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The Budget announcements contain a suite of tax and superannuation measures aimed at increasing housing stock and improving housing affordability. While the government has not gone close to clamping down on the political and social hot potato of negative gearing, it has taken some steps to restrict the travel expense and depreciation tax breaks enjoyed by investors.

Significantly, curtailing these deductions only applies to residential properties and not commercial properties. And again, these are measures to help Australians who aspire to own their own home compete against investors.     

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Medicare levy will increase from 2% to 2.5%

The Medicare Levy will increase by 0.5% from 2019-20 to ensure that the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) is fully funded. Other tax rates that incorporate the top personal tax rate, such as the FBT rate, will also increase.

The increase in the Medicare Levy will swallow the benefits from last year's tax cuts for individuals with taxable incomes exceeding $80,000. The increase however has been pushed out to beyond the next federal election.

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Travel expenses relating to residential rental properties.

The government will disallow deductions for travel expenses related to inspecting, maintaining or collecting rent for a residential rental property. The measure is to apply from 2017-18.

This seems to be an integrity measure put in place by the ATO to address concerns that many rental property owning taxpayers have been claiming travel deductions without apportioning costs, or have claimed travel costs that in reality were for private travel purposes.         

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$20,000 Instant asset write-off

The $20,000 instant asset write-off will be extended for another 12 months until 30 June 2018. This was due to revert to $1,000 on 1 July 2017.

Under this measure, small businesses (with aggregated turnovers of less than $10 million) will be able to immediately deduct purchases of eligible assets costing less than $20,000 first used or installed ready for use by 30 June 2018.

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First Home Super Saver Scheme

Voluntary contributions to superannuation made by first home buyers from 1 July 2017 are going to be accessible for the purpose of a first home deposit. These voluntary contributions along with associated deemed earnings can be withdrawn. Withdrawals under the scheme are allowed from 1 July 2018.

The First Home Super Saver Scheme sets the limit on the amount of voluntary contributions that can be withdrawn for the purpose of a first home deposit - up to $15,000 per financial year and $30,000 in total over the taxpayers lifetime. Both members of a couple can take advantage of this measure to buy their first home together.

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Insurance – protect your most valuable asset

How would your family or loved ones cope if you suffered an accident or illness? Would you be able to survive a forced retirement? Nearly a third of Australians over the age of 45 retire early due to ill health.  You have worked hard to support your family and have built up a healthy level of savings. A serious injury or illness could put these life savings and retirement plans in jeopardy.

Australians insure their homes and cars, often with barely a second thought, but only a minority protect themselves and their loved ones should something happen to them. In fact, we're one of the most under-insured countries in the developed world with many families suffering financially if something happened to one of the breadwinners.

Let us help protect you and your loved ones. Contact us today to arrange a complimentary meeting to discuss your personal life insurance needs.

·         How much cover do I need?

·         Should I hold insurance inside or outside of super?

·         Stepped vs level premiums?

·         Any vs own occupation?

·         I'm paying a large premium now, do I need to be?

·         I've got existing cover in my super but don't know if it's appropriate?

·         I'm a SMSF trustee but haven't considered the insurance needs of the members.

Visit our website for more information or contact Erich or En to organise a introductory meeting.