How to pay less tax, boost your super and ease into retirement

Two things first up: (1) If you want to (or have to) work past the age of 55, you need to read this article; or (2) If you know someone else who that applies to, please forward them this article or a link to it.

They’ll thank you for it.

There are now ways you can ease into retirement, tap into your super before you fully retire, save tax and potentially boost your super as you do it.

Before this legislation came in, people had to fully retire and leave the workforce before they could access their super. These days, the ‘cold turkey’ approach to retirement where all of a sudden one Monday you’re fully retired, is far less common.

It makes sense, for many, to instead gradually transition to retirement.

There are various reasons people may want to continue working past the age of 55, including:

  • Many of us actually enjoy our work including the social and mental stimulation and don’t want to take up travelling, lawn bowls or the fully retired lifestyle just yet;
  • Others want to avoid the shock to the system of full retirement and prefer to gradually reduce their working hours so they can adjust over time to a different lifestyle;
  • And there’s the obvious one: Financial reasons. Many people don’t have enough super or other investments accumulated that they can stop work altogether at age 55 and not suffer a big drop in income.

So continuing to work at least part-time past the age of 55 makes sense for many people.

It also makes sense for our economy. With the ageing population and fewer people in the traditional working years age bracket, the government has introduced various legislation to encourage people to stay active in the workforce.

One of these measures is called Transition To Retirement (TTR).

TTR allows you to wind back your work hours and reduce your income from that source, but then offset that with an income stream from your super.

The purpose of this article is not to give advice as such—as there are a number of variables to consider for each person’s circumstance, so you will need to sit down with your advisor here to discuss TTR further—but rather to make you aware of the main considerations so you can determine if you qualify.

You can use a TTR pension in one of two ways:

  1. You can keep working full-time and boost your super; or
  2. You can choose to work fewer hours and use your super to lessen the drop in income.

Either way, that’s a nice deal.

People who are unaware that they can access a TTR pension while they continue to work past age 55 stand to pay many thousands of dollars of tax needlessly.

Here’s how you can avoid that happening to you or your loved ones…

Firstly, some terminology: Your ‘age pension age’ differs from what’s called your ‘super preservation age’. The latter is age after which you’re allowed to access your super.

You can use this ASIC Super and pension age calculator to work out your preservation age. Just enter your month and year of birth and then click the Female or Male button.

Do that now, then continue…

Here’s how to determine if you can use a Transition To Retirement pension:

  1. You have hit your preservation age; but
  2. You are under the age of 65; and
  3. You are still working.

If you can tick all those boxes, you can withdraw 4% to 10% of your super each financial year.

Note that you cannot withdraw money as a lump sum.

Also note that not all super funds allow you to do this, and if that’s the case with your fund(s), you might need to change super funds if you want to take advantage of the TTR measures. We can help with that process.

So if all three of those above points apply to you, you should contact us as soon as possible to make a time to go through the specifics of your circumstances, your super fund’s TTR options and a number of other very important details. We’ll make it easy for you and will make the paperwork happen.

There’s more we could share with you here about TTR, but rather than burden you with all those details, we figure that’s what you want us to handle for you!

TTR is one of the smartest retirement strategies available. It makes sense to take advantage of it if you can.

Your 9 point checklist for paying less tax this year (and why this checklist will be useless to you in a few weeks’ time)

Time is running out.

If you want to take a few simple preventative measures to minimise or defer how much tax you will pay for this Financial Year, you need to do two things:

  1. Read the following 9 point checklist, then
  2. Call or email us as soon as possible so we can make a time to sit do with you to assess which of these preventative measures can be done for you in your circumstances.

Depending on your situation, this tax planning process could save you many thousands of dollars. That’s cash in your bank account, rather than the Tax Office’s.

After all, why pay one more dollar in tax than you have to?

I’m sure you have better uses for your money, such as investing in your future or just investing in the here and now and rewarding yourself with a little ‘lifestyle indulgence’.

Now … to the checklist. Tick each item you think is relevant to you:

❑ Review debtors Your income tax is payable on any invoices you’ve issued, even if you haven’t been paid. Don’t pay tax on any invoice you know won’t ever get paid. Review the list of those who owe you money and write off those ‘bad debts’ now.

