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Posts by cantor

myDeductions in the ATO App

It is never fun to manage your tax. Organizing your financial information is not only time-consuming but gut-wrenching as well. But the benefit of managing tax helps in maximizing your tax in the long run. There is a new app in the room which helps you organize your tax and save time on the go – it is called the ATO app. With the new ATO (Australian Taxation Office) app, you can organize your tax better. Also, get your superannuation affairs in order with this ATO app. There are several other useful features that come with the ATO app, you can lodge your tax return and organize your deductions making your tax more convenient and simpler.
There are several ways to harness the power of this app; here are some nuggets about how to maximize this app.

Who can benefit from the ATO app?

Made in Australia by Australians and for Australians, the ATO app has a number of features and tools for the management of superannuation and tax of Australians with ease. The mode of design makes it suitable for:

  • Small business owners
  • Individual taxpayers
  • SMSF (self-managed super fund) trustees

The ATO app’s interface makes it compatible with several devices

The official ATO app is available for Windows Phone, Android, and iOS.

  • Windows – There are several interfaces on Windows’ interface such as Windows Phone 8, Windows Phone 8.1, and Windows 10 Mobile.
  • Android – Requires Android 4.1 and other upgrades after that.
  • iOS – Requires the latest upgrade in iOS such as iOS 7.0 and higher. It is also highly compatible with iPod Touch, iPad, and iPhone.

How to download and use the ATO app

There are a few simple steps that you will follow when you want to use the ATO app. Be it on your smartphone or Windows phone, the steps are easy and straight-to-the-point.

  • Download the app from Microsoft Store, Google Play, and Apple App Store.
  • Launch the app on your smartphone.
  • Tap ‘Allow’ or ‘OK’ if the app sends a prompt with a request to use location services or send notifications.
  • If you want to use ATO online services, log in with your myGov account. On the other hand, use one of the calculators or the tools that have no need to log in to myGov.

What the ATO app features can do for you

If you want to stay on top of your superannuation and tax fees, the ATO app has a convenient, easy, and quick design for its users. So, you can manage your finances at any time and wherever you are with the wide range of tax management tools in a single pile. Therefore, the ATO app features can help achieve these and more:

  • Making plans ahead – The app is designed in such a way that the users can make a note of key deadlines and dates for superannuation and tax tasks. Simply put, the user is able to set up important reminders on their devices.
  • Lodging a return – Using the myTax system, you can log in to your myGov account to make lodging for tax return for the previous fiscal year. Also, you will be able to track the progress of a return that the user has logged into the account already.
  • Calculation of withholding tax – A small business owner can use the app to work out calculations that the user needs to withhold from wage payments and salary.
  • Enrolment of voiceprint – As soon as the voiceprint is entered using the ATO, you will enjoy secure and fast access into the online services of the ATO. Whenever you use the app or phone the ATO, your voice can also be used to verify your identity.
  • Taking photos – You can capture receipts to be a form of supporting documentation of expenses from work.
  • Comparing business performance – With the Business Performance Check tool in the app, the user can compare business with more, similar, or smaller businesses in the same industry. This way, the user can assess the financial position of the business.
  • Recording deductions – with the myDeduction tool in the ATO app, you can record deductible expenses, gifts, work-related expenses, car trips, and donations. With this information, the user can pre-fill upcoming tax returns in the app. There are several singular characteristics of myDeduction feature of the app as well.
  • Manage an SMSF – SMSF trustees can access a wide range of useful information on the ATO app via SMSF Assist, checklists, and videos.
  • Calculation of other tax and super matters – There are several other tools that ATO app features which includes calculators for fuel tax credits, tax rates, and so much more.

myDeductions tool

myDeduction tool is a special package on the ATO app. This feature is designed to make it super convenient for the user to collate expenses from tax-deductible on the move in the whole year. Also, the user can keep the information together in a single folder.

The myDeduction feature is not suitable for small business owners and sole traders because it is especially for individuals claiming work-related expenses as an employee. More so, the tool is suitable for:

  • Recording car trips
  • Recording and categorizing work-related expenses, donations, and gifts.
  • Taking and storing pictures of receipts
  • Recording the cost of managing tax return, earning dividends or earning interest.

Irrespective of whether you prepare your tax return through a tax agent or you do it yourself, the myDeduction tool is suitable for making management of tax much easier. As soon as the user records the deductions throughout the year, the user can upload the deductions to the ATO for the automatic pre-filling of income tax return. By inference, the user does not need to keep track of all receipts throughout the year. On the other hand, the user does not need to miss out on a deduction because they have lost a receipt or must have faded after a long time.

However, ensure to record information on a particular device throughout the year. This is because you are only able to upload deductions once every financial year. Most importantly, back up data on the go for broken, stolen, or lost devices.

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Small Business Tips for Aspiring Entrepreneurs

Smart business start-ups require a huge amount of sacrifice before you can reap the fruits of labour. To minimise your struggles in business, start seeking advice.

With the array of small business tips on the internet, budding entrepreneurs may find themselves overwhelmed. But a seasoned entrepreneur will tell you that there is no secret formula for making it big as a start-up.

