Archive for December, 2010

Holiday Packaging Tips

Like you, coming into the Christmas period I find that I’m looking forward to spending quality time with friends and family!

For this week’s post, I’m going to hand you over to our Senior Tax Advisor Simon Ellis, who is going to give you some tips on ensuring your salary packaging program stays on track over Christmas.

Thanks Deven!

Whether you’re working or taking a break over the Christmas period, there are a few salary packaging tips and traps you might want to keep in mind.

Meal Entertainment: Smartsalary customers who are fortunate enough to be able to salary package meal entertainment already know that the Christmas period involves a lot of expenditure on food and drink!  It’s a great opportunity for salary packaging savings! Just remember that:

  • If your employer allows you to package ‘catering’ costs (WA employees in particular should check this) note that this will almost never cover any of the costs of your Christmas lunch/dinner. Only professional catering costs can be claimed.
  • Takeaway meals are not ‘meal entertainment’ as defined by the ATO so don’t succumb to the temptation to use your meal card to pay for takeaway meals while you’re on holidays!  Remember that restaurant meals must be consumed at a dine-in facility in order to qualify.
  • Don’t forget that you can’t claim the cost of restaurant meals or professional catering unless you actually pay for it.  It is tax evasion to claim meal costs that you or your spouse have not personally incurred!

Cars: Remember, if you have more than one family car then use the salary packaged car for your holiday transport!

It’s not just the extra kilometres that benefit you –  all the fuel and servicing costs associated with your trip can be claimed pre-tax as a ‘car expense’ too.

Documentation: All items you plan to salary package have substantiation requirements – and you won’t be surprised to learn that these requirements don’t go on holiday over Christmas!

Remember to look after your receipts and invoices– Smartsalary generally can’t process a claim if you have lost or misplaced the documentation.

There’s much more that I could say – but a blog post is only so long!  So if you have any specific queries about packaging over the holidays then feel free to ask in the comments section and I will do my best to answer.

Deven Billimoria
Chief Executive Officer

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December 2010
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