Weekly Digest – 24 November 2021

Welcome back to our Weekly Digest. Read on for the latest updates and some ideas to help us all move forward.

Australia to Reopen to Foreign Visa Holders

Australia will allow foreign visa holders to enter the country from the start of December in a bid to revive the economy. International borders have been shut since May 2020 and allowed only restricted numbers of citizens and permanent residents to enter to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said starting 1 December, vaccinated students, business visa holders, and refugees will also be allowed to enter. The return of foreign students, who are worth about $35 billion a year to the economy, will be a major boost for the education sector.

South Australia Reopens Borders

South Australia has reopened its borders to fully vaccinated travellers from Victoria, NSW, and the ACT. The borders have been closed for months, and the 23 November deadline was announced last month as part of South Australia’s COVID-Ready roadmap back to normality.

Almost 30,000 travellers from NSW, Victoria and the ACT have been approved to enter, but many will need to undergo COVID-19 tests and monitor for symptoms. All travellers must register via the EntryCheck SA website, prove they have been double-vaccinated, and come from a council area with an 80% fully vaccinated rate.

Katherine Lockdown Extended

The restrictions in Katherine are likely to remain until at least 4 December, although the government said they could ease to lockout conditions for fully vaccinated residents before that date.

Katherine and nearby communities have been in lockdown since 15 November, and 40 positive cases have been identified since the outbreak emerged.

COVID-19 Travel Insurance

Major companies including NIB and Qantas are starting to sell travel insurance again, which offers limited protection for medical and travel expenses if people get COVID-19 while overseas. There are no policies that cover people for general lockdowns or border closures outside Australia or New Zealand.
First International Students Arrive Under Singapore Travel Bubble

After almost two years, two planeloads of passengers from Singapore have arrived in Sydney and Melbourne as part of the two-way quarantine-free travel bubble between Australia and Singapore. They will be joined on 7 December by about 500 others as part of a NSW government initiative.

FBT Implications of Christmas Parties

As the end of the year is fast approaching, businesses are getting ready for their Christmas party and are organising gifts for their staff. With this, it’s important to be aware of the fringe benefits tax (FBT) implications of these.

Because there is no separate FBT category for Christmas parties, here are some ATO guidelines to keep you on track:

  • Exempt property benefits– The costs associated with such events are exempt from FBT if they are provided on a working day, on your business premises, and consumed by your employees.
  • Exempt minor benefits– It can be regarded as a minor benefit and exempt if the cost of the party is less than $300 per employee and certain conditions are met.
  • Christmas gifts– Christmas gifts to employees may be a minor benefit that is an exempt benefit when the value is less than $300.

If you need help with your FBT, get in touch with us today to avoid running into problems with the ATO.

Upcoming Key Dates for November 2021

Here are the upcoming key dates for the month of November:

29 Nov 2021

  • September quarter SG charge statement due

Change in Super Rules from 1 November for Your New Employees

There’s a change that involves an extra step to comply with ‘choice of fund’ rules when a new employee starts working for you. Currently, if new hires don’t choose their own Super fund, the employer can pay Super contributions for them to your default fund.

Starting 1 November, employers will need to request their ‘stapled super fund’ details from the ATO. A stapled super fund is an existing account which is linked to an employee, and this change in rules aim to minimise the number of additional Super accounts opened each time an individual starts a new job.

You can use online services for business to request for your new hires’ stapled super fund details. If you need help with your tax and super, get in touch with us!

Changes for Directors starting in November: Identification Number Needed

All directors of a company will need a director identification number (director ID) from November.

The director identification number is a unique identifier that allows shareholders, creditors, employees, and consumers to know certain details about the directors of a company. All directors are required by law to verify their identity with the Australian Business Registry Services before receiving a director ID.

All directors need to apply for their own ID so while we can’t apply for this on your behalf, we can help you if you have any questions.

You can also follow the steps for application here.

Support for Apprentices to be Expanded

The $3.9 billion Boosting Apprenticeship Commencements program will extend support into the second and third year of an eligible Australian Apprenticeship through the $716 million Completing Apprenticeship Commencements program.

From October, eligible employers will receive a 10% wage subsidy in the second year of an eligible apprenticeship, and 5% in the third year. The government’s investment is expected to continue to support the 270,000 anticipated commencements under the Boosting Apprenticeship Commencements program from October 2020 to March 2022.

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