Tag Archive: BLG Business Advisers

Kirsten Armstrong

Posted on December 16, 2019 by Grace Dawson

Graduate Accountant


There was always going to be maths involved in Kirsten’s career, whether as an accountant or maths teacher. But accountancy was always her real goal and wanting the hands on experience of working in a firm while at University, Kirsten discovered the role at BLG. She has now been with us since 2015, making the office an even brighter place and working brilliantly with our clients, all while completing her Chartered Accounting qualification.

Kirsten enjoys building strong relationships with her clients, which also allows her to understand their operations and the outcomes they want to achieve so she can help them grow their business. She goes out of her way to assist and put them at ease, with detailed explanations of what is happening and why, so they have a clear understanding. A talent across all areas of business advisory services, Kirsten most enjoys tax planning where she can provide clients with noticeable value.

Kirsten believes she has the best of both worlds at BLG. A fun and friendly work environment, paired with the challenges her role offers, keeps things interesting on a daily basis. But her time away from the office is spent with her real loves – her fiancé and energetic dog. She loves going for walks, playing a bit of netball, spending time with her family and planning her wedding!

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What’s changed from 1 July 2019?

Posted on September 1, 2019
by Michael Lamont

Do you know how many legislation changes came into effect in the 2018-19 Financial Year, or the year before? We haven’t calculated the actual number either, but it’s alot! What we have done is kept abreast of all these changes and written these blogs on the details to make sure you are aware of them. This year is no different!

In case you’ve missed seeing these, and while you still have an opportunity to plan for the year ahead, here are the three most significant changes affecting businesses that came into effect from 1 July 2019.

Single Touch Payroll

As discussed in Sonia Spaseski’s blog ‘Single Touch Payroll for Small Employers’, from 1 July 2019 small employers (those with 19 or less employees) will be required to register for Single Touch Payroll (STP).

So what does this mean for you? Well if you are currently using a commercial payroll software solution, setting up STP is relatively easy, with most software providers having a step-by-step guide on how to set it up.

The ATO have also provided some transitional arrangements for you to comply with the STP rules which are detailed in Sonia’s blog.

Instant Asset Write-off

From 2 April 2019 the instant asset write-off threshold was increased to $30,000 and was extended until 30 June 2020. As well as the increase to the threshold, the instant asset write-off is now available to businesses with a turnover of less than $50 million.

A few important things to note in relation to the instant asset write-off:

  • The threshold applies to individual assets; it is not a yearly threshold.
  • If you are registered for GST the cost of the asset is the GST exclusive amount.
  • If you are trading-in an asset, the trade-in value does not reduce the cost of the asset for the threshold limit.
  • The deduction is limited to the business use percentage of the asset.

Large Proprietary Company

The financial thresholds that determine whether a company is considered a ‘large’ proprietary company have been doubled from 1 July 2019, meaning many small to medium sized companies may be relieved  of the requirement to lodge audited financial statements with ASIC.

Currently a proprietary company is considered ‘large’ if they meet at least two of the three thresholds, being:

  • $25 million or more in consolidated revenue;
  • $12.5 million or more in consolidated gross assets; or
  • 50 or more full-time equivalent employees.

The new thresholds from 1 July 2019 are:

  • $50 million or more in consolidated revenue;
  • $25 million or more in consolidated gross assets; or
  • 100 or more full-time equivalent employees.

To keep your payments and lodgments organised and arriving on time, you may find it helpful to take a look at the 2019/20 financial year due dates provided by Tim O’Brien. There is also a downloadable copy available on the page to keep on hand.

Our team is here for any queries you have regarding the changes above. Alternatively if you would like to discuss your business situation in more detail, please get in touch with our team at BLG Business Advisers online or by calling (02) 4229 2211.

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Commercial Property – a Good or Bad Investment?

Posted on August 2, 2019
by Phil Grant

There is always a lot of conversation and discussion over residential property. Topics like where the market is, where it’s going, if it’s a good time to sell, stories of missed opportunities to name a few. What isn’t discussed nearly as much is the subject of commercial property. The reason is simply because the residential property market is bigger – there are more people than businesses.

But the question businesses should be asking is whether buying commercial property is a good investment? This can be a difficult decision to make with limited information available. So here let’s go through the pros and cons of purchasing commercial property.


