5% of all SMSF investment is in residential property.

 

Property investment can produce a range of tax benefits, for e.g. your tax can be significantly reduced or eliminated for rental income and capital gains, and the rental return can be used for loan repayments.

Do you need an SMSF to buy property through your super?

You do, that is if you want to choose which property you invest in anyway. Contact Stafford Accounting TODAY for a free SMSF consult.

 

Are you in business?

Business owners can get some significant benefits when buying their commercial premises through their super. Along with all of the tax benefits mentioned above you also avoid the tenant or landlord issues that are often associated with commercial property. This is great, as buying your own business property still satisfies the ‘sole purpose’ test which is discussed under ‘what are the rules’ that follows.

 

Can you borrow money when buying property through super?

You CAN. Often banks will lend up to 80% for a residential property and 70% for commercial property loans through your SMSF. This is an example of leveraging the bank’s money to increase your investment.

 

What are the rules?

There are significant and strict rules around property investing through your super, according to moneysmart.gov.au the property must comply with these 4 key rules:

 

  • The property must pass the ‘sole purpose test’ – contact Stafford Accounting to see if this can apply to you
  • You cannot buy or acquire the property from a family member
  • Neither you or your family members can live in the property
  • Neither you or your family members rent the property. Basically, it’s off limits to you and your family members. It is an investment property for your SMSF only.

 

Tips and Traps

Like any major financial decision jumping in means that you take on more responsibility however, there are major tax benefits available which can assist your decision. These can be utilised efficiently provided you seek the advice of qualified professionals such as the team at Stafford Accounting.

 

The bottom line

There can be some MASSIVE benefits of buying investment property through your SMSF, by borrowing money you are increasing your investment which can yield great results over time. There are also options to secure your loan to protect your other assets in the fund. These investment and asset protection strategies are things you really should spend time researching and talking through with your adviser. We specialise in SMSFs and would LOVE to talk to you about your options.

For more information on how we can help you and your business, contact us today.

23 Mar

Avoid “Bad”Debt- but “Good” Debt may be OK for you!

It’s a common thought that we need to avoid debt, or pay off any debt we have as fast as possible. That is good, solid, but conservative advice.

Why conservative? Because you may be able to grow your financial assets faster by using what we call “good” debt. Let’s explain this:

From a financial planning perspective, you would like to have no debt, but if you do have debt, you really want to ensure that the interest you pay is tax deductible. Tax deductible interest (interest on loans for shares, rental properties, and other income producing assets) is good debt.

 

Interest that you pay on your home loan or personal credit cards or on personal loans is “bad” debt, because you cannot claim this interest as a tax deduction.

 

Most people have a home loan and personal credit cards, and the interest on credit cards is much higher than for your home mortgage. That’s why financial planners recommend that you use whatever surplus income you have each week to first pay off your credit cards, and then once you have done this you can start to make extra repayments towards your home loan. If your home loan has an interest rate of 6%, then you effectively earn 6% for every dollar you pay off your home loan.

 

Here’s where debt may be good for you:

 

If you feel comfortable investing in shares and you expect a 10% return for the year, you could withdraw an amount from your home loan (if you have a redraw facility) and invest this in shares. Should your home loan be at 6% interest, and this leaves you with a 4% gain for the year. So if you invested $100,000 this way, you would make an extra $4,000 per year after interest costs. Sounds good, doesn’t it?

 

There are always risks with any investment, hence the phrase ‘risk versus reward’ and to help minimize this ‘risk ’contact Stafford Accounting and consultants.

We can help you!

 

Our accounting firm specialises in loan structuring to ensure your wealth is maximised and your tax is minimised. Contact Stafford Accounting today and maybe some “good” debt will make a big difference for your future retirement plans!

For more information on how we can help you and your business, contact us today.

16 Mar

Who will PROTECT you from your emotional decisions

We all do it, we make irrational decisions based on emotion. So how can we protect ourselves from, well, ourselves?

It is SO important to have someone watching your ‘financial back’, to look at the big picture and give you comprehensive advice. The people at Stafford Accounting are here to provide qualified advice to suit your individual needs!

Want to BOOST your net worth? Get an adviser

Long term studies show that there is a strong positive correlation between the use of a professional adviser and subsequent net worth.

