Archive for the 'meal entertainment' Category

‘Tis the season to save!

Salary packaging can help you save through the holidays. Here are some tips on how:

Go shopping with your Living Expenses Card!

Remember, if you’re salary packaging your tax-free cap, you have until 31 March to spend your funds in order to maximise your savings. Use your card over the holiday period to shop for groceries or even Christmas presents!

Use your Meal Entertainment Card at Christmas

Christmas is traditionally a time of excess, with plenty of good food on the table! So if you’re packaging meal entertainment, it’s a great opportunity to save!

If you’re headed out with family, friends or colleagues for a meal over the holiday period, you can use your Meal Entertainment Card. Depending on who you work for, a catered Christmas lunch could also be packaged (check your employer’s policy on our website).

But remember – take away meals don’t qualify as meal entertainment, so you have to be eating at a restaurant with a dine-in facility to meet the criteria defined by the ATO. One more thing – you or your spouse have to incur the cost of the meal, otherwise you can’t claim the cost as meal entertainment.

Drive your Novated Lease over the holidays

If you’re headed away for Christmas or for a summer holiday, we know many of you will probably drive your packaged car.  It’s a great way to save tax on your fuel and servicing costs – and of course, we encourage you to please take care on the roads!

If you have any questions about salary packaging over the holidays, feel free to leave them in the comments section and we’ll do our best to answer.

I’d like to wish you all a very happy holiday season and prosperous New Year!  Thanks so much for your incredible loyalty . . . we really do hope to be as good to you as you’ve been to us!

Leave a comment here.

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.

The 2010/11 Federal Budget: Salary Packaging

Once again I am going to hand over the blog to our Senior Tax Adviser Simon Ellis, this time to give you a rundown of the 2010/11 Federal Budget:

The Australian Federal Budget was handed down at 7:30pm Tuesday May 11. This was the third budget for the Rudd Labor Government, and its first in an election year. To some extent the budget builds on the policy priorities already released as part of the Government’s formal response to the Henry Review.

From a salary packaging point of view the budget does not offer any significant changes or challenges. Unlike previous Rudd Government budgets, salary packaging rules were left untouched this year meaning that all salary packaging items will remain available.

In this regard it’s worth noting that there were a number of benefits being closely watched in the run-up to this budget (and the Henry Review) as various sources had indicated that there was some potential for change. The lack of movement around these items in this year’s budget allows us to draw a number of conclusions:

All employees

Cars: no change to the vehicle concession and therefore salary packaging can continue as in previous years
Superannuation: can still be salary packaged up to unchanged concessional contribution caps

Employees of public hospitals and not-for-profits

Tax free threshold: no reduction or abolition of the tax free threshold benefit.
Meal Entertainment: no roll back of FBT concession therefore meal entertainment still a packageable item
Holiday Accommodation and Venue Hire: no roll back of FBT concession for entertainment facility leasing expenses therefore holiday accommodation and venue hire still packageable (where allowed by employer)

I’ve summarised the changes in the following short video presentation:

Overall the budget has not been detrimental to Australian salary packaging arrangements, nor has it required any significant change to packaging systems or procedures.

This means that SmartSalary will continue to focus on the delivery of simple, safe and valuable benefits without disruption for the foreseeable future.

Deven Billimoria
Chief Executive Officer

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