  • Gross rental yields are usually much higher than residential property, averaging 7-8% compared to residential property gross yield of 3-4.5%
  • Lease terms are generally longer than residential properties which provides security for tenancy and financing purposes
  • Interest rates are very low at the moment which keeps the financing costs of the property down
  • If the commercial property is to be used to run your business you may be able to access small business Capital Gains Tax concessions upon a sale or transfer of the property
  • A commercial property may be owned by your SMSF which can provide you with both short term and long term benefits


  • Generally it is harder to find tenants for a commercial property than a residential property
  • The value of the property generally doesn’t appreciate over a period of time like residential property
  • Finance to purchase a commercial property is generally more difficult to obtain than a residential property
  • The option period within a commercial property lease is at the discretion of the tenant

So is commercial property a good investment? Well I can’t say yes or no for you because every person’s situation and business is different and every property is different. However if you think about your own circumstances and run through the pros and cons like those outlined above, then I’m sure you’ll come up with the right answer for you.

If you have any questions and would like to discuss your business situation, please get in touch with our team at BLG Business Advisers online or by calling 02 4229 2211.

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Land Tax – What is it?

Posted on July 22, 2019
by Maria Ackroyd

Land tax is a state tax and is one of several charges you may be required to pay when you buy property. This tax generally applies to those who own, or jointly own, a property in NSW that is not their primary place of residence, or that is not exempt and is above a certain land value threshold.

We go through all the details below.

Land Tax Exemptions

You are generally not required to pay land tax on:

  • your home (primary place of residence)
  • your farm (primary production land)
  • land you own with a total taxable value below the land tax threshold (listed below)

Land Tax Key Points

  • Land Tax is payable on property you own with a total taxable value above the land tax threshold and can apply to vacant land, commercial premises, investment properties or holiday homes
  • Land tax is assessed on 31 December each year on unimproved land you own
  • Land owners need to self-assess and register for Land Tax if required

Land Tax Thresholds

Land Tax is a state tax where thresholds change every year so you need to be aware of the rates and limits in each state where you hold property.

  • 2019 General land tax threshold is $692,000
  • 2019 Premium land threshold is $4,231,000
  • Individuals, most partnerships, companies and superannuation funds are generally entitled to the threshold
  • ‘Special Trusts’, including most discretionary trusts, are NOT entitled to the threshold and taxed on the total value of their property
  • If the combined value of your land does not exceed the threshold, no land tax is payable
  • Land tax is calculated on the total value of all your taxable land above the land tax threshold
  • Land Tax for general land is calculated at $100 plus 1.6% in excess of the land value threshold, where the premium land attracts a higher charge of 2%

If you are registered for Land Tax you will receive your Land Tax Assessment in January, outlining properties that are liable and whether they qualify as general or premium land. If you disagree with any land values used in your assessment, you can submit an objection within 60 days from the date of issue.

Find out more about NSW Land Tax here, and if you would like to discuss your property situation our team is happy to assist you. Get in touch with BLG Business Advisers online or by calling (02) 4229 2211.

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Main Residence Exemption for Capital Gains Tax

Posted on July 15, 2019
by Anthony Vardareff

For many of us, the decision to sell a property is an important one, especially if it’s our main residence. Accordingly, it is vital to be aware of the relevant Capital Gains Tax (CGT) implications and exemptions when selling your main residence.

What is considered a Main Residence?

A property is generally considered to be your main residence if:

  • you and your family reside in it
  • your personal belongings are in it
  • it’s the address your mail is delivered to
  • it’s your address on the electoral roll
  • services such as gas and power are connected

CGT Total Exemptions

As an Australian tax resident, if you sell a property that you live in and have elected to be your main residence, generally the entire sale of that property is exempt from capital gains tax. In addition to this, the dwelling is required to be on a property size of two hectares or less.

In a situation where you have moved out of the property, (for instance, to go and work in a different state or to move back in with family members) generally you can continue to treat the dwelling as your main residence for:

  • up to six years if it is used to produce income or
  • indefinitely if it is not used to produce income.

This is provided you are not treating any other dwelling as your main residence. If this criteria has been met, the full exemption applies and your capital gain or loss is disregarded – you don’t pay tax on any capital gain, but nor can you use any capital loss to reduce your assessable income.

