aged care

2019-20 Update on Super Rates and Thresholds

2019-20 Update on Super Rates and Thresholds, in brief, the ATO on 4 March 2019 have published the super rates and thresholds for the upcoming 2019/20 financial year.

There is no change to the concessional contribution (CC) cap of $25,000. Whilst indexation from 1 July 2017 increases in $2,500 increments, the AWOTE indexation was insufficient to trigger and increase. As a result, there is no change to the non-concessional contribution (NCC) cap of $100,000.

Income year Your age at this date Concessional contribution cap
2019-20 All ages $25,000

Note that that first year of any unused concessional cap carry-forward rules commences in 2019/20 financial year and is subject to a member’s total superannuation balance (TSB) being less than $500,000 at 30 June 2019.

The low rate cap, the ETP cap for life benefit termination payments and the death benefit termination payments ETP cap for the 2018/19 income year all increase to $210,000.

The CGT cap amount and untaxed cap plan amount increases to $1,515,000.

The maximum contributions base indexes to $55,270 per quarter for the 2019/20 income year, providing an annual equivalent of $221,080.

No change occurs to the general transfer balance cap of $1,600,000 for the 2019/20 income year, nor the defined benefit income cap of $100,000.

For more on 2019-20-update-on-super-rates-and-thresholds, see ATO here.

By |July 2nd, 2019|aged care, budget, investors, retirement, Uncategorized|Comments Off on 2019-20 Update on Super Rates and Thresholds

Three-year SMSF audits: how auditors will be affected

Three-year SMSF audits: how auditors will be affected – By Alexandra Cain, – 26 Jun 2018, INTHEBLACK magazine – 26 Jun 2018 https://www.intheblack.com/articles/2018/06/26/three-year-smsf-audits

Trustees will still have every year audited, but this would be completed once every three years.

Experts says cutting audits of self-managed super funds (SMSFs) to once every three years instead of annually is unlikely to cut either costs or red tape and could have serious consequences for the SMSF audit sector.

The 2018 Federal Budget proposed allowing SMSFs to be audited every three years, rather than annually as currently required. It is not a one-year-in-every-three proposal, rather trustees would still have every year audited, but this would be completed once every three years.

“Trustees still have to verify the opening balance and reconcile and verify audit evidence over the three-year period, which may end up costing more. Any auditor will tell you it can be difficult getting clients to submit their material annually. This will be even tougher if they only have to do it every three years,” says Paul Drum, head of policy at CPA Australia.

Drum says that if trustees have made mistakes or inadvertently contravened regulations, the problem will only compound over three years. It is likely it will take more time and money to fix than if the issue had been picked up after a year.

Costs to rise for fewer SMSF audits?

There will be savings for some funds, but for many there won’t be any cost reduction at all, and for some an increase in costs is likely, says Richard Smith, managing director, ASF Audits. Smith says three-year audits may work for very simple funds, for instance those that only hold cash or managed funds.

“But even with simple funds, trustees can easily make errors with contributions and pensions,” he says.

Tenuous benefits aside, Drum argues moving to a three-year audit could threaten the integrity of the SMSF ecosystem.

“There will be an element who will take the opportunity to game the system. If you don’t regularly police it, you run the risk people will find loopholes. Trustees are also less likely to implement risky strategies in the existing annual audit system, in the knowledge the fund is regularly monitored.

“The extra checks auditors perform, especially around record-keeping for property investments and limited recourse borrowing arrangements, help support the regulator’s role,” he says.

Audit as checks for good administration

Drum says that rather than view the audit as an impost, a better approach is to see it as a useful tool to help ensure the smooth running of the fund.

“The audit gives trustees an invaluable check they are administering the fund appropriately. SMSFs are complex, so instead of looking at the annual audit as a burden they should be looking at it as a tool that supports their role.”

There are many details to be worked out should three-year audits be introduced, such as which SMSFs would be allowed to have their audits completed once every three years.

The Federal Government’s initial indication is that only funds with a good compliance and lodgement track record would be eligible, but no detail has been released about what constitutes a fund with a good record.

Serious consequences for SMSF auditors

If the proposal goes ahead it is likely to have serious consequences for the SMSF audit sector.

Smith says managing fluctuating workflows will be a concern, particularly if a large number of funds will be eligible to be audited in the same year, while a much smaller number will be audited in the other two years.

“That is going to create serious resourcing issues, which may increase costs for us and for our SMSF clients. One reason is because we may have to employ more casual staff, which comes at a higher cost compared to full-time staff.”

ASF has never outsourced any of its services, “but I am sure many firms are starting to think outsourcing is suddenly an option,” Smith says.

Who will decide audit timing?

A potential problem may be keeping auditors’ skills up-to-date and relevant in a three-year environment. Another issue is which party will drive the timing of the audit – the trustee, the auditor or the Australian Taxation Office?

CPA Australia is in discussions with Treasury about how three-year audits would work in practice.

“If the government can demonstrate this measure will meet its objectives, and it is able to be implemented, we would support it. But at the moment we have a lot of questions about how to make this work,” Drum says.

A Treasury spokesman confirms the Federal Government has started consultations with stakeholders on the proposal.

“Consultation to date has been constructive. The government will continue to progress consultation with industry and ensure stakeholder views are taken on board in the design of the measure,” he said.

