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Boosting A Spouse’s Super With Co-Contributions

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Boosting A Spouses Super With Co Contributions
Boosting A Spouses Super With Co Contributions

Marriage and de facto relationships come with a number of perks – but did you know that if your partner earns less than you or is not currently working, you could contribute to their super fund savings?

Many households in Australia, either as a result of unemployment, maternity/paternity leave or by choice, have single-income households. As a result, the retirement savings held in super for one member of these households may not be increasing as exponentially fast as the working member. The good news is that when in a relationship, a spouse can boost their non-working partner’s super fund with their own contributions.

The best part? It could be a tax write-off for the working spouse.

Under Australian superannuation law, a spouse can be a legally married partner with whom you live or your de facto partner. That gives additional benefits to those in de facto relationships, who can choose (if one member of the relationship isn’t working or earns less) to boost their partner’s super fund. A spouse must also be younger than their preservation age or between 65 and their preservation age and not retired.

There are two ways that someone can help their partner’s superannuation grow:

  • Making a Spouse Contribution to their super account
  • Arranging for Contribution Splitting (also known as Super Splitting)

Spouse superannuation contributions can now be made for spouses earning up to $40, 000 per year. If a spouse earns less than $37, 000, the maximum tax offset of $540 can be claimed when contributing a minimum of $3, 000 to their super. Anything contributed that is more than $3, 000 will not receive the spouse contribution tax offset.

This tax offset cannot be claimed if:

  • A spouse has exceeded their non-concessional contributions cap for the financial year.
  • Their super balance is $1.6 million (for 2020/21) or more on 30 June of the previous financial year in which the contribution was made.

Another way to inject funds into your spouse’s super is to choose to have some of your own super contributions put into their super account. This is fine as long as they have not reached their preservation age yet, or are between their preservation age and 65 years and not retired.

Super contributions can only be split in the financial year immediately after the year in which the contributions were made or in the same financial year as the contributions were made only if your entire benefit is being withdrawn before the end of that financial year as a rollover, transfer, lump sum or benefit.

There are two types of contributions that can be split:

  • Employer contributions – the most common form of super contributions to split
  • After-tax contributions – money that you voluntarily deposit into your super after tax.

Always discuss starting spousal co-contributions to super with your accountant or financial advisor for help and guidance prior to starting this process.

Tax Deductible Interest From Your Home Loan

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Tax Deductible Interest From Your Home Loan
Tax Deductible Interest From Your Home Loan

It’s a simple, step-by-step process used by many Australians to increase their income. Borrow money from a financial institution, invest in a second property and pay off the loan with the profit accrued from the investment property (ie. rent from tenants).

But did you know that the interest on a home loan for the purchase of an investment property can be claimed as tax-deductible?

To clarify – claiming a tax deduction on the interest of a loan can only be used on the loan that was used to purchase the investment property. It also must be used to earn income, because a property that is solely residential isn’t eligible for any tax deductions (except in certain situations where the residence may be used to produce income, like home business or office).

Here are a few examples of when tax deduction claims on your property are not allowed:

  • If the secured property is being used for living as a primary residence, and no income is made from it.
  • Refinancing your investment loan for some other purpose (like buying another property).
  • Using the loan for private purchase, other than the purchase of a home.
  • If the investment property is a holiday home that is not rented out, then deductions cannot be claimed as it doesn’t generate rental income.

As an example, if borrowing against your main residence for the purpose of purchasing an investment property, then the interest on that loan is tax-deductible. Conversely, if the loan was against the investment property to buy a car for your personal use, then the interest from that loan will not be tax-deductible.

The only way that a tax deduction on a home loan’s interest is possible, is if there is a direct, unbroken relationship between the money borrowed and the purpose the money was used for. Any money that resulted from a home loan, for instance, should have been invested into a property.

If you happen to redraw (make extra repayments into your loan that reduce the loan balance) against an investment loan for personal use, the tax-deductible interest is watered down. This is because the new drawdown (transfer of money from a lending institution to a borrower) is deemed to not be for investment purposes.

It is important that any investment loans are quarantined from your personal funds to maximise tax deductions on interest. Though it may be tempting to pull additional funds from the loan for additional finances, it’s shooting yourself in the foot.

A better strategy (if there is only investment debt that has been incurred, and you wish to pay it off), is to place funds in an offset account (a bank account that is linked to your home loan) and then redraw those funds for your personal use. It’s also important to ensure that the offset account is a proper offset – a redraw that is disguised as an offset account can be a major drawback for investors looking to capitalise on their tax threshold.

If you or someone you know has recently purchased an investment property with a home loan, speak to your accountant or financial advisor to see how your tax return can benefit from it.

The Office Post-Covid, And How To Make It More Productive For Your Business

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The Office Post Covid And How To Make It More Productive For Your Business
The Office Post Covid And How To Make It More Productive For Your Business

There have been critical changes to the workplace over the past year. With many office-based employees forced to work remotely or from home during the pandemic, the adaptation of new technologies, systems of work, and overall business models has changed the office’s approach.

Many office businesses may need to reevaluate their structure and model as employees return to the office.

Here are a few ways that your office can update to help boost productivity and reassure employees during this process:

  • The physical workplace should prioritise collaboration with a communal, free-flowing workspace. This workspace allows employees to be transient and hybrid while still possessing the resources they need to work effectively in person.
  • Use remote work technologies for effective communication to facilitate and support teams collaborating and catalyse innovation.
  • Place greater importance on portability, flexibility, ease-of-use integrated support for an entire ecosystem of software when it comes to IT.
  • Businesses should create more significant support for cloud software, data management and security measures.
  • Businesses should ensure that safety and sanitation measures are more visible, accountable and that the appropriate policies will be enacted.

Feedback from your employees can also be an invaluable resource in helping them readapt to working from the office productively.

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