Staff bonding tips

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A tight-knit staff will work more effectively as a team and provide a positive impact on your workplace. Encourage your employees to bond with each other through a range of activities so you can reap the benefits of a friendly office.

Staff karaoke night
Take your Friday night staff drinks to the next level by booking a karaoke room. It might sound silly, but karaoke allows employees to let their professional guard down. This promotes a more personal relationship amongst staff that will benefit their teamwork.

Escape rooms
An after-work escape room can boost office teamwork and problem-solving skills. Escape rooms require a group of people to solve a series of riddles and puzzles to exit a room. Your staff can discover new talents, learn that it is ok to experiment and make mistakes in a consequence-free zone and bond with each other over a fun activity with a shared goal.

Sports activities
Whether it is a 5km fun run, a tough mudder course or a workplace basketball team, nothing brings a group of people together like sport. The key values of teamwork, cooperation and support evident in sport, will show themselves in the office in no time.

Credit card do’s and don’ts

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Credit cards are useful financial tools that can help you manage cash flow but can run you into debt if you are not careful. Before you swipe your first credit card consider the following do’s and don’ts, so you gain all the advantages without the headache of a tarnished credit rating.

Do’s
There are several actions you can take that will help you manage your credit card. Follow these rules:

  • Try to repay the whole amount owing by the due date to avoid interest mounting up
  • Switch up your payment methods with debit cards to keep your credit owing manageable
  • Be selective about the credit card you apply for
  • Arrange your money so you can reap credit card benefits like frequent flyer points by paying on your credit card and then transfer the money across to your credit account

Don’ts
Credit cards can accumulate debt with ramifications for your credit score and loan applications down the track. Avoid these standard blunders, so you do not end up regretting your credit card:

  • Do not pay the minimum repayment amount as you will incur interest which can become unmanageable if it compounds weekly or even daily
  • Do not have multiple credit cards if you are new to credit as managing accounts and deadline dates can be difficult
  • Do not max out your card

Mental health tips for small business owners

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Small business owners are constantly under stress and pressure, which is why it is important they look after their mental health.

The following tips will help you manage your mental health as a small business owner.

Have a reliable support network
Friends and family are vital to anyone’s functioning; however the unique challenges small business owners face means they may benefit from connecting with like-minded thinkers. Consider joining a small business owners groups on Facebook or LinkedIn. These networks are helpful as the members can relate to your problems on a deeper level. Both business groups and your nearest and dearest can provide a sympathetic ear, realistic solutions to your problems and tell you to get help.

Allocate personal time
When you are running a small business, it can feel like your life is consumed by it. An unhealthy work-life balance will harm your mental health and productivity. Schedule time off from work. Taking up a hobby or joining a sports team may be a great way to have structured breaks from your business.

Know the warning signs
Knowledge is key to prevention. Get educated on mental health and know the warning signs and symptoms. If you catch your problem early, you can avoid jeopardising your health and your business by taking a hiatus, relinquishing some responsibility or seeking help.

ATO warns of illegal early super release

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The ATO has issued a warning to the public regarding illegal early release of super schemes, which are subject to severe penalties.

There are strict rules around when you can access your super so your current decisions do not jeopardise your quality of life in retirement. The ATO has reminded the public you may only access your super early if you have experienced severe financial hardship or you have reached the preservation age and have stopped working.

How these schemes work
The promoters of these schemes:

  • Encourage you to transfer or rollover your super from your existing super fund to an SMSF to access your super before you are legally entitled to
  • Target people under financial pressure or those who do not understand super laws
  • Claim you can access your super and put the money towards anything you want which is not true
  • Charge high fees and commissions, presenting the risk of losing some or all of your super to them
  • May request your identification documents which can result in identity theft

Penalties:
Penalties apply to promoters and individuals who illegally access their super early. If you illegally obtain your super early, it is included in your assessable income even if you return the super to the fund later. If you are an SMSF trustee, you may be fined up to $420,000 and liable for jail terms of up to five years. Civil and criminal penalties apply to promoters.

ATO update: Tax deduction rules on travel to rental properties

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The ATO has enforced strict guidelines on tax deductions for rental property owner’s travel expenses.

As a rental property owner you are not able to claim deductions for travel expenses relating to inspecting, maintaining or collecting rent. If you have already claimed a tax deduction for the cost of travel to and from your property in your 2018 return, you will need to request an amendment. The law change came into effect on 1 July 2017 and affects tax returns from 2017-18 onwards.

Exclusions
You may claim these travel expenses on your tax return if you are carrying on a rental property business or are an excluded entity.

An excluded entity is a:

  • Corporate tax entity
  • Superannuation plan that is not an SMSF
  • Public unit trust
  • Managed investment trust
  • A unit trust or a partnership, all of the members of which are entities of a type listed above