Just can’t keep their sticky little fingers off superannuation
Moving the goalposts every three years makes a mockery of a system designed to provide for our retirement.
This time, unused imputation credits are in the firing line.
Retirees in pension mode could take a hit of up to 30% of their income. Let me demonstrate an example:
John and Alice are 67 years old and retired. It has taken them a lifetime to save $1 million - which sounds like a lot, but if not prudently managed, can be spent in a heartbeat.
They amassed their moderate wealth by investing in rental properties. However, they needed to spend some of the capital, and felt all their eggs were in the one basket. Their investment of choice in retirement, is an Australian share portfolio in an SMSF. The share portfolio is more flexible, better diversified and allows access to the capital for those one-off lumpy expenses.
They receive a 4.5% yield on the share portfolio which sees a cash income of $45,000. This swells to $64,300 after the rebate of imputation credits. John and Alice are happy on $64,300, because it affords the lifestyle that allows them to pay their bills, enjoy time with family and take modest trips away on a regular basis.
However, under Mr Shorten’s proposal, income will be reduced to the cash component. A reduction of 30% in their retirement income will see them surviving on $45,000 per year.
In addition, they are not entitled to the Centrelink Age Pension, as they exceed the assets test.
All this, will be on top of the most recent changes introduced by the Liberal party to reduce the contribution caps restricting the amount you can contribute to super.
It’s not just retirees who are impacted by the new rules.
We are the registered office for more than 200 private companies. Many of these companies have retained profits which is resulted from the hard work and good management of their owners.
I can name examples where the companies involved pay annual dividends to their shareholders. The franking credits are refunded in the individual’s tax returns, and help subsidise living costs of average small business owners.
What to do
With the polls showing a Labor win at the next election, companies with surplus franking credits need to consider the impact should the new rules become a reality.
Setting in place a dividend policy for the 2018 year and the 2019 year will be imperative for some companies with retained profits and franking credits.
Tax planning in 2018 has never been more important.