Salary Packaging Australia Remote Housing

Remote Area Employees – Don’t donate more money to the government than necessary

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You’re probably just about to open your group certificate via email or Trevor in payroll gave it to you in a sealed envelope. That sum at the bottom says that this year you paid the federal government 10, 20, 30k in tax. Like most people you feel upset, probably a little disappointed and wonder how much better life would be without paying tax. In theory, we know this can’t happen, but it can be reduced.

Salary packaging can reduce your taxable income if it’s applicable to your situation.

If you live in a regional area of the country, you could be eligible for a 50% tax reduction on your rental costs.

This is something you normally spend your net income on. By claiming your rental costs as a salary packaging benefit, this means you pay less tax, take home more money and get more out of your pay. You could even pay 100% of the mortgage interest on your home as well however this will incur a small amount of Fringe Benefit Tax (FBT) to be paid as well.

This could get you up to 2-5k back in your pocket and not on the bottom line of a federal government donation.

Perhaps you have just moved interstate from work with a big promotion, did you know that you could claim up to six to twelve months rent tax-free? And on top of that, you can also claim all of the costs of moving and selling your old house. Yep, that’s right. The astronomically exorbitant rate of commission that you paid to a real estate agent has just become an exempt benefit item and lowered your taxable income. No one likes paying 15-20k to a bloke with a Mercedes and Rolex, for him to stick an ad online, speak to a few people and then sell your house in 15 minutes flat. It’s highway robbery in my mind, however, the moment you get 5-7k back in the bank from the tax benefit will help soften the blow a little.

Simply by paying your rent pre-tax, you can get another 5-20k from the remote area benefit.

Now that’s a winner, winner, chicken dinner idea. Take the promotion, get the deduction and pay less tax.

So, should your accountant know about this stuff? Yes, they probably should, but Graham, Silvia or Barnaby are generally too busy lodging returns and BAS documents for local businesses to worry about you, the employee. All he or she wants are the large business clients that they can advise to and make thousands from rather than the $90 to process your tax.

Our staff at SPA help you sensibly and legally minimise your tax so you don’t pay more than you should. To find out your potential benefits click on one of the calculators below or give us a call on 1300 786 664 and we can run some scenarios in order to work out what you shouldn’t have paid this year so you don’t get stung.

In the words of Kerry Packer, “Now of course I am minimizing my tax and if anybody in this country doesn’t minimize their tax they want their heads read because as a government I can tell you you’re not spending it that well that we should be donating extra“.

Don’t donate to a politician’s paycheck, work out what you can do to stop paying too much. If you can’t take a few minutes to work out what you can do to save, you probably need to take KP’s advice.

Remote Benefit Calculator         Exempt Benefit Calculator

Top Car Dealer EOFY Sale Gimmicks to be Aware of Before Buying a Car

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It’s End of Financial Year, the car ads are playing non-stop on the TV. All you hear on the radio is you can get a free this, thousands of extras, some free steak knives and we’ll even chuck in a free Esky full of cold tinnies. Well maybe not the last one, but I have seen a dealership give away a pallet of beer with every ute sold.

Regardless of the gimmick or advertising claim, you will pay for this somehow, somewhere, at some point. Since when have car dealers been known to be the caring, gentle, devoted souls who want to help you and your family’s motoring? Actually, they just want to make a profit to pay for the 5 star Fiji resort holidays and their next Rolex.

But are any of these gimmicks to lure you into buying really worth investigating or are you just falling for another trick to play on your emotions?

Here are the top six gimmicks to look out for:

1)   $500 worth of free plastic accessories

It’s 2017, do you really need seat, headlight and bonnet protectors? These are items which cost nothing to produce, don’t add any value and don’t do anything. It’s not 1973, headlights are now made of polypropylene to make them safer in accidents and help reduce pedestrian injury, they haven’t been made from glass for twenty years.

Simply give these a wide berth, ask for the extra discount in lieu of the accessories.

Chasing up a discount rather than extra accessories means a lower price that translates into lower finance payments, which will make a bigger impact in the long run.


