During the year ending 31 March 2011, if your business provided any fringe benefits you will need to lodge a Fringe Benefits Tax (FBT) Return before 21 May 2011. A fringe benefit refers to a type of ‘payment’, that is received in addition to and is different from, salary or wages. It is a benefit provided to an employee or director, and relatives of employees or directors and can include ‘payments’ such as a company car, or a work dinner.

The employee who receives the fringe benefit may be a former or future employee and will be entitled, or has been entitled, to receive payment for work done.  If your business provided any fringe benefits you will need to lodge a FBT Return.

You may be liable to pay FBT for the current year if you answer yes to at least one of these questions:

•   Do you make cars or other vehicles owned by the business available to employees for private use including a car garaged at the employee’s home?

•   Do you provide loans at reduced interest rates to employees?

•   Have you released an employee from an owed debt?

•   Have you paid for, or reimbursed, an expense incurred by an employee?

•   Do you provide a house or unit of accommodation to your employees?

•   Do you provide employees with living-away-from-home allowances?

•   Do you provide entertainment by the way of food, drink or recreation to your employees?

•   Are you a tax-exempt organisation that has provided food, drink or accommodation to employees?

•   Have you provided property, either free or at a discount, to employees?

•   Do any of your employees have a salary package arrangement in place?

•   Have you provided your employees with goods at a lower price than they are normally sold to the public?

You are required to declare on your 2011 Payment Summaries, (formerly known as Group Certificates), details of most fringe benefits provided to each employee during the year.  Employees who have these benefits reported on their group certificates will not be directly liable for additional income tax, but it may affect their Medicare surcharge liability or, if applicable, child support payments. Where related parties, for example a husband and wife, have both had use of a fringe benefit, care needs to be exercised in determining to whom the fringe benefit should be allocated.

If you think you may be liable for FBT it is important that you seek professional advice today! Here at The Quinn Group our experienced team of accountants and tax agents can assist you in processing your FBT return by the due date of 21 May 2011. Please be aware that penalties may apply to late lodgement. If you require any further information in regards to FBT reporting requirements or any other tax issue please submit an online enquiry or call us 1300 QUINNS (784 667) or on +61 2 9223 9166 to book an appointment.