Category: FINANCE & INVESTING

HECS-HELP and Australian tax: everything you need to know

College student using laptop

Do you have a student loan? Are you worried that you might never pay it off? You’re not alone – this year, with loans due to be indexed at an eye-watering 4.1%, many ex-students might find that the amount they pay off is less than the amount added in indexation! So, how exactly are the amounts of repayments calculated? Compulsory loan repayments are made through the tax system when your income reaches a certain threshold (currently $51,550 for the 2023-24 financial year). However, it is possible to also make voluntary repayments at any time regardless of income. When your income exceeds this threshold, a compulsory repayment of at least 1% of your income is raised in your income tax assessment. The percentage increases as your income increases. Rates for 2023-24 are as follows: Repayment Income Repayment % rate Below $51,550 Nil $51,550 – $59,518 1.00% $59,519 – $63,089 2.00% $63,090 – $66,875 2.50% $66,876 – $70,888 3.00% $70,889 – $75,140 3.50% $75,141 – $79,649 4.00% $79,650 – $84,429 4.50% $84,430 – $89,494 5.00% $89,495 – $94,865 5.50% $94,866 – $100,557 6.00% $100,558 – $106,590 6.50% $106,591 – $112,985 7.00% $112,986 – $119,764 7.50% $119,765 – $126,950 8.00% $126,951 – $134,568 8.50% $134,569 – $142,642 9.00% $142,643 – $151,200 9.50% $151,201 and above 10.00% What is HELP Repayment Income (HRI)? Your repayment income is different to your taxable income. It is calculated as: your taxable income for an income year, plus your total net investment losses, plus any total reportable fringe benefit amounts shown on your… Read More

Understanding tax opportunities, implications for business

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As we navigate through the economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, many Australians have opted for a change in their work dynamic, starting their own businesses in an attempt to increase their income or to break free from the monotonous employment cycle. However, embarking on this journey can bring potential tax implications, which many tend to overlook. Q: Can you share some top tips and advice on the tax opportunities and implications of running a small business? A: One crucial aspect business owners need to understand is the need to declare your income. Regardless of whether your venture is small or large, the income generated is taxable and must be declared on your tax return. Remember to claim deductions for any expenses incurred as part of running your business. This includes the fee or commission taken from the price you charge your customer for your services, as well as relevant home-office expenses. Transitioning from being an employee to running a business implies that you are now responsible for setting aside money for future tax bills. This is one of the most common pitfalls new businesses tend to fall into. In case your business turnover exceeds $75,000, you might need to register for GST. Also, remember to lodge a Business Activity Statement (BAS) with the ATO at least quarterly. Running your own business indeed comes with extra tax obligations, but it also provides certain tax perks, such as access to all the tax concessions available to small businesses, including full-expensing of capital assets until 30 June… Read More

Sneaky tricks to do now that will save you money before end of financial year

Australian 50 money

With tax time looming, now is the time to think about lodging your annual tax return. Over the coming months, 13 million Australians will be lodge a return. About 84% of them will get a refund, and with the average size of refunds last year exceeding $2,500 for taxpayers lodging through myTax and over $3,450 for those who use tax agents, it pays to spend a little time and effort ensuring you’ve got every detail of your return right. So what are my top tips that you can do between now and tax time for maximising your return this year? The Golden Rules of Tax Deductions If you want to make a claim for work-related expenses, you need to follow the three golden rules: The expense must relate to your work You mustn’t have been reimbursed by your employer You must be able to prove that you spent the money. That means that you must keep receipts, invoices or statements to demonstrate that you actually incurred the expense. H&R Block’s tip is to keep electronic copies of all documentation relating to expenses. Paper receipts get lost or fade, so keeping everything together on your phone or computer will save time and effort when you come to complete your tax return. Get Help There’s a reason why nearly 70% of people use a tax agent to help them do their taxes. Tax is complicated and stressful and if you do it yourself, you’re likely to make a mistake. You might claim something you weren’t entitled to… Read More

Invest smarter: Stake Black is back with a better offering than ever

Stake investment 3

So, if you’re in the investment game in Australia, you’d know about Stake Black. And if not, then sit up and pay attention. The new Stake Black membership is bringing sharper trading tools for the U.S. and Australian markets together for the first time. This includes in-depth data for all ASX equities, plus features such as instant buying power and analyst ratings for U.S. stocks. And if you’re wondering if you’re in good company; Stake recently hit the milestone of over one million trades on the Australian market, and reached $2 billion in assets under administration. Nice. Basically, Stake Black will give you more control of your investing journey, with features that enable a faster response to market movements, data to inform investment strategies and access to a broad range of global securities. In short: In-Depth ASX Data to Help Determine Sentiment, Liquidity and Resistance Levels: access to level 2 data for all ASX equities, including full course of sales and market depth tables, displayed in Stake’s intuitive interface. Access to Unsettled Funds for U.S. Stocks for Faster Trading: instant buying power allows funds from U.S. securities to be reinvested immediately, compared to the industry standard settlement time of the trade date plus two days. Full Financials for U.S. Securities to Support Simpler In-Product Research: stats covering the last eight quarters of cash flow, income, and balance sheet statements for U.S. stocks and ETFs make it easy to stay across the details. Added Clarity Through Analyst Ratings and Price Targets for U.S. Stocks: investors can… Read More

I’m a financial advisor and here’s my 5 step checklist to keep stress about money away