2)   Free comprehensive insurance

Read the fine print on this one, as there can be some hidden traps. Do you get to pick the company so that you can keep your insurance rating or multi-policy discount? Is there a ceiling or limit in the insurance cost? More than likely. Is it limited to $1000 or $1200 per annum? If so, ask for a discount instead of the offer, a better deal is only a click away online. Geez, if a meerkat can find you a decent deal there is no reason why you can’t.


3)   Free servicing

Similar to an apple that has been in the deep freeze at the supermarket for the last nine months, this seems great on the outside, but horrible on the inside.

Don’t fall for this one, the dealer simply wants you to come back and see them for the next three years in order to upsell items that probably don’t need to be done at horrendous prices.  Ever been asked to replace your tyres at 30,000kms because one of the rears “might” not make it to the next service? Ever been asked to change your windscreen wipers at $85 a pop? This is how dealerships make money and lots of it; those Rolex’s don’t pay for themselves.

How much does a free service actually cost the dealership? Probably $150- $250, dependent on the size of the motor and car type. It always looks tempting just like the apples, but instead ask for the discount, the dealer costs these items out into the sale and purchase price. Once again, the car dealer isn’t here to be your friend, they’re here to make a buck or thousand from you.

Additionally, you can reduce your finance amount if you salary package on-road costs such as car servicing instead of building them into the final financed amount.


4)   0% Finance

I have written about this before, it seems to be the new way to sell the cars that no one wants. Do you ever see the popular car models giving money away below the RBA cash rate? Didn’t think so. Someone pays for this rate and it’s probably you. Don’t let a rate steer you into what car you buy, look at the quality, suitably and life cycle. Is the car at the end of its life cycle and about to be replaced by an update, yet you’re still paying full sticker price. Has the penny dropped yet? You’re paying the equivalent amount through the purchase price. Ultimately, you end up paying way too much for a car that should have been discounted heavily, a car that no one will want in three to five years’ time, your resale will take a topple. Put down the keys and walk away, no one will want a Renault, Citroen, small Nissan sedan or Ford hatchback. They didn’t want them before the headline rate, they won’t want them down the track. Take a deep breath and think, “hmmm, could I live with his car for the next seven to ten years?” Because that’s what will probably happen.

Don’t be fooled by a 0% finance offer as it usually has hidden conditions and by purchasing a less popular model you’ll ultimately lose out come resale time.


5)   Drive and “Experience days”

I must admit these can seem fun and are normally centred towards the high-performance models and buyers, but they’re not worth the money they are sold to you at as extra value. The promise of hot laps with a race car driver around a race track showing the limits of the car, is code for three people and a third rate washed up ex V8 Supercar driver (that raced in the Konica Minolta development series, fourteen years ago) crammed into the base level performance model and driven at a moderate speed above the road limit whilst eating soggy sandwiches and lukewarm lemonade in the pits. As fleet manager, I get offers to go along to many of those “drive days”. Each calendar year there are only one or two out of the hundred or so that are offered to me that are actually worth it.

Take the discount and walk in the opposite direction, three sweating, balding, fat blokes and lukewarm lemonade is not on anyone’s fun list!


6)   Free roadside assistance

It is a common mistake to think that you will receive actual roadside assistance. What you will receive is a tow truck that can do one of the following three things; put in five litres of fuel, jump start the car or tow it to the nearest workshop or mechanic. There is no knight in shining armour that is going to turn up like your state based motoring body such as NRMA or RACQ. These guys are the legends of the industry able to fix big problems in small bounds. They are able to fix everything from a dead battery, blown headlight globe and flat tyre to a vapour lock in an older car and still somehow carry it all in the back of the ute. Instead, with the free roadside assistance, you’ll receive is Tony the Towie and he isn’t going to fix the problem when you’re three hundreds kilometres west of Rockhampton.

Keep your car covered with the real providers and instead use this free roadside assistance deal as another opportunity to approach the dealer for an extra discount.

Also, keep in mind that roadside assistance can also be salary packaged, so don’t up your finance payments by building them into your amount financed.

All in all, what does it come down to? Ask for the extra discount and don’t be embarrassed. If you can‘t do it, get a professional (not your uncle) to do it for you instead, someone who knows the market and understands and has seen pricing trends over a period of time. Our staff are able to help you get those extra discounts that you may be too embarrassed to ask for. Just remember, the less you pay, the quicker YOU own your new car and not the bank!


