Salary package your bus fare for travel to and from work

By | News | No Comments

Have you ever wondered why we have to pay to get ourselves to work? That extra $90-100 per week is an absolute killer. But did you know that you can Salary Package your bus fare that gets you to and from work?

With SPA’s bus travel benefit, you can pay for your bus fare using your pre-tax gross income.

It works just like a go card and is loaded up with cash using pre-tax dollars from your salary. The Bus Travel Benefit has no limit to the amount you can salary package, as long as the journey is to and from your work and the card is automatically topped up, again, with pre-tax dollars, to help you stretch your salary that much further.

Here’s an example:

Sally makes approximately $85,000 a year and pays bus fares of around $39.00 a week travelling between her home at Chermside and work in Brisbane CBD. Using the SPA bus travel benefit, she can save almost $25.00 a week, which is $1,300 a year! Imagine what you could do with that money. Sally could put that $25.00 a week to her coffee budget, Christmas presents, or it could go towards the power bills. Over the course of 3 years, Sally could be $3,900 richer!

So, while you’re on that dreaded bus ride to and from work, think about how much you save and I promise your ride will be much more enjoyable.

 

The bus travel benefit is eligible to any employee whose employer offers this benefit to them. Talk to SPA to find out if you are eligible for the Bus Travel Benefit card. To calculate what your savings will be when salary packaging your bus fare, click the button below to use our online calculator.

 

CALCULATE MY SAVINGS

Lost the company car and need a novated lease for work?

By | News | No Comments

SPA gets close to one hundred enquiries every month from staff members and employees who are leaving the company car behind and taking allowances instead.

The big change that has pushed the death of the company car over the edge has been the change in tax legislation that requires operating leases to be placed on balance sheets. This has forced most CFO’s, and HR managers to rethink the way that they use the company car and to what level.

Many organisations have moved towards a car allowance program allowing the employee to take advantage of an extra payment back to the salary instead of using the work supplied vehicle. This all of a sudden has thrown some questions into the market, so, we are here to debunk them.

 

Your company has just announced you’re losing your company car.

Firstly, don’t panic, most employers will give an employee suitable notice to change over. Don’t rush out the first weekend and buy the first car that you drive. Make an assessment of what you require in the car, what it’s primary function will be, will it be suitable for the role and will it do the job safely. Remember, there is no point buying a Mazda MX5 convertible if you need to take sample products with you that won’t fit in the boot.

Vehicle Expenses: How much are the running costs?

Gauge what it costs to run your current car. How much will it cost to register and insure? How many services will it need? How much driving do you currently do? These are all great questions to ask yourself when considering a new vehicle that will be used for work. Some preparation will allow you to assess if the allowance you have been offered is fair and reasonable or if your boss really is related to Scrooge McDuck as you have always suspected.

Evaluate the current car you’re using.

So, what are you driving at the moment, a Camry or Hyundai i30? More than likely your employer is looking for and has budgeted on a like-for-like scenario. They won’t be budgeting on you driving around in a brand new Landcruiser Sahara when you just hopped out of a Honda Jazz.

If you are unsure, get your employer to speak to an expert.

A few people are generally involved in making this decision. Normally, HR and your finance manager. Get them to give us a call to ensure they have run through the whole of life situations and understand what this means to you.

 

SPA can easily put together quotations to show the difference between your current salary and what the current out of pocket expenses are, if any. Many employees choose to update their current car and the generous tax discounts that come into play and then transfer the vehicle over to become the family vehicle at a heavily reduced purchase price that has been paid for by your employer before the government would have normally taken their slice.

 

Talk to the team at SPA by calling 1300 786 664 and we can help you through the novated lease process and find the correct vehicle that fits both your business and personal needs. Click one of the buttons below to get an instant online quote or see our current vehicle deals.

 

INSTANT SAVINGS CALCULATOR       CURRENT VEHICLE DEALS

What is the Salary Packaging Living Expenses Card and how can it be used so you can save?

By | News | No Comments

The Salary Packaging Living Expenses Card is the easiest way to spend your living expenses. SPA and MyCardPlus have teamed up to provide employees with a simple and easy way to pay for your living expenses. This way, you don’t have to provide receipts or proof of purchase as they are easily tracked using the card.

With the Salary Packaging Living Expenses Card, you may be able to package up to $9,010 of your gross annual salary for everyday items, such as bills, groceries, clothing, private travel and many more.

Many of us have different accounts for certain expenses such as rent or mortgage payments, bills, fun expenses and savings. Having the MyCardPlus card, this will eliminate most of those accounts, as well as doing so with your pre-tax salary. The amount that you and your salary packaging advisor agree on will be loaded onto the card and can be used the same as a debit card. It even has PayWave!

