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FBT and business vehicles

Posted on February 1, 2017 by admin

Business owners who make a car (leased or owned) available for employees to use for private travel may be subject to fringe benefits tax (FBT).

If a car is garaged at or near your employee’s home, even if only for security reasons, it is considered by the ATO to be available for their private use regardless of whether or not they have permission to use the car privately.

Similarly, where the place of residence and employment are the same, the car is considered as private use. Generally, travel to and from work is also private use of a vehicle.

The use of the car is exempt from FBT in some circumstances, i.e an employee’s private use of a taxi, panel van or utility designed to carry less than one tonne if the travel is limited to:
– travel between home and work
– incidental travel in the course of performing employment-related travel
– non-work-related use that is minor, infrequent and irregular

The best way to show the ATO that a car is used for business purposes is by keeping a log book for a period of at least 12 consecutive weeks showing:
– dates of travel
– odometer readings at the start and end of any trips
– the kilometres travelled
– the reason for the trip

Business owners should also keep odometer readings at the start and end of each year, along with details of the operating costs of the car.

Note, company directors are generally considered as employees by the Tax Office, so if directors use the car for private purposes, then FBT could apply.

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Avoiding mortgage default

Posted on August 26, 2020 by admin

As individuals struggle with cash flow through the coronavirus, the Australian Bankers Association records that repayments on almost 500,000 mortgages have been deferred for six months. While repayments can be delayed, they cannot be avoided altogether.

Lenders can send you a default notice the day your repayment is overdue. However, they could also wait until your repayment is overdue by 90 or more days. When you receive a default notice, you are given 30 days to repay the amounts you have missed in addition to the regular repayment on your loan. Individuals who are struggling with their home loan repayments can avoid mortgage default by considering the following.

Contact your lender
Lenders are generally willing to work with you through financial hardship. Don’t be afraid to contact your lender to discuss your situation and find out what options are available for you. Lenders are often willing to negotiate short-term variations to repayment schedules that both parties can agree to. However, make sure that you do not agree to unrealistic repayment conditions that cannot be met.

Many Australian banks are offering a six-month deferral on mortgage repayments (including interest) for customers who are experiencing financial hardship as a result of COVID-19. If this is you, contact your bank to see if this is an option.

Apply for a hardship variation
Mortgage holders may be able to change the terms of their loan or temporarily pause or reduce their repayments under a hardship variation. A hardship variation can still be requested after you receive a mortgage default. To apply for one, contact your lender’s “hardship officer” and tell them that you wish to change your loan repayments due to financial hardship. This will usually require you to explain why you are struggling to make payments and to estimate how long your financial problems will continue to determine how much you can afford to repay.

After submitting a hardship variation request, your lender must contact you within 21 days with the outcome of your request. They may ask you for more details regarding your request; in this case, they must contact you again within 21 days from when you provide the additional information.

Consider selling your home
Selling your home is a tough decision, but in some cases this may be the better option if your circumstances are unlikely to improve. If you get to the point where your lender takes possession of your home and sells it, it’s likely that you won’t make as much as if you sold it yourself. When you sell your house on your own terms, chances are you will get a better price and avoid having to pay the legal fees passed on by your lender. Inform your lender if you decide to sell your home; they may ask for proof, such as a copy of the contract with your real estate agent or property advertisements.

Renting out your home until you can afford to make repayments again may also be an option if you are able to live somewhere else during this period.

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