Are you owed any unclaimed money?

Did you know the NSW government holds unclaimed money in account that you can claim back if it belongs to you?

This unclaimed money includes wide range of payments including dividends, interest, overpaid money (such as Energy Australia or Ausgrid), unpresented cheques, superannuation and more.

We did a quick test with a sample of clients this morning and found a number that were owed money they were unaware of.

To do a search, follow this link to the OSR website and simply enter your name. You can also try the name of a company or trust you control.

Search and claim unclaimed money 

Let us know if you have any success.

 

Property Tax Deductions – What has changed?

Residential rental property kitchen for property tax deductions

Do you remember the Federal Budget measures announced in May 2017 to reduce the scope of rental property tax deductions that can be claimed for residential properties? These changes are now law and are effective from 1 July 2017.

 

What property tax deductions have changed?

The introduction of the new laws resulted in the removal of the following residential rental property tax deductions for property owners

  • Travel deductions to inspect, maintain residential rental properties and collect rent
  • Depreciation deductions for second hand items acquired for use in rental properties. This applies to second hand assets purchased from 9 May 2017 onwards

 

Travel Tax Deduction Example

Josie is a dentist living in Newcastle who owns two residential rental properties. Josie pays for flights and overnight accomodation to the Gold Coast in February 2018. The travel is to inspect damage to the two residential rental properties by the current tenants.

Josie wants to know if these costs can be claimed as tax deductions against the rental income she earns.

As the two properties are residential rental properties Josie can not claim the flights or accomodation as a tax deduction under the new rules.

What impact will changes to property tax deductions have?

The removal of a tax deduction can have a significant impact on the cashflow you earn from your rental property. A reduction in tax deductions against the rental income earned can result in less of a tax refund or additional tax payable leaving less free cashflow to pay down debt.

Is there any way I can still claim these property tax deductions?

There are some exemptions and exclusions which can lessen the impact of the rules. Some of the key exemptions available include

  • residential property owned through a company
  • property that is commercial rather than residential
  • carrying on the business of renting properties

 

If you are in the Newcastle and Lake Macquarie area and would like to understand how the changes impact purchasing or holding a residential property or to review the structure your property holdings are held in contact A Squared Advisers on 02 4959 3882.

6 business resolutions your medical practice can’t afford to ignore

 

Do you ever feel a bit lost as to how you should be improving the business of your medical practice? While patient care may be your forte, do the staff demands, administration, risk management and financial matters seem to get in the way of what you set out to do?

If so, you’re not alone.

Your primary degree is in medicine or health care not business, and many of the business lessons you’ve learned along the way will have come from family, friends, and experience rather than formal education. It is tempting to work on the things that come most naturally, the things we have most confidence in, rather than the things that we have less exposure to or are less skilled at. Perhaps you get stuck moving transforming an idea into actions and outcomes. Or maybe you get stuck knowing which idea to implement first?

It’s possible to improve your confidence and financial position by making solid improvements to your business this year, and we can show you how. Implementing just one of our six new years resolutions for your medical practice will improve your bottom line, streamline your administration, and for some recommendations, improve employee morale.

 

  1. Automate one aspect of your medical practice

When you think about your practice, there is likely to be at least one system, procedure or workflow that could be automated or improved.

If your patients still ring you during office hours to book in, investigate online booking systems such as health engine, appointuit or cliniko.

If you collect patient fees and distribute them to doctors or dentists at the end of the month, consider implementing Surgical Partners to automate the calculation of doctor service fees. Trust us, your practice manager will love you for this one.

You may also like to introduce an automated reminder system for patient appointments to improve attendance rates and increase daily billings.

 

  1. Improve one employee process

Nothing frustrates employees or business owners more than clunky or non-existent HR systems. There is always something that can be streamlined or improved – and if you are not sure what, your employees are sure to have ideas if you are brave enough to ask the question.

Some apps we are loving for employee process improvement include:

  • Enable HR or Employment Hero for employee contracts, policies and work health & safety compliance
  • Tsheets for recording employee rostering, attendance and timesheets

 

  1. Reduce one risk

As many risks cannot be totally eliminated, risk management incorporates risk reduction and risk sharing (insurance).

Allow yourself five minutes to think of the biggest issue keeping you up at night – the one you worry about most. Then work out what the risk (or fear) actually is – is it litigation, is it conflict, is it cyber crime?

