Vehicle tax rules explained

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By , 10/12/2018 08:57

Do you understand the rules around tax deductions and vehicles?Tax rules relating to cars are complex and strict. It’s important to understand how they work as we approach the end of the financial year.

Q. I am a sole trader and recently bought a second hand car mainly for private use.  I have a van that until recently was my only vehicle. I was claiming 95 per cent for business and 5 per cent for private use. I now claim 100 per cent for the van, but I was wondering if I can claim anything for the car as I use it for quoting work and picking up materials. Also do you know if the GST threshold of $75,000 is going to increase any time soon, and why are materials and running costs included in this figure?

A. To be able to claim a tax deduction for motor vehicle expenses there needs to be a connection between the travel and earning business income. There are some exceptions that apply, which also apply to people claiming deductions against salaries and wages income, where that travel is regarded as private and domestic.

An example of private and domestic travel is when someone drives to their place of business or employment. In this case a business owner driving to their place of business could not class this as deductible travel unless they use the car to carry stock or equipment. Where the travel involves a business owner driving from home to a supplier or customer, and then driving to their business premises, this would be classed as business travel.

You can claim the expenses for the driving you are doing in your primarily private motor vehicle using one of the three methods available. As you are only occasionally using your car for business purposes it will probably be best if you use either the kilometre method or one third of running costs method. Despite not having to keep a log book you will still need to be able to show how you calculated the business kilometres claimed.

It is therefore best if you keep a record of your business travel that supports the number of kilometres you will be claiming. If this is less than 5,000 kilometres a year you must use the cents per kilometre method. If this is more than 5,000 kilometres you could use the one third of running costs method if this results in a higher deduction.

The GST turnover threshold originally started at $50,000 when the GST system was introduced in July 2001. This turnover limit, that forces businesses to register for GST, remained the same until it increased in the 2007/2008 Federal budget to $75,000. As far as I know there is no plan to increase this limit. The $75,000 only relates to the income or turnover of a business, it does not include expenses.

Questions on small business tax or other issues can be emailed to [email protected]苏州美甲学校.au

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Major parties face scrutiny over MP secrecy bill

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By , 10/12/2018 08:57

The major parties will face pressure in the Senate on Tuesday over plans to increase secrecy around the running of Federal Parliament.

The Greens are trying to water down a bill which aims to shield three departments that oversee Parliament from having to answer any freedom of information requests.

The blanket ban was put forward even though the three departments involved admitted they did not need a catch-all exemption. As Fairfax Media highlighted earlier this month, the new law was rushed through the House of Representatives while an independent report explaining the best way forward remains under wraps.

The Greens in the Senate will attempt to force the major parties to accept an amendment ensuring departments are open to requests for information about salaries and additional salary for office holders, electorate allowances, superannuation, services and facilities to support politicians in Parliament House.

If this is voted down, the minor party will suggest limiting requests for access to documents to those relating to administrative matters only. The Greens argue it should be hard for the major parties to oppose this as the departments have publicly supported this position.

The three agencies that oversee Federal Parliament – with a total annual budget of $170 million – are the Department of Parliamentary Services, the Department of the Senate and the Department of the House of Representatives.

Greens senator Lee Rhiannon said the bill in its current form was “an obstacle to transparency and reflects a dumbing down of FOI laws to protect the major parties”.

“These parliamentary departments spend hundreds of millions in taxpayers’ money a year and should be open to public scrutiny, helping to maintain public confidence and avoid corruption,” she said.

“If Labor and Liberal join to pass this bill without amendment, it will be a clear example of the old parties working together to block scrutiny of MPs expenses and other public spending.”

The Gillard government claimed an “anomaly” had been found last year when Fairfax Media successfully obtained information from the Department of the House about former speaker Peter Slipper’s travel, catering and clothing purchases.

Both parties argued in the House of Representatives last month that the bill simply restored the previous understanding that parliamentary departments were exempt.

Former attorney-general Nicola Roxon last year ordered a review by Dr Allan Hawke, due by April 30 this year, saying the release of documents was contrary to “long-accepted practice”.

Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus’ office said last month Dr Hawke had completed his review but was still preparing the written report.