When you chose to take out a Novated Lease on your next car with Salary Packaging Australia, we offer a service whereby we find the best deal from our large network of dealers. Reduce the pressure, give us a call on 1300 786 664 and allow us to use our buying power to do the negotiating for you.



Round up of BEST EOFY Deals on Dual Cab Utes Compared

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As June 30 nears, so does the end of financial year (EOFY) car sales. It’s that time when car dealers are scrambling to meet their yearly sales targets and clear outdated stock from the showroom. It makes sense for you to shop for a new car now when dealers are itching to give you a better deal.

The incentives which manufacturers and dealers dangle in order to lure you into buying before they close their books for their financial year vary from price discounts, eftpos cards for instant cash in your pocket, value added deals such as free upgrades and accessories, free servicing, and free on-road costs.

But the question is, what are the best value deals in the market at the moment so you can get the best possible bargain?


If you’re in the market for a 2017 4WD Dual Cab Ute then we have scoped out the best deals rolling around the showrooms for the EOFY.


Ford Ranger

Salary Packaging Australia Ford Ranger

Right now Ford is offering a drive away deal with free auto upgrade on the Ranger 4WD XLT double cab 3.2L diesel ute. This free upgrade saves you approximately $2200, and with an EOFY sale price of $56,490, you can save about $3673 if you buy before the end of the financial year. Bear in mind that the XLT isn’t the top of the line, like the next deal on the Colorado LTZ.



Holden Colorado

Salary Packaging Australia Holden Colorado

Holden have only released a deal on its big dog, the Colorado MY17 LTZ 4×4 Crew Cab Manual Pick Up, with a drive away price down to $49,990. They have included a free auto upgrade, with a $2266 value and 3 years free scheduled servicing, valued at approximately $1400. Considering the RRP with on road costs for the automatic is $57,123, you’ve got a saving and added value of approximately $8533.



Mitsubishi Triton

Salary Packaging Australia Mitsubishi Triton

Mitsubishi has its number two, the Triton GLS+ 4WD Double Cab with a manual gearbox on sale for $38,990 Drive away. They are offering 3 years capped price servicing and as an added incentive to get you to bite the bullet, they are offering a $2000 eftpos card, or that value taken off the price of the vehicle. Due to the chance of the manufacturer increasing their service costs an approximate value of $250-300 for the 3 year capped price servicing was given, which equates to the first 3 services. These savings come to about $8878 all up off of the $45,618 RRP.



Isuzu D-MAX

Isuzu D-MAX LSM Salary Packaging Australia

Isuzu is currently offering their $7000 ABN holder discount to private buyers on its LS-M model drive away. The EOFY sale price for the auto is $43,190 and with an additional 5 year capped price servicing. As part of the sale, two of the five years will be free, which has a value of about $500.  This gives a saving of $7500 if you get in and buy a D-MAX before the EOFY is over.




Toyota Hilux

The Toyota 4×4 SR5 range currently has a deal on its top Hilux with free on road costs and free Tow and Stow Pack, which is valued at over $1000. If buying outside of the EOFY sale time you’ll be looking at $61,335 drive away for the automatic SR5, but right now you can get it for $56,940 drive away with the added bonus of a free Tow and Stow. All up you have a saving and added value of about $5395.


So which is the best deal?

The stand out deal is the Triton GLS+ 4WD Double Cab. Mitsubishi has put together a lucrative package that already gives you a good saving off the RRP. Once you take into account the added eftpos card and capped price servicing, this $8878 saving has pushed it across the line just in front of the Colorado LTZ. But with only a $345 difference, there isn’t much in it and with just a phone call to Salary Packaging Australia this difference may be even less.


There are always big deals during May and June and if you don’t have a particular model in mind than you are more likely to find a ute with more added value.  Unfortunately, you won’t necessarily find a deal if you have a specific model in mind. Bear in mind that if a car already sells well organically then manufacturers are less likely to greatly discount or promote sales on these, even during EOFY sale time. But the good news is that there is a greater chance of getting a deal now while dealers are trying to meet their yearly sales targets.


If you don’t like car yards and haggling with dealers, just give Salary Packaging Australia a call on 1300 786 664 and we will find you the best deal within our huge network of dealers in Australia. We will try to do an even better deal with the dealers, which will ultimately lower your finance amount.