❑ Review your stock levels The value of your closing stock directly affects your business profit, the higher your stock value the higher your profit and tax. Review and identify any obsolete or old stock and scrap it or re-value it to its correct value. Individual items of stock can be valued at cost, market value, or replacement value.

❑ Review your business assets Write off any obsolete asset and claim its remaining book value now. There are also new ways assets can be depreciated, called pooling, that will increase the depreciation expense. This isn’t suitable for all business, but it is worthwhile reviewing.

❑ Defer income — A simple tip that can defer a lot of tax for you If your cashflow allows, you may consider deferring some of your invoices until July. If the income was not invoiced this financial year, it can’t be taxed this financial year. Before taking this option we recommend having a budget to manage these months income and expenses. We can help you with that.

❑ Review your invoices issued If you have invoiced someone in advance for services you will provide in the next financial year, then you may not have earned that income in this tax year. That income may belong in the year you provide the service. Again, this is something we can work out with you when we meet for tax planning.

❑ Pay the June quarter superannuation Superannuation if paid on time is deductible when paid. Since you have to pay the 9.5% superannuation by 28 July, bring it forward a month and pay it now and claim the deduction now. Why wait a whole year to reduce your tax?

❑ Using all of your superannuation cap If maximising your superannuation is part of your retirement plan, then don’t forget to contribute as much as you can into your super fund. We can guide you as to how much you can contribute. It’s a missed opportunity not to do this each year.

❑ Employee bonuses Bonuses to employees are deductible when the business has committed to paying them and it is not subject to any discretion. So finalise and sign off on the bonuses to be paid and reduce this year’s tax.

❑ Capital Gains Tax (CGT) Minimising your capital gains tax is often about timing. Ensure the asset has been owned for at least 12 months. If you already have a capital gain, are there any investments making a loss you can sell? Do you qualify for any capital gain rollover relief concessions? (Again, we can guide you here.) CGT is a whole topic on its own, and the potential savings are so great, it is definitely an area in which you should seek our guidance.

If you ticked any of the above items, then we need to talk. And soon.

Call us now on 3421 3421 (Brisbane) or 5474 8955 (Sunshine Coast) or email Rob, Sam, Peter or Myself to make a time to meet and discuss your tax planning options.

Changes to Superannuation Rules – $1.6 million transfer balance cap

In this ever-changing financial environment, it seems that service charges are forever on the rise – which leads to the age-old question, “How do I inform the owners?”.

In truth, it’s a little more involved than simply informing the owners. While the question might best be answered by a solicitor, the position of the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) is that the best practice for advising owners about updated fees calls for the most direct approach.

That means personal notification—rather than having the news buried in a general issue newsletter—where it might easily go unnoticed.

How you can notify and renegotiate

Owners would be required to respond one way or the other (either negatively or positively), a non-response cannot be taken as acceptance. There must be a clear provision for the owner’s signature and a date, so that a manager has proof that the appropriate person was notified and accepted the updated fees for the new owner agreement.

One possibility is to make an announcement on the monthly statement sent to the owner, advising him or her about the inclusion of a new addendum on the statement, which calls for their immediate attention.

It should be remembered that under the Property Occupations Act, any units which still operate under the old PAMDA 20a Form, must move to the latest version of Form 6 in cases where changes are made to owner agreements—including increases to owner agreement fees.

The Office of Fair Trading and its Judiciary

As you read through the Property Occupations Act (POA) and its regulations, you will occasionally see the term ‘Maximum Penalty’, which may apply to non-compliance or breaches of the Act. Terminology used by the Office of Fair Trading implies that a wide range of actions can potentially be taken when dealing with breaches of the POA, and that the maximum penalty will not necessarily be sought.

OFT Compliance officers identify three separate categories of offenses: those of carelessness, those of recklessness, and those of dishonesty.

  • ‘Careless’ offenses include administrative oversights which have little or no financial impact, and which have already been rectified.
  • ‘Reckless’ offenses are considered to be more serious, because these do carry a financial impact, and must therefore be corrected at the very earliest opportunity.
  • ‘Dishonest’ offenses are self-explanatory, and must be reported immediately to the OFT, as they require immediate rectification.

