It’s the time of year when nostalgia reigns as people take a retrospective glance on the year that was, but it’s also a pertinent time to take stock of the coming 12 months and reset financial goals accordingly.
There are several key financial areas that should be in order for 2019 and beyond.
From 1 July 2017, the concessional superannuation contributions cap was lowered to $25,000 for all taxpayers, so be sure to review any existing salary sacrifice arrangements to remain within the contributions cap for 2018-19.
Also, from this date, the requirement that you derive less than 10 percent of your income from employment sources to claim a tax deduction for personal in relation contributions has been abolished.
Regardless of your employment arrangement you may be able to claim a tax deduction. Those aged 65 to 74 will still need to meet the work test in order to be eligible to make a contribution and claim a tax deduction.
This is particularly useful for individuals whose employer does not allow salary sacrifice contributions. When considering additional contributions to superannuation remember to include any premiums you pay for stand-alone life insurance or TPD insurance policies held under superannuation into your calculations.
From 1 July 2018, if you are 65 years old or older and meet the eligibility requirements, you may be able to choose to make a downsizer contribution into your superannuation of up to $300,000 from the proceeds of selling your home. Your downsizer contribution is not a non-concessional contribution and won’t count towards your contributions cap.
The downsizer contribution can still be made even if you have a total super balance greater than $1.6 million, and won’t affect your total super balance until your total super balance is re-calculated to include all your contributions, including your downsizer contributions, on 30 June at the end of the financial year.
Importantly, you can only make downsizing contributions for the sale of one home. These contributions are not tax deductible and will be considered for determining eligibility for the age pension.
Having a valid Will means that you will be able to ensure that you transfer the right assets to the appropriate people at the appropriate time. Without a valid Will, your best intentions may go unanswered. Dying without a Will means that your estate will be handled by a government appointed representative and distributed according to the laws of intestacy that apply in your state.
In drafting a Will, your solicitor will advise you if incorporating a testamentary trust will benefit the beneficiaries of your estate. Testamentary trusts can be valuable tax planning structures and are often used where potential beneficiaries are minors, spendthrifts, or have relationship or drug and alcohol issues.
Remember that assets which are held in a trust will not form part of the individual’s estate, so they cannot be dealt with in the Will. However, the trust deed should be reviewed to determine the process of appointing new trustees (or directors of the trustee company) on the death of a current trustee or director.
Income protection should routinely to reviewed to ensure that it adequately reflects current circumstances.
Likewise, if your policy was issued on an indemnity basis (perhaps if you were new in business at the time) check to see if the cover can now be altered to an agreed value policy. If you have group salary continuance through your superannuation fund, make sure the fund has your current salary correctly recorded.