Our team of Novated Leasing experts are available to answer any questions about your choice of vehicle and the possible resale value. Remember the better your choice and if you look after the vehicle, the more money in your pocket at the end of the lease.



FIFO Salary Packaging Australia

FIFO Mining & Remote Workers, Start Saving Tax Now

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As a MINING/GOVERNMENT employee, did you know that you can expense your DIDO and FIFO expenses? That sounds like a pretty good deal to me!  These benefits include:

  • Travel costs dependent on where you live and travel to and from
  • Housing benefits such as mortgage, rent, power, gas and electricity costs
  • Novated leases which includes finance, insurance, service and maintenance including fuel, and registration

Through SPA, you can claim all the benefits above if you are a DIDO or FIFO employee using salary packaging. This will save you money every pay cycle, and our easy to use claim system will make every work trip a breeze!

These requirements below will help you understand if you are eligible for these amazing and cost saving benefits. To be eligible, ALL of the following must apply:

  • You work for a number of days and have a number of days off which are not the same days in consecutive weeks (that is, following one week after another without interruption), such as a standard five-day working week and weekend. This occurs on a regular and rotational basis
  • You return to your normal residence during the days off
  • Your work duties continue to be undertaken by other employees on a rotational basis while you are on your days off
  • It is unreasonable for you to travel to and from work and your normal residence on a daily basis, given the locations of your work and home, and
  • It is reasonable to expect that you will resume living at your normal residence when your normal work duties no longer require you to live away from home.

If all of the above apply to you, make sure you talk to us at SPA on 1300786664 about the possible savings you could be making.

To find out what your potential benefit will be instantly, click below on our Exempt Benefit Calculator and hit the enquire now button, and we’ll take care of the rest.

Exempt Benefit Calculator

Make Relocation Easier With Salary Packaging

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Were you offered your dream job but it means relocating? If your employer requires you to live in a particular area, you could salary package a range of your moving expenses, whether you rent or buy.

Need to move home for your job? You could salary package your relocation expenses if your employer requires you to move for work purposes. This applies regardless of whether you buy or rent – and it could help save you money on your move.

What exactly can I package?

You could salary package a range of expenses when you buy a new house, including:

  • stamp duty
  • advertising
  • legal fees
  • agent commission
  • borrowing expenses.

You could also salary package the cost of storage and removal of household items and the cost of connecting your utilities, such as electricity, gas and telephone to your new home.

If you’re renting, you could salary package the cost of temporary rental accommodation for both your family at your former home and yourself in your new location.

Note: although this benefit is Fringe Benefits Tax (FBT) exempt, some rules apply.

If all of the above apply to you, make sure you talk to us at SPA on 1300786664 about the possible savings you could be making.

To find out what your potential benefit will be instantly, click below on our exempt Benefit Calculator and hit the enquire now button,  and we’ll take care of the rest.

Exempt Benefit Calculator

Salary packaging Australia Remote Living

Living Away From Home Allowance Salary Packaging Benefit

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Do you live away from home for work purposes? Did you know that there is an additional benefit for you as a salary packaging employee? For the purpose of the fringe benefits tax (FBT) a living-away-from-home-allowance (LAFHA) can be offered to you! Rather than this being provided to you in cash, there are two components that are offered – accommodation and food.

You may be eligible for this if you are required to live away from home in order to meet your job requirements. This is provided to compensate any disadvantages you may experience by living far away. Basically just expense your food and rent from your pre-tax salary and save every pay cycle!

If all of the above apply to you, make sure you talk to us at SPA on 1300786664 about the possible savings you could be making.

To find out what your potential benefit will be instantly, click below on our Exempt Benefit Calculator and hit the enquire now button, and we’ll take care of the rest.

Exempt Benefit Calculator

Styling Disasters – Top 7 times Car Designers got it wrong

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Having a passion for cars my whole life, occasionally I have seen some questionable styles and some design decisions that have just left me flabbergasted. Here’s my Top 7.


The AU falcon

It starts in our own back yard. How could Ford get it so wrong from the gorgeous lines of the EL and through to the award winning BA? And to whoever designed the AU front end – what were you thinking??? They must have been smoking something stronger than Winfield Golds down in Geelong that day. The fleet market, Mum and Dad buyers and even the neighbourhood stray cat didn’t want to be seen in this car. It was almost as bad as the Ford Taurus of the mid 90’s.


