Monthly Archives: October 2017

18 Minutes – Get The Right Things Done

Over the weekend, I read Peter Bregman’s 18 Minutes (Find Your Focus, Master Distraction, Get The Right Things Done).  Bregman recommends that you should ask yourself three questions at the end of each day.

So what are those three questions:-

  1. How did the day go?
  2. What did I learn today?
  3. Whom did I interact with?

Bregman explore these three questions in a chapter titled It’s Amazing What you Find When You Look.  He suggests that at the end of the working day, take five minutes to review what went well and what didn’t, check what happened after reviewing your calendar and ensure tomorrow is more productive.

So what else does one need to do in the other 13 minutes? I will leave you to read the book; I highly recommend it to you.

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

How do you claim your mobile and internet costs?

So how do you claim your mobile and internet costs? You have to be careful as the ATO is quite strict.  In fact they are even more onerous than for car claims.

Any expenditure is deductible:-

  • To the extent that it relates to earning income, and
  • Can be proved (or in ATO language, can be substantiated).

So how do you substantiate mobile and internet deductions?

  1. There is a safe harbour method for phone claims. Under this method, you can make an estimate if your phone claim is less than $50 and is based off rates of 25c for calls from landlines, 75c from mobiles and 10c for texts.
  2. Where phone and internet usage is itemised on a bill, then you can claim a % based off a 4 week analysis of your bills. Identifying work calls is easy. What isn’t so easy is analysing the data downloaded as a percentage of total downloads.
  3. Where usage is not identified on a bill(s), you need to keep a register for 4 weeks.

One could argue that this too onerous as one can keep a log book for a car in one year and use it for as many as the next four years – provided there has been no major change in the pattern of ravel such as change of job and house. But we don’t write the rules – it is our duty to explain them to you so that you can legally claim everything you are entitled to.

So what if you have a bundled plan? The ATO requires apportionment determined by:-

  • A supplier’s breakdown,
  • Based on the relative cost if they were purchased separately, or
  • A breakdown based off a comparable supplier.

In addition to keeping bills and diary records, it is also advisable to keep any acknowledgment from your employer. As a side issue, the ATO has taken the approach with travel claims to contact a taxpayer’s employer directly asking them whether there was a legitimate and deductible approved trip.

It doesn’t matter how genuine your claim may be, if you can’t substantiate it, the ATO will deny the claim (and possibly charge both interest and penalties).

Please e-mail if you need a diary record register and declaration to evidence your phone and internet claims.

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

SG super

Friday 27th October is the end date for satisfying Super Guarantee (SG) super obligations for the September 2017 quarter.

SG super is payable on all forms of remuneration including:-

  • Commissions.
  • Bonuses (but see below).
  • Directors’ fees and all other forms of remuneration to directors.
  • Allowances (except where fully expended).
  • Contractors paid mainly for their labour.

But excluding the following remuneration:-

  • Overtime.
  • Reimbursements.
  • Unused annual leave on termination.
  • Remuneration of less than $450 in a month.
  • Bonuses that are only in respect of overtime.
  • Bonuses that are ex-gratia but have nothing to do with hours worked (harder to satisfy than what you might think).
  • In respect of employees younger than 18.
  • Employees carrying our duties of a private or domestic nature for less than 30 hours in a week (such as nannies).
  • On quarterly remuneration greater than $51,620.
  • Non-residents performing work for an Australian business outside Australia.

SGC super should never be paid late as late payments attract substantial interest and penalties.  Furthermore, and SG (and BAS) liabilities that remain unreported and unpaid after 3 months automatically become personal debts of directors.

The SGC rate remains at 9.50%.

Please ensure that you make your payment with sufficient time through your Super Stream gateway.  A SG commitment is only satisfied when the money is received by the fund; not when paid to the gateway.  Whilst some gateways pay into the respective super funds the next working days (such as the ATO’s free gateway), other gateways take up to 5 working days.

We welcome any question you might have.

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

Stay Smart Online Week

Last week, the Australian government, together with some 1,400 partners, ran Stay Smart Online week. The initiative aims at encouraging and educating both individuals and businesses to adopt safe online practices.

You find it at

This page will take you to guidebooks on:-

  • How to protect yourself in 8 steps.
  • How to protect your business in 5 minutes.

There are a number of other guides and tools including helping the elderly and keeping kids safe.

With cyber crime on the rise, and in particular email scams and ransomware, we encourage you read through the web site. Prevention is better than cure!

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

PAYG Instalments options

PAYG Instalments are income tax payments paid during the year by companies, super funds and individuals.  In respect of individuals, it is levied on income not taxed upon receipt with common examples being interest, dividends and trust distributions.  It is not assessed on wages or capital gains.  With the September BAS being the first one for the year, one can choose how to calculate your PAYG Instalments.

We usually prefer that clients use the instalment amount method.  In the majority of cases, it will not result in an over-payment that can so often arise under the instalment rate method.

In some cases though, the % rate method may enable one to pay a lesser amount.  If the instalment income is nil or negligible in the first couple of quarters or much less than the year before, then no or little tax will be paid.  A significant payment will only be required at such time as income is received.

It is critical with PAYG Instalments (and indeed GST Instalments) that any downwards or indeed upwards variation be made cautiously.  If a variation results in the instalments paid being 15% less than the actual liability then the ATO will issue a fine.

Please do not hesitate to call us should you wish to discuss your own situation.

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

GST options

With the Sep 2017 BAS  comes options as to how you can calculate GST.  So what are these GST options?

Even with the introduction of the “Simpler BAS” there remain three ways to calculate and report GST.

We recommend most business clients select Option 3 (GST Instalments).  Option 3 (which is only offered to small businesses who lodge quarterly BAS’s and who have turnover of less than $10,000,000) is the best for most clients as:-

  • It reduces our fees by our not having to prepare BAS’s or amend those prepared by clients (at the risk of being misunderstood, there are matters that only come to light when preparing annual financial statements and which require past BAS’s to be amended).
  • One doesn’t have to amend BAS’s for where a tax invoice is not held by the time a BAS is lodged.
  • If profits are increasing, then one’s GST net liability will also be increasing.  The instalment will represent an under payment as the ATO advised instalment is based off the prior year’s lodged activity statements.  In most cases, the shortfall is not payable until May of the following year so one receives an interest free loan from the ATO to pay any GST shortfall.
  • If the instalment is too high, then they can be varied downwards (but best left until at least the second and preferably the third or fourth quarter when the year’s position becomes clearer).


Please contact us if the ATO have marked on your BAS that Option 3 is not available.  This is often simply an ATO error and one that we can easily have rectified.

If you adopt Option 3 , then the ATO will issue you with an Annual GST Return after the end of the financial year.  This form is completed by netting off the actual liability against the instalments paid.  The form is required to be lodged by the time the Tax Return is lodged and by which time a shortfall is to be paid or a refund will be generated.

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