The best business advice will provoke your creativity. Hence, this article will serve you hot tips on a gold platter!

Small business tips

You learn on the go when dealing with a small business. But there will be greater chances for success if your company makes smart decisions in the early stages.

If you are a budding entrepreneur and you’ve got the drive to succeed, the following tips are for you.

A great business owner never makes excuses: It is easy to nurture the ‘entrepreneurship’ dream and take no action. Many people talk about being super-entrepreneurs, yet make no moves to fulfil their dreams. Ask others, and most will tell you about their fear of failure. Excuses such as responsibilities and money troubles will take you further away from your goals. However, no one said entrepreneurship is easy.

It is completely normal to worry about what will become of your business. But you won’t find out if you don’t try. Get rid of the reasons that are dissuading you from chasing your business dreams. Rather than let the issue weigh you down, find solutions. Start now!

Be a sponge – soak in everything: Although a few people in your circle are likely to be unsupportive, you should listen to everyone’s opinions. From experts to friends and family, absorb everything. They will all teach you things that could shape your business idea. Keep a diary or a notepad, and jot down notes so you don’t forget. Develop a bulky business plan from the points. Read people’s body language when you talk about your start-up. Watch for signs that show that they like the idea. And if anyone has recommendations, listen and adjust accordingly. Ensure that you keep an honest circle. Consider this circle a test of how consumers will react to your product. Veteran business owners and experts should be your friends during this period. They clearly have valuable experience in the industry. Learn from their mistakes and apply the learnings to your business plan.

Be a solutionist: A good way of crafting your business idea may be to think of something that solves a problem. There are endless problems plaguing the world at the moment. Some people will pay a hundred bucks to have someone do menial chores for them. If your business idea is about fixing a problem, rather than upgrading some other existing business, people will buy into it. Simply put, your business idea must be the fix to a hole in the market. Ask yourself: why am I opening this business? If you cannot supply answers, you need to restrategise. The foundation of a brand is a basic understanding of the motive of the business. Determine the problems of your target customers and offer solutions.

Simplicity is key: You have a great business idea and you cannot wait to tell the world about it. This is great. But don’t let your business idea be like the snowball that picks up everything in its track. You don’t want to end up with a complex product that bores people. What you must do is to narrow your focus to the simpler things in the business. Have a test run of your idea. Create a simple product or service. Then, colourise it with great brand promise and exceed expectations. If anything waters down your idea, cut it down as it could cost you. As a small business, you don’t need the bells and whistles. Rather, wait for your business to grow and add the intricacies later.

Count your costs: Include the cost of the business idea as part of the development process. Before you can launch and operate, you must factor in all business expenses. Costs to bear in mind include marketing, supplies, rent, location, and much more. Calculate the most precise figure possible. Take the smallest likely budget and multiply it four times. Yes, quadruple it. You must plan for unexpected running costs. In this way, you are over-prepared for whatever comes your way in the ‘billing’ department. Don’t forget about a personal budget when costing your business. Determine how much you need for healthcare, food, rent, living, gas, and everything in between. Then, prioritise the list. Create a business budget when you have a good grip on all your expenses. Initially, you may depend on friends and family to sustain you. In worst cases, you might secure a small business loan. Nevertheless, ruminate on the options for capital before setting up the business.

Fuel with passion: Passion drives business growth, as the most important ingredient in sustaining your business idea. You have to be crazy about what you want. Without passion, you lack the push to improve business processes and growth. Having said that, don’t allow passion to overshadow your decisions. Whilst knowledge points you in the right direction, passion will propel you forward. To identify the potential of your business, talk to sample customers. A feasibility study is a form of market research that answers all your questions about launching a start-up. Accountants. lawyers and financial advisors are also important professionals who can provide essential insights.

Finally, think of your business like driving a car: let your mind control the steering wheel as you allow your passion to hit the gas pedal. In this way, you can gain confidence about your specific direction, whilst sustaining the momentum to get ahead.

Find out how your accountant can help your business grow, contact Cantor Accounting on (02) 9411 1134.

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Can I claim Investment Property Renovations as tax deductions?

As an owner of Investment Property, you may have a number of questions about the welfare of the Property and your pocket.

As you keep your Property in a semblance of order with certain Property improvements, a question must have crossed your mind: can I claim Property renovations as tax deductions?

If you are considering how to get a tax break for the money spent on Property improvements, there are many possible answers.

Common examples of Property improvement are:

  • Installation of air conditioning
  • Replacement of the roof (as opposed to repair)
  • Addition of a sunroom

You cannot deduct the entire  cost in the same year you spend the money but you can depreciate various improvements over different time periods. However, in the event that you sell your Property, a well-kept list of expenses may result in a reduction of taxes at that time.

Repairs versus improvements

There are two categories of money spent on your Property, according to the tax office: the cost of repairs vs the cost of improvements. The cost of capital improvements is added to the “ cost base” of the Property.

What is a cost base? To determine the amount of profit, you subtract the cost base from the sales price.

