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The start of a new year is a great time to review your finances. Here are some recent changes and new opportunities to consider in 2019 and beyond.

First home deposit

Voluntary super contributions made since 1 July 2017, may now be withdrawn to buy a first home under the First Home Super Saver Scheme (FHSSS). The FHSSS allows eligible first home buyers to save their deposit in the concessionally taxed super environment.

HECS and HELP debts

From 1 July 2019, students and graduates who earn $45,881 p.a. or more will need to start repaying their HECS and HELP debts. Currently, repayments don’t need to be made until $51,957 p.a. or more is earned. Repayment rates will also change and a lifetime debt limit will be introduced.

Instant asset write-offs

Small business owners may be able to claim an immediate tax deduction of up to $20,000 when purchasing certain assets before 30 June 2019.

Catch-up super contributions

Super fund members, who make concessional contributions of less than the cap of $25,000 in 2018/19, may be able to contribute more than the cap amount in 2019/20 and beyond. This could enable ‘catch-up’ super contributions to be made in future financial years. Concessional contributions include all employer contributions (super guarantee and salary sacrifice), personal contributions claimed as a tax deduction and certain other amounts.

Super work test exemption

The Government has released regulations to allow retirees aged 65 to 74 with ‘total super balances’ below $300,000 to make voluntary super contributions in the first year they don’t meet the ‘work test’ from 1 July 2019. This measure gives eligible recent retirees more time to make super contributions before they become ineligible. Currently, 65 to 74 year olds need to have worked at least 40 hours in 30 consecutive days in a financial year to be able to contribute to super.

Downsizer contributions

Super fund members aged 65 or over may be able to contribute up to $300,000 per person to super from the sale of their home after 1 July 2018 if they meet certain conditions. These ‘downsizer’ contributions don’t count towards the concessional and non-concessional contribution caps and can be made without needing to meet the usual age, work and other contribution tests.

Tax offset for aged care costs

For the 2019/20 and subsequent financial years, aged care residents will no longer be able to claim a portion of certain care costs (such as daily care fees and means-test fees) as a tax offset when they complete their tax return. This could increase the income tax payable by some aged care residents.

Need help?

We can help assess whether any of these opportunities suit your needs and situation and make suitable adjustments to your financial plans. Contact Financial Planning on 1300 654 193 or email us.

Important information
This document has been reproduced with permission of MLC Investments Limited (ABN 30 002 641 661, AFSL 230705) (MLC), a member of the National Australia Bank Limited (ABN 12 004 044 937, AFSL 230 686) group of companies (NAB Group), 105–153 Miller Street, North Sydney 2060. Any advice in this publication is of a general nature only and has not been tailored to your personal circumstances. Accordingly, reliance should not be placed on the information contained in this document as the basis for making any financial investment, insurance or other decision. Please seek personal advice prior to acting on this information. Information in this publication is accurate as at the date of writing (22 February 2019). In some cases the information has been provided to us by third parties. While it is believed the information is accurate and reliable, the accuracy of that information is not guaranteed in any way. Opinions constitute our judgement at the time of issue and are subject to change. Neither Bank First, the Licensee nor any member of the NAB Group, nor their employees or directors give any warranty of accuracy, or accept any responsibility for errors or omissions in this document. Any general tax information provided in this publication is intended as a guide only and is based on our general understanding of taxation laws. It is not intended to be a substitute for specialised taxation advice or an assessment of your liabilities, obligations or claim entitlements that arise, or could arise, under taxation law, and we recommend you consult with a registered tax agent.