Overseas pensioner status

'Proof of life' certificates required for overseas pensioners

One of the stranger pieces of legislation to be introduced into Parliament last month is an attempt to ensure that overseas welfare recipients over the age of 80 are in fact, alive.

pensionerThere are approximately 96,000 people permanently living overseas who currently receive an Australian social security payment. The majority of these receive the age pension. At present, the system relies on a relative to advise Services Australia that the recipient of the payment has passed away for payments to cease. 

Government data suggests that, "there is a disparity in the death rate of pensioners aged 80 years and above overseas, compared to pensioners in Australia." So, either living overseas is good for your health and people are living longer than Australian norms suggest, or deaths are simply not being reported. The Government is betting on the latter.

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Trust asset ownership

Who owns the assets of a trust?

It's not uncommon for people to put assets such as their family home into a trust, particularly professionals working in litigious fields or family groups wanting to protect assets. 

trustA recent case highlights some of the tax problems that can occur.

The taxpayer in this case had become the owner of their main residence as a result of a Family Court order. At that time, they caused the property to be held in the name of a trust (with a corporate trustee of which the taxpayer was a director).

4 years later when the property was sold, the taxpayer sought to access the main residence exemption to exempt the property from capital gains tax (CGT). After all, it was their main residence. 

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Super, insurance and exit fees

Super, insurance and exit fees: The 1 July changes

From 1 July 2019, new laws prevent superannuation providers from eroding member balances with unwanted or unnecessary insurance and exit fees. 

JulyPlus, inactive accounts with low balances will be moved to the ATO to try and unite the unclaimed super with its owner.

These changes do not apply to self-managed superannuation funds or small APRA funds.

Insurance inside your fund
Up until 30 June 2019, superannuation providers were required to provide members with appropriate life and total and permanent disability (TPD) insurance inside superannuation on an 'opt out' basis. That is, the insurance was automatically put into place when you became a member of the fund.

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Your superannuation this tax time

Not making your full superannuation contribution? 

Now you can catch up

catch upThis year is the first year of new measures that enable people who have been out of the work force, like new Mums, to top up their superannuation.

If you have:
  • A total superannuation balance below $500,000 as at 30 June; and
  • Not utilised your entire concessional contributions cap ($25,000) for the year 

... then you can 'carry forward' the unused amount on a rolling 5 year basis.

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Self-funded retirees

A Labor Government on Tax & Super

Dividend imputation and the impact on self-funded retirees

retireesOne of the more controversial measures announced by the ALP is the reforms to the dividend imputation credit system to remove refundable franking credits from shares. 

The measure, as announced, would apply to individuals and superannuation funds, and exclude Australian Government pension and allowance recipients, and tax-exempt bodies such as charities and universities. SMSFs with at least one pensioner or allowance recipient before 28 March 2018 will also be exempt from the changes. The policy is intended to apply from 1 July 2019.  Read more…

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