Also, there are no strict rules concerning the list of qualifying  features. You can add to the cost of certain additions to the Property, for example:

  • Swimming pool
  • New central air-conditioning system
  • New roof
  • Extra water heater
  • Storm windows
  • Property security system
  • Intercom

To find out more about your tax situation please contact Cantor Accounting on (02) 9411 1134.

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10 Easy and Actionable Tips for Keeping Your Books Tidy

The process of bookkeeping is gut-wrenching. With bookkeeping as annoying as it is, there is every reason to keep our books tidy. As well as working on the customer and sales funnel, you must remember that time is also of the essence. So, how do you juggle a million business needs with bookkeeping?

Needless to say, bookkeeping is an absolute must. It is imperative for the growth of your business and you must start taking it seriously, if you don’t already. But what if there was a way you could keep up-to-date with your accounts with minimal effort? We have some great news for you!

The following tips are lifesavers when wading through the tides of bookkeeping:

A chart of account: A well-compiled list of transaction categories is the most useful way to maintaining a defined chart of account. The five basic categories of transactions are assets, equities, expenses, income, and liabilities. Each transaction category is a ledger with a unique identifier – called the Account Code. A good chart of account is great, when bookkeeping, to guide the categorisation of transactions. For instance, ‘Revenue’ is a great transaction category for recording sales to different customers.

A fine line between credit and debit: The notion of balancing is a key concept in accounting. Debit and credit are two arms of every transaction. The debit account should always be equal to the credit account at the end of the financial period. An increase in an expense or asset is a debit – whilst credit is the increase in a liability or income account. Recording transactions is made easier by accounting software which sorts credit and debit discrepancies. With Microsoft Excel, you must record both transactions. Failure to do so means a great deal of trouble when looking for missing coin!

Both invoices and receipts need electronic safekeeping: Rental rates fluctuate, whilst digital spaces keep dwindling. Physical documents accumulate dust and are displeasing to the eyes. Besides, space is wasted in the office when storing physical documents . Documents that do not require signatures may not necessarily require hard copies. Meanwhile, most documents are prone to fading over time. It is for such reasons that it is essential to start switching to digital formats. When retrieving information, life is made so much easier by digital documentation. Popular cloud storage solutions include Google and Dropbox. These solutions also make room for lower storage requirements.

Brush up your basic accounting knowledge: If you do not understand the basics of accounting, doing business may be difficult. Luckily, you needn’t spend a fortune to learn the tools, as there are several online courses available at minimal cost. And the certificate itself is of little importance compared to the knowledge to be gained.

Business and personal finances are distinct: Never mix business finances with personal finances. Think of your business as a separate person: know that it is inconsiderate to ask a friend to fund your trip. Some great tips to help you:

  • Start paying yourself a salary
  • Record every payment that goes into the business
  • Set up a business bank account immediately

Link transactions to your chart of account: Unfortunately, just recording transactions may be insufficient. You must prepare financial statements, which involves a linkage of transactions. As a form of categorisation, the chart of account helps to categorise transactions, such as the following:

  • Salaries, allowances, and bonuses – salaries of employees
  • Telephone and internet expenses – payment to Divitel for business telephone subscription
  • Revenue – sales receipts from customers
  • Medical expenses and insurance – surgical insurance

Although there are no strict rules and regulations regarding the classification of accounts, this should be sensible. An example of one silly mistake is categorising expense as revenue.

Monthly reconciliation of bank statements: One of the most important documents to keep is bank statements. Not only are these the basis for everything else, they are also the only business record you can trust. You will only notice a difference between your bank statements and accounting records if you create a monthly record of transactions. For example, if your bank statement reflects $2,000 when you should have cash of $7,500. You must fish out the discrepancies – a process known as ‘bank reconciliation’. Nevertheless, there may be valid differences. Sometimes, the bank takes a longer time to affect a cheque receipt of monthly sales. Without valid reason though, you must investigate. Regular causes of discrepancies are fraud and inaccuracy of accounting records. Simple bank reconciliation procedures are one of the arms of bookkeeping. Keep the soft copies of your bank statements. Banks typically charge between $30 and $40 per month for dated bank statements.

Record relevant transaction details: Although bookkeeping is of the essence. For each transaction, you must know what to record. Some important things to note during each transaction:

  • Transaction date
  • Payer or payee
  • A unique identifier
  • Transaction purpose

Should you decide to analyse your accounts, these details may be useful in the future.

Slow, steady, and deliberate: Do not underestimate the power of electronic records! They can save you a lot of time, allowing you to be more productive in other business aspects. If you prefer to outsource, electronic records are a must for professional firms. For personal bookkeepers, taking 20 minutes a day is a necessary evil to get your bookkeeping game on. You will also have less work to do if you own an e-commerce website. By integrating the website with the accounting software, you will have more time on your hands to care for the business.

Software and apps are the new black: Technology definitely makes life easier, and we don’t give it enough credit for this.. Certain apps and software make the art of bookkeeping a walk in the park, including WaveApp and CamScanner.

Without a doubt, bookkeeping can be a thorn in the side. But business growth depends on well-organised bookkeeping techniques, with investments and loans easier to secure with good bookkeeping practice.

To find out more about your tax situation please contact Cantor Accounting on (02) 9411 1134.

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