2010 Subaru Liberty


This car is an example of why you don’t let Americans style cars for the international market. The Liberty’s hideous front and rear looked like a 5 year old designed it with a crayon whilst learning to draw in prep (although that seems a little harsh to the 5 year old). The concept of style, grace and elegance obviously weren’t in the studio for many days when this was thought up! The design turned the 6th Gen Liberty into a laughing stock.


Suzuki X90


I don’t know who ever thought we needed a mini 4WD meets roadster coupe. Well apart from the chief designer at Suzuki. Rumour has it that the Japanese designer of this car is still serving time for crimes against the general populace’s retinas. Whilst it has been the butt of many jokes and memes over the years, it still baffles me how this even made it beyond the focus group stage. It’s impractical, it meets neither the market of a 4WD or Coupe and somehow Suzuki still managed to sell 484 of them in Australia. Who were these people?


Mercedes Benz A Series


No, I am not that crazy on the current one. Remember the one from the 90’s? The one that failed the “moose test” in Canada? Who in their right mind let this car out of the factory and off the piece of paper that it was conceived on. It went away from everything that Mercedes stood for and whilst it was the predecessor for what has become a great car, I think a few people at the three point star were at the end of the unemployment queue after coming up with this concept.


The SmartForTwo


More than likely someone in Human Resources had a soft spot and hired the A series designers back to make a new range of cars for Mercedes Benz – the Smart range. If you were one of lucky punters that rolled up and thought this was smart investment, you were kidding yourself. Where do we start with this car? Well Mum always told me told if you can’t say anything nice then don’t say anything at all. Enough said.


Hummer H3


Was there really a need for this car? It was ugly, crass and underpowered. Did anyone actually buy these cars in Australia apart from Footballers who couldn’t afford the real thing? This car was meant to be a road going version of the Desert Storm proven H1, but softer with a CD player, ABS etc etc. Somewhere this was lost in translation and an underpowered, overweight GM product hit the streets. Men with a midlife crisis thought that they too could be like Arnie, suddenly released after 6 months of ownership that it was nothing like what they saw in the movies or the “real” imported variant that could drive though or over anything.


Daihatsu Copen


With the evergreen success of the MX5 revitalising the idea of the British sports coupe that actually worked and that didn’t leave you stranded on the side of the road and actually start every time, some bright spark at Daihatsu thought this was a great idea. This was a car that looked like it had a cartoon face, was sardine can in build quality and ready to be crushed by any B Double by accident. This car was not fit for Australian conditions and somehow the authorities still let it on the road.


Well I could go on for days, but let us know what other styling disasters and design faux pas the manufacturers have released to the public……. Cheery J1, Nissan Juke…. The list goes on.


Top Cars in Australia for Resale Value

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When considering buying a car, and especially doing a Novated Lease, it is always a good idea to have a think about the resale value of the car you want. As there is a residual payment due at the end of your Novated Lease, if you decide to sell your car yourself before starting a new novated lease, the more money you get for your car, then more money in your pocket. Considering resale and choosing wisely, can seriously add to the overall value and savings you get from doing a Novated Lease.

A question that many people ask and one that a few people forget to. What car has the best resale value?

Well it’s a bit like asking how long is a piece of string, but numerous years in the automotive and fleet management industry have given me the knowledge and real life experience to know what is going to work for you as our client at SPA.

Resale is built on a few key principles – condition and demand. If you don’t look after your car, it doesn’t matter what brand it is – it’s going to affect the price. Have you decided that you can’t see value in getting your car services or try to skimp and save a few dollars by getting a back yard bob service? You’ll pay for it at the end. The other point to take in is demand. If the car wasn’t popular when sold new, I highly doubt that it will be second hand. If it’s not popular new, it’s going to have to be discounted further when second hand or sold privately.

So what sells well?

Toyota Toyota Toyota

A bit like the only real estate saying “position position position” same goes for the Oh What A Feeling brand. But like all brands it applies to segments of the market. If it’s a 4WD or a ute, Toyota wins hands down. If it’s a Camry or Prius, it might be different story. Toyota 4WD’s have been forged and developed in Australia. They last and simply keep on going. We all know somebody in our lives that has Hilux with 400k on the clock that is still going strong. How many people do you know with a Great Wall Ute travelled those kilometres? I don’t think the odometer even goes that high!


