GPL Financial Group GPL Partners

July 2020

JobKeeper Phase 2

 

The Government has decided to extend a lower JobKeeper for a further six months (13 fortnights) from 28 September this year, with eligibility based on actual rather than projected turnover declines.

 

           

The key features are:

  • Only those businesses whose actual GST turnovers in each of the June AND September 2020 quarters have declined by 30% or more (or 50% or more – businesses with a GST turnover of $1 billion or more) compared with the same periods in 2019 will be entitled to JobKeeper in the December 2020 quarter.
  • Only those businesses whose actual GST turnovers in each of the June, September AND December 2020 quarters have declined by 30% or more (or 50% or more – businesses with a turnover of $1 billion or more) compared with the same periods in 2019 will be entitled to JobKeeper in the March 2021 quarter.
  • The JobKeeper payments will be lower and there will now be two tiers:
    • For employees who, in the four weeks of pay periods before 1 March 2020, were working in the business for 20 hours or more a week on average – for the December quarter, $1,200 a fortnight; and for the March 2021 quarter, $1,000 a fortnight
    • For other eligible employees (both permanent part time and casual) – $750 a fortnight for the December 2020 quarter and $650 a fortnight for the March 2021 quarter
  • Business participants who are not employees remain eligible on the same basis as employees.
  • Employers must pay employees first before they can receive JobKeeper.

The new turnover tests will be harder to fulfill than those applying to JobKeeper 1.0. 

Each quarter is tested for actual GST turnover, – averaging is out and the single month test is out. 

One difficulty all employers who remain eligible will face is timing the calculation of their turnover for the September and December 2020 quarters with the payment of staff.  With BAS deadlines of 28 October and 28 January respectively, the ATO “will have discretion to extend the time an entity has to pay employees in order to meet the wage condition, so that entities have time to first confirm their eligibility for the JobKeeper Payment”.  But delaying BAS lodgement can also delay receipt from ATO.

As far as employees are concerned, the eligibility rules are unchanged.  In that regard, the employee must have been on the books as at 1 March 2020 as well as being a current employee for the relevant JobKeeper fortnight.  The rules which exclude persons who were not long-term casuals as at 1 March also remain, as do the rules excluding most temporary workers who are neither citizens nor permanent residents.

The long term casual test has two relevant dates –  1 March being the date on which the employee has to meet the basic criteria (including the long term casual test) and the JobKeeper fortnight the subject of the claim and for which the employer must have paid the employee.

 

 

Federal Government

 

ATO busts tax time 2020 myths

 

The ATO has issued a list of tax-time myths, warning taxpayers that get-rich-quick schemes will only slow down returns.

 

     
 

Ringing in the new financial year, the Australian Taxation Office has warned of the common tax-time myths, which last year saw up to half a million individual tax returns amended, with some taxpayers even amending their own returns before they were processed.

In an effort to make this tax time as smooth as possible, Assistant Commissioner Karen Foat has asked taxpayers to stay vigilant and avoid being tripped up by tax-time myths that slow down returns. 

“Every year, we see people tripped up by tax-time myths. Unfortunately, this often results in slowing their return down when either they or we realise their mistake as the return is processed,” Ms Foat said.

“Where it doesn’t delay the initial return, it can result in a surprise tax bill later on.”

But while there are always a range of myths that need busting around tax time, the changed circumstances this year have seen some new additions to the list.

“Our main priority is to help people get the facts straight before they lodge so that it’s a smooth, easy and fast process,” Ms Foat said.

As such, the ATO has issued an updated list of get-rich-quick schemes to beware of.

While the ATO receives information from banks, this doesn’t extend to updating details for the bank account taxpayers nominate to have their refund deposited into. Last year, many people, in their rush to lodge early, forgot to update bank details and delayed their refund, the ATO has warned. 

It’s not OK to double dip

The ATO has once again warned of doubling dipping, especially on the back of the coroanvirus changes to working conditions. 

“We are concerned that some taxpayers may either accidentally or deliberately double dip by claiming their working-from-home expenses using the all-inclusive shortcut method while also claiming for specific items such as laptops or desks,” Ms Foat said.

“It’s important to remember that if you’re claiming under the shortcut method, you cannot claim a separate additional deduction for any expenses you incur as a result of working from home.”

Home to work travel is not claimable

Generally, most people cannot claim the cost of travelling from home to work unless they are required by their employer to transport bulky tools or equipment and there is not a safe place to store these at the workplace.