Where to learn more about updating owner agreement fees?

As part of the continuing education of licensees, the OFT will be conducting informative seminars in locations all along the east coast. These seminars will provide excellent educational opportunities for managers new to the industry, and will also serve as great refresher courses for veterans.

The OFT provides education on an ongoing basis through its Web-site and YouTube channel.


Changes to super contribution limits: How it will affect you

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It’s that time again.

With the 2016 Federal Budget came several shake-ups, in particular the changes to contribution limits. With many other changes announced in the budget now passed by Parliament, you can have more certainty when it comes to planning your Self-Managed Super Fund (SMSF). Especially regarding the SMSF contributions you might wish to make to your fund.

The Government is lowering both the concessional (pre-tax) and non-concessional (after-tax) contribution limits as of 1 July 2017.

Knowing this—and with tax time fast approaching—it’d be wise to start getting your financial ducks in a row.

SMSF contribution limits

One of the original proposed measures which received a lot of comment and caused concern, was the $500,000 lifetime non-concessional contributions (after-tax contributions) limit. This proposed measure was dropped and replaced with a $100,000 annual limit on after-tax contributions.

Pre-tax contributions will be limited to $25,000 for all taxpayers, beginning on 1 July 2017. Below is a summary of the changes for both concessional and non-concessional SMSF contributions.

After-tax contributions

The $500,000 lifetime limit has been dropped in favour of a $100,000 annual cap. The rules allow the opportunity to bring forward three years of contributions – making it possible to contribute $300,000 in one year.

For the 2016/17 year, it is still possible to make a contribution of up to $180,000 for one year, or to bring forward three years’ contributions – so you are able to make a contribution of up to $540,000. If you do not use this full limit of $180,000 or $540,000 in the 2016/17 year, then you will be limited to the $100,000 annual, and $300,000 bring-forward caps for future years.

Where the bring-forward of contributions has been triggered before 1 July 2017, transitional contribution caps may apply. If you have a balance of $1.6m or more in your SMSF at 1/7/2017, then you will not be able to make further after-tax contributions.

When approaching the $1.6m cap, care will need to be taken with the bring-forward rules, as these are restricted by the new $1.6 million balance restriction.

Pre-tax contributions

The concessional contributions cap is lowered to $25,000 per year for all taxpayers as of 1 July 2017. Taxpayers who were aged 49 or over on 30 June 2016 can make up to $35,000 in pre-tax contributions in 2016/17. Those aged under 49 on 30 June 2016 can make up to 30,000 in pre-tax contributions in 2016/17.

Some of these changes may require you to adjust your SMSF contributions strategies going forward. This will most likely be the case if you have a superannuation balance of over or close to $1.6 million, or were planning on making contributions to superannuation in the next few years that exceed these new limits.

How we can help you with your SMSF contributions

If you are concerned that the Government’s changes to contributions for superannuation are going to affect you, please feel free to get in touch to arrange a meeting. We’ll discuss your situation in more detail and find a solution that works for you.

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A new office in Buderim

McAdam Siemon Business Accountants Upper Mt Gravatt, Noosa Heads & Maroochydore. Specialising in Accounting, Taxation, Management Rights, SMSF Administration, Business Advisory, Business Valuations. New office

We are excited to let you know that McAdam Siemon has a new office in Buderim, saving a huge commute for those of you that travel a long way to visit our Noosa office.

This will allow us to provide you with services more conveniently.

Susan and Adam will be working from the Buderim office  and John will be there each Wednesday or when appointments are made.

For those of you that like to meet either John, Sam or myself at the coast and this office is closer to you, please don’t hesitate to make your appointments with us at Buderim.

Middy’s Complex
Shop 16
29 Main Street
Buderim  Qld  4556

 There is off street parking available.

I trust my Accountant: why can’t they advise me about an SMSF?

I trust my Accountant: why can’t they advise me about an SMSF?

Written for McAdam Siemon Pty Ltd, by Eric Walters FCPA(FPS) FAICD



The short answer is – they can, BUT….