Note: The main residence exemption is not available for vacant blocks of land.

It is also important to consider that the main residence exemption rules for those who are ‘non residents for tax purposes’ are proposed to change – Tammy Tieu has addressed this in her blog ‘Selling your Property as a Foreign Resident’. In a situation where the criteria for a full main residence exemption have not been met, a partial exemption may still be available.

CGT Partial Exemptions

It is common to see homeowners acquire a new property prior to disposing of their existing one. In this instance, both dwellings are treated as your main residence for up to six months if:

  • you lived in your old home and it was your main residence for a continuous period of at least three months in the 12 months before you disposed of it
  • you did not use it to produce assessable income (such as rent) in any part of that 12 months when it was not your main residence
  • the new dwelling becomes your main residence

If you sell your old home within six months of acquiring the new one, the main residence exemption applies and entire capital gain is exempt. If it takes longer than six months to dispose of your old home, the period not covered by the six month main residence classification (above) forms the assessable portion of your capital gain. Accordingly, this means the capital gain is only partially exempt.

A partial main residence exemption is also available where a dwelling stops being your main residence and is used to produce income for more than six years during a ‘single period of absence’. In this instance, the partial main residence exemption is calculated by determining the number of days the property was your main residence over the entire ownership period of the property. This is considered the exempt portion of the capital gain. The remaining portion of the capital gain is assessable, and can be further reduced via the indexation method or discount method for calculating taxable capital gains (subject to meeting certain criteria).

There are also special rules to consider when working out the cost base of your main residence at the time it is first used to produce income (commonly referred to as the ‘first income producing rule’).

All in all, capital gains tax laws are complex; therefore it is recommended that you seek advice before selling to ensure that you are making the right decision for you. We have an experienced team at BLG Business Advisers who are happy to assist you. Take this opportunity to get in touch with us online or by calling (02) 4229 2211.

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Tax Reforms Impacting Property Ownership

Posted on July 8, 2019
by Glen Bower

There has recently been significant media coverage on potential tax reforms impacting property ownership in Australia. Although the Australian Labor Party’s proposed changes to negative gearing and capital gains tax (CGT) are now off the political agenda for at least the next three years following the recent federal election, there have already been some significant changes to taxation laws pertaining to real property in recent years, both at a state and federal level. These changes impact on all types of real property (i.e. residential, commercial and industrial) and property owners (i.e. home owners, investors and developers).

Below is a summary of some of the key changes to property-related taxation laws along with further reforms recently announced by the federal government that are now expected to be finalised and implemented within the short-term:

NSW Surcharge Purchaser Duty & Surcharge Land Tax

Commencement Date:    21 June 2016


Foreign purchasers of residential land in NSW are liable for Surcharge Purchaser Duty of 8% on the dutiable value (the price you paid or market value, whichever is higher) of the property, in addition to any transfer duty (increased from 4% for agreements entered into on or after 1 July 2017). Further, foreign owners of residential land in NSW are liable for Surcharge Land Tax of 2% on the taxable value of all NSW residential land held as at 31 December each year, in addition to any general land tax (increased from 0.75% from the 2018 land tax year).

The definition of a ‘foreign person’ for the purpose of these surcharges can be complicated, in particular in respect to entities such as companies and trusts.

Similar surcharges have recently been introduced by most other Australian states.

Foreign Resident Capital Gains Withholding

Commencement Date:    1 July 2016


Foreign resident capital gains withholding (FRCGW) of 12.5% (non-final) applies to foreign resident vendors disposing of the below assets:

  • Taxable Australian real property with a market value of $750,000 or more (residential and commercial);
  • Indirect Australian real property interests (i.e. shares / units); or
  • Options or rights to acquire any of the above asset types.

From 1 July 2017, the withholding rate increased from 10% and the market value threshold decreased from $2 million.

Capital Allowances

 Commencement Date:    1 July 2017


Limit on deductions for the decline in value (depreciation) of certain second hand depreciating assets in residential investment properties (i.e. furniture, hot water systems, floor coverings, whitegoods etc) acquired after the 9 May 2017 or used for any private purposes prior to the 2018 financial year.