Coalition MP Bronwyn Bishop argued the parliamentary librarian – who had to provide confidential advice to politicians – had been placed in a “very difficult position” after a ruling that the service was covered by FOI.

But parliamentary librarian Dianne Heriot said in a submission to the review that a partial exemption, rather than a blanket one, would be preferred “in the interests of transparency and accountability”.

In a joint submission to the review, the three departments also argued administrative documents should continue to be accessible.

The bill to allow a blanket exemption is expected to be debated in the Senate on Tuesday night.

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Reef on brink of ‘danger’ listing

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By , 10/12/2018 08:56

The Great Barrier Reef may be added to a list of world heritage sites in danger unless Australia can show a firm commitment addressing key threats to the reef. Photo: Tamara VoninskiThe Great Barrier Reef will be listed “in danger” by the United Nations unless Australia addresses key threats from industrialisation.

On Tuesday a meeting of the World Heritage Committee in Cambodia passed a recommendation to consider adding the reef to the list next year if the steps aren’t taken to solve the problems.

The meeting heard concerns from officials from the UNESCO World Heritage Centre and International Union for Conservation of Nature about the impact of proposed gas and coal port projects along the Great Barrier Reef coast.

While officials welcomed some progress made by the Australian and Queensland governments – including funding for a water quality program – they said no explicit commitment has been made to contain new ports to existing industrial areas.

Of the 23 priority issues identified for the reef, Australia had addressed seven, the officials told the meeting.

The Great Barrier Reef will now be considered for inscription on the list of world heritage sites in danger at the next committee meeting in 2014 – unless Australia can show a firm commitment that it is meeting the priority issues.

WWF Great Barrier Reef campaigner Richard Leck, who is in Cambodia for the meeting, told Fairfax Media the Australian and Queensland governments were now on notice and had 12 months to manage the reef in the manner it should be.

“This is a poor reflection on the Australian and Queensland governments,” he said.

Mr Leck said the body had been explicit that the most pristine areas of the reef – Keppel Bay, north Curtis Island and the northern section of the reef – had to be protected.

Federal Environment Minister Tony Burke was to make a statement later on Tuesday.

The government had been hopeful it had done enough to avoid the threat of a potential listing. It is understood Australia had pressed its case hard behind the scenes at the meeting.

Beyond refunding the water quality program – another key concern of the UN body – the government has also launched a “strategic assessment” of the Great Barrier Reef coast to determine where development should and should not occur.

But the process has been marred by simmering tensions between the Australian and Queensland governments, with the state’s Deputy Premier Jeff Seeney saying last week Mr Burke had been held to ransom by “radical greens” on the issue.

If the Barrier Reef is deemed “in danger” it will be one of only a handful of sites in developed nations to be placed on the list, along with the Maritime Mercantile City in Liverpool, England and the Everglades National Park in the USA.

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Raiders speechless, disappointed

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By , 10/12/2018 08:56

Blake Ferguson. Photo: Michael Carayannis Blake Ferguson. Photo: Edwina Pickles


How celebrations turned sour within hours Ferguson stood downDrinking buddies let down the game

Canberra Raiders chairman John McIntyre says the club intends to stand by disgraced Origin star Blake Ferguson and there are no plans to sack him.

It’s understood Ferguson has returned to Canberra and is meeting with coach David Furner on Tuesday afternoon.

The Raiders had indicated that the Raiders board would meet either Tuesday or Wednesday to decide Ferguson’s fate, after he was charged with indecent assault and suspended by the NRL.

But McIntyre said the board would not meet and had unanimously agreed to a rehabilitation plan to keep Ferguson at the club.

Asked if the Raiders would stand by Ferguson, McIntyre said: “We certainly will … That attitude has been reflected unanimously by the board.”

“We’ve got ourselves into a position which has got to be discussed with the NRL, the coach and the senior leadership group.

“I sent my thoughts around to the board via email today and they’ve responded.

“At this point of time I’ve got no comment other than to say I’m speechless. You cannot believe the amount of disappointment and it’s not just me, it’s everybody involved in the Raiders.

“The key element that’s got to come out of it in the end has got to be support for this young bloke.”

Ferguson was almost sacked by the Raiders after going on a drinking binge with then teammate Josh Dugan after the round one loss to Penrith.