The automotive golden child. Is there anything the Mazda can’t do right? Not in my eyes – reliable, cost effective and safe. What more do you want in a car? Out of staff of 22 people, SPA has seven Mazda owners – that’s almost 30%! That’s punching well above its weight in ownership compared to the national buying statistics. And what’s not to like? They have a tough ute, a great SUV line up and good looking, fun to drive hatches with great styling.

Dual Cab utes.

In QLD, NT and WA all dual cabs 4×4 Utes are pretty bullet proof. Some are better than others and the resale value will vary somewhat dependant on brand, but overall the percentage is high across all brands. A known brand will increase the resale value, whereas most are now built in Thailand. Cheap knock off copies flooding from other international ports with brands that you never heard of five years ago are just simply a no go, so it’s important to look for a badge. When was the last time you heard someone say “I can wait to drive the Foton and Great Wall” at the pub or at a backyard BBQ? It doesn’t matter that the engine was made by XYZ and the transmission was taken from the ABC truck company, they are made under licence. Give anyone enough money and they will give you their name. Can anyone say Lada Niva Brock Edition!

 Subaru Foresters

Need a car that can go anywhere, drive on the beach, easy 4WD tracks, the snow, and even the 9 to 3 school run? A Forester will manage all and more with a cult following. The Soobie can cope with anything that gets thrown at it. Probably not the most attractive vehicle or the best performing in straight line performance but we all know the story about the tortoise and the hare.

Nissan Patrol Y61

These cars had a few issues in the early 2000’s but later in life became fairly bulletproof once the manufacturer changed over the dipstick to the correct one. This is the full size 4WD that anyone buys that can’t afford a Cruiser. They are tough, robust and no frills, but will cross the Simpson dessert and back without flinching. They have always had the stigma of poor resale value when compared the Toyota Brethren, but when you paid 25k – 30k less brand new the numbers definitely stack up.


Our team of Novated Leasing experts are here to answer any questions  about your choice of vehicle and the possible resale value. Remember the better your choice and if you look after the vehicle, the more money in your pocket at the end of the lease.


How to save thousands in Tax and help out your community – Remote Area Benefit Salary Packaging

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There are many benefits of growing up in small country town. I spent a fair portion of my childhood living in a town of 2500 people in Southern NSW. There is a great sense of community and belonging to these small towns and a sense of pride that is bestowed in each resident to help the town grow, prosper and, in some cases, even survive. There is no better feeling than walking the main street on Saturday morning and picking up the paper, going to the local bakery and ducking into the local IGA to pick up your weekly supplies, and running into friends or neighbours to have a 5 minute yarn about everything from cattle prices to the local cricket team and everything in-between


The key to making any regional area grow is via investment and cash flow back into the region to more create jobs and keep these vibrant small towns alive and buzzing. SPA believes that we can contribute.


SPA believe we can contribute to help small towns prosper with our Salary packaging products which put more money in your pocket week to week.


Whilst many people are aware that Zone A and Zone B allowance is possible to claim to help offset living a small town or regional area, you can also claim part of your mortgage interest or rent tax fee. You can pay your standard everyday housing expenditure in pre-tax income. By increasing the amount of net pay, you are simply increasing the amount of money that you can put back in the local community, whether it is a dinner out, an extra schooner or three at the pub or rib eye instead of rump at the butchers. Most regions in Australia work on the 2.7 multiplying effect (with some regional areas as high as 7.1 due to location), so for every dollar spent local will create another $2.70 back into the community.

To find out more visit our Remote Area Benefit page

Did you know you can claim part of your mortgage interest or rent tax fee


So how does this help our local community to grow?


As a result, even if 100 households in a regional town of 2500 people decided to use remote area benefits to increase their pay, it could have a huge effect on the local economy.


Some simple maths – I promise not to lose any of you here!


