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Top 4 Tips to Prepare You For EOFY

Article By Adam Hurwood | | Financial Planning
Every year around this time, a window of opportunity opens to help maximise your end of financial year tax strategies. And if you leave it too late, the chance to improve your financial position could go begging.

So what are some of the strategies you might want to consider?

Manage your contributions caps

What’s the goal?

Maximising your super contributions.

How does it work?

There are limits on how much you can contribute to super tax-effectively each financial year. These limits (referred to as ‘caps’) are important for two reasons:

If you’ve already commenced a super contribution strategy, you need to monitor your contribution levels to help maximise your opportunities without unintended penalties.

If you’re not using your caps, there’s an opportunity to increase your super contributions.

The following table shows what the two types of super contributions are, and what limits and penalties relate to each.

What are your contributions caps?

*If you are over age 65 when you make the contribution you must meet the work test and if you are intending to make a contribution above the non concessional cap this will need to be done as multiple contributions, since a fund can only accept contributions of up to $150K.

If you have room under your caps, the next two strategies explore how you may be able to use that room to your advantage.

Start a salary sacrifice arrangement (using before-tax contributions)

What’s the goal?

Boosting your super balance in a tax effective manner.

How does it work?

You may be able to enter into a salary sacrifice arrangement with your employer, provided you have room in your concessional contributions cap. This may allow you to contribute some of your before-tax salary directly into your super account.

The benefit of this strategy is that your before-tax super contributions are taxed at 15% – compared to your marginal tax rate of up to 46.5% (including Medicare Levy) if you took this money as cash.

An added benefit is that these potential savings are going towards your super balance, so they can compound over time and make a significant difference to your retirement savings.

Salary sacrifice arrangements differ depending on your place of work, and you may need to check what rules are in place for you. It’s a good idea to have this conversation with your employer well before 30 June as you can’t salary sacrifice income (including year-end bonuses and commission payments) to which you are already entitled – it must relate to employment income that you will earn in the future.

Remember, if you have a salary sacrifice arrangement in place, it’s important to review the strategy annually to ensure it remains appropriate for your circumstances and takes into account any changes in legislation.

Move assets into super (using after-tax contributions)

What’s the goal?

Placing your long term investments in a tax effective environment.

How does it work?

When you hold investments like shares or managed funds outside super, you pay tax on these investments at your marginal tax rate – which could be as high as 46.5% (including Medicare levy).

However, if you held these assets inside super, those same investments would be taxed at 15% or less. Assuming your marginal tax rate is higher than 15%, these tax savings could help your investments grow faster inside super than outside super.

Once you’ve started accessing your super in the form of a pension, this strategy may become even more attractive. That’s because:

Any earnings on the investments supporting the pension are tax-free.

Up to age 60, the tax you pay on pension income you draw may be reduced by tax offsets, and/or you may receive some income tax-free if you’ve made after-tax super contributions.

After age 60, any income or benefits you withdraw from super are tax-free.

This strategy is best suited to investments you’re putting aside for retirement, as you won’t be able to access them until you reach your preservation age (which is currently between 55 and 60 depending on your date of birth). Your financial adviser may assist you in identifying any issues to be aware of within-specie transfers including capital gains tax (CGT) considerations, contribution rules and caps.

Prepay investment loan interest

What’s the goal?

Increasing your potential tax deductions this financial year.

How does it work?

When you borrow money to make an investment that will generate assessable income (often called ‘gearing’), you’re generally entitled to claim a tax deduction for the interest on the money borrowed.

The interest you pay is generally tax-deductible in the year it falls due. However, if you have a geared investment portfolio in your own name, you may be able to prepay up to 12 months’ interest on the loan and bring forward a tax deduction from the following year into the current year – potentially reducing your taxable income this financial year.

Additionally, by prepaying interest you are locking in the interest rate you pay for the following year, which gives you greater certainty around the cost of your investment. Some lenders also offer a discounted rate when you prepay interest.

It’s important to remember that to receive these benefits, you need to make the prepayment before the end of the financial year. Furthermore, once the payment is made, you cannot ‘claw back’ any interest payments if the account is closed or repaid.

Know where you stand before 30 June

The best year-end tax strategies for you depend on your personal circumstances and goals – which may change from year to year. Likewise, the strategies can vary over time with changes to rules and regulations.

To make sure you know where you stand before 30 June, speak with your financial adviser as soon as possible.

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