Australian Taxation Law: Ordinary Income Essay

Questions:

1. Two years ago Peta purchased a house in Kew. This house had two old tennis courts down the back which were in poor condition. She purchased the property for two reasons:
so that she and her family could live in the house; and
so that she could build three units on the tennis courts and sell them at a profit
In the current tax year the tennis club next door offered to buy the old tennis courts, but only if Peta first restored them to good condition. Peta decided to accept the club’s offer instead of going ahead with her plan to build and sell units.
Peta spent $100,000 on preparing the tennis courts for sale. This involved a great deal of work. Peta had to resurface the tennis courts and build new fences around them. She then sold the tennis courts in the current tax year to the tennis club for $600,000.
Ignoring capital gains tax, discuss whether the receipt of $600,000 is ordinary income under s 6-5
2. Alan is an employee at ABC Pty Ltd (ABC). He has negotiated the following remuneration package with ABC:
• salary of $300,000;
• Payment of Alan's mobile phone bill ($220 per month, including GST). Alan is under a two-year contract whereby he is required to pay a fixed sum each month for
unlimited usage of his phone. Alan uses the phone for work-related purposes only;
• Payment of Alan's children's school fees ($20,000 per year). The school fees are GST free.
ABC also provided Alan with the latest mobile phone handset, which cost $2,000 (including GST).
At the end of the year ABC hosted a dinner at a local Thai restaurant for all 20 employees and their partners. The total cost of the dinner was $6,600 including GST.
(a) Advise ABC of its FBT consequences arising out of the above information, including calculation of any FBT liability, for the year ending 31 March 2016. Assume that ABC would be entitled to input tax credits in relation to any GST-inclusive acquisitions.
(b) How would your answer to (a) differ if ABC only had 5 employees?
(c) How would your answer to (a) differ if clients of ABC also attended the end-of-year dinner?

Answers:

Introduction:

Assessable incomes are those incomes, which can derive by a person from ordinary sources. In other words, these incomes are also known as ordinary income. According to income tax act of Australia, these incomes include all the income, which an individual incurs during the year. Under section 6-5 and 6-10 of ITAA 1997, the person who is the resident of Australia will be charged only for those incomes, which he incurs from all the sources, as income generated from house property, income earned from other sources, and so on. Whereas, a non-resident will be chargeable only for those income, which he incurs in Australia only (Burnett et al. 2015).

1. According to the income tax act of Australia, there is no specific definition of ordinary income. It includes all the income, which the person incurs during the year. The act requires the person to treat those incomes by following all the requirements of the act. Lot of arguments took place for the inclusion and non-inclusion of ordinary income and derived income for taxation purpose. Some of the basic requirements of ordinary income are as follows:

  • Income derived from residential accommodation.
  • Income generated from commercial sources.
  • Income incurred from personal sources(Tran 2015).

On the other hand, statutory incomes mean those incomes, which are derived from other sources like recovery of bad debt, income generated from bonus, and so on. These incomes are calculated separately so that the person can ascertain his total income easily.

In the cited case, Peta bought a residential accommodation two years ago. The reason for this purchase was that she wants to settle her family in that house; moreover, she wants to build three sub-units on the tennis court to earn some profit by selling those units. The neighboring tennis club gave her a proposal to purchase the tennis court only if she restores the court in proper condition. She accepted the proposal and spent $100,000 for the renovation and after renovating it she sold the court to the club for $600,000. The receipt of $600,000 will be treated as ordinary income under section 6-5because of many reasons:

Firstly, she bought the court to earn profit so income generated by the sale after renovation will be treated as income generated from commercial purpose.

Secondly, she sold the property by sub dividing it. In this case, the income earned by selling the court will be treated as statutory income instead of ordinary income because she was not involved in the business of purchase and sale of lands.

According to the act, the following incomes are included as an ordinary income:

  • Amount earned from employment.
  • Amount incurred from the services.
  • Amount derived by participating in sport (Klein 2014).

In case, if income earned by participating in any sport as a hobby will not be treated as ordinary income.

After analyzing the whole case, it can be concluded that, the receipt of $600000 will be treated as an ordinary income under section 6-5.


2. Alan is an employee of the company ABC Pty. Ltd. The company on contractual basis appointed him for two years. The company ABC Pty. Ltd provides him a salary package of $300,000. The company further provides certain benefit to him by paying his mobile expenses @ 220 p.m, and his children school fees @20,000 p.a. Furthermore, the company gifted him a cellular device that cost $2,000. The company organized a dinner party for its employees and partners, which cost $ 6,600. Alan is seeking for an advice based on FBT for his income.