“If you are working from home due to COVID-19, but need to travel to your regular office sometimes, you still cannot claim the cost of travel from home to work as these are still private expenses.

“Even though you are working from home, your home is still a private residence — it is not a ‘place of business’,” Ms Foat said.

‘Taxpayers can’t just claim $300 or $299 if they had no expenses’

The ATO noted it often sees people claiming a deduction despite not purchasing anything. This often comes down to a false belief that everyone is entitled to claim $300. 

“While you don’t need receipts for claims of expenses up to $300, you must have actually spent the money and be able to show us how you worked out your claim.”

Work-related expenses need to be work related

Each year, the ATO sees people trying to claim personal expenses under the guise of work-related expenses.

This year, it is warning taxpayers that they can only claim for expenses that are directly related to earning their income.

“We have been reminding taxpayers recently that if they are in jobs that require physical contact or close proximity to customers and they had to buy their own hand sanitiser, gloves or masks for use at work, that they can claim these items,” Ms Foat said.

However, the ATO has explained that people who aren’t in jobs that aren’t in close proximity to the public, or people who have purchased these items for their general use, cannot claim them.

“For example, people who are working from home can’t claim these items and so a high work-from-home claim together with a large claim for protective items may trigger a red flag and slow down your return,” Ms Foat said.

People are also being reminded they cannot claim for the costs of setting their children up for home schooling.

“These costs are private expenses,” Ms Foat reminded. 

Lodging earlier doesn’t always mean getting your refund earlier

Each year, the ATO automatically includes information from employers, banks, private health insurers – and this year JobKeeper for employees and JobSeeker amounts – in people’s returns. For most people, this information is ready by the end of July.

Since leaving out income can slow returns, taxpayers that are lodging before the ATO has prefilled this information are being reminded to ensure they include all of the necessary information before they submit.

Lastly, the ATO has reminded taxpayers that tax returns lodged electronically are usually processed in less that two weeks. Taxpayers are also being told they can check the progress of their return by logging on to myGov and clicking through to the ATO.

 

 

Maja Garaca Djurdjevic
01 July 2020
mybusiness.com.au

 

Important Single Touch Payroll Update

Single Touch Payroll (STP) and Annual PAYG Payment Summaries – a reminder to both employers and employees.

 

     
   

Payment summaries – if you are using the STP system you will be exempt from issuing payment summaries to your employees if you have made a ‘’finalisation declaration’’.

STP summaries replace the previous PAYG summaries.

The payment summaries will be made available to your employees online through myGov.

The finalisation declaration requires the employer to declare that all of the information relative to the financial year for each employee has been provided through your STP reporting. Finalisation declaration lodgement requirements are:

  • Employers with 20 or more employees will have until 14th July 2020.
  • Employers with 19 or less employees will have until 31st July 2020.

Payment summaries – if you are not using STP, the payment summaries have to be prepared and sent to all employees by 14th July 2020.

PAYG Withholding Tax – if you are not using STP the annual summary is due to be lodged with the ATO by 14th August. 2020.

Payroll Tax (if you are liable – if you have any questions please contact us) – you have to prepare a reconciliation of total payroll for the year showing the total amount of payroll tax payable and then reconcile this with the remittances that you have forwarded throughout the year.

Workcover – a Workcover Declaration is due by 31st August certifying wages paid for the year ending 30th June 2020.

 

 

ATO

 

SMSF sector grows, new fund numbers drop

 

Overall growth of SMSF sector has continued despite a drop in the number of new funds in the December quarter 2019, the latest ATO statistical report shows.

 

Corunna2710*!    

The SMSF sector continued to recorded growth in the December quarter 2019 despite a dip in the number of newly established funds compared to the previous quarter, according to the latest ATO data.

The regulator’s “Self-managed super fund quarterly statistical report – December 2019” revealed the total number of funds increased to 594,163 during the December quarter from 589,737 in the September quarter.

The number of new funds reached 4632 during the December quarter, with only 197 funds wound up, resulting in a net establishment of 4426 funds across the sector.

By contrast, 6324 funds were set up in the September quarter, with 444 funds wound up in the same period, which resulted in a net establishment figure of 5880.

In addition, the report revealed the total number of members of SMSFs had increased to 1,115,822 in the December quarter from 1,108,010 in the previous quarter.

It also showed the total estimated assets of SMSFs for the December quarter dropped to $739 billion despite steady growth in previous quarters, including a jump from $730 billion in the June quarter to $740 billion in the three months to 30 September.

The top asset types held by SMSFs by value in the December quarter were listed shares ($221 billion) and cash and term deposits ($151 billion).