Travel Expenses

 Commencement Date:    1 July 2017


Travel expenses relating to residential investment properties are not deductible and cannot be included within the cost base of the property for CGT purposes (even when incurred to inspect or maintain rental properties or to collect rental income).

Purchaser GST Withholding

Commencement Date:    1 July 2018


Purchasers of new residential premises, and potential residential land, are required to withhold and remit the GST component of the purchase price directly to the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) on or before settlement. Transitional arrangements apply to contracts entered into prior to 1 July 2018 where any consideration, other than the deposit, is provided prior to 1 July 2020.

Main Residence Exemption for Foreign Residents

This change is not yet law (legislation was introduced into federal parliament in February 2018)

Commencement Date:    9 May 2017 (refer below for transitional arrangements)


Foreign residents no longer entitled to claim the main residence exemption when they dispose of residential property in Australia. For properties held prior to the 9 May 2017, the exemption will only be able to be claimed for disposals that happen up until 30 June 2019 and only if they meet the requirements for the exemption. For disposals that happen from the 1 July 2019, foreign residents will no longer be entitled to the exemption.

For properties acquired after 9 May 2017, the exemption will no longer apply to disposals from that date.

Vacant Land

This change is not yet law (exposure draft legislation was released for consultation in October 2018)

Commencement Date:    1 July 2019


Tax deductions denied for expenses associated with holding vacant land (i.e. interest, rates), even if the intention is to construct a building / dwelling to derive assessable income. Non-deductible expenses are unable to be deducted in later years but can be included within the cost base of the property.

Other Changes / Developments

  • First Home Loan Deposit Scheme: Recently announced initiative from the Liberal Party to support eligible first home buyers to purchase a house with a deposit of at least 5%.
  • Additional CGT discount for ‘Affordable Housing’: Additional CGT discount of up to 10% for dwellings, used to provide affordable housing for at least 3 years.
  • First Home Super Saver Scheme: Saving mechanism via superannuation to support the acquisition of first homes.
  • Superannuation ‘Downsizer’ Contributions: Individuals aged 65 years or over can make a one-off contribution of up to $300k from the proceeds of selling a home, subject to satisfying applicable eligibility criteria.

As highlighted above, property ownership in Australia can be impacted by many complicated and evolving taxation laws. Further, the recent royal commission into the banking industry has had a noticeable impact on the ability to obtain finance. It is increasingly important to seek specialist advice from a qualified tax professional when considering property acquisitions or disposals.

Take this opportunity to get in touch with our experienced team at BLG Business Advisers to arrange an appointment online or by calling (02) 4229 2211.

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So the Coalition won – What does this mean?

Posted on May 27, 2019
by Luke Bland

The Liberal-National Coalition has emerged with a surprise victory following the election, with the promise of lower taxes evidently enough to sway voters. With the vast majority of media coverage leading up to the election focusing on Labor’s proposed tax policies (restricting negative gearing, denying franking credit refunds, taxing trusts at a minimum of 30% and reducing the 50% discount on capital gains to 25%), what does it mean now that we know the Coalition has retained power?

Firstly, they were strongly opposed to Labor’s four core policies mentioned above, so taxpayers don’t need to worry about the issues that were being raised by these policies. Outside of opposing these policies, there wasn’t much that the LNP brought to the election other than what was previously announced, either in their budget on 2 April or prior.


Instant Asset Write-off

The instant asset write-off has been increased and extended. From 2 April 2019, businesses with annual turnover of less than $50 million will be able to claim an outright tax deduction for asset purchases under $30,000 (rather than having to capitalise and depreciate these asset purchases).

Small Business Company Tax Rate

The government will decrease the company tax rate (and the franking rate) for companies with annual turnover of less than $50 million to 26% for the 2020-21 tax year and to 25% from 1 July 2021.

Deferral of Proposed Division 7A Changes

The proposed changes will not be implemented until 1 July 2020 (as opposed to the previously announced 1 July 2019) as there have been many issues raised that need to be addressed before the legislation can be drafted.

ABN Holders

ABN holders will be required to meet their income tax return lodgement obligations from 1 July 2021 and confirm the accuracy of their details on the ABN register annually from 1 July 2022, in order to remain an eligible ABN holder.