If Sally Pays rent of $250/week

She will now pay $125 of this pre tax


Therefore saving about $45 (dependant on tax bracket)


Now if another 100 households save the same amount of $45


We now have $4500 extra in the community each week


If this happens every week for a year we have $234,000 in net income floating around the economy


If this is then multiplied, as per before at 2.7 times (this is known as multiplier effect of cash flow), we now have $631,800 being spent in the local town


This will therefore mean more jobs, both full time and part time, a better standard of living and in many cases will help prop up the local small businesses which, in all honesty, are the back bone of the community. This isn’t rocket science. The local chamber of commerce shouldn’t need to spend tens of thousands of dollars on consultants offering a solution, when it’s already there in front of them.


Think about this for a second – Do you employ or manage staff? Would you give them a net pay rise if it cost you nothing?


Summary: A few minutes of your time and your staff could be saving thousands in tax and you could help out your community and help breathe cash flow and life back into the community that you love and live in.

Salary Packaging Australia’s (SPA) Remote Area Benefit product is easy to setup, completely legal, and is savings Australians living in a rural and remote towns thousands of dollars a year. Call SPA to speak with a Remote Area Benefit Consultant, and start saving money today.


To find out more visit our Remote Area Benefit page

SUV Buying Considerations

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So you are in the market for a new SUV. You have abandoned the idea of a station wagon as most options on the Australian market either look like house brick or use way to much fuel. What do you look for? What do you need? Which one to buy? So many questions and too many options! Whatever you do, don’t talk to Uncle Barry at the family BBQ. Taking motoring advice from a man that drives a ‘95 VS commodore wagon that has travelled over 300,000kms and held together with zip ties is like talking to plumber about re-wiring your house.  Both dangerous and probably illegal!


Here are the questions to ask yourself before running out to buy the first car that you come across



Yes, size does matter, not in the way that you think though. You need to make sure the boot of the car is big enough to fit all of the groceries and the pram ( if you have kids). Will the back seat accommodate all your passengers that you intend on taking? If your son is 6’2 and 14 years old  it’s going to be a squeeze to get him in there without the front passenger almost sitting on the front dash. There is no shame popping down to a dealership and asking if your cricket bag, pram or 3 kids can fit in the back seat or boot area. It’s really common sense. If the car is not practical, it’s not going to be much fun to own for the next three or four years.




Can you see over the bonnet? Is there limited vision through the back of the car when merging? Does it have reverse camera? Vision is paramount to safety. If you can’t see as the driver, then this is not ideal. The driving position should give you good command and let you still feel relaxed. Driving a car that has poor or limited vision especially whilst merging or over taking is like playing Russian Roulette with the blind spot. Make sure that you get the car up to highway speed for at least 10-15 mins on a test drive to make sure that you can experience what this is like. If it doesn’t feel comfortable at a great speed, then walk away and try another car. Safety must always come first.


Test driving


If possible try and test drive individual brands and models over the same approximate areas. Most dealers clump together in regional areas, and even in the suburbs, to create precincts. Try and drive the car over a set route, not just where the salesman lets you drive to. By doing this the sins of each car will be exposed. If a car doesn’t handle as well as the others, you’ll notice. If the car feels sluggish after accelerating, you’ll notice. It’s about creating back to back scenarios that allow you as purchaser to make an informed decision. If the dealership doesn’t allow you to do this or simply allows a 500 metre test drive around the block, are they really doing the best to earn your business?




What spec level should you buy? The leather and sunroof might be attractive in theory, but are you actually going to blaring along the coast with the wind in your hair, listening to your favourite song or is the car going to be doing the school runs and weekend sport? Be realistic. Think about what the intended purchase is. Remove the emotion from the purchase ( yes, I know this is hard to do. That new car smells so sweet).

Compare a few different models, and once you have found the right car, look at the pro’s and con’s of each. Do we need alloys? Can we live without dual zone climate? And does our son need 3 cup holders in the back seat or is two sufficient?


The last thing to take into consideration is talking to an expert. Someone who does this every day, day in day out, understands the market and why people buy certain models. Let SPA price up a few of your selected models and help you work out what is the right choice for fit and price. The wrong vehicle won’t just cost you more. The wrong car will aggravate you and your family for 3-4 years meaning every car trip will seem like chore, not the pleasure it should be.

Just remember, Uncle Barry isn’t an expert, apart from fixing all the oil leaks and squeaks in the old VS commodore.