The asset value of limited recourse borrowing arrangements (LRBA) reported by SMSFs for the quarter remained consistent at $44 billion.

The ATO’s recent statistical overview of the SMSF sector for the 2018 financial year revealed the growth in the number of SMSFs reporting LRBAs had steadied and was now increasing at a manageable rate, with some noting this had reduced the sector’s risks around these investments.

As part of its report on the SMSF sector, the ATO also found the level of SMSF wind-ups hit a record high during the 2018 financial year, while new establishments fell away.

 

 

Tharshini Ashokan
July 1, 2020
smsfmagazine.com.au

 

New laws prompt review of SMSF estate plans

 

In light of recent laws passed this month, many clients will need to review their estate planning to ensure their will adequately explains how superannuation and insurance payments should be dealt with.

 

 Corunna2710*!   

DBA Lawyers director Daniel Butler said there was a recent change to the tax treatment of income from super in a testamentary trust. Subsection 102AG(2AA) was added to the Income Tax Assessment Act 1936 in Treasury Laws Amendment (2019 Measures No. 3) Act 2019, which was passed on 23 June 2020.

Mr Butler said the measure was first announced in the 2018–19 federal budget in order to clarify that minors should only be taxed at adult marginal tax rates in respect of “income a testamentary trust generates from assets of the deceased estate”.

The budget papers for 2018–19 federal budget explained that income received by minors from testamentary trusts is taxed at normal adult rates rather than the higher tax rates that generally apply to minors.

“However, some taxpayers are able to inappropriately obtain the benefit of this lower tax rate by injecting assets unrelated to the deceased estate into the testamentary trust,” the budget papers stated.

The explanatory memorandum (EM) states that the requirements under the new subsection will ensure “there is a connection between the property from which excepted trust income is derived and the deceased estate that gave rise to the testamentary trust”, Mr Butler said.

Mr Butler clarified that a superannuation death benefit relating to a deceased member’s interest in a superannuation fund is very different from the types of schemes being contemplated by the new subsection.

“While this is an interest under a trust, the deceased member was entitled to that payment prior to their death and the payment can either be paid to their executors (or legal personal representative) or to a dependant,” he explained.

“Similarly, insurance proceeds paid to a person’s executors that form part of their deceased estate, from a life insurance policy on their life following their death, has a relevant connection to the contractual entitlement to insurance cover.”

Both superannuation death benefit payments and insurance proceeds paid to their executors following a person’s death that forms part of their deceased estate have a relevant connection to that person’s membership interest or contractual entitlement, he stated.

These amounts, he said, can be contrasted to the example in the EM where a related family trust makes a capital distribution of $1,000,000 to the testamentary trust.

However, clients may still need to review their estate plans and wills to make sure they are appropriate in view of this new law, he cautioned.

“Wills moving forward should be more carefully drafted as many wills do not provide sufficient guidance on how superannuation and insurance payments should be dealt with,” he warned.

“Some, for instance, seek to transfer these amounts directly to a testamentary trust rather than being paid a deceased estate which then converts to a testamentary trust following the finalisation of the administration of a deceased estate.”

Mr Butler said the deceased estate generally progresses into a testamentary trust once the “date of assent” is arrived at.

“The date of assent is, broadly, where the assets and liabilities of the estate can be established and the estate can now be dealt with certainty. Prior to this stage, a potential beneficiary generally has no interest in an unadministered estate,” he explained.

Mr Butler also noted that there is opportunity for the Commissioner of Taxation to exercise some discretion where he considers the income from superannuation death benefit payments and insurance amounts do not relate to the property in question.

“This aspect can give rise to some degree of uncertainty if there is not a sufficient connection between the proceeds and the deceased person or the appropriate documentation such as a suitably drafted will is not in place,” he said.

 

 

Miranda Brownlee
29 June 2020
smsfadviser.com.au

 

COVID-19 cuts risk pension pain

 

The Federal Government recently announced the mandatory minimum drawdown rates for retirees with account-based pensions would be temporarily halved in both the 2019-20 and 2020-21 financial years.

 

Corunna2710*!  

The measure was introduced in response to the heightened volatility on financial markets triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic, essentially to provide relief to those retirees using self-funded pension income streams.

At the same time, the Government announced it was further reducing social security deeming rates to reflect the impact of low interest rates on retirees' savings. The lower deeming rates will potentially help some retirees who may not have been eligible for the Age Pension to pass the existing income test limits.

