Another year has gone by … FBT Year Ends on 31 March – what you need to do

The 2020 FBT year ends on 31 March 2020. (Really?) Yes, that date is not an error as the Fringe benefits tax (FBT) year runs from April to March (unlike the Australian tax year which runs from July to June). It can be confusing at times.

What is FBT?

FBT is the short for Fringe Benefits Tax. It is a tax imposed on employers who provide certain fringe benefits they provide to their employees, including their employees’ family and associates.

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Myths About Utes and FBT

There are a lot of myths around Utes and FBT, some of which may be spreading by “mates” at the bar, or during a smoko. Not all the myths are true, let’s look at some of them here:

Is my ute automatically exempt from FBT?

No. It is important to note that a vehicle that does not satisfy the definition of a ‘car’ such as a ute is not automatically exempt from FBT.

When is the private use of my car exempt from FBT?

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How to party smart this Christmas (and avoid being stung by FBT afterwards)

With Christmas fast approaching, a lot of business owners are starting to think (or already thinking!) about how they are going to celebrate Christmas with their employees and clients.

While it is a festive season where you normally spend a little more in treating your employees, their families and clients with good food, wine and some activities, enjoying the time and having some fun, business owners may unknowingly provide Fringe Benefits where it may end up costing you more.

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FBT Updates & Reminder – Exempt Vehicle

The following article applies to those who use motor vehicles in the course of running their businesses.

FBT Motor Vehicle Exemption – Updated Guidelines

For many years, many entities have enjoyed a FBT exemption where:

  • the vehicle is a panel van, utility (ute) or other commercial vehicle (that is, one not designed principally to carry passengers)
  • the employee’s private use of such a vehicle is limited to
    • travel between home and work
    • travel that is incidental to travel in the course of duties of employment
    • non-work related use that is minor, infrequent and irregular (eg: occasional use of the vehicle to remove domestic rubbish).

These have been a grey area and have caused confusion to business owners when attempting to work out whether their vehicles are exempt or not.

The ATO has recently released new guidelines to reduce confusion and provide more certainty for employers when applying the FBT exemptions. The guidance notes relate to the clarification on the definition of an employee’s (and/or their associate’s) private use where it is ‘minor, infrequent and irregular’ for FBT purposes.

If you believe you fall under this category and would like more clarity, contact us for more information and we can talk you through this over the phone, or via email.

2018 FBT Return Lodgement

The FBT year has ended 31 March 2018. For those who require a return lodgement, your FBT Return is due by 21 May 2018. Please contact us for instructions on the lodgement of the return.

Motor Vehicle Odometer Readings

For those who provide motor vehicle benefits to employees and/or associates, it is important that you keep records of your vehicle’s odometer reading as at 31 March 2018.