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18 May 2012
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FBT odd spot

The 2011-12 fringe benefits tax year-end has come and gone, and the FBT lodgement deadline is on the horizon (May 28). With this in mind, here are some 'left field' FBT facts that employers may find useful, both now and to keep in mind for the 2012-13 year.

  • Shopping centre car parks that provide free parking for an initial period (the first two hours, for example), and thereafter charge a fee based on time (to discourage all-day parking), are not considered by the Tax Office to be 'commercial parking stations' for the purpose of determining if there is a car parking fringe benefit
  • Where a mobile phone or similar item is treated as an exempt work-related item, and the monthly call costs are exempt, the exemption will extend to internet data usage fees
  • The Tax Office released a ruling during the 2011-12 FBT year that clarifies the 'base value' of a car. Where an employee contributes to the purchase price of a car, either by cash or by making their own vehicle available as a trade-in, the base value of the car benefit will be the amount paid by the employer/lessor, (that is, an amount net of the employee's contribution)
  • Where a loan is made in respect of employment to an employee who is also a shareholder of a private company, there will be no loan fringe benefit if the loan amount (or residual un-repaid balance) is deemed to be a dividend made to the borrower (even if the private company had 'nil' distributable surplus).

Tax Freedom Day

Australians effectively worked 95 days this year to pay off their taxes, research by The Centre for Independent Studies (CIS) shows.

As part of its annual research, independent public policy think tank CIS says April 5 is 2012's Tax Freedom Day - the day when Australians clear their tax bills of the year and start working for themselves rather than the government.

Although this year's Tax Freedom Day is earlier than a decade ago - good news as that effectively means Australians had to work less than before for the government - the unusually early date may be due to the global financial crisis and a subsequent fall in tax revenue rather than reduced Government spending. Conversely, the tax burden in the 1920s was comparatively lower - causing the Tax Freedom Day to fall in January.

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This Newsletter, of necessity, has dealt with matters of a technical nature in general terms only. Clients should contact us for detailed information on any of the items in the Newsletter. No responsibility for loss occasioned to any person acting or refraining from acting in reliance upon any material in this Newsletter can be accepted by any member or employee of the firm.

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