According to income tax act of Australia, FBT means an income, which is provided by the employer of the company to its employees in the form of incentives or bonus. These include benefits provided by the employer to the family of employees(Stewart 2015). The income is calculated separately under the head fringe benefits. It takes into consideration all the income earned from 1st April to 31st March. It is important to consider the following assumptions to calculate the FBT of the company ABC Pty. Ltd.

According to the income tax act of Australia salary paid by the employer to its employees, will not be treated as FBT.

Mobile bills paid by the employer on behalf of its employees, will be treated as FBT. In this case, the employer paid the bill indirectly, moreover, the annual expenditure on the bill is $2640[$220*12] so in this case it will be treated as FBT because the employer is not providing any benefit to the employee.

The company paid the school fees of his children amounted to $20,000 p.a. will be treated under FBT because the company is directly providing the benefit to its employee for its own purpose(Kenny 2013).

Furthermore, the company provided him a mobile phone for commercial purpose. It will not fall under the head FBT because the employee is not getting any benefit in this case. Moreover, the amount shall be included in the total income to ascertain the value of GST. According to Australian Law, GST is chargeable @ 10% on total value. The person can claim the benefit only if the value of GST is included in the market price of product. It is necessary to ascertain the value of GST, which is included in the total amount of the product and the amount, which are not included in the product separately (Richardson et al 2014 ).

Expenses paid by the employer for the refreshment of its employees will fall under the head FBT. According to the act, the employer can only make the claim for the amount spent on the employees. They cannot avail any claim on the expenses, spent on the entertainment of the family members or business delegates of the employers. FBT is calculated after deducting the value, which are not included in the income with total income of the person @49%.

In other words FBT= total income- all the exempted income.


a) Calculation of FBT based on above mentioned facts are:

Particulars

Mobile bill

School fees

Mobile phone

Cost of dinner

Gross total

GST

Mobile phone

Total income

Value of FBT

Reason

Benefit to employee chargeable to FBT

Benefit to employee chargeable to FBT

Not included in FBT because it is used for commercial purpose

Benefit to employee chargeable to FBT

[6,600/20]

10%on the total of above

49% on total value

Amount

$2,640

$20,000

$2,000

$330

$2,497

$2,000

Amount

$2,640

$20,000

$2,000

$330

$24,970

$22,473

(2,000)

$20,473

$10,441.23

b) In case if, the company has only 5 employees instead of 20 employees than the calculation of tax liability will be as follows:

Particulars

Mobile bill

School fees

Mobile phone

Cost of dinner

Gross total

Mobile phone

Total value

Value of FBT

Reason

Benefit to employee

Benefit to employees

Official purpose

Benefit to employees

[6600/5]

49% on total value

Amount

$2,640

$20,000

$2,000

$1,320

(2,000)

Amount

$2,640

$20,000

$2,000

$1,320

$25,960

($2,000)

$23,960

$12,219.60

The tax liability is high in this case.

c) The answer will not change if the company ABC Pty Ltd includes business delegates for dinner alongwith its employees because the FBT is chargeable only to the benefits provided by the employer to its employees. Here also, the company is providing benefit to its employees no matter whether the delegates joined the dinner or not. The company can avail for the FBT benefit. It is to be noted that the company cannot claim any exemption on the money spent towards its client (Long et al 2016).

Conclusion:

After discussing all the matter it is found that it is necessary to calculate the total income so that the person can claim the benefits provided by the act so that the burden of tax can be reduced. If an individual by mistake pays extra tax than it will definitely affect its total income and the net income of an individual for the assessment year will not be ascertained. Hence, it is important to ascertain the value properly (Rujivanarom et al 2014).

References:

Burnett, C., Taylor, C.J. and Wong, J., 2015. Qualification of Taxable Entities and Treaty Protection: National Report for Australia. Cahiers De Droit Fiscal International: Studies On International Fiscal Law,,99.

Kenny, P.L., 2013. Aligning Income Tax Laws with Accounting Rules: A Simplified Tax System Case Study. Available at SSRN 2340888.

Klein, A., 2014. Significant agenda for taxation reform. Asia Today International, 32(5), p.46.

Long, B., Campbell, J. and Kelshaw, C., 2016. The justice lens on taxation policy in Australia. St Mark's Review, (235), p.94.

Richardson, G., Taylor, G. and Wright, C., 2014. Corporate Profiling of Tax-Malfeasance: A Theoretical and Empirical. Citation: Richardson, G. and Taylor, G. and Wright, C, pp.359-382.

Rujivanarom, T. and Gopalakrishnan, S., 2014. Expansion of transfer pricing audits. Asia Today International, 32(5), p.55.

Stewart, M., 2015. Looking forward at 100 years: where next for the income tax?. Available at SSRN 2704644.

Tran, A., 2015, May. Can taxable income be estimated from financial reports of listed companies in Australia?. In Australian Tax Forum (Vol. 30).

How to cite this essay: