How Australian’s will be spending this Christmas

🎄 Aussies will collectively spend $25 billion this Christmas – that’s an average of $1325 per person

🎄 Over half of us will have a Christmas ham – it’s our most popular Christmas food

🎄 Unlike our US cousins, turkey is our least popular choice with around 30% of households enjoying it this Christmas

🎄 Our food bill will be approx. $122 per person

🎄 Our alcohol bill will be approx. $131 per person

🎄 60% of us, don’t set a budget to control our Christmas spending

🎄 Last year, 40% of our Christmas spend was made on our credit cards

🎄 In a survey conducted in January 2018, 2/3 of respondents regretted the amount of money they spent on Christmas

🎄 1 in 5 online purchases will be made on a mobile device with our phone being the most popular device

🎄 While considered a popular choice, almost ¼ of us will receive a gift card we don’t want

Four easy ways to shape up your finances before summer

Getting financially fit doesn’t have to be hard slog. Follow these tips to get on the fast track to financial wellbeing.

  1. Review your commitments: money can easily trickle away on things we don’t need or value. Reviewing things like mobile phone plans, insurance policies, loan rates and utilities means you can compare prices, ask your provider for a better deal or shop around for one.
  2. Start a budget: once bills are sorted, check whether other areas of spending have room for improvement. The key to budgeting is ensuring you include everything you spend money on – from school fees to champagne. You might be surprised how quickly that daily latte adds up! Various websites and apps are available to help with this, such as Money Smart’s budget planner.
  3. Sell some stuff: this will not only line your wallet, but free up space in your home or workplace. Decluttering is hugely popular and it’s easy to sell the things you no longer want using sites like Gumtree. Or gather your unwanted items and have a garage sale. After all, if you don’t need three bicycles and the pram anymore, why not turn them into cash?
  4. Organise your tax: a good filing system will save you time and money. A simple fix – whether you manage tax digitally or the old-fashioned way – is to separate paperwork pertaining to income and expenses with folders for main categories like rent and insurance. File each piece of paperwork straight away, and you’ll be set come June 30


For straight-forward, practical financial, taxation and accounting advice
contact our knowledgeable team at SVA and WPA by calling 02 8850 0388.

Don’t settle for simmering super!

Superannuation may be a long-term investment strategy but that doesn’t mean you should leave it on a mental back burner. In fact, ignoring your super leaves it at risk of stagnation when it could be cooking up a healthy retirement nest egg.

Reviewing your current super strategy doesn’t have to be an overwhelming process and it could be a great way to beef up your retirement savings.

Is your super still meeting your needs?

If it’s been a while since you began your superannuation policy, you may discover the choices you made are no longer the most appropriate. To find out, check with your fund to see how your money is being invested and compare this with what else the fund has on offer.

Every super fund has a range of investment options, including:

  1. Balanced: this option is designed to suit most people most of the time, offering above average returns with below average risk. The mix might hold 60 – 75% of its investments in shares and property with the rest in cash, bonds and fixed interest.
  2. Growth: this option offers higher average long-term returns, but with potential for more ups and downs. Losses are often higher in bad years and happen in four or five years out of 20. Growth options usually hold around 85% of funds in shares and property with the balance in cash and fixed-interest investments.
  3. Conservative: these portfolios tend to deliver lower average returns than growth options but with less risk of loss in any year. They typically hold around 70% in low-growth, low-risk cash and fixed interest deposits with the balance in shares and property.
  4. Cash investments in short-term deposits with Australian institutions: these offer relatively low, stable returns with no risk of loss. The downside is the risk that returns won’t keep pace with inflation.

When deciding what’s best, it’s important to consider your attitude to risk and how close you are to retirement. For example, if you’ve got 20 years of work left, a growth option may be more suitable for you than for someone with only a few years left until retirement. That’s because you’ll have time up your sleeve for the market to recover from any downturns.

Superannuation reviews are one of our specialities so call us to arrange a complimentary meeting


For straight-forward, practical financial, taxation and accounting advice
contact our knowledgeable team at SVA and WPA by calling 02 8850 0388.


Now is the best time to start estate planning – here’s why

Let’s face it, nobody wants to think about what will happen to their family once they pass away, let alone talk about it. But the truth is, it’s easier for you and your family to make good decisions while you’re alive and well rather than after you’re gone.

Because we don’t know what life may throw our way, it’s never too early to start estate planning. Successful estate planning involves much more than making a will. Many factors need to be considered, such as tax planning, asset protection and what will happen with the funds in your superannuation and any insurance policies you have in place.

Estate planning according to your wishes

An effective estate plan will help to ensure your wishes are carried out just as you would like them to be. As a result, your beneficiaries will receive what you want them to, in the most cost-effective and tax-efficient manner.