Meanwhile, the SMSF audit industry is awaiting details of the proposal that has many businesses in the sector seriously concerned about how this will play out.

Says Smith, “When more details are released we will be able to make a better assessment of any potential savings or costs. Until then, we can’t work out what the real impact will be.”

 

By |August 21st, 2018|aged care, budget, retirement, Self Managed Super Fund News|Comments Off on Three-year SMSF audits: how auditors will be affected

Pension Loan Scheme

The pension loans scheme, From Tax & Super Australia Newsroom – https://taxandsupernewsroom.com.au/pension-loans-scheme/

To help pensioners who are asset rich but income poor, the government launched its own version of a financial product that has been commercially available for some time, the reverse mortgage.

A reverse mortgage is a type of home loan that allows you to borrow money using the equity in your home as security. The loan can be taken as a lump sum, a regular income stream, a line of credit or a combination of these options.

Interest is charged like any other loan, except you don't have to make repayments while you live in your home – the interest compounds over time and is added to your loan balance. You remain the owner of your house and can stay in it for as long as you want.

You must repay the loan in full (including interest and fees) when you sell your home or die or, in most cases, if you move into aged care.

While no income is required to qualify, credit providers are required by law to lend you money responsibly, so not everyone will be able to obtain this type of loan.

The government’s answer is its pension loans scheme (PLS), whereby a pensioner can apply for a non-taxable loan using some form of real property as security. The PLS does not provide a lump sum, but a regular fortnightly payment.

The scheme is administered by the Department of Human Services (DHS).

At present the scheme is only open to those on a full pension, but the 2018 Federal Budget announced the government intends to open the PLS to all pension-age retirees (not just those who qualify for the Age Pension). A date has not been set for this yet.

Also (from 1 July 2019) the maximum allowable income stream (combined Age Pension and PLS) will increase to be 50% higher than the full pension, including supplements.

A full age pensioner may be able to apply if:

  • they or their partner are of Age Pension age
  • they own real estate in Australia that can be used as security for the loan (home or investment)
  • they or their partner receive a rate of payment that is less than the maximum pension amount or nothing (due to either the income or assets test, but not both)
  • they meet Age Pension residence rules.

There are costs associated with the scheme, which DHS will determine and send to the person seeking the loan. The current rate of interest is 5.25%, which DHS adds to the outstanding loan balance each fortnight until the loan is repaid.

The loan recipient can repay the PLS loan in part or in full at any time. If the loan recipient wants to sell a property they need to inform DHS, and they can either transfer the loan to another property including a new home or they can repay the loan on the date of settlement.

If there is an outstanding amount upon the loan recipient’s death, the estate or in some cases the surviving partner’s estate can make repayments.

The total loan available depends on the:

  • equity in the property offered as security
  • equity kept in the property, and
  • the age of the recipient or their partner, whoever is younger.

Applicants can get a loan up to the maximum rate of income support payment they qualify for. Loan recipients may also use real estate owned by a private company or trust as security for the loan, if they are a controller of that company or trust. If there is more than one property, they can choose which to use as security for the loan.

DHS will register a charge with the Land Titles Office on the title deed of the property used as security, with recipients paying any costs associated with this charge. A licensed valuer will value the property; however this is done at no cost to the loan recipient.

Any person seeking a PLS should contact the DHS first to ensure they are eligible and to confirm the amount they can seek.

By |August 20th, 2018|aged care, budget, retirement, Self Managed Super Fund News|Comments Off on Pension Loan Scheme

Budget to be released 8th May 2018 – tipped to see aged care policy changes

Budget tipped to see aged care policy changes From SAMSFAdviser, 23 APRIL 2018 By: Miranda Brownlee

With the aged care space having undergone a number of major reviews recently, one aged care advice specialist predicts the government may introduce new policies for aged care services in the budget.

Aged Care Steps director Louise Biti said there were seven major reviews done on aged care last year, and there are still some reviews in process this year.

“The government is yet to release any policies from any of those yet because they are still formulating that,” said Ms Biti.

Ms Biti said there will be further changes in the future in this space, and some of these may appear in the upcoming May budget.

“I don't know what they're going to come up with, but there are a few changes I would take a punt on but all of them will be focused on greater contribution by the user or at least a more equitable contribution by some consumers,” she explained.

“I would bet on there being a couple of small things in this years' budget. There may be some reforms around helping the aged care sector have better visibility on how they manage their businesses and the viability of their businesses.”

Ms Biti predicts that the government will continue to shift its allocation of funds towards home care, because for every person that they fund in residential care, they can fund around two to three home care packages.

“So they can get a much better reach, it's more flexible, because you don't have to have people all in one location, they can be anywhere in Australia. There is still a lot of work to be done on the home care side,” she said.

Ms Biti said there are currently 50,000 home care packages in the market, and there’s roughly another 50,000 people on the waiting list with no packages and another 35,000 on that waiting list with a package lower than they would like and need.

“If the government was to say well we'll just throw enough money to fund all of those, they'd need over another billion dollars. There's no way they're going to do that,” she said.

“So some of the things the government will need to do is look at how do we shift more of that cost back to consumers, how do we make sure that the packages that consumers have got aren't just being stripped out with fees, and getting more competition in the space as well.”

By |May 1st, 2018|aged care, budget, Self Managed Super Fund News|Comments Off on Budget to be released 8th May 2018 – tipped to see aged care policy changes

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