Book Us Bookkeeping Trivia!

We won a prize this week! The competition entry required us to explain in 250 words how we have supported our small business clients during the COVID-19 lockdowns over the past eighteen months. We won this because of you, our lovely clients, so we want to have a bit of fun with this newsletter!

First up, we have two annual subscriptions to mindfulness app Headspace to give away. These are on a first come, first served basis. Please get in touch with Sophie if you think this would be helpful to you!

Secondly, we’re giving away a hamper worth $100 to a randomly selected person who answers the following five questions correctly:

  1. What is Sophie’s other job?
  2. Who writes these newsletters (hint: there is a fourth family member)?
  3. What are our TWO busiest months of the year?
  4. What is the age difference between Graham and Melissa?
  5. Name one accounting software that we work with.

(And definitely feel free to ask us the answers when you’re talking to us!)

Winners will be drawn on Friday, so get in quick!

What are TPARs?

A top of the email reminder that your BAS payments are due today, Wednesday 25 August. Maybe go and do that before jumping into the next bit of the email – see you in a minute!

If your business makes payments to contractors or subcontractors you may need to lodge a Taxable payments annual report (TPAR) by 30 August.

The information collected by the ATO in the TPAR allows them to identify contractors who are not meeting their tax obligations. This prevents dishonest operators from gaining an unfair business advantage.

You need to know about TPAR if your business provides any of the following services, even if it’s just part of the services you provide each year:

  • building and construction services
  • cleaning services
  • courier or road freight services
  • information technology services
  • security, investigation or surveillance services
  • government entities

These categories are broad and some of your business activities might fall under the categories. We highly recommend asking us, or reading this page on the ATO website for more information.

The TPAR details payments made to contractors for providing services. Some government entities also need to report the grants they have paid. Contractors can include subcontractors, consultants and independent contractors. They can be operating as sole traders (individuals), companies, partnerships or trusts.

The details you need to report about each contractor are generally found on the invoice you should have received from them. This includes:

  • their Australian business number (ABN), if known
  • their name and address
  • gross amount you paid to them for the financial year (including any GST)

Please be in touch if we can help you understand anything about TPARs.

COVID Payments

Now that all of NSW is in lockdown, we thought we’d do a quick recap about the different emergency payments you and your employees might be eligible for.

You might be eligible for a $320 Test and Isolate support payment if:

  • you need to test and isolate due to COVID symptoms
  • you live in one of the LGAs of concern, such as Campbelltown
  • you are unable to work because of your self-isolation

You can confirm your eligibility and apply on this page at Services NSW.

You might be eligible for a Pandemic Leave Disaster Payment if: 

  • you have coronavirus (COVID-19)
  • you’ve been in close contact with a person who has COVID-19
  • you care for a child, 16 years or under, who has COVID-19 or who’s been in close contact with a person who has COVID-19
  • you’re unable to go to work and earn an income
  • you have no appropriate leave entitlements, including pandemic sick leave, personal leave or leave to care for another person

If you’re a member of a couple, you can both claim this payment. You and your partner will need to complete separate claims. You can confirm your eligibility and apply on this page at Services Australia.

You might be eligible for the COVID-19 Disaster Payment if:

  • you live or work in any area of New South Wales
  • you were unable to earn your usual income of 8 hours or more or a full day’s work because of the restricted movement order
  • you meet any other eligibility rules

There is no liquid assets limit for this payment. There are, however, different eligibility requirements depending on whether you are in Greater Sydney or elsewhere in NSW, or whether you claim any payments from Services Australia. Please confirm your eligibility and apply on this page at Services Australia.Please also speak to your doctor about getting vaccinated. Sophie has been fully vaccinated with AstraZeneca since June, and Melissa and Graham both recently had their second dose of Pfizer. It doesn’t look like we will get this under control until we have more vaccinated people in the population!

Mental Health Check

We’re incredibly passionate about mental health at Book Us. Sophie and Graham have both struggled with depression, and have both reached out to their psychologists for support in the last eighteen months.

We wanted to use this week’s newsletter to emphasise just how important it is to look after your mental health, especially in these very difficult times.

Remember that it is completely normal to be struggling with productivity at the moment.

Remember that it is completely normal for your emotions to be heightened.

Remember that it is completely normal to be coping with this completely abnormal situation in whatever way works for you. (Though we hope for your sake that these are healthy ways!)

If you are feeling hopeless, please reach out to somebody. Go to your GP and ask for a Mental Health Care Plan and some recommendations for psychologists near you. The government now subsidise more sessions with a psychologist than ever before. Our daughter Emily recommends – you can speak with a psychologist from your living room!

If you have private health insurance, you likely have some psychology sessions available. Check what you are covered for with your insurer.

We also highly recommend Matt Haig’s new book The Comfort Book for a little reminder that we are living in incredibly strange times and that all of us are in it together (excuse the cliche).

And please feel free to reach out to us. We know how hard it is to concentrate on work when the world is throwing so many stressors at you. We are here to help. And if we can’t help with a particular problem, we will do our best to direct you to someone who can.

Beware of Scams!

A more serious tone for this week’s post. We want to implore you to be on the lookout for scams.

Roughly 2.8 million Australians have been impacted by cyber crime in the past year and it’s only getting worse now that COVID has pushed everyone further online.

Every tax time, there are people who try to take advantage of you. This is often through emails which look like they come from MyGov or the ATO, linking you to a website just similar enough that you don’t notice. If you receive any emails from these government organisations, one way to ensure you are staying safe is to avoid clicking links and log in using a brand new web page.