ATO Tax Avoidance Taskforce

The LNP have announced an extra $1 billion over 4 years for the ATO to undertake additional compliance activities targeting high wealth individuals, trusts and family groups, as well as large public companies and multinationals.


Tax Offsets

An additional low and middle income tax offset of up to $1,080 will be available for individuals earning up to $90,000, being phased down to nil once your income exceeds $126,000.  This offset will automatically be applied upon lodgement of your 2019 income tax return.

Marginal Tax Rates

Individuals earning over $37,000 will see a decrease in their marginal tax rate from 1 July 2022, when the upper limit of the 32.5% tax bracket jumps from $37,000 to $41,000. The 37% bracket limit will increase from $90,000 to $120,000.

From 1 July 2024, the 32.5% rate will fall to 30% and this rate will apply from $41,000 to $200,000. Labor opposes these “high end” tax cuts so the government may find it challenging to have these measures enacted.


Individuals aged 65 or 66 will be able to make voluntary superannuation contributions without having to meet the work test. Further, they will be able to access the “bring-forward” rule, allowing them to contribute up to $300,000 of non-concessional contributions (depending on other factors).

If you are looking for some assistance to navigate the legislations our team are available to guide you. Take this opportunity to get in touch with BLG Business Advisers online or by calling 02 4229 2211.

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Post-Election Results Overview

Posted on May 20, 2019
by Tammy Tieu

In the lead up to the federal election over the last few months, it was predicted that by this time we would have a new Labor government. Labor promised that by being elected into office, they would bring in a plethora of changes that would greatly shift the strategies of many businesses and individuals.

But in this day and age, whilst we have more knowledge to substantiate our predictions, it can still come as a shock when things don’t go as we expect. The 2019 federal election was no different as it resulted in a Liberal Coalition win despite the opinion polls.

While change can be good, the best thing to come out of the federal election is the removal of speculation and uncertainty. With the uncertainty, there was no ability to implement strategies right away, but now businesses and individuals alike can continue to plan ahead and implement strategies as before.

Will the Scott Morrison government stick to the pre-election proposed budget changes or shake things up? BLG Manager, Luke Bland, will go into detail on this topic next week, but for now here are links to our Federal Budget write-ups that you can refer to:

To ensure you have your planning set up to account for the Federal Budget updates our team can help you prior to the end of financial year. Get in touch with BLG Business Advisers online or by calling 02 4229 2211.


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Planning for New Business Owners

Posted on May 6, 2019
by Tim O’Brien

Ok so you have your brilliant new business idea that is going to bring you unprecedented wealth. Or perhaps you’ve acquired or overtaken an existing business and plan to hit the ground running.

When starting out it is important to arm yourself with as much knowledge as you can. This includes the general details about your own business, the industry you are operating in, your customers and competitors. However, also of great importance is a basic understanding of what could potentially lie ahead from a taxation and financial point of view.

New Business Considerations

Here are but just a few things to consider for start-up or relatively new businesses:

  • Have you sought advice on how to structure your business? This is critically important in maintaining the protection of your other assets, paying an efficient and appropriate rate of tax, and also in allowing for future financing and investing opportunities
  • Will you have any significant initial financial outlays, for example stock, equipment, rebranding etc? Will you need to borrow funds to make this happen? Do you have the borrowing capacity given the increasingly tighter lending conditions?
  • What insurances will you require and when will these need to be in place?
  • Are you going to need to employ other people? If so on what basis – casual, part-time, full time?
  • For existing businesses, are you aware of what you owe in employee entitlements like annual leave and superannuation?
  • Are you eligible for any government subsidies for taking on new employees?
  • Are you aware of the various income tax incentives applicable to you/your business?
  • Do you have an efficient record-keeping system in place so you have access to timely information as to the profitability of your business?
  • Will a changing political landscape impact on your business or taxation affairs (Labor’s proposed changes to the taxation of family trusts and negative gearing for example are going to have far-reaching consequences)

Cash Flow & Tax Planning

Whatever your situation, a business with a swelling bottom line is fantastic, but can bring with it some nasty and unexpected tax and cash flow surprises if you aren’t prepared and aware of what lies ahead.

Start-up businesses need to be mindful of potential tax bills after the end of the first financial year of operation, and budget their cash flow accordingly.

