Should expense claims be scrapped in favour of a standard tax deduction?

About 75 per cent of Australians lodge their tax return via a tax agent, many unnecessarily, because the tax system is complex and difficult to understand, a parliamentary inquiry has heard.

The Tax Institute says individuals with straightforward affairs don’t need a tax agent but find the system hard to access and cannot sort misinformation from correct information so feel they need to pay for expert help.

The Institute applauds the ATO’s move to electronic communications but says it could be improved by the ATO pre-filling as much information as possible and more transparency in data collected.

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Innovate or perish

DocklandsYou can make your fortune or blow your dough by investing in innovation, but nations need it remain competitive, which is why the Federal Government is proposing tax breaks for investors.

The Government is consulting on its proposals and how to define an “innovation company”.

It will be vital to set eligibility criteria that ensures money goes into early stage innovation projects, under a strategy announced in December as part of the Federal Government’s National Innovation and Science Agenda.

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Superannuation temptations lead to fines

DTS post itThe pot of money in a self-managed super fund (SMSF) is a too big a temptation for some when they’re under financial stress.

Case law is building, as the tax office gets tougher on people who breach the strict rules on how superannuation may be managed and invested.

The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) is winding up SMSFs, taking trustees to court and seeking a range of orders.

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