Victims are rarely able to recover financial losses from cyber crime, so please be careful.

Scammers might also call your phone and create a sense of urgency by saying that your device has been compromised and that you must download certain software. If this happens to you, please do not be taken in. Report the attempted scam to the ACCC.

If you think the call is legitimate, tell them you will ring back. Independently source the organisation’s details and contact them. Do not click on any links.

Last year, the ATO was the most commonly impersonated government agency, with 96,220 scams reported to the Tax Office. Nearly 500 people lost a collective $2.4 million to such scams. If you are in doubt about any communication from the ATO, please do reach out to us.

If you’re waiting to hear from us about COVID-19 grants, please be assured that we are working on them. There are huge delays as Service NSW work through the many requests. We will let you know as soon as we know.

Welcome aboard, Melissa!

If we’ve said it once, we’ve said it many, many more times: this time of year is the busiest for those of us in the bookkeeping world. This is why we are incredibly pleased to announce that another member of the family has joined the Book Us team: the wonderful Melissa Meredith.

While she has always been a great support to us, Melissa will now be helping out at Book Us too, answering phones and emails and doing all of our admin. If you can’t reach Sophie or I for any reason, please feel free to reach out to Melissa and she will make sure that we get back to you ASAP. We have added her details to our email signature below.

Melissa can also assist with getting your OH&S documentation in order.

I’d also like to congratulate Sophie for finishing her Certificate IV in Accounting and Bookkeeping. She’s been working incredibly hard to get this done and has been applying all her new knowledge to the business. Now onto the next course of study!

NSW Business Support Measures

We have received a bit more clarity around the NSW business support payments.

The new measures include:

  • Increased small business support payments depending on the decline in business turnover experienced over a minimum 2-week period from 26 June 2021 to 26 July 2021, compared to the same period in 2019:
    • $7,500 for a decline of 30% or more
    • $10,500 for a decline of 50% or more
    • $15,000 for a decline of 70% or more
  • A ‘JobSaver’ employee retention scheme providing cashflow support to businesses to help them retain staff. The cash boost will be up to 40% of weekly payroll with a weekly payment of between $1,500 to a maximum of $10,000, provided staffing levels are maintained at the level as of 13 July 2021. Non-employing businesses are eligible for $1,000 per week
  • $1,500 grants per fortnight for microbusinesses (annual turnover between $30,000 and $75,000) that have suffered at least a 30% decline in turnover
  • Payroll tax deferrals for all businesses and a 25% concession for medium-sized businesses that have suffered a 30% revenue decline
  • A requirement on landlords to participate in mediation before taking actions to evict tenants
  • Up to 100% land tax concessions for commercial landlords who provide rent relief
  • A $75 million support package for the performing arts sector to be administered by Create NSW
  • A Support package for the accommodation sector worth $26 million
  • An increase in the payment amount for stood down workers, and for this to now be available to workers outside of the Greater Sydney lockdown areas
  • Expanded mental health services

Applications for grants open from today. Please get in touch if you would like to discuss anything with us before applying.

Business Health Check

If you’re anything like us, you love New Year’s Resolutions and goal planning. Early July marks a useful time to revisit your business goals, especially after the very strange year we have just lived through, and to consider any new goals for the 2021/2022 Financial Year.

Questions to consider when goal-planning for your business:

  • What is the outlook for the next year?
  • Is the business structured right for the next year?
  • How does the balance sheet differ from last year?
  • Are you and your employees more stressed compared to last year?
  • How is the cash-flow?
  • How impacted were your profits?
  • Has your exit plan changed?
  • What is the biggest challenge you can see for the next 12 months?

We are just a phone call or an email away if you’d like some help working out your goals for the next financial year.

Minimum Wage Increase 2021 + NSW COVID Support Grant

From 1 July 2021, the national minimum wage will increase to:

  • $772.60 per week
  • $20.33 per hour

This will result in the minimum rates for Modern Awards being increased. Due to the continued impacts of COVID-19, some of these increases will be delayed until November.

Please note that this increase is effective for the General Retail Industry Award from 1 July 2021.

Please be in touch if you need help working out how your pays will be affected.

You might also have seen that the NSW Government announced business support grants overnight due to this most recent lockdown. They aren’t open for applications just yet, but we will send through a more detailed newsletter as soon as they are. 

What we know so far:

The grants will be divided into two streams:

  1. Small Business COVID-19 Support Grant. Available to businesses and sole traders with a turnover of more than $75,000 per annum but below the NSW government 2020–21 payroll tax threshold of $1,200,000 as at 1 July 2020.
  2. Hospitality and Tourism COVID-19 Support Grant. Available to tourism or hospitality businesses that have a turnover of more than $75,000 and an annual Australian wages bill of below $10 million, as at 1 July 2020.

Businesses will be able to apply for the grants through Service NSW from later in July and will need to show a decline in turnover across a minimum two-week period after the commencement of major restrictions on 26 June. Further details about eligibility should be available in the coming days.

Superannuation Guarantee Increase

You probably already know that the superannuation guarantee is being raised from 9.5 per cent to 10 per cent from 1 July 2021.

This increase will impact employees differently, depending on their contracts. 

For employees whose superannuation is bundled into their total renumeration, have a conversation about why they may now receive less take-home pay in order to avoid any surprises next month.

It’s also a good time to prepare for the superannuation guarantee to go up 0.5 per cent annually until it reaches 12 per cent in 2025. This will need to factor into your decisions when hiring and renegotiating contracts.

As always, we are more than happy to discuss further, answer any questions you have and help you work out a plan for the next few years.