Company tax cuts pass the Senate with amendments
Editor: After a marathon few days of extended sittings (the last before the Federal Budget in May), the Government finally managed to get its company tax cuts through the Senate, but it was not without compromise.
The following outlines the final changes to the law, as passed by the Senate, including a recap of which of the original proposals remained intact and also which ones were changed.
Changes to the franking of dividends
Prior to this income year, companies that paid tax on their taxable income at 28.5% could still pass on franking credits to their shareholders at a rate of 30%, subject to there being available franking credits.
However, with effect from 1 July 2016 (i.e., this income year), the maximum franking credit that can be allocated to a frankable distribution paid by a company will be based on the tax rate that is applicable to the company.
Editor: Please contact this office if you would like to know how these changes will affect your business specifically.
Costs of travelling in relation to the preparation of tax returns
The ATO has released a Taxation Determination confirming that the costs of travelling to have a tax return prepared by a “recognised tax adviser” are deductible.
In particular, a taxpayer can claim a deduction for the cost of managing their tax affairs.
However, apportionment may be required to the extent that the travel relates to another non-incidental purpose.
Example – Full travel expenses deductible
Maisie and John, who are partners in a sheep station business located near Broken Hill, travel to Adelaide for the sole purpose of meeting with their tax agent to finalise the preparation of their partnership tax return.
They stay overnight at a hotel, meet with their tax agent the next day and fly back to Broken Hill that night.
The full cost of the trip, including taxi fares, meals and accommodation, is deductible.
Example – Apportionment required
Julian is a sole trader who carries on an art gallery business in Oatlands.
He travels to Hobart for two days to attend a friend's birthday party and to meet his tax agent to prepare his tax return, staying one night at a hotel.
Because the travel was undertaken equally for the preparation of his tax return and a private purpose, Julian must reasonably apportion these costs.
In the circumstances, it is reasonable that half of the total costs of travelling to Hobart, accommodation, meals, and any other incidental costs are deductible.
Editor: Although the ATO's Determination directly considers the treatment of travel costs associated with the preparation of an income tax return, the analysis should also apply where a taxpayer is travelling to see their tax agent in relation to the preparation of a BAS, or another tax related matter.