Posted on 23 August 2018
As you gather your paperwork for your tax return, it’s a good opportunity to reflect on how next year could be better.
It goes without saying that planning and a bit of organisation goes a long way towards helping to create the best conditions for a good result.
Keeping good records means that you remember to include all the deductions you can and you keep yourself on the right side of the law by reporting everything you should.
With your recordkeeping in order, you can turn your attention to the various ways to legitimately improve your future tax position. Making use of your accountant or financial adviser’s knowledge and experience is a good start but in the meantime, here are three ideas to consider.
Time the sale of assets
If you’re planning to sell an asset that may be subject to capital gains tax (CGT) you may consider either delaying or bringing forward the sale if your income next year is expected to be considerably less or more than this year.
A capital gain or loss on an asset is the difference between what the asset cost you and the sale price. You’ll pay tax on any capital gains and you can offset your capital gains against any capital losses. Most personal assets are exempt from CGT but assets such as investment properties or shares are affected.
Timing can make all the difference when it comes to capital gains and losses. For example, if you’re expecting to make a big profit when you sell your investment property, that will be added to your taxable income. So, if the income you expect next year is less than this year, it may make sense to delay the sale of the property.
Whatever you decide, it’s worth remembering that CGT rules are quite complex and good advice is essential.
Time your expenses
Similar to the strategy of timing the sale of assets to possibly minimize tax, you can also bring forward the payment of certain fees and expenses to claim more deductions now rather than later.
For example, you could choose to prepay all of next year’s interest on a loan for an investment property, business equipment or shares this year. That way you increase your deductions against this year’s income.
The same strategy can be used with any genuinely tax deductible expenses such as insurance that’s related to business, work or investments. Businesses may also be able to prepay other expenses such as equipment and fees or investment property owners could bring forward repairs and maintenance.
Time your super payments
As we head into another tax year, it’s a good idea to plan how you’ll manage your superannuation account and payments. Despite changes to contributions limits, it is still a good idea to pay extra cash into your super before the end of next financial year to take advantage of whatever tax concessions are available. Making the maximum possible contributions to your super, as far ahead of retirement as possible is always a tax effective way to increase your wealth.
Time your business cash
Small businesses gain on many fronts from comprehensive plans and forecasts. For example, predicting cash flow and expenses helps decisions about when to purchase new equipment or whether it’s wise to contemplate major expenditure.
Having an idea of how the year will look, financially speaking, is also helpful for planning an improved tax result. You’ll be better informed about when and how much to spend or you may choose to defer income if necessary.
The amount of tax you pay can be largely affected by good or bad timing so it makes sense to, where possible, control income and expenses.