The Australian Tax Office has a number of recent initiatives that may impact on your 2009-2010 Tax return. Please read the following list and consider whether they may benefit or affect your tax return or entitlements.

• Removal of the baby bonus – The baby bonus cannot be claimed for 2009-2010, or for any future years. If you were able, and did not claim it in the past (01/02 – 08/09), you are able to do so up until 30 June 2014.

• Redefinition of “spouse” – The definition of the term “spouse” has been altered to include any other person (regardless of gender) with whom:
– You were in a relationship that was registered under a prescribed state/territory law.
– You lived with on a genuine domestic basis in a relationship as a couple.

• Income earned in overseas employment – In a majority of cases (excluding aid, charitable or certain government or national interest workers), assessable income will now include your foreign employment income. Those including foreign income may be entitled to a tax offset for any foreign tax paid on this income.

• Super co-contributions – In order to more accurately assess super co-contribution entitlements, income amounts will be sorted into eligible income, ineligible income and assessable income. Some individuals may also need to complete an extra form.

 Employee Share Schemes (ESS) – From this year onwards, discounts on any shares or rights acquired under an ESS will generally be included in your assessable income. Deferral of the tax liability is possible in limited circumstances. The changes also limit access to the existing tax exemption of up to $1,000 of the total discounts received.

• Taxation Of Financial Arrangements (TOFA) – The tax treatment of financial arrangements has been modified to firstly provide the method for calculation for gains and losses, as well as the time they should be brought to account. This doesn’t necessarily apply for this year’s tax return, unless elected.

• Reforms to some entitlements – Your entitlements may be different this year, owing to changes in the law. New information may be required to assess:
– Your tax offset entitlements (e.g. for Dependent Tax Offsets, Senior Australians Tax Offset, Pensioner Tax Offset, Mature Age Worker Tax Offset, Spouse Superannuation Tax Offset)
– Your eligibility to certain deductions and tax concessions (e.g. personal superannuation contributions)
– Any Medicare levy surcharge
– Higher Education Loan Program (HELP)/Student Financial Supplement Scheme (SFSS) repayment amounts.

The Quinn Group can help explain how these changes may impact you and assist with lodging your tax return. For more information, or a FREE Tax Record Kit, please submit an online enquiry, or call us on 1300 QUINNS (784 667).