Meanwhile, the 50 per cent reduction in the amount retirees are required to withdraw from their superannuation account balance annually, depending on their age, will help individuals and couples preserve more of their investment capital.

Retirees are required to pull money out of their superannuation savings at set percentage rates, essentially to reduce the amount of capital that is being held in the tax-free pension earnings environment.

The revised minimum drawdown rates

Revised minimum drawdown rates

Source: Australian Government

The latest data on retiree numbers from the Australian Bureau of Statistics shows there were 3.9 million retirees in the 2018-19 year. But that number is likely to have spiked as a result of many older working Australians having lost their jobs during the current crisis.

It's probable that a sizeable number, already at their superannuation preservation age, will have officially moved into retirement and activated a pension drawdown account using their superannuation.

Knowing the new drawdown rules is imperative for all retirees drawing a self-funded pension.

A potential sting

For retirees running their own pension account through a self-managed structure, the changes to the mandatory withdrawal rates are very straightforward.

All that needs to happen is that the revised minimum percentage amount is withdrawn from your account before the end of the financial year, based on your account balance.

That's a big bonus for those not needing to draw down the normal rate of funds from their account to cover their living costs.

The same could be the case for many of those using third-party account-based pension managers.

If you do use a third-party account manager, however, it's important to be aware that the minimum drawdown changes could impact your regular pension payment amounts from the start of this new financial year (if they haven't already).

The issue is that the wording on the Government's fact sheet around its revised drawdowns legislation doesn't have any specifications around how the rules are to be applied by external managers.

Some of the superannuation funds managing account-based pensions may have automatically set their members' payments to the lower new minimum drawdown levels.

In this scenario, pension payment amounts will be reduced by 50 per cent unless you contact your fund manager and submit a request to change your pension payment amount.

Alternatively, other account managers may have left the default drawdown limits in place, with the onus on members to contact them to request the new reduced account withdrawal rates.

Those wanting to take advantage of the lower withdrawal requirements will similarly need to contact their pension fund manager and submit a request to change their pension payment amount.

Maintaining pension control

Retirees using third-party providers should already have been contacted about the drawdown changes and been advised of their options.

To avoid any potential changes to your normal pension payments, or to take advantage of the temporary lower required drawdown limits, you should contact your account administrator as soon as possible.

Pension withdrawal amounts can easily be changed to higher amounts at the request of the account holder.

Before making any financial decisions, it's important to assess your current and future income needs.

Changes to pension withdrawal amounts can potentially impact the amount of government Age Pension a person is entitled to receive.

 

It may be useful to contact a financial adviser to discuss your plans.

 

 

Tony Kaye
Personal Finance Writer
30 June 2020
vanguardinvestments.com.au

 

 

Ways to outsmart your cognitive biases

 

As markets continue to be wax and wane due to ongoing coronavirus fears and subdued employment and economic recovery numbers, it seems timely to remind ourselves of the types of behavioural and emotional biases that could lead to potentially risky investment behaviour, and how you can avoid them.

 

  Corunna2710*!  

As human beings we are not well wired for the rational, dispassionate approach that economists love to think of as “normal”.

Loss aversion

Loss aversion refers to a bias in human psychology where we tend to prefer avoiding loss than acquiring equivalent gains. The principle here is that we'd rather not lose $100 than to gain $100. We tend to focus more on what we might lose, rather than on what we might get. The fear of loss can often reduce our ability to stay the course.

This was evident during the period of market volatility in late March, which saw some investors cashing out in a bid to protect a portfolio's existing value. By realising those losses at that point in time, it meant that those same investors were less likely to have benefited when the Australian sharemarket quickly moved back and regained much of those initial losses.

A way of addressing this is to frame your portfolio gains and losses as wide as possible and over a long term horizon and not take a narrow view at one point in time. For example if you focused on just your Australian share investments you had an emotional roller coaster ride through March/April. But what would it have looked like if you total portfolio view – including international shares, bonds and even your home in your total portfolio view.

Vanguard's Index Chart illustrates the value of a longer-term approach well with historical data showing that markets fluctuate from year to year but those who ignore the emotional swirl of short-term market conditions are inevitably rewarded for their patience and discipline in the long term.

Confirmation bias

This bias entails looking for information that supports our beliefs or choices. And during an ongoing period of market volatility, it can be particularly tempting to start thinking about changing your investment behaviour and in the process, seek out information that we think will help us make better investment decisions in the short term.