For the risk identified, determine procedures and processes that can reduce this risk. For example, improving employee processes as outlined in item 2 may reduce the likelihood of serious conflict or litigation and give you confidence that you are making steps towards this risk being less of a concern for your business in the future. You may also like to consider whether the risk can be insured so that you are financially protected if the risk ever becomes reality.

Many practices are under insured for cyber insurance, and directors and managers insurance. Booking a meeting with your insurance broker to discuss whether these insurances are relevant to your business is a positive step forward in your risk management plan.

 

  1. Set a budget

Most practice owners don’t know where to start when developing a budget for their medical practice. Profit doesn’t happen by accident, but losses certainly can. A Squared Advisers are experts at helping medical and allied health practices ensure their operating model is profitable, and reduce the uncertainty of feeling like you’re ‘flying blind’. If you’d like to improve your practice bottom line in 2018, book an appointment with us now to get this one ticked off the to do list. We promise it will be easier than you think.

 

  1. Improve one patient experience

A patient’s experience of your practice will directly influence whether that patient raves about you positively or rants about you negatively. Visiting a doctor or dentist can be exceptionally stressful for patients, so any experience you can make easier will stick in the memory of that customer and help win you a customer for life.

Some patient experiences you may wish to improve include:

  • Online booking systems – if you only accept bookings over the phone during office hours you are losing patients to nearby businesses who allow bookings online 24/7.
  • Patient follow ups – if you are a dentist and you haven’t seen a customer for 6 months you may like to automate a reminder program for this customer. A gentle reminder with an easy way to return can make the difference between getting that appointment and missing out altogether. Similarly GP practices who haven’t seen a patient for 12 months may like to send a reminder about men’s health or women’s health check up services to assist busy patients in remaining on top of their healthcare.
  • Patient appointment reminders – minimise the no-shows by reminding clients of their appointment the day before and day of their scheduled booking.

 

  1. Improve one business reporting system

 Your first reaction may be that you don’t have a business reporting system.

We are sure you do, in fact you likely have many. But you probably haven’t looked at them in a while so let’s consider what information you do have readily available.

Your accounting system

Hopefully you’re on our favourite cloud accounting program xero, and so you can see your business profit, loss and asset position in real time, at a glance. If you’re not yet online this is a really easy way we can help you improve your business reporting.

Your patient management system

This is one of the richest sources of information for your business. It is likely to contain the following:

  • Number of new patients per month
  • Average revenue per patient per month
  • Number of patients not seen for 6 months
  • Percentage of privately insured/DVA/Medicare patients per month
  • You may even be able to see the concentration of your patients by postcode.

These metrics are useful because they allow you to see trends, and to analyse marketing and business decisions in light of information you have about your practice. For example, if 50% of your new patients are coming from one particular postcode it would make sense to ensure your advertising and marketing efforts are targeted to this postcode, particularly if it is more than a few kilometres from your practice. It is also important to keep an eye on the number of new patients per month to ensure this is not steadily declining. A steady increase in new patients may also provide forward indicators for you as a business person that it may be time to increase your practitioner staff levels.

If you are kicking goals with the above systems – and by that we mean that the information is complete, accurate and key performance indicators are regularly monitored, then consider what new business reporting or metrics you can bring into your practice in 2018 – perhaps consolidating your marketing and customer acquisition reporting may be of benefit.

If you are feeling a little uncertain as to how well you’re reporting your financial and patient metrics, or which ones to monitor then reach out to your accountant for some help.

Remember – improvement in even just one area will make a difference to your business. It is far better to implement one new improvement well than start on three and not finish any of them. Also remember that you don’t need to do this alone. Practice managers, administration staff and A Squared Advisers are here to help you .

 

What first step are you going to take today to improve your practice for 2018? If you need assistance getting started, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

Tax tips for your Medical Practice this Christmas

 

The silly season is here – celebrations, awards nights, end of year presentations, school holidays, and of course the end of year Christmas party. We are commonly asked what your business can pay for staff and suppliers at Christmas, so here’s our handy guide, including a few tips to ensure you get the best outcome possible.

Christmas parties

Unfortunately, the fact that you plan to have fun at your Christmas party doesn’t bode well for your tax (we highly recommend having fun anyway). Christmas parties are considered entertainment, which brings the into the Fringe Benefits Tax (FBT) provisions. If the cost of the Christmas party is less than $300 per employee, the party is not deductible to your business but is not subject to FBT. If the cost per head is more than $300 per employee the party will become subject to FBT (at a cost of almost the same amount as the party itself). The cost of the FBT and party would then be deductible to your business. Generally, for tax purposes, you will be better off keeping to the $300 per person limit.