Over the past several years, particularly following the Global Financial Crisis (also popularly referred to as: the GFC, the Great Recession, the global credit crunch), the rules and regulations around the provision of advice in relation to financial products have been tightened somewhat: and the regulations dealing with the necessary qualifications and experience of those delivering such advice have resulted in changes in licensing for Accountants as well as increased regulation for financial planners generally.

Whilst the previous provisions (the ‘Accountants’ exemption’) were more often recognised in the breach (‘ignored’) than complied with, the new rules which come into full effect on 1 July 2016 are far more onerous on accountants. Hence it is likely that there will be some reluctance on the part of most accountants to provide even the most basic of advice about whether to start, or indeed to continue, a self-managed superannuation fund (an SMSF) – once they understand how these new rules apply.

Under the Accountants’ exemption, accountants could advise about forming an SMSF – but could not advise about rolling existing superannuation accounts into that SMSF; nor about how to invest the contributions received by the SMSF.

In a change that took effect on 1 July 2014, this exemption is being phased out in favour of a limited licensing regime: accountants who extend their already broad range of expertise to qualify for the granting of the limited licence will need to undertake additional study – and maintain their new skills and knowledge with ongoing professional education.

Under the limited licence, accountants will be able to (amongst a limited range of compliance and associated ‘administrative’ matters) –

  • Advise on the establishment of an SMSF;
  • Advise on the formulation of an Investment Strategy;
  • Provide general information about investment assets – but NOT any specific shares, property of managed fund products; and
  • Provide general information about the various types of personal life insurance – but NOT about any particular insurance company’s product offering.

….and so, in view of the onerous conditions applicable to attaining the limited licence; and the justifiable approach of ASIC in supervising this rapidly expanding area of their responsibility – it is not surprising that many accountancy practices elect to outsource their SMSF advisory tasks to comprehensively-licensed financial planners.

Our position

McAdam Siemon Pty Ltd has operated under the Accountants’ exemption in the past, but since the incorporation of SmartChoice SMSF Administrators Pty Ltd (‘SmartChoice’, as an associated entity of the accountancy practice), refers all requests for advice in relation to SMSFs and their administration to that company.

One of the partners, John Siemon, is a director of SmartChoice: he is qualified and holds a limited advice licence. John will be supported by Susan Stainwald (who works in SmartChoice) who is currently undertaking the requisite licensing process. Under this arrangement, investment advice is often referred to financial planning specialists as appropriate to the circumstances of each SMSF.

ASIC: the Regulator for Financial Advice participants

Whilst the administration compliance of SMSFs is monitored by the ATO, financial planning advice generally is regulated by ASIC. As SMSFs are considered a financial product, advisers dealing with such an entity – whether accountants holding a limited advice license, or comprehensively-licensed financial planners, must be mindful of ASIC’s requirements in administering the legislation and regulations prescribed by the Federal Parliament.

In a couple of recent information papers (INFO 205 and INFO 206), ASIC has provided detail as to what they will be checking on in relation to advice that is provided to trustees of SMSFs, regardless of the license status of the person providing the advice: respectively they deal with the disclosure of ‘risks’ and ‘costs’ to trustees and the members of SMSFs.

Summaries of the above-referenced Information Sheets are attached below: for full details – and for related reading on the ASIC website, refer to the following links: INFO205 and INFO206.

All of the matters covered by these Information Sheets from ASIC are able to be dealt with by a comprehensively – licenced financial planner and/ or by an Accountant holding a limited financial planning licence: the Accountants’ exemption will not allow the provision of such advice by an unlicensed Accountant.

Review of your SMSF decision

If you have been considering either –

  • moving your superannuation accumulations into a self-managed environment, or
  • wanting to review the wisdom of continuing with your SMSF,

John Siemon, is a director of SmartChoice: he is qualified and holds a limited advice licence. John is supported by Susan Stainwald, who is currently undertaking the requisite licensing process. Under this arrangement, investment advice is often referred to financial planning specialists as appropriate to the circumstances of each SMSF.

Call our office on 1300 366 316 to make an appointment to meet with John to gather the information necessary to formulate advice on the matter:

Eric is a Director and Financial Planner at Continuum Financial Planners Pty Ltd: their website has articles on superannuation matters and SMSF particularly – click the link to access these.


