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Trust Tax Return Compliance: A Guide

Managing a trust comes with its share of responsibilities, especially regarding tax compliance.

To assist trustees and administrators, the ATO has provided a checklist that can be used to streamline the tax process. This is a crucial tool for ensuring that the trust’s affairs are managed efficiently and effectively in accordance with tax regulations.

Let’s delve deeper into what the Resolutions Checklist entails:

  1. Distribution Resolutions: One of the primary tasks is to determine how income will be distributed among beneficiaries for the financial year. This resolution must be documented and finalised before 30 June to optimise tax outcomes for the trust and its beneficiaries. Trustees must consider each beneficiary’s tax position and financial circumstances when making distribution decisions.
  2. Trustee Resolutions: Trustee decisions throughout the year, such as acquisitions or disposals of trust assets, loan agreements, or changes to the trust deed, need to be documented and ratified through resolutions. These resolutions serve as formal acknowledgments of the decisions made by the trustees and provide a clear record of the trust’s activities.
  3. Trust Income Allocation: Trust income comprises various components, including assessable income, exempt income, and deductions. Trustees must accurately determine and record each component to ensure compliance with tax laws. Proper recording and reporting of income and expenses are essential for tax purposes and may impact the tax liabilities of both the trust and its beneficiaries.
  4. Capital Gains Tax (CGT) Considerations: Trustees must review any CGT events during the year and determine the distribution of capital gains or losses among beneficiaries. CGT decisions can significantly affect the tax outcomes for both the trust and its beneficiaries, making careful consideration and documentation are essential.
  5. Streaming Resolutions: Some trust deeds allow for income streaming, which involves allocating specific types of income to beneficiaries based on their individual tax preferences or circumstances. Trustees need to make resolutions to implement income streaming effectively, considering the trust deed provisions and tax implications.
  6. Minutes and Records: All trustee resolutions and decisions must be documented in writing, including minutes of meetings and any supporting documentation. Proper record-keeping is crucial for demonstrating compliance with tax regulations and providing an audit trail of the trust’s activities.
  7. Trust Deed Review and Update: Regular review and, if necessary, updating of the trust deed are essential to ensure that it remains compliant with current laws and regulations. Trust deeds should accurately reflect the intentions of the trustees and beneficiaries and provide a solid legal foundation for the trust’s operations.

Trustees can streamline the tax compliance process and minimise the risk of errors or oversights.

However, seeking professional advice is essential if you’re unsure about any aspect of trust management or tax obligations. With proper planning, documentation, and compliance, trustees can ensure that their trusts operate smoothly and remain compliant with tax laws.

Why not start a conversation with us today to find out how we could assist you with your trust documentation?

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News

Common EOFY Mistakes Made That Can Be Fixed Before 30 June

June 20, 2024

Finding yourself increasingly more busy as the EOFY approaches, particularly with meeting your tax obligations? It’s coming on tax time, so it’s time to ensure you’re prepared for your tax returns.

This period can be stressful and complicated, leading to common mistakes that can result in financial penalties or missed opportunities for tax savings.

Here’s a guide on avoiding common EOFY tax mistakes to ensure a smooth and efficient tax lodgement.

1. Errors in Claiming Deductions

Mistake: Many taxpayers either overclaim or underclaim deductions, which can lead to audits or missing out on tax savings.

Solution:

2. Incorrect Reporting of Income

Mistake: Failing to report all sources of income, including side gigs, investments, or rental income, can lead to discrepancies and potential audits.

Solution:

3. Missing Deadlines

Mistake: Missing the tax return filing deadline can result in penalties and interest charges.

Solution:

4. Incomplete or Inaccurate Documentation

Mistake: Submitting incomplete or inaccurate documentation can delay your return processing and potentially trigger an audit.

Solution:

5. Overlooking Superannuation Contributions

Mistake: Neglecting to make superannuation contributions or misunderstanding the rules can lead to missed tax benefits.

Solution:

6. Ignoring Tax Offsets and Rebates

Mistake: Not claiming eligible tax offsets and rebates can lead to higher tax liabilities than necessary.

Solution:

7. Failing to Review Past Returns

Mistake: Overlooking errors or missed claims from previous years can result in lost refunds or uncorrected mistakes.

Solution:

Avoiding common EOFY tax mistakes requires careful preparation, accurate record-keeping, and timely action.

By understanding deductible expenses, accurately reporting all income, meeting deadlines, maintaining comprehensive documentation, maximising superannuation contributions, claiming eligible offsets, and reviewing past returns, you can ensure a smoother, more efficient tax filing process.

If in doubt, consulting with a tax professional like us can provide peace of mind and help optimise your tax situation.