I am personally going through the list of tax/wealth building concessions prior to June (don’t leave things to the last minute) as I know some of these benefits will not apply come July 2012.
Superannuation can provide some great opportunities to build wealth for your retirement. You pay just 15% tax on contributions to your super fund from pre‑tax salary and after-tax contributions are not subject to any additional contributions tax. Investment earnings and realised capital gains within the super fund are taxed at a maximum rate of 15%. TIP Remember that contribution caps do apply, which effectively limits the amount you can contribute each financial year.
Salary Sacrifice Contributions
If you are under age 50, you can have concessional contributions up to $25,000 each financial year. If you are over age 50, you can have concessional contributions up to $50,000 each financial year, until 30 June 2012.1 TIP Any employer contributions and insurance premiums that have been paid on your behalf this financial year are included in your contributions cap. If you are employed, your employer will generally be making compulsory superannuation contributions to your fund. You may wish to make additional contributions via salary sacrifice.
Personal Concessional Contributions
If you are self-employed or your employment income is less than 10% of your total income2 and:
- you are under age 50, you can contribute up to $25,000 into your superannuation fund each financial year, or
- you are over age 50, you can contribute up to $50,000 into your superannuation fund each financial year until 2012.1
The super co-contribution is a scheme where the Government will match your personal after‑tax contributions, up to a maximum of $1,000 each financial year.
The Government’s maximum contribution is $1,000, which reduces once your total income3 exceeds $31,920 (the co-contribution reduces to $0 when your total income reaches $61,920).
You are eligible for the super co-contribution if you receive 10% or more of your income3 from employment, running a business, or a combination of both.
Contributing to your spouse’s super can help them accumulate superannuation benefits for retirement. In addition, if your spouse has total income2 of less than $13,800, you could be eligible to receive a tax offset of $540. TIP Spouse contributions are generally made by the main income earner to their non‑working or low-income earning spouse’s super with the aim of building retirement assets.
If you are self-employed, your assets are often tied up within your business. Contributing into your superannuation fund helps to diversify your assets and accumulate wealth for your retirement, and you may also be eligible to claim a tax deduction for the contribution, subject to meeting certain conditions.
Non-concessional contributions are made from your after-tax income. Any person under the age of 65 can contribute up to $150,000 each financial year. You can also bring forward two years’ worth of non-concessional contributions, allowing you to contribute up to $450,000 if you are under age 65.
Account-Based Pension Drawdown’s
The 25% pension drawdown relief continues for the 2012/13 financial year. Which means clients can continue to draw a lower Pension payment. TIP Contact your adviser before 30 June to review your income needs for the next financial year.
Transitioning To Retirement
If you already receive a transition to retirement pension, contact your adviser before 30 June to ensure you are salary sacrificing within your concessional contributions cap. You should also review your pension amount to ensure you will be drawing sufficient income to meet your living expenses. If you are aged 55 or over, speak to your adviser about commencing a transition to retirement pension. This involves salary sacrificing into superannuation while drawing an income from a super benefit in the form of a transition to retirement pension, and could result in boosting your funds at retirement.
If you have a self-managed super fund, speak to your adviser to ensure you have withdrawn the minimum pension amount for this financial year. If commencing a pension on 1 July, work with your adviser and accountant to ensure your self-managed super fund has claimed all deductions and offset any capital gains with any losses before to moving into pension phase.
Wealth Accumulation Strategies
The current investment environment provides a great opportunity to review your investment portfolio to ensure:
- it is consistent with your asset allocation and risk profile
- your investments are reviewed and you are in a position to utilise any capital gains or losses
- available funds are used to purchase new investments as appropriate, and
- you have funds available for any planned expenses coming up in the near future (for example education or holidays).
While reviewing your investment portfolio, it’s a good idea to think about whose name the new investments are to be placed in so:
- income can be distributed more equally
- estate planning issues can be considered, and
- retirement funds can be accumulated for the lower income/non-working spouse.
Risk Insurance StrategiesProtect Your Income
Your income is one of your most important assets, providing you with the means to build your wealth and fund your lifestyle, yet many Australians have not taken steps to protect it. An income protection policy can provide a replacement for up to 75% of your income if you are unable to work as a result of illness or injury. In most cases, the cost of the income protection premium is tax deductible.
TIP Income protection policies can be held in your own name or by your superannuation fund – speak to your adviser about which is best for you.
Other Tax-Effective Strategies
Some financial strategies could directly impact your tax position so it is important that you discuss them with your adviser in conjunction with your registered tax agent.
Some effective strategies that could be suitable for your circumstances include:
- making concessional contributions into superannuation to offset a capital gain.
- pre-paying interest on borrowed money used for an investment (e.g. a margin loan).
- claiming the 20% net medical expenses tax offset, if you have spent more than $2,060 on medical expenses in the current financial year.
- claiming the education tax offset if you are entitled to Family Tax Benefit A for a child who is undertaking primary or secondary school studies (remember to keep your receipts).
- claiming all deductible expenses you incur on a rental property (e.g. depreciation and building allowances).
Take advantage of these smart strategies by speaking with us today, and ensure you’re best placed for the end of financial year!