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COVID-19 factors to remember when filing your tax return

Posted on July 1, 2020 by admin

The end of the financial year has rolled around again, but this time, COVID-19 may affect the way you fill out your tax return. The ATO has released a range of methods to make tax time easier for businesses and individuals experiencing unprecedented circumstances.

How JobKeeper will affect tax returns

Sole traders receiving JobKeeper payments on behalf of their business are required to include these payments as assessable income for the business. Employees receiving JobKeeper will see that those payments have been automatically filled out in their tax return.

Individuals who have had their wages increase due to JobKeeper should identify whether they have been bumped into a higher tax bracket as a result. If an individual is working multiple jobs and receiving JobKeeper at one of these positions pushes them into a new tax bracket, they may be faced with a higher tax bill on their return if their other employers had continued deducting tax at their original lower rate.

How JobSeeker will affect tax returns

JobSeeker payments are considered taxable income. The ATO will automatically upload JobSeeker details in the ‘Government Payments and Allowances’ section of recipients’ tax returns. However, recipients are advised that there may be a delay in these JobSeeker details being updated, potentially until the end of July. The ATO recommends delaying tax return lodgements until these details are finalised. Recipients that wish to complete their returns prior to this must ensure they include these details themselves, as leaving out assessable income can slow down the return process or result in a bill later.

COVID-19 protective equipment

Occupations that require public interactions may be able to claim personal protective equipment (PPE), including:

This would typically apply to industries such as healthcare, retail and hospitality. Many workplaces now have this PPE available for employees, however, employees who must pay for their own COVID-19 PPE and are not reimbursed for it will be able to make a claim.

Working from home

The ATO has introduced a new ‘shortcut method,’ which applies from 1 March 2020 to 30 June 2020. Under this new method, employees working from home as a result of COVID-19 can claim expenses incurred at a rate of 80 cents for each hour worked from home. Employees must keep a record of the hours they worked from home as evidence to support their claim.

Deductible running expenses include:

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Small businesses and mental health

Posted on October 21, 2020 by admin

Owning and running a small business often means that you are responsible for most or all of the tasks that need to be completed. Often, owners will find their time being entirely occupied with their business. This can take a toll on their mental health and cause work related stress. Which not only inhibits one’s ability to complete the duties of their role, but also puts them at greater risk of developing mental health conditions.

Keeping work hours in check

Although it is tempting to focus on your business at all times, this can prevent individuals from participating in other activities which are important for physical and mental health. Business owners may feel motivated and enthusiastic to put extra time into their work, however, long work hours have been associated with poorer mental health, fatigue, burnout, worry, and irritability.

Creating a work life balance by setting time limits on work hours might be a necessary precaution at the start. Taking breaks during the work day and setting time aside during the week will be extremely beneficial.

Accessing support

Running a small business can often be isolating as there is rarely someone to share concerns of the business with. This will mean that owners are dealing with all of the issues on their own.

Discussing issues that arise with family or close friends can help reduce the feeling of being isolated. Alternatively, there are groups of small business owners who, and business mentors who may be able to understand and relate to what owners are experiencing, and potentially provide relevant advice.

Maintaining a healthy lifestyle

A healthy lifestyle can help individuals manage stress and work towards improved mental health. This will also improve the ability to focus and concentrate when working.

Developing good sleeping habits is a great way to kickstart this process. It can also be helpful to try different relaxation techniques such as meditation and exercise is an important start. Remember that this is a trial process, so trying different techniques to find the most effective one is essential.

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