Articles

With the emergence of new technology every year it’s important for businesses of every size to adopt it as an integral part of their strategy and budget. Integrations between business processes and technology is no longer a luxury but a requirement to stay ahead of the curve and beat competition to have the most lean and efficient processes to increase that bottom line revenue.

According to a research piece by Gartner, organisations are facing immense competition on a local and global scale. To remain competitive and improve their bottom line, businesses are urged to turn to process improvement through ‘Business Process Management’ Automation (BPM).

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Last Friday the 22nd of February, at 8:45pm, the Israeli spacecraft Beresheet launched atop a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from Cape Canaveral, Florida. At a cost of US$100 million, Beresheet was the first privately financed mission to the moon.

On the 30th of March, 2021, NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope is set to be hurled into space, coming to rest 1,500,000 kilometres from Earth. This US$9.5 billion telescope will replace the Hubble Space telescope. That old timer was launched in 1990 and itself cost about US$4 billion.

Exploring space costs a lot of money; money that many people will say could be better spent. Would it be more beneficial to forget about space, and worry about what’s under our feet? There would certainly be a lot of great ways to spend $10 billion on our own rocky planet. There is a never-ending list of important public issues that require funding, such as healthcare, education, and taking better care of the environment (to name a few).

Smarter people than me are employed to make those choices, however, I would encourage anybody to consider the broader benefits to society that space exploration provides, before being so quick to dismiss the investment.

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We are already half way through the first quarter of 2019, and if you have not already, now is a great time to consider exploring planning oppurtunities for either your business or personal tax affairs. Assessing the shape of your business before year end can offer various benefits and improved financial outcomes year end. Strategic planning of key financial situations ensures there are no surprises come end of year. 

What do we mean by planning?

Essentially it is the process of proactively analysing the financial situation of the current year and developing the strategies ensure you are maximising the claims your business is entitled to.

It is recommended that this review activity is completed either in the middle or towards the end of the financial year, this allows you enough time to develop and implement new strategies. For example, an estimated tax obligation based on the current and projected business performance can then be forecasted and aligned with stakeholders. Knowing your future obligations is critical to managing cash flow planning for the year ahead.

It is important to note that this process is not limited to only complex structures and/or larger corporations. Taxpayers contemplating even the most ordinary transactions should thoroughly consider tax review and the consequences to ensure that they do not suffer adverse tax outcomes, below are a few key reasons as to why you should consider and implement planning tax activity for your business.

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Single Touch Payroll is a new process in the way employers will be reporting their employee's tax and super information to the ATO. 

STP is offered by some accounting or payroll software. Each time the payroll is run and employees are paid, tax and super information will be sent either directly to the ATO or through a third party, depending on the software. The information that will be reported to the ATO includes employees' salaries and wages, allowances, deductions, pay as you go (PAYG) withholding and superannuation information. You can continue paying your employees weekly, fortnightly or monthly, you will not need to adjust your pay cycle. 

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As we enter into another busy part of the corporate season, below are some tips to maintain a clear head and good mood in the office:

1. Get Healthy Sleep

Ensure a good night’s sleep. Sleep will help you lower your stress levels and improve cognition, concentration, and performance. This includes improving your problem-solving skills and enhancing your memory performance. Not surprisingly, all these qualities are affected negatively by sleep deprivation.

2. Move around
Oftentimes when we are under pressure (e.g. a looming deadline), and we end up bolted to our desks in an effort to get the “thing” done.
Regardless of how busy you are it’s important to move around, circulating oxygen around the body and keeping a clear head. Where you can, try to get out of the office for at least five minutes and breathe some fresh air, take a walk around the block. At the very least move the around office. Doing so could prevent you from developing brain fog, RSI, fatigue or eyestrain at work.

3. Green Tea
Coffee is a staple for many and may act as a short-term energy boost. Conversely, coffee can also often leave one anxious or jittery where there are sensitivities to caffeine, or it is consumed to excess. Where possible, opt for Green Tea instead. Green Tea contains L-Theanine which may help promote relaxation, reduce the bodies’ perception of stress, and slightly improve attention.

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With the announcement that the Federal Budget will be unveiled early, in April 2019 and deliver a federal surplus, can we assume that the economy is performing as well as the federal government would have us believe? 

Announced in the midst of a tough week politically, Prime Minister Scott Morrison is hoping that the announcement of the surplus budget will alleviate some of the pressure on the Liberal party. While a Federal surplus budget looks great at face value and appears to show the 'big picture' of the economy, the influence of individual states and their budgets cannot be ignored.

Since the Australian economy exists as a common market between all 8 territories and states, any federal announcement, that focuses solely on the federal economy has the potential to mislead us and be conveniently used to shift our attention in times of political stress. 

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What is the change? The Migration Amendment (Family Violence and Other Measures) Bill 2016 has been passed by both houses of Parliament and is awaiting royal assent. The bill introduces a range of significant reforms to the Sponsored Family Visa program affecting both sponsors and visa applicants, including:

  • Requirement for sponsorship to be approved before the visa application can be lodged.
  • Sponsorship obligations for family sponsors and sanctions for breach of obligations.
  • The Department of Home Affairs can share personal information between sponsors, visa applicants and other government agencies.

Implementation time frame: Any time from now or within the next 6 months.

Visas/permits affected: Sponsored family visas, including partner, parent, child, carer visas and visas for other relatives.

Who is affected: Australian citizens/permanent residents and eligible New Zealand citizens who wish to apply for sponsorship of a family member, and family members who wish to apply for a sponsored family visa.

Impact on processing times: Processing times are predicted to increase due to the requirement that the sponsorship be approved before the visa application can be lodged.

Analysis & Comments: The changes will severely impact the visa eligibility of prospective family visa applicants and the timing of visa application lodgements.

For example, prospective visa applicants who are in Australia on short-term visas such as a visitor visa will no longer have access to a bridging visa if the sponsorship application is not approved prior to the expiry of their visa, because they will not be able to lodge an onshore visa application.
In these instances, the visa applicant will need to depart Australia to await the approval of the sponsorship before they can lodge an associated visa application under the approved sponsorship, or apply for a different type of visa to extend their stay in Australia.

There are additional changes that are likely to be included through regulation and this may include measures relating to mandatory refusal of sponsorship in certain circumstances, payment for debts to the Commonwealth and associated measures.

Action required: if you are considering lodging a partner/spouse visa application then it would be prudent to discuss the changes with your immigration consultant to understand how the new measures could potentially affect your prospective application. Given the announced tightening of regulations for the family visas, it would be wise to consider lodging applications prior to the Bill receiving Royal Assent.

If you have a discretionary or hybrid trust that owns residential land in NSW you may need to have your deed amended before 31 December 2018.

Duty and land tax surcharges were imposed from 21 June 2016 where residential land in New South Wales is to be acquired or is owned by foreign persons. Where the land is to be acquired or is owned by a discretionary trust, the trustee of the trust is a foreign person if any foreign persons are beneficiaries (whether or not named in the trust deed) under the trust.

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