But consider this – we are told that the world is bracing for a second wave of coronavirus infections but in the same breath, we are also told that there is an 80 per cent chance of a vaccine before year's end. Would you sell your investments now to avoid another market correction because you are convinced that a second wave of infections is on its way, or would you hold on to your investments because you know for sure that a vaccine is almost here?

The reality is, we have no way of knowing which of the two scenarios will eventuate. Actively seeking out information that confirms your thoughts on any of the scenarios, or subsequently ignoring any data that suggests otherwise and then making an investment decision based on current information, is likely to hinder rather than help achieve your investment goals.

Again, the challenge is to be disciplined and stay the course and understand what you can – and what you cannot – control. In keeping to the investment strategy that you have carefully put in place – one that will endure in both the boon of a bull market and the stress of a bear market – you're still on track to achieve your investment goals over your investment horizon.

Herd behaviour

According to the best minds in psychology, herd behaviour is particularly relevant in the domain of finance and has on occasion, represented a major cause of speculative bubbles. During the March market volatility, it was not uncommon to hear many declare that now is the best time to invest in technology-related shares because they were booming or to invest in the health sector because a vaccine is imminent.

Are you buying bonds and moving into cash because your well-meaning uncle who's not far off from retirement advised you to do what he did, or are you buying equities because your much younger neighbour is convinced that this is 'the way to go'?

Rather than follow the crowd when making investment decisions that impact you alone and not the herd, you should take into account your unique circumstances and investment goals when executing on your strategy.

One strategy that you could deploy during volatile times is to spread your investments over a certain period of time. Rather than time the markets, you could instead try the dollar cost average method by putting regular contributions towards your investments until you get to your target asset allocation.

Cognitive biases are often hard to detect because they occur so naturally but learning and recognising how they can affect your decision making, especially in times of uncertainty, will be useful for every investor. And remember, this is much easier to do if you have taken the time to create an investment strategy tailored to your own risk appetite and investment objectives.

Understanding that we are all subject to biases as an investor is a powerful argument for the value of having a written financial plan that captures why you are investing and what are your personal goals. Then at times of market stress it can be retrieved from the filing cabinet (either real or digital) and used to either adjust or simply stay on course, accepting there may be well be some rough weather ahead.

 

 

Robin Bowerman
Head of Corporate Affairs at Vanguard.
16 June 2020
vanguardinvestments.com.au

 

Extra Tools & Resources for our clients.

 

Over time we have supplied our clients with a growing collection of tools and resources to help in areas such as COVID-19 relief updates, articles on tax changes and updates, articles to help understand economic changes, calculators for all financial needs, and videos to help you and your family learn more about financial matters.  We hope you enjoy these 'extras' and if you have any question then simply ask. *

 

Corunna2710*!    

Covid-19 updates. We have added an article to our latest news that is regularly updated with Federal and State government resources and tools so you don't have to find them yourselves and perhaps miss something important.

Latest news articles. 7-9 individual articles every month, though 13-15 in March, and all chosen for their relevance. Our website is a great place to stay informed.

Educational videos on accounting topics. All are relevant, interesting, educational and interesting. Videos that are changed three times a year to ensure you and your family are able to lean about many issues related financial issues and topics.

Calculators. A good range of calculators to help you better understand and manage your personal and family financial issues. Four of the more popular are: Pay calculator, Budget Calculator, Loan Calculator, and Super Calculator

Client portals. Portals are quite common on many sites and can be used to store your data, pay bills, log onto investment systems.

Ask us a question at any time. If you have a question on any related topic then don’t hesitate to use a form on our site to ask.

Your information is private and confidential and should be treated that way. Using Secure File Transfer means your information is encrypted when sent in either direction over the Internet.

Many sites also have a message window feature that displays messages of interest or that cover topics and deadlines you should be aware of.

 

* Not all are on every website.

Your Financial Planner

New financial year to bring new rules for super

 

As the 2019–20 financial year draws to a close, a technical expert has highlighted some of the new rules commencing for super funds for the 2020–21 financial year.

 

Corunna2710*!   

For the 2020–21 financial year, SuperConcepts executive manager SMSF technical and private wealth Graeme Colley said the two main changes are the abolition of the work test for those aged 66 and 67 years old and the extension of spouse contribution for those aged between 70 and 75 years.

Mr Colley noted that the industry is still waiting for a change in legislation that will allow access to the “bring forward” rules.

“We remain waiting with anticipation for the extension of the bring forward rule to the age of 67 years to become law when Parliament resumes in the next few months,” he said.