Going steady with your adviser

Choosing a professional financial adviser is a big decision and should be treated as such. You should view this as a long term business relationship for your personal wealth. No one will care more about the outcome than you, however, you need a professional to bring you the facts without the emotion.

I say this should be a long term relationship as you may not see the real benefits in the first year. It may take several years for the true benefits to shine through. So it’s important to pick an adviser and stick with them.

Who’s on YOUR side?

As your business grows it will pay to have a team that you can rely on, an adviser, accountants and in some cases solicitors.

Stafford Accounting takes the approach that best suits each individual client, we also work in tandem with expert planners, lawyers and advisers all so your job can be made easier. This gives you peace of mind in knowing that there is no ‘single-point-of-failure’ you have a team of people working for you and we use the latest software to track and ensure all your projects are progressing as expected.

For more information on how we can help you and your business, contact us today.

14 Mar

Most business owners dont have the answer to this question…..

Is my business on track to meet our target?

 

Why? Because they’re aiming at nothing!

Here’s the secret:

Unless you have a budget (or targets) for the financial side of your business, how do you know if you’re improving or going backwards?

Not many business owners actually prepare a budget for their yearly business activities, but this is probably one of the most important things they could do to drive their business forward.

You Must Consider this Seriously

 

Budgeting

The easiest thing you can do is budget yourself. You can say “alright this year I want to increase sales by 15%” But think about it, why did you choose that number? Was it a guess? Where you feeling confident at the time? Here at Stafford Accounting we use data analysis and experience to advise clients correctly. Together we can plan build a plan and eliminate the guess work

 

Your “On Track” Reports

With the reliability of a professionally made budget you will have exact concepts of what your business is trying to achieve each month. With a budget in place the team at Stafford Accounting can track and advise you using Online accounting software systems like Xero. (Ask us TODAY if you’d like us to set this up for you!)

Stafford Accounting can then review whether your revenues and expenses are higher or lower than forecasts, and then we can discuss what you can do to improve things, or simply celebrate having a good month. You’ll be amazed that even in tough economic conditions, aiming higher and regularly reviewing your results will lead to better business decisions throughout the year – and in most cases a higher profit each year.

 

Call Stafford Accounting today! Don’t wait, by not budgeting you’re only hurting yourself!

For more information on how we can help you and your business, contact us today.

09 Mar

How to get the most from your accountant

The best accountants add value to your business, all for an affordable cost that you can control

A Growing business rapidly finds they need the services of an accountant to help them manage the finances of their business.

But which services are actually essential to business growth?

How should you pay for them? And how do you make sure you’re getting good value for money?

 

Here’s some top tips for getting the most from Stafford Accounting while managing the cost of our service.

  1. Use Fixed Fees

Agree on a fixed fee for your accountant’s services, rather than paying by the hour. This will enable you to plan ahead for the cost of the work and to control costs. Our fixed fee agreement will come with clear detail on what you’ll get in return for your money, but you’ll also have the option of commissioning additional work should it prove necessary.

 

  1. Be realistic about your budget

While it’s important to keep a tight rein on all costs, accountancy fees included, review your budget on a regular basis. Over time, the work you require from your accountant will change – you may need additional, more wide-ranging services, as your business grow. At Stafford Accounting we adapt our services to best suit your individual needs, so that your business is the best It can be.

 

  1. Timing is crucial

The frequency of the work your accountant produces can make as much difference as the work itself. If interactions with your accountant are limited, then getting timely analysis of trading and business may not be attainable. That is why here at Stafford Accounting we understand the importance of timing and understand the need for frequent communication.

 

  1. Relationships matter

It’s your accountant’s responsibility to make an important contribution to your business’s growth, but if you don’t trust them, or feel comfortable talking frankly and openly with them, you won’t be able to take full advantage. An accountant should be a trusted business partner who can provide constructive support as you run your business. If that’s not an accurate description of your relationship, it’s time to ask why.

 

Stafford Accounting- your business adviser, accountant and bookkeeper all rolled into one. Get ready for real advice not just accountancy

 

It’s time make the change!

For more information on how we can help you and your business, contact us today.