Investing money stocks app

Meet Gerry Incollingo, Managing Partner of LCI Partners financial advisers. He’s jumped in this month with some insight directly from him as to how you can best keep the stresses of your bank account to a minimum. Here we go… Thanks to COVID-19, the never-seen-before, once in a century type of weather events that nowseem to be occurring each season and the inability to find employees to harvest produce that didsurvive the floods, the cost of living in 2022 has skyrocketed. And it can be worrying, even forthose of us who are financial advisors. Here is my 5-step checklist to keep stress about moneyaway. Step 1. Re-evaluate your budget With the cost of inflation and interest rates rising, the budget you created at the beginning of theyear as part of your new year resolution will be outdated. With the new financial year alreadyhere, there’s no better time than now to re-evaluate your incomings and outgoings. Look at waysyou can consolidate any loans. Talk to your bank about locking in a fixed rate for your mortgage,or if you’re renting, consider getting a roommate or downsizing. There may be outgoings that youcan cut back on, such as entertainment or transport costs. Talk to a money expert if you’re notsure where to start. Step 2. Use your tax return wisely Did you know the average Australian gets $2,000 back when they file their tax return? Instead ofusing the money to purchase early Christmas presents for the kids or deposit for a Disneylandholiday, find wiser ways to spend the… Read More

Lend your stocks with Stake: how and why you’d want to do it

Stake investing Sydney

The thought of giving someone else access to your hard-gotten stocks and shares in companies or funds you love is a new concept for a lot of us, but it turns out, not the worst decision you could make! Of course with anything regarding your own cash and investments, do your own research, but here’s some good info to know about what new tricks Stake is offering to those who hold a portfolio with the online broker. What is stock lending? Stock lending with Stake is a concept whereby an owned security is lent to a borrower (to enable practices such as Stock Arbitrage, Index and ETF trading or Hedging) and that borrower pays afee. Similar to an interest payment for borrowing cash. Why is Stake doing it? Well, many traditional stock brokers practice securities lending but typically keep all the returns to themselves. Stake instead has redefined the model to ensure their customers get part of this return.A seamless digital experience will give you control over the lending so you can start earning income on your stocks without having to lift a finger. Moreover, understanding how to do your own fundamental analysis of stocks can empower you to make informed decisions about which securities to lend, maximising your returns and optimising your investment strategy. What else is there to know? Largely, it’s a fair simple concept. You loan out your stocks for a fee that gets paid to Stake and they then share that fee with you. Thing is though, when loaning out, you temporarily transfer… Read More

Trade crypto from where you are with Stake

Stake screens

As of now, you officially don’t need to download yet another finance app to buy, sell and trade your choice of endless crypto options: Stake is adding it to the mix. Adding to their trinity of awesomeness when it comes to trading-on-the-go, they are adding crypto to the line-up of over 8,000 investment products available across the NYSE and ASX. Whether now is a good or bad time to add cryptocurrency to your portfolio isn’t super certain – do your own research – but having a central option for those Stake fans amongst us to add our choices into makes life that much more streamlined. Why are they doing it? Aside from crypto being massive and Stake being one of the best innovations in brokerage for investors of all kinds across the US, Australia and beyond, it looks like it’s a got a good reason behind all that, in itself. In a 2021 research study commissioned by Stake, cryptocurrency was found to be the second most popular form of investment after stocks for Australian investors under 40. And if that’s not enough or makes enough sense, well all this comes off the back of Stake’s initiative of Stake launching a revolutionary CHESS-sponsored ASX offering at just $3 flat brokerage in late 2021. For more and to sign up to Stake to make your own investments, go here

The ultimate personal finance question, answered: should you invest with your partner?

Home couple house

To invest or not to invest with your partner? This is one of the most frequently asked questions from couples who are a) in a de facto relationship, b) already have an established investment portfolio or c) have previously been burnt and would prefer to keep their investments separate. Does sharing life together mean you have to share finances? Whether you’ve opted for traditional marriage or simply living together, there are several factors you need to consider before making the final decision about whether or not to invest with your partner. What is your partner’s credit history like? If your partner comes with financial baggage—debt collectors hounding them, several unpaid credit cards, has been declared bankrupt and a multitude of other credit sins—this may affect any home loan applications required to secure investment properties or other assets. Joining forces to invest only works if you both have a good credit history. What are the tax implications? One of the main things couples forget to take into consideration are the tax implications when they move in together. Only the main residence (family home) is exempt from capital gains tax (CGT). This can get tricky if you’re a late bloomer or mature couple who don’t get married until later in life, it’s not unusual to already have an established property. Calculating your CGT implications can be messy, so check with a proven tax professional about your future tax obligations before expanding your investment portfolio. What if you can’t agree on what to invest in? Even the most… Read More

Stake Black: the only thing you need for investing

Stake ASX investment app 2

Investing is one thing, but doing it as a newbie or without much experience can be daunting to put it lightly. There are heaps of changes in the world of investment; from opting for fund managers like Vanguard Australia to doing it yourself with Stake, resources are everywhere when it comes to info and making your own choices. And then, there’s Stake Black: an altogether epic alternative for industry and investment insight like you’ve never seen before. And here’s why. Stake introduced Stake Black for investors who want to take more control of their investments. As an optional add-on for those with a live account, Stake Black offers four key features: 1. Instant buying power – for the more active traders who are looking to move in and out of positions. This allows them to waive the T+2 settlement period and directly reinvest funds from a sale 2. Analyst ratings – one of my favourite features to help make a more informed investment decision. Analyst ratings all you to see how the big banks and investors on Wall St are analysing a stock as a buy/hold or sell 3. Price targets – going a level deeper than Analyst Ratings these give actual price targets the analysts believe the stock will reach 4. Full company financials – access full company financials of your favourite companies all in-app 5. Awesomeness in investing – you also score that sense of being ‘in the know’ and a part of a members-only club of financial movers that care about your… Read More