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Overview of the upcoming super reforms

Posted on February 16, 2017 by admin

The reforms to superannuation made in the 2016 Federal Budget are on their way with most of the changes commencing from 1 July 2017.

Some of the changes to take place from 1 July 2017 onwards will include:

Lowering the concessional and non-concessional contribution caps
The cap on concessional (before-tax) contributions will be decreased from $30,000 (for those under the age of 50) or $35,000 (for those aged 50 years old and over) to the flat rate of $25,000 per year for all age groups.

The new annual cap for non-concessional (after-tax) contributions will be reduced from $180,000 to $100,000. This will remain available to individuals between 65 and 74 years old if they meet the work test. Individuals under the age of 65 will be able to bring-forward three years of contributions, i.e. $300,000.

Transfer balance cap
The introduction of a $1.6 million cap on the total amount that can be transferred into the tax-free retirement phase for account-based pensions. These pensions are commonly provided to defined benefit funds but may be provided to other funds, including some self-managed super funds.

Reduction of Division 293 threshold
The Division 293 threshold will be lowered from $300,000 to $250,000. Individuals with income and concessional super contributions exceeding the $250,000 threshold will have an additional 15 per cent tax imposed on the amount over the threshold, up to the total amount of concessional contributions not exceeding their concessional contributions cap.

Changes to transition to retirement income streams (TRIS)
Currently, where a member receives a TRIS, the fund receives tax free earnings on the super assets that support it. The Government will remove the tax-exempt status of earnings from assets that support a TRIS. Earnings from assets supporting a TRIS will be taxed at 15 per cent regardless of the date the TRIS commenced. Members will also no longer be able to treat super income stream payments as lump sums for taxation purposes.

Spouse tax offset
Currently an individual can claim a tax offset up to a maximum of $540 for contributions they make to their spouse’s eligible super fund if, among other things, the total of the spouse’s assessable income, total reportable fringe benefits and reportable employer super contributions is under $13,800.

The spouse’s income threshold will be increased to $40,000 from 1 July 2017. The current 18 per cent tax offset of up to $540 will remain as is and will be available for any individual, whether married or de facto, contributing to a recipient spouse whose income is up to $37,000. As is currently the case, the offset is gradually reduced for income above this level and completely phases out at income above $40,000.

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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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