Bleats

Lodging Your Tax Return Is A Hell Of A Lot Easier Now

Tax time just became a lot less stressful.

We’re quickly approaching the end of the current financial year and that means another round of “oh god, I have to do my tax returns now, such a pain in the ass.”

Now this isn’t a big issue for accountants (since they know how to do this) or those fancy people who hire accountants but for those who have to do everything themselves, this can be a time-consuming task that’s rife with “what the hell am I even doing?” moments.

But luckily for most non-accountant people, lodging your tax return is a hell of a lot easier thanks to a small but super-helpful change to how you receive your end of financial year summary info.

Thanks to a new employer tax reporting system called Single Touch Payroll (STP) that was introduced this financial year, your end-of-year summary info (which is now called an income statement) will now be filed away on your MyGov account, meaning there’s no need to wait for several weeks or months for your employer to send those deets in the form of a group certificate to you since they can now do it all online.

Your year-to-date tax and super info will be kept up to date on your MyGov every time you get paid, which makes record-keeping far easier than the shelves of paper that you currently have.

So in short, everything you need to lodge your tax return is now in one convenient spot on your MyGov account, you now have an online record of your year-to-date tax and super deets, and you no longer have to wait forever for your employer to finalise group certificates before you lodge your tax returns.

Huzzah!

Heads up though because this new change may not be available for everyone as not all employers are reporting through STP, meaning you’ll still be stuck with the stress of waiting for a payment summary to be sent to you. You also technically don’t need a MyGov account to have all this info but you won’t be able to see anything until you get one so those who don’t have an account should quickly sign up. It doesn’t take long and will make life so much easier.

As for those with accountants, they’ll know exactly what’s going on already so no need to worry about anything. Besides, you’re paying them to worry about this stuff for you anyway.

Happy tax return lodging, everyone, and may the odds be ever in your favour. Or you could just leave it again until next year and let future you worry about it.

Two Decades Of Tax File Numbers And Bank Details At Risk After Massive Data Breach At ANU

Students, staff, and even visitors have been affected.

If you have been a student, staff member, or even just visited the Australian National University at some point in the last two decades, sorry to be the bearer of bad news but a heap of your personal data is at risk.

In a statement issued out by ANU’s Vice-Chancellor, the uni’s systems was illegally accessed by a “sophisticated operator” in late 2018 and was only detected recently.

This wasn’t any tiny prank from some disgruntled student or employee either as the data breach resulted in unauthorised access to “significant amounts” of staff, student and visitor data dating back 19 years.

Nope.

The list of personal info that’s at risk is pretty extensive as it includes names, addresses, dates of birth, phone numbers, personal email addresses and emergency contact details, tax file numbers, payroll information, bank account details, passport details, and student academic records.

So yeah, it’s pretty hefty data breach this one.

Not everything was exposed by the breach though as systems that store credit card details, travel information, medical records, police checks, workers’ compensation, vehicle registration numbers, and some performance records are all okay.

Oh and for those currently working or studying at ANU, it is reported that its teaching and learning platforms, and research work appears to have not been affected either so no need to worry about that.

If you were affected by this data breach, the Vice-Chancellor states that ANU is working closely with Australian government security agencies and security partners to investigate and will keep everyone up to date on what’s happening.

For those who still have massive worries about this breach, ANU has set up a direct helpline at 1800 275 268 (calls will be kept confidential) for all your concerns or if you just need to vent to someone.

What The New $21.60 Minimum Pay Increase Actually Means In Real Life

That's a $21.60 increase per week not per day, mind you.<br />

Good news to all the 2.2 million Australian workers currently on the minimum wage, or modern awards you’re getting a pay rise!

The Fair Work Commission has announced (via ABC News) that the national minimum wage will be increased by 3% to $19.49 an hour, which amounts to a whopping extra $21.60 a week, and will apply from July 1.

Now this is a win for workers in Australia because you’re getting more money for the hours you put in each week. Okay, there’s are a few things we should take into account with the Fair Work Commission’s decision, such as the 3% increase being only about half of what the Australian Council of Trade Unions lobbied for and the number of full time jobs in Australia has been steadily dropping over the last few months, but lets not get bogged down with semantics.

So how far will this extra $21.60 a week go for Aussies currently on the minimum wage and modern awards? Well, the answer is not far at all.

While Australia currently has the highest minimum wage of any country on this green(ish) earth it also has a very high cost of living, ranking well in the top 20 list of costliest countries to live in, meaning that any pay rise is almost immediately offset by the need to, you know, live. That 3% increase definitely isn’t enough to help reduce the level of housing and rental stress many Australians face that’s for sure.

Okay, so the minimum wage increase isn’t great but there could be more pay rises in the pipeline, right? Well, not exactly.

In a massively simplified nutshell, wage growth is driven by unions pushing for increases and demand in the economy (people spending, basically), but Australia is in a bit of a pickle right now. The relatively high unemployment and underemployment rate means that the ACTU’s bargaining power for workers is reduced, resulting in smaller than expected pay rises, which in turn pushes people to save rather than spend, meaning that the economy slows and any chance of pay rises are lowered even further.

Perhaps the most telling thing was what the Fair Work Commission president, Iain Ross said during regarding the minimum wage increase announcement: “We are satisfied the level of increase we have decided upon will not lead to any adverse inflationary outcome and nor will it have any measurable negative impact on employment.” That’s basically long-winded code for “this tiny wage increase won’t really do anything but it’s nice nonetheless, right?”

You see, it’s a vicious cycle….

So the conclusion we’ve come to is that extra $21.60 per week isn’t going to stretch very far in real life, full-time jobs are dropping, and it will be the only wage growth we’ll see for a while.

But let’s look on the bright side, at least you can afford an extra four cups of coffee or a sliced of smashed avo toast a week so that’s better than nothing.

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