Things to consider include:

  • Making sure your investments and superannuation are structured for the best returns
  • Ensuring adequate personal and asset protection insurances are in place
  • Confirming your beneficiaries are clearly identified and no-one is forgotten
  • What you want to happen in the event of your disability or mental incapacity
  • The appointment of legal representatives such as Executors or Powers of Attorney

This probably sounds complex, and it can be. But talking to the financial experts at Wealth Plan Advisory will help you successfully navigate the process with as little stress as possible.

By putting strategies in place now, you can have peace of mind that your loved ones will be taken care of should the unexpected happen.


For straight-forward, practical financial, taxation and accounting advice
contact our knowledgeable team at SVA and WPA by calling 02 8850 0388.

Maximise your tax return with our free downloadable checklist

Nobody wants to pay more tax than they have to (or come under the ATO’s radar). Our free checklist will help you ensure all your income and deductions are accounted for.


For straight-forward, practical taxation, accounting and financial advice
call us on 02 8850 0388.

Personal income tax cuts for 2018-19 are good to go

In the 2018-19 Federal Budget, changes to the Personal Income Tax Plan were announced. These changes have been passed, taking effect on July 1, 2018.

There are two changes you need to know about for the coming financial year

  1. The top threshold of the 32.5% tax bracket has increased from $87,000 to $90,000.
    This change applies to residents, foreign-residents and Working Holiday Makers.
    Pay as you go withholding rates and schedules will be updated to include the changes.
  2. A new low and middle income tax offset (which is in addition to the Low Income Tax Offset) will provide a non-refundable tax offset of up to $530 per annum for Australian residents earning less than $125,333.The offset amount ranges from $200 (for incomes less than $37,000) to $530. The lump sum will be paid after your income tax return is assessed next financial year.

    It is expected over 10 million taxpayers will get at least some relief from this new offset. We can help you find out if you’re one of them.


For straight-forward, practical accounting, taxation and financial advice
contact our knowledgeable team at SVA and WPA by calling 02 8850 0388.

Property alert! GST changes you need to know about

If you are buying new residential premises or potential residential land subdivisions, GST will now need to be paid directly to the ATO at settlement.

These changes will apply to contracts dated on or after 1 July 2018.

Please note: These changes do not apply to the sale of existing residential properties, or to new or existing commercial properties. Nor do they apply to the purchase or sale of your family home or your residential investment property.

Who do the changes apply to?

Even if you don’t usually deal in property, these changes may apply if turnover from your property and other transactions is more than the GST registration threshold of $75,000 p.a. and your activities are regarded as an “enterprise”.

Classification as an “enterprise” could include buying property with the intention of selling it immediately at a profit or developing the property to sell.

If you’re buying property

  • You need to pay the GST directly to the ATO instead of to the developer (or vendor) as part of the purchase price.
  • There are no changes to the amount of GST to be paid. It remains the same.
  • You don’t have to register for GST to make this payment to the ATO.
  • You can generally claim a GST credit if you purchase property or land for your business or SMSF under a standard land contract, providing GST was included in the sale price. You can claim this credit on your activity statement for the tax period during which settlement occurs.
  • If you are entitled to claim GST credits, you must have a valid tax invoice issued by the seller when you lodge your activity statement. A settlement statement or contract of sale is not a valid replacement for a tax invoice.

If you’re selling property

  • On all eligible property transactions, you will need to include GST in the sale price.
  • You may be eligible to claim GST credits for some purchases used to develop the property.
  • Property developers will need to provide written notification to buyers if the buyer needs to withhold an amount for GST.
  • If GST is applied to a property transaction by the vendor, contracts should include a clause stating whether or not the GST amount is included in the contract price.

The team at SVA and WPA can provide personalised information and advice about how these changes could affect you. So get in touch if you are buying or selling property after 1 July, 2018.


For straight-forward, practical accounting, taxation and financial advice
call us on 02 8850 0388.

Trading names to retire under new scheme

If you operate a business using a trading name, you have until the 31 October to register it as a business name on the Australian Business Register (ABR). Once a business name is successfully registered, it will appear on the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) register and the ABN Lookup.

Can’t remember if you have registered your business trading name/s?

Visit the ASIC Search Business Names Register here.


For help in setting up a new business or to review the structure of your current business,
contact the team at SVA and WPA on 02 8850 0388

4 Tips for managing the EOFY scramble

Yes, it’s that time of year again, when businesses start scrambling to prepare their tax returns. Here are 4 tips to make the process as stress-free and streamlined as possible.

  1. Start getting your records organised now. Whether you have paper files or computer records, now is the time to get everything together in one place for easy access, including:
    • Business income information
    • Expenses you can claim as business deductions, such as wages, business travel and other operating expenses.
  2. Make sure you can prove to the ATO how your expenses are divided between business and private use.
  3. If you’ve installed any new record-keeping software this financial year, check all the information has transferred correctly between programs. Or you can ask us to help you.
  4. Book an appointment with us so we can help you with end-of-year tax planning and other financial strategies.

Staying on top of your ATO requirements can be tricky without our help. So don’t delay.


Contact the SVA and WPA team for
straight-forward, practical accounting, taxation and financial advice.

Call 02 8850 0388 today.