Cash flow can become more problematic for new businesses as the ATO can require up-front payments for estimated current year tax liabilities (through the PAYG Income Tax Instalment system). At the same time the business is required to pay potentially large tax bills from the previous financial year!

The above issues can also apply to your existing business if you have been going through a growth phase of late.

So although the thought of paying tax may not enthuse you too much it is far better knowing where you stand, and what is coming up. This means your business can continue to expand and be in a position to seize upon any opportunities that present themselves without being constrained by unexpected tax liabilities.

Take control of your business and your taxes. It is best to seek professional advice to understand the tax implications and benefits for your personal situation. Book your appointment with our team now by getting in touch with BLG Business Advisers online or by calling (02) 4229 2211.

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Key Government Changes to assist Primary Producers

Posted on February 25, 2019
by Sarah Cross
The severe drought conditions affecting Australia have lead to various measures being introduced by the State and Federal Governments to assist those affected in the primary production industry.

From grants to subsidies, upfront tax deductions to discounted registrations and rates – if you are a primary producer, chances are there is a concession that you or your business is eligible to access.

This blog will touch on some of the concessions currently available to primary producers that we commonly see being accessed by our clients.

Firstly… What is a Primary Producer?

A primary producer is an individual, partnership, trust or company that operates a business that undertakes:

  • Plant or animal cultivation (or both)
  • Fishing or pearling (or both)
  • Tree farming or felling (or both)

We provide services for several primary production clients at BLG, the most common being dairy farmers.

Accelerated Depreciation

A primary producer is able to claim an immediate tax deduction for certain primary production assets including:

  • Facilities used to conserve or convey water (e.g. tanks, dams, bores, pumps, irrigation channels);
  • Fencing assets, including alterations and extensions (however does not include stockyards, pens or portable fences); and
  • Fodder storage assets (e.g. silos, grain storage sheds, hay sheds, grain bins).

Tax Averaging for Primary Producers

In the primary production industry, some years are good and some are bad. The tax averaging system was introduced to allow for those fluctuations by averaging your income over a maximum five year period to ensure that you don’t pay more tax over time than taxpayers on comparable, but steady, incomes.

NSW State Government Measures

The Emergency Drought Relief Package was announced on 30 July 2018 to support farmers impacted by the drought conditions. Some of the measures introduced include:

  • Drought Assistance Fund – one-off $50,000 interest free loan for eligible expenses. The loan term is seven years with no repayments required in the first two years.
  • Regional Investment Commission (RIC) Low interest loans – up to $2 million for those within the eligible area map defined by the RIC. Loan is interest free for five years, with a loan term of 10 years and is required to be refinanced at the end of the term with a commercial lender. Current interest rate is 3.58%
  • Drought Transport Subsidy – covering 50% of the full cost of transporting fodder, stock or water – maximum $5 per km and 1,500km per trip. Eligible for costs incurred from 1 January 2018 – 30 June 2019 capped at $40,000 per farm over the 18 month period.
  • Emergency Water Infrastructure Rebate Scheme – rebate of 25% of the cost of purchase, delivery and if applicable, labour costs for installation of water infrastructure for animal welfare needs – maximum of $25,000 per farm – eligible purchases from 1 July 2018 to 30 June 2021.
  • Local Land Services rates for 2019 have been waived.
  • New registrations and renewal fees for eligible Class 1 agricultural vehicles have been waived from 30 July 2018.
  • Heavy vehicle registration costs waived from 1 July 2018 up to 30 June 2020.

Federal Government Measures

  • Farm household allowance (FHA) for a maximum of a four year period
  • Supplement lump sum payments of up to $12,000 per family/household if receiving the FHA – households can receive up to two lump sum payments if eligible.
  • $20,000 Instant asset write-off extended to 30 June 2019
  • Australian Taxation Office offering:
    • tailored payment plans with interest-free periods
    • more time to pay tax
    • waiving penalties or interest that may be incurred during drought

Accessing the above measures can help with your cash flow, and maximising the available concessions is an important consideration if you are in the primary production industry. As with all concessions, you need to meet certain eligibility criteria.

Governments introduce new measures and change current measures quite often, especially leading up to elections. To ensure you are up-to-date with the current measures and their criteria, get in touch with our team at BLG Business Advisers online or by calling (02) 4229 2211.

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