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It’s August, which means our accountants and in fact all staff at CGH Accounting Services are very busy bees. Working on your tax returns to get the best possible results for you. We are flat out crunching the numbers from July thru October, every year. So far, so good, and being now located in our new office space is terrific. Being the last month of winter is good news for those of us living in Ballarat. This one has been particularly freezing. We notice that there is a Medieval Feast coming up on August 20 at Kryal Castle. Reminds us of the sort of thing our parents used to attend in the heady days of Ballarat in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s: good times! Looks like a pretty fun way to farewell winter so maybe we will see you there. For staff and clients in Torquay, maybe catch Joe Camilleri and the Black Sorrows playing live at The Sands or have a wander around the Farmers Market which runs every Saturday; there’s some great stuff to be found there.

SAGE AUGUST ADVICE FROM YOUR ACCOUNTANTS

Below, our accountants share a few items of pertinent advice which we hope will stand you in good stead.

THINKING ABOUT REFINANCING?

Some of you may indeed be thinking of refinancing, considering what is happening with interest rates. Hopefully for our customers there’s no need to worry too much that there’s nothing you can do, because there is. You can push back. You can refinance to a home loan with a lower interest rate. There really are a lot of lenders out there, and many will offer special deals to those refinancing. Ideally you can find one which helps to offset future rising rates. It sounds painful going through the process of all that paperwork again, and this is probably the reason many people don’t bother, but in the long run you could be so much better off for it, so it just may well be worth the extra effort now. If you are looking at doing this, the best advice is to immediately cut right back on expenses and increase savings. You might do things like pay off your credit card then reduce its limit. You can bump it up again down the track. Make sure that your credit score is tickety-boo – always pay bills in a timely manner and if there are any small outstanding debts – fix them up. Have your best game plan on for refinancing and if you find a great deal and make it happen, you might find it’s the best feeling of accomplishment and sense of satisfaction you’ve had in a long time.

TAX SCAMS

The Australian Taxation Office has warned that there are lots of scams going around, so watch out for these. They include fake websites which offer tax file numbers and Australian business numbers and are intent on stealing unsuspecting people’s details and then their money. These rackets are typically seen on social media, but also pop up as emails and even text messages. These criminals are continually finding new ways to attempt to rip off citizens, and unfortunately, every year there are thousands of victims. Make sure you are not one of them. Government services such as TFNs and ABNs are easy to get and they are free to apply for. If you have suspicions about something you see, leave it well alone or report it. At CGH Accounting, our accountants are always more than happy to help if you are unsure about something, just pick up the phone and call us.

GOT AN INVESTMENT PROPERTY?

The demand for rental accommodation is massive, so the good news for those who own an investment property is that you should be able to find excellent tenants and command a very good rental income. The vacancy rate across Australia is virtually zero per cent; it’s amazing. Buying is currently cheaper than renting. In the current environment, if investing in property was already on the cards, now could definitely be the time to make your move. Provided your finance is fine, it’s now a buyer’s market, and it’s a landlord’s market for sure. In April and May in this area, a lot of attention had turned towards units and apartments. Now houses will be selling at lower prices, so you may be able to afford that investment 3BR with backyard instead of that flat. There are a number of issues to consider, tax wise, with investment properties. Our accountants at CGH Accounting can take you through the steps and ensure that you get the best tax outcome with your investment property or portfolio.

HOUSEHOLD TIPS FOR HIGHER RATES

The higher interest rates are good news for some, but for the majority the current state of affairs is not wonderful. The Reserve Bank are saying that most people in Australia should be able to cope with things because their household budgets are in pretty good shape. We certainly hope that is true in your scenario. If you’re not so sure and a bit concerned, here’s a few tips:

  • Can you do anything to increase household income? Easier said than done, we know, but can you potentially earn more, do more hours or get a raise in your salary? Why not try and see how you go, you’ve got nothing to lose. Can you possibly get another job which pays more? If so, now could be the time to jump. Can you do a bit of moonlighting perhaps, or rent out a spare room or make extra funds in some other way?
  • Cut right back on discretionary spending. International travel is still pretty tricky anyway, so give it a miss! Holiday local and keep it modest. Practice your chef skills in the kitchen at home rather than blowing cash at restaurants, cut back on fuel costs by getting public transport – if you are able to. Don’t buy things you don’t need.
  • Whatever your interest rate is, act as though it is a percentage point higher, then pay the difference into a redraw, special saver or offset account. Have you got anything stashed away that can be whacked into a term deposit? Now is a great time for those.
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