Weekly Digest – 28 February 2024

Welcome to our Weekly Digest – stay in the know with recent news updates relevant to business and the economy.

Employer audits to surge, ATO warns

The ATO has warned businesses of an increase in employer audits, as it plans to double the number of audits for 2022. The surge is due to a focus on Super Guarantee (SG) compliance. The ATO emphasised the importance of businesses meeting their SG obligations to avoid penalties.

Super contribution caps to rise on July 1st

From July 1st, Australia’s superannuation contribution caps will increase. The concessional contributions cap will rise from $25,000 to $27,500, while the non-concessional cap will increase from $100,000 to $110,000. This change is due to the indexation of the average weekly ordinary time earnings, providing a boost for retirement savings.

Xero and Sumday partner to help small businesses with their carbon accounting

Xero, a cloud-based accounting software, has partnered with Sumday, a sustainability platform, to help small businesses manage their carbon accounting. The partnership aims to make carbon reporting more accessible and affordable. It will enable businesses to measure their carbon footprint, set reduction targets, and track progress towards sustainability goals.

AI Sprint program to help start-ups develop AI-based solutions for pressing issues

The AI Sprint Program, launched by the University of Technology Sydney (UTS) and Microsoft, aims to assist start-ups in developing AI-based solutions for pressing issues. The program will offer technical support, access to AI tools, mentoring, and potential funding opportunities. It will focus on projects addressing sustainability, accessibility, and social impact.

Aussie jobs that have seen biggest pay hikes

For the first time in three years, wage increases in Australia have outpaced inflation, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics. The wage price index rose by 2.2% over the past year, while inflation increased by 1.9%. This growth is driven by public sector wages, which grew by 2.5%.

How much ute prices set to increase revealed

New emission standards set to be introduced in Australia could see the price of popular utes increase by up to AUD 13,000. The standards, which aim to reduce vehicle emissions, will require manufacturers to make significant changes to their models, potentially leading to a significant rise in production costs and retail prices.

Australia’s unemployment rate hits two-year high of 4.1% as higher interest rates bite

Australia’s unemployment rate rose to 5.3% in January 2024, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS). The Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) is under pressure to raise interest rates. However, the RBA is cautious, as higher interest rates could slow economic growth and job creation.

What is negative gearing and why is there a push to change it?

Negative gearing is back on the political agenda. It allows property investors to deduct losses on their rental properties from their taxable income, thereby reducing their tax bill. Critics argue it inflates property prices, while supporters believe it encourages investment. Changes to the policy could impact the housing market, rental prices, and the broader economy.

Are you eligible for capital gains tax concessions?

The ATO has outlined eligibility criteria for small business capital gains tax (CGT) concessions. To qualify, businesses must meet certain conditions, including having an annual turnover less than $2 million or a maximum net asset value below $6 million. These concessions can significantly reduce a business’s capital gains tax.

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