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Paid Parental Leave in a nutshell

From January 1, 2011, the Australian Government will introduce a Paid Parental Leave scheme which can be claimed by working parents for up to 18 weeks when having or adopting a child. This scheme doesn’t just mean a bit more money in your pocket and peace of mind financially during those first months of your child’s life with you – it also means greater opportunity for you to embrace your role as your child’s first educator during those crucial early months at playgroup.

What you need to know:

  • You are eligable if you:
  • Are a mother of a newborn or recently adopted child;
  • You have met the Paid Parental leave test before birth or adoption of that child (you meet the test if you have worked  continuously for 10 of the 13 months prior to the birth/adoption of your child and you worked a little over one day a week on average during that period);
  • Your income did not exceed $150 000 in the previous financial year; and
  • You are an Australian resident.
  • You must apply for the Paid Parental Leave – you can apply up to three months before the birth or adoption of your child (first claims can be lodged from October 1, 2010).
  • The payments are taxable and are paid at the National Minimum Wage of $570 a week.
  • You must be on leave or not working from the birth or adoption of your child until the end of the 18 weeks.
  • The scheme is not a leave entitlement, and if you remain employed you may take the leave before, after, or at the same time as other employer-provided paid leave such as maternity leave, annual leave, long-service leave, or employer provided unpaid parental leave.
  • Depending on the length of your employment, you will receive your payments from either your employer or the Family Assistance Office.
  • Working parents must choose whether they would like to claim Paid Parental Leave or the Baby Bonus (an online calculator will be available in October 2010 to help you decide).

For all of the facts about the Paid Parental Leave scheme, or call the Family Assistance Office on 13 61 50.



I could not have said it better than an article written in the Sydney Womens' Network newsletter:

Simple Tips to Save Tax

Would you throw away a $50 note, turn down a free cup of coffee each week or pass up the chance to receive a free pair of Manolos a year? (Which, at $1,500 a pop is nothing to sneeze at.) Well turning down all these free goodies is essentially what many people are doing by not keeping proper receipts or claiming everything that they are entitled to at tax time.

So what are some mistakes people make? The list is endless but here are some common ones:

• Not having a receipt so thinking you can’t claim. For example, the Tax Office will allow individuals to produce a credit card statement as proof of the claim. If claiming by kilometres or an hourly rate then often diary evidence is enough to justify the claim.
• Making small donations and forgetting to ask for or keep the receipt. If you forget to keep receipts for donations, consider making payments over the phone on your credit card so you have a record of the amount.
• Forgetting small but regular expenses like internet, tolls and mobile phone which can be pro-rated for business use
• Forgetting to keep an updated log book. For example your motor vehicle log book will only last for 5 years as long as your usage has not substantially changed. If your usage has increased since you last kept one then start another one.
• Not claiming home office costs including light and heat, home phone and internet.
• Forgetting to claim the Medical Expenses Rebate if your net medical expenses for a family are over $1,500
• Not keeping track of the $10 here and $20 there receipts. If you are on a tax rate of 30c in the dollar and have $100 of these ad hoc receipts this is $30 tax saved. It doesn’t sound like much but would you turn down a free lunch as that is essentially what you are doing?
• Not being aware of new measures such as the Education Expenses Rebate. If you have school expenses for your primary or secondary aged child then you could be entitled to a $375 or $750 rebate.
• Not being in the correct business structure. Too many business owners are potentially in the wrong business structure and therefore paying too much tax. This means either a sole trader, partnership, company or trust.

Being organised and keeping your receipts is the key to making sure you maximise your refund at tax time. Of course a good relationship with your accountant helps. If you are unsure if you are able to claim something I suggest that you keep the receipt and show it to your accountant when they prepare your return. They can always say no, but can’t resurrect it if you have thrown it out!

So if you can't afford to throw money away this year, make sure you get organised and save the most amount of tax that you can.

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