He also reminded SMSF professionals and their clients that the 50 per cent reduction in the minimum pension rate for account-based pensions, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, will continue to apply for the 2020–21 financial year.

Work test changes

Up until 30 June 2020, Mr Colley explained there was no need for a member to satisfy a work test for personal concessional and non-concessional contributions before reaching the age of 65.

“However, once they reached 65 years of age in the financial year, a work test of 40 hours in 30 consecutive days was required to be met at any period during that year, and prior to the contribution being accepted,” he said.

“Providing the work test is met in a financial year, personal concessional or non-concessional contributions can be accepted up to 28 days after the month in which the person reaches the age of 75. However, there are exceptions to the work test where personal contributions are made in the year after ceasing work, or for purposes of downsizer contributions.”

From 1 July 2020, it will be possible for those under the age of 67 years to make personal contributions without needing to satisfy a work test, he explained.

In the financial year a person reaches the age of 67, personal contributions can be made prior to reaching 67 years old. However, a work test must be met at any time during the financial year prior to the contribution being made.

Spouse contributions

Up until 30 June this year, it was only possible to make spouse contributions up until the age of 70 years, Mr Colley said.

Between the ages of 65 and 70 years, the spouse was required to meet the work test of 40 hours in 30 consecutive days for the year in which the contribution was made.

“However, from 1 July 2020, this has now been extended to apply to spouse contributions made between the age of 67 years, and 28 days in the month after the spouse reaches 75 years old, which puts it in line with other personal superannuation contributions,” Mr Colley said.

“The work test must be met prior to the spouse contributions being made to the fund.”

Reduction in minimum pensions for account-based pensions

In late March 2020, Mr Colley said the government amended the minimum percentage required to be paid for account-based pensions by 50 per cent.

“This meant that account-based pensions, transition to retirement pensions, and market-linked income streams would have their minimum pension percentage reduced by 50 per cent for the 2019–20 and 2020–21 financial years,” he said.

 

 

Miranda Brownlee
29 June 2020
smsfadviser.com.au

 

SMSFs urged to review leases before granting rent relief

 

SMSF clients planning to provide rent reductions to tenants should review the lease agreement to ensure the provision of rent relief won’t result in a breach of the lease, says an industry lawyer.

 

Corunna2710*!  

Townsends Business & Corporate Lawyers solicitor Jonathan See explained that where an SMSF and its tenant have agreed to a reduction in rent, there are some important steps in implementing and documenting the relief.

It is important, Mr See said, to review the fund’s trust deed to ensure that there is nothing in the deed that could prevent the rent relief being agreed to by the trustee.

“Although it is very unlikely, because the deed is the fund’s rule book, the trustee must be able to say that they have checked the deed and confirmed that it contains no impediment or condition in relation to such a rent relief agreement,” Mr See said.

It is also vital for the trustee to review the lease to ensure the proposed rent reduction will not result in the lease being breached.

“The lease agreement governs the lease relations between the landlord and tenant, so any decision made in respect to the lease must be made pursuant to it,” he said.

“If there are no rent relief provisions, the parties are advised to vary the agreement to include such provisions allowing the rent relief. Although the regulations do not state that parties vary the lease, similar regulations in Victoria require the parties to either vary the existing lease or enter into a separate agreement.”

Varying the lease is important, Mr See added, as it provides an opportunity for parties to agree on the terms of the rent relief so long as it is in line with the regulations and helps clarify the terms of the rent relief actually agreed upon between the parties.

It also provides stability and control of the parties’ respective situations and prevents ambiguity or misunderstanding that could lead to potential disputes, he said.

“The rent relief provisions should contain the matters agreed by the parties such as documents to support a request for temporary rent reduction including proof of loss of income, manner of calculating the temporary rent amount, period when the temporary rent amount applies, treatment of accrued rent arrears as a result of rent relief, resumption of the original terms of the lease once COVID-19 is over, and other matters considered necessary to give effect to the rent relief,” he stated.

“Once the commercial lease agreement allows for the rent relief, the trustee can implement the agreed rent relief. As SMSF trustees have a basic obligation to keep a record of all its transactions, the trustee must ensure that it properly documents the rent relief.”

Although not mandatory, the SMSF client may also want to consider a registration of the variation of lease, he said.

“Registration gives the lease a legal status and recognises the rights of a tenant,” he explained.

“If somewhere down the track the fund decides to sell the commercial property during the lease period, the new owner will be bound to respect the lease and its variation, especially the rent relief.”

 

 

Miranda Brownlee
01 July 2020
smsfadviser.com.au

 

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