Dugan was axed, but there are elements of the Raiders administration that are unhappy Dugan was able to find a new home at the Dragons so easily and has been rewarded with a call up to the NSW Origin team.

Dugan was drinking with Ferguson at the time of the alleged indecent assault, which occurred at a Cronulla bar.

While the Raiders are extremely disappointed and are set to impose a heavy penalty on Ferguson, they see little value in sacking a star player when the likelihood is he will be picked up by a rival club.

Raider statement

The Raiders released a statement on Tuesday morning saying they supported the actions of the NRL in regard to standing Blake Ferguson down from Origin after he was charged with indecent assault.

“We recognise this process is going to involve discussions with the NRL and also the need for the club to continue to send a strong message in this area,” Raiders CEO Don Furner said.

“We have been in constant consultation with the NRL integrity unit and will continue to work with them to determine the best course of action for Blake, the Raiders and the NRL.

“There are steps which need to be taken before an outcome can be reached and we will aim to resolve the situation as soon as we can for our members, sponsors and supporters.

“The club is also conscious of its responsibilities to the player and will continue to provide the appropriate level of support and counselling for Blake.”

The Raiders have sacked five players for alcohol-related indiscretions since 2006, including axing fullback Josh Dugan – who was drinking with Ferguson when the alleged incident happened on Sunday night.

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Simple gestures cut through the nonsense

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By , 10/12/2018 08:56

In a week where the world – or at least Australia – seemed to go crazy, with jibes about prominent people’s anatomy, inappropriate questions around gender preference and countless stories of footballers behaving atrociously (proving it’s not just middle-aged anglo men who are getting a bit of a bad rap), it’s nice to be reminded that, in fact, there’s a whole host of decent, kind folk who actually enjoy being pleasant to one another.

And that reminder came last night at 7 o’clock when the doorbell rang. Standing there was our neighbour, armed with an innocuous-looking tray. She was a welcome sight, not only because she was a lot less ernest-looking than the local member who turned up a few days ago in election mode, but because she had in her hands a pie. (As opposed to a truckload of political paraphernalia).

A spinach pie.

And the prime ingredient of that pie came from our front garden, which we planted eight months ago as a communal offering.

It was evidence that one good deed (putting private, edible garden in spots where people can pick them) leads to another (today’s lunch, delivered to the door).

For details on how the garden was planned, please see the original story.

The proof of whether it works, it seems, is in the pie!

One man who has a passion for edible gardening and greening cities and suburbs is Michael Mobbs.

The lawyer turned sustainability coach has this week launched an interesting new concept that could bring edible gardens to the most desolate of places, and, he says, it’s generating a fair amount of interest.

Mobbs’ has designed garden beds he’s called ecoPOPs. They are a standalone unit that uses corrugated iron garden beds, a 1500-litre rainwater tank, a solar panel, a battery-operated pump (charged by the solar panel) that circulates just enough water overnight, and a worm farm that composts fruit and vegie scraps and drip feeds fertiliser for the plants.

It’s a pretty neat concept of a garden that almost takes care of itself.

The whole setup is about 900mm wide by 6 metres long.

“It’s designed to fit in a car parking space or along a road verge or in the middle of a road as  a pop-up median strip,” explains Mobbs.

The garden can be plonked straight onto most surfaces, including dirt, cement and ashphalt.

The water tanks can either be connected to gutters of nearby buildings to capture rainfall, or refilled from a hose every few months.

At $5500 in the eastern states and $6000 in WA (where steel is more expensive), they’re potentially not going to appeal to average householders, but Mobbs is getting plenty of calls from government and businesses, and one local council in WA – Fremantle – has recently installed two units.

“I see councils and schools and carpark owners at supermarkets as the main market,” Mobbs says.

“Also shops in streets with damaging heat from the eastern or western sun that drives away customers – for example cafes – are showing strong interest.

“As the cost comes down I expect homeowners will be interested too.”

Wouldn’t it be nice if as you walk down the street there were a range of (well-kept) gardens within reach to collect produce? Here’s hoping!

Do you, would you, could you plant edible plants for others to pick? Should local government make more of an effort with this? 

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