In a recent article, we explained how to make your Christmas party Fringe Benefit Tax (FBT)-friendly and avoid some unwelcome surprises. Employers may be confused, or unaware of the scope of FBT, how and when to pay it, and how to reduce it. Knowing the basics of FBT and how you can avoid and reduce it can be a huge money saver for your business.

What is a Fringe Benefit?

A Fringe Benefit refers to anything paid to your employees which does not fall under the categories of salary or wage. A Fringe Benefit can refer to many things including cars, accommodation, entertainment, financial aids (i.e. loans, expense payments and debt waivers). For a full list of fringe benefit examples, see the ATO website.

When do I have to pay Fringe Benefit Tax?

The FBT year runs from April 1 to March 31, and any FBT payments that are due should be made annually by May 21. If this is your first time time paying FBT, or if the amount of FBT you paid in the previous year was under $3,000, then you only need to make one payment for the year. If you paid $3,000 or more in the previous year, then you are required to pay FBT in quarterly instalments for the next FBT year. Payments must be made to the ATO on or before the due date to avoid Failure to Lodge (FTL) penalties.

How do I pay Fringe Benefit Tax?

It is a legal requirement that you keep written records of all Fringe Benefits, and lodge an annual FBT activity statement through the Australian Business Registry Service (ABRS).
Standard Business Reporting (SBR) enabled software including Xero and MYOB must be used to submit your FBT statements. There is a full list of software you can use to lodge your activity statement, however it is recommended to manage your FBT through a registered tax agent to ensure you meet all obligations.

How can I reduce Fringe Benefit Tax?

To reduce FBT, make sure you are well aware of all the benefits which incur FBT and plan your benefits accordingly. FBT can apply to cars, entertainment, loans and accommodation. Your payable FBT can be reduced by:

  • providing benefits that are income tax deductible
  • using employee contributions
  • providing a cash bonus
  • providing benefits that are exempt from FBT

The threshold for taxable Fringe Benefits is $2000, so keeping annual benefit value below that will immediately save you the obligation of paying FBT.

Fringe Benefits are a great way to reward your staff in a way that can be much more meaningful and relationship building than a cash bonus. However, it is crucial to keep a close eye on the benefits you provide your employees to ensure you don’t end up hurting your business as a result.

Our expert team knows all about Fringe Benefit Tax in Australia. Get in touch today to make the best decision for your business when it comes to FBT.

The end of financial year is fast approaching which means it’s time to get your affairs in order before June 30 to help maximise your tax refund.

Here are five options that you could potentially use to maximise your tax refund this year.

1. Organise your records

Now is the time to collate and organise all the paperwork you need to prepare your tax return. From bank statements to investment property records, donation receipts or work-related expenses, get it all in one place to make your life easier.

If you’ve been working from home and want to claim a deduction, you can use the ‘shortcut method’ the ATO introduced in response to COVID-19 to claim 80 cents per hour of work from home during the year. Alternatively you could use the fixed rate method if you have a dedicated work space or home office to claim 52 cents per hour of work from home.

You may also be eligible to make claims for work-related proportions of items, including phone or internet expenses, stationery, or the depreciation of equipment such as laptops.

2. Prepay expenses

Boost your tax refund by paying for expenses that may attract a tax deduction before June 30. These expenses may include charity contributions or work-related expenses. To check which work-related expenses you can claim, take a look at the ATO guides for a range of occupations.

3. Top up your super

Did you know the government may make a super co-contribution of up to $500 if you earn less than $54,837 and add money into your superfund? The amount co-contributed depends on your income as well as how much you contributed to your super with the maximum entitlement reducing progressively as your income rises.

If you’re taking this route make sure the money is in your superfund by 30 June to be eligible for a co-contribution for this financial year.

4. Buy an asset

As a small business owner you may be able to buy eligible assets under temporary full expensing for your business, such as a car or office equipment, with the business portion able to be claimed as an immediate deduction.

5. Manage capital gains

If you have made a capital gain from selling any assets, you may want to consider selling investments that are not performing well. By crystallising your losses you may be able to use them to offset some or all of the gain.

However, it is important to think about your overall investment strategy and that you don’t make the decision to sell assets only for tax purposes. It’s worth noting, you can’t just buy the shares you sold at a loss again in July, this is likely to be considered a tax-avoidance strategy by the ATO.

We’re here to answer all your tax time questions and make sure you’ve done everything you can to maximise your return this EOFY. Get in touch with us today!

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