Monthly Archives: May 2016

Protect yourself from ransomware

You have heard the stories. Some business has been infected with ransomware and their data has been encrypted and locked.  They have then been asked to pay a substantial sum into an overseas bank account after which they will (supposedly) have their system unlocked.  The police reckon the incidences of this are much higher than reported.  But is largely irrelevant – the point is you need to protect yourself from ransomware.

Andrew Leniart from Andrew’s Computer Help Zone has looked after our IT needs for the last 17 years – and that of many of your clients as well. Andrew has written a short article on how to protect yourself.  Bottom line is that you should take proper protection and have a back-up plan that enables you to restore data and be operational again in the shortest period of time.  Moreover, you should test the back-ups from time to time to ensure that they work.  Our Paul Lethlean can tell you a number of stories from being a QA reviewer of accounting practices needing to restore a back-up only to find there was nothing or little there.

You can read Andrew’s article at:-

If you would like help protecting your business then we happily recommend you to Andrew Leniart or John Braakhuis (0433 004 288).

At MRS, we will spend today planning for your success tomorrow.


She may not be right mate & death benefit nominations

She’ll be right mate. Australians have a great outlook on life don’t they?  Sometimes though this casual nature can come at great cost.  Like with not ensuring their estate and in particular their super gets into the right hands.

Upon death, super can be paid to anyone who is a dependent. Close family members can receive it tax free.  All of this is critical in ensuing that the pool of your life’s hard work and sacrifices gets into the right hands and does so in the most effective manner.

Super is today most people’s biggest or second biggest asset. The way of ensuring it gets into the right hands is to make a death benefit nomination.  There are various forms of nominations – the right one for you depends on your circumstances and what you wish to have happen.  This is all critically important where large sums are involved, particularly in respect of a self managed super fund as control may fall to just one side of the family.

If you would like to know more, then attend the upcoming Maggs Reid Group seminar on death benefits. This free seminar will also explain what is good and bad and the opportunities from the 2016 Federal Budget.  We will also be exploring some great business tools and solutions to small and medium sized business owners alike.

At MRS, we will spend today planning for your success tomorrow.


Great by Choice

Many of you will know of or have read Jim Collins famous book Good to Great. Over the weekend I finished another one of his books called Great by Choice.

Great by Choice is a fascinating examination on the role of luck and preparation in the success of a business. It is a highly readable book full of real life examples as well as some most interesting analogies such as Scott and Amundsen’s respective efforts to reach the South Pole.

Collins and his co-author Hanson studies lead to some interesting discoveries including that the best leaders were not greater risk takers, were not more visionary and were not more creative than their competitors. They were however more disciplined, understood their industry better and as the authors described, more paranoid.  Consequently, bad luck did not derail them and they were better place to take advantage of good luck and opportunities when they presented themselves.

Although it is a book written with American businesses as case studies, it is highly relevant to anyone in business anywhere.

And like any great business book, don’t try reading it before you go to bed – you won’t be able to sleep as your mind will be racing too fast.

Our new reception features this and many other famous business books which you are welcome to borrow.

At MRS, we will spend today planning for your success tomorrow.

Good news in the Budget

Amongst all the politic game playing and doom and gloom reporting, there were actually some good news in the Budget.

Whilst the Company Tax rate cut took all the headlines, more medium sized businesses will now be able to avail themselves of the tax concessions previously restricted to small businesses.

What accountants call Division 7A (which is incomprehensible to the typical business owner) will be reviewed.  Division 7A requires repayments of loans made by companies to shareholders and their associates (which includes trusts) and which can require significant tax to be paid.  Whilst the statements were brief and vague, it is clear they are going to reduce the compliance burden and related costs.

The further restrictions to super certainly took front stage.  However, there were some very valuable announcements that many will be able to benefit from as well as some just plain common sense changes.

If you would like an informed analysis of how you may benefit from the Budget, please e-mail Alex and ask for a copy of our briefing paper.

At MRS, we will spend today planning for your success tomorrow.


The Budget

The following public domain You Tube clip from BT Financial Group is a great summary of The Budget as it affects most people.

It is an interesting one with some bad news, a few sweeteners but also some changes that will benefit many

There are however a range of other tax changes which we will address in upcoming blogs that will benefit businesses and individuals alike.

Super work test

If you watched the analysts on TV after the budget or read the press thereafter, you would understandably think that there was only bad news in the 2016 Federal Budget. Not so.  One welcome announcement will be that the super work test is to be removed as form July 2017.

So from July 2017, anyone aged between 65 and 75 will automatically be able to make a contribution into super. Currently, those aged between 65 and 75 can only make a contribution into super after they have satisfied a work test of having worked 40 hours in a 30 day period.

This will be a very welcome change for those wishing to still make deductible (concessional) contributions to reduce their tax. It is also a way for those who fail the life time non-concessional cap of being able to get money into super.

Keep an eye out for future blogs on other ways you might benefit from the 2016 Federal Budget.

At MRS, we will spend today planning for your success tomorrow.

Changes to Victorian Payroll Tax

The 2016 state government budget was handed down during the week. The most significant announcement was the changes to Victorian Payroll Tax.

Unfortunately, the change is not as attractive as one might believe.

The Payroll Tax threshold (currently of $550,000) will increase by $25,000 each year for the next four years starting from 1st July 2016.

Whilst it is better than nothing:-

  • The increase in the threshold is only between 4 to 5%.
  • Victoria still has one of the lowest thresholds and remains well below the national average of $1,050,000 – although it should also be said that we have the second lowest payroll tax rate.
  • This rolling reduction in the payroll tax threshold provides immaterial relief to medium to larger size businesses.
  • Employers with payroll in excess of $3 million would benefit more from a 0.5% decrease in the Payroll Tax rate.

Personally I find a Payroll Tax system archaic and counter-productive in the global economy that we now find ourselves. We are a country of high wages and make ourselves less competitive with such a tax.  One of the trade offs in John Hewson’s ill-fated 1993 GST model was the removal of Payroll Tax systems in each state (just as John Howard did in 2000 with other state taxes such as the Financial Institutions Duty). It amazes me that no one has had the common sense to revisit this common sense initiative.

At MRS, we will spend today planning for your success tomorrow.