DISCLAIMER: The information contained in this article is general in nature and does not take into account personal circumstances, financial needs or objectives. Before acting on any information, you should consider the appropriateness of it and any relevant product having regard to your objectives, financial situation and needs. In particular, you should seek appropriate financial advice and read relevant Product Disclosure Statements or other offer documents prior to acquiring any financial product.



Are you interested in Self Managed Super Funds (SMSF)?

SMSF Strategic Advice

We are excited to announce that McAdam Siemon is expanding its service offering and are now able to provide a much wider range of advice, including SMSF advice.

To date our SMSF advice offer (via Smart Choice SMSF Administrators) has been structured to provide administration and accounting services to our clients. This is largely a compliance service to ensure your fund is established correctly and meets all the legal requirements. Due to Government regulatory changes accountants are now required to be licensed to provide any SMSF advice. (via Smart Choice SMSF Strategies Pty Ltd)

As we are always looking for a way to improve our service offering, we have decided to become fully licensed. This will not only enable us to provide SMSF advice but expand our advice services more generally.

So what does this mean for you?

This will be different for every client, dependant on your individual needs and circumstances. It essentially means we now have a wider range of services we can offer you. This doesn’t mean we will be selling you financial advice products, it simply means we now have the ability and expertise to provide strategic advice if it’s of interest to you.

We have included a table of how our services will be structured in future. You might notice some services previously provided by the accounting business have moved across to the advice area. This enables us to provide more comprehensive advice and ensures we are compliant with any legal requirements.

As part of the regulatory change we were required to either hold the license ourselves or become authorised with another license holder, we chose to affiliate ourselves with SMSF Advice, a leading licensee in the market.

Our licensee, SMSF Advice, is a subsidiary of the AMP Group and in partnering with them we are able to draw on in-depth knowledge of the financial services industry. We can leverage a wide range of plans, tools and training to ensure we deliver the best possible advice to you in the most efficient way.

Are you interested in Self Managed Super Funds (SMSF's)?

What’s next?

If you have any specific questions or would simply like to know more about the options available to you, please contact the Partner or Client Manager who looks after you for a confidential discussion regarding your needs.

Superstream Update

Superstream update

SuperStream is a government reform aimed at improving the efficiency of the superannuation system.

Under SuperStream, employers must report super contributions on behalf of their employees by submitting data and payment details electronically in accordance with the SuperStream standard. All superannuation funds must receive contribution details electronically in accordance with this standard.

The new rules apply to employers that have 20 or more employees from 1 July, 2014.

Employers that have less than 20 employees have until 1 July, 2015 to comply with the new regulations.

It is the employers’ responsibility to collect the required information and ensure that their payroll software can cater for SuperStream.

Employers will have to:

  1. Make contributions electronically to employees’ nominated super funds, and
  2. Provide details of the payment transaction, e.g. employee name, TFN and super fund member number electronically to the relevant super fund via an electronic service address

Super funds will need to provide the below information to the employer:

  1. ABN
  2. Bank account details where the contributions should be paid to, and
  3. Electronic service address (ESA)
  4. Bank account details where the contributions should be paid to

Please contact the team at McAdam Siemon if you would like further information regarding Superstream.

New Superannuation contribution caps for the year ended 30 June 2015

From the 1 July the following changes have been made to the Concessional (tax deductible) and Non – Concessional (non tax deductible) Superannuation Contribution Caps …….

 Concessional Contribution rates for the year ended 30 June 2015

Under 50 $30,000
Aged 49 or over on June 2014 $35,000

 Non-Concessional Contributions Cap rates for the year ended 30 June 2015

  • $180,000 per person per annum
  • If you are aged under 65 you may be able to make a non-concessional contribution of up to three times the non-concessional contributions cap (i.e.$540,000) for the year. By doing this you activate the bring forward provisions and you will not be able to make another non-concessional contribution for 3 years.

Please note

  • If your employer pays life insurance premiums as part of your contribution to super, the payments could be included as part of the contributions caps.
  • The above caps are per person, per annum.  If you have more than one employer you need to ensure that the contributions caps are not going to be exceeded.

If you would like more information on how this might affect you, please contact us.