 

There is one exception, which allows you to have a tax-deductible Christmas party exempt from FBT – parties provided only to current employees, held on the business premises on a work day are both exempt from FBT and tax deductible. The more creative among you may be able to create a fun party at work on a work day, and the Tax Office will reward you for your efforts.

 Christmas gifts

Christmas gifts given to employees which are non-entertainment gifts, such as Christmas hampers, wine, gift vouchers or other physical gifts, are generally deductible. Provided the cost of the gift is less than $300 per employee, the gift will be considered a minor benefit and will not be subject to FBT. That’s about as good as it gets– no FBT and a tax deduction. However, you must stick to the $300/person limit. More extravagant gifts will not qualify for the minor benefit exemption and will attract FBT – at which time you would generally have been better paying a wage bonus to your staff. If you think this might be you, please check in with your A Squared Advisers accountant.

Christmas gifts which are considered entertainment, such as movie tickets, tickets to sporting events or holiday accommodation are not subject to FBT if less than $300 but not tax deductible. If more than $300 they are subject to FBT.

Therefore, gifts which are property (wine, gift vouchers, hampers etc) receive a more favourable tax treatment than gifts which are entertainment (tickets to events or holidays).

Gifts for suppliers and customers

Christmas gifts for suppliers and customers are deductible provided you can show they relate to your income earning activities, and the gift is not considered entertainment. Entertainment would be tickets to shows/movies/sporting events etc which are specifically not tax deductible.

Parties for suppliers and customers

Provided your suppliers and or customers are not former (or future) employees, benefits provided to them are exempt from Fringe Benefits Tax as FBT only deals with payments to employees and their associates. However, parties specifically fall into the tax category of entertainment which makes them not tax deductible.

Medical & allied health service entities

Many medical service entities will have a Christmas party that combines professionals with administration & nursing staff. The professional team will generally not be employees, rather customers. In this case is important to keep records of who attended so that the tax treatment can be appropriately determined.

We hope you’ve had a rewarding and fulfilling year in 2017 and can take some time out to celebrate your business achievements with your team. If you have specific questions about your Christmas parties for your medical or dental practice we are only ever a phone call or email away, and always here to help.

 

Disclaimer – this is general advice only which has been written for small businesses who do not hold a fringe benefits tax exempt entity status. Advice specific to your circumstances can be obtained by contacting A Squared Advisers.

Continual Improvement – Sharing our Documents via Box.com

Improving transmission of electronic documents

We are seeing a significant number of documents being emailed to/from our office. As part of our continuous improvement processes, we are implementing a new system for sending out electronic correspondence for most clients.

We currently use box.com to store our clients documents, as a world leader in document security and sharing. Box has a facility for us to be able to share documents with you rather than emailing documents as email attachments. We like this system because it means the documents aren’t sitting in inboxes/outboxes (which could be a security risk if email was hacked) and it allows you to be able to easily access the documents in your document portal at any time by logging in to box.

Getting started with box.com

To get started, you will receive an invitation to collaborate with us via box.com. When you receive the email invitation you will be prompted to enter an account name (your name) and password. We will never know your password, it is managed directly between you & box.

You will be invited to folders for your entities which will all be called

A Squared Advisers Documents for <Entity Name 1>

A Squared Advisers Documents for <Entity Name 2>

Turning on Notifications

It is important that you update your account settings in box.com to turn on notifications so that you are alerted when we send you a document.

Please follow the instructions here to turn on notifications.

https://community.box.com/t5/Account-Information/Email-Notification-Settings/ta-p/35

How do I access my documents

You can access box at any time by going to https://asquaredadvisers.box.com and logging in (or just box.com if you forget!).

When we email your BAS etc out to you, we will send you a link to the document which you can click on and log in to box to view. You can download for your records then if you want to.

Some FAQ’s are below:

Q: What is my ‘account name’ when signing up to box.com

This should be your personal name.

Q: What about docusign?

We will continue to use docusign as our signing mechanism for electronic documents.

Box.com is the mechanism for storing these documents and allowing you to access them in the future. All our correspondence will move to this method, so our cover letters will be in box.com but do not go to docusign.

Q: Can I still get a paper copy printed?

Yes, absolutely. If you are invited to a shared box account with us and wish to receive paper copies instead please email or call our office to let us know.

Q: Will box.com cost me anything?

You do not need to pay anything for the box.com access.

 As always, if we can help, please don’t hesitate to email or phone our office.