Are you interested in getting a Salary Packaging Living Expenses Card or transitioning your existing one? The team at SPA we make the process simple for you, you can use our instant savings calculator to find out how much tax you can save and spend smart.

START YOUR ONLINE APPLICATION       INSTANT SAVINGS CALCULATOR

 

Salary Packaging Living Expenses Card Frequently Asked Questions

To give you a little more information about the Salary Packaging Living Expenses Card we have put together some FAQs to help you through the process.

What is a Salary Packaging Living Expenses Card?

MyCardPlus is a living expenses card that SPA has partnered with which allows employees to easily pay for various items under their applicable Fringe Benefits Tax cap. This is used similarly to a normal debit card but using pre-tax dollars! This is a simple and easy way for employees to pay for their salary packaged items.

 

What are considered living expenses?

Living expenses are everyday expenses that are incurred by you or your family such as electricity and phone bills, council rates, groceries, household expenses, clothing and shoes, and private travel (domestic and overseas).

 

How do I make payments from my Salary Packaging Expenses Card?

You can use your card with Visa PayWave, or insert the chip and pay using your PIN. You can also use it when paying third parties and to do so, simply use your 16 digit card number to make the transaction.

NB: No other funds can be transferred to your salary packaging cards, other than those predetermined and agreed upon by your Salary Packaging Administrator and your payroll officers.

 

Does my balance need to be zero at the end of the FBT year?

It is recommended that you have zero balance at the end of the FBT year (March 31). This means that you are eligible to salary package the full benefit amount in the following year. Please contact SPA for further details. MyCardPlus can also assist you in spending remaining funds on your card.

 

How do I check my balance?

You can access your general living expenses by accessing internet banking.

 

Can I order additional cards?

Yes, you may request up to two additional cards for family members. The additional card transactions will be included in your overall annual purchases. Please contact SPA to request the additional cards.

 

What will happen when/if I leave my job?

From the date of your termination, you will have a certain period of days to spend the funds on your card.

Don’t wait to start spending wisely. Apply today.

 

START YOUR ONLINE APPLICATION

Thinking of buying a Mitsubishi ASX LS?

By | News | No Comments

When reviewing small SUVs, I must admit I have been known to turn up my nose and give them a pretty bad review. Well, there is a first time for everything, and this time it’s the Mitsubishi ASX LS.

To put it simply, this car rocks it with the big boys.

It has dollar for dollar features and is about $3000-$4000 cheaper than its brethren. Over a 2 day period, I put approximately 300kms on the odometer in this car’s home territory, the inner city suburban landscape. Make no mistake, this car won’t take you to Bourke and back on unsealed roads and bush tracks, but it’ll navigate car park shopping centres with ease.
It’s simple to drive and actually has road feeling, so when you feel the bumps in the road and turn the steering wheel, it responds. It doesn’t feel like the typical mid 20K new car that lollipops all over the road and has the behaviour of a dog on a wet Lino floor.

Who should buy an ASX LS?

First-time new car buyers and those wanting a second family car. You will never be able to pack half of what’s needed for a family road trip but you’ll be able to use this as a versatile run around car that is able to seat four adults comfortably and a suitcase or two.

It’s easy to drive, packed full of everything you need, and has mod cons without blowing the budget.

What more could you want? If the answer is nothing more and you’re interested in buying this low-maintenance, worry-free SUV then contact the team at SPA. Click the button below and you can be in the driver’s seat in no time.

Get A Deal

Can I get a novated lease on two vehicles?

By | News | No Comments

One of the most common questions that we get asked by clients is, ‘can I have two car leases running concurrently?’ The answer is simple, yes. You can also novate a car for your wife/husband/spouse or children. Now, every employer is different and some have rules about whether you can have two or more leases or the cylinder requirements of the vehicle, however, the majority of employers allow multiple leases.

The process is the same regardless of the number of vehicles you lease. You find the right make, model and colour and then work out the car’s usage and term of the lease but this is what your Novated Account Manager is here to help you with. From finding the best deal on the car, looking through our panel of lenders, working out how much fuel the shiny new V8 Mustang could use.

So, why have two novated leases?

  • You have a teenage child, about to spend $5000 on a private sale Corolla which has done 220,000kms. Think again, that so-called bargain that was driven by Thelma from church and back probably isn’t that much of a bargain. Regardless of how you purchase this vehicle, you will still have to pay rego, fuel, servicing, tyres, and insurance. Why not get your daughter or son a safe new car with airbags that will actually deploy in case of an accident? For an extra thirty odd dollars per week, he or she can drive a safe reliable car with warranty included. Most people are on-selling cheap cars for a reason, what seems like a bargain could actually be a car which needs a timing belt replacement or has a dodgy transmission that needs replacing. That $5000 car just became a $8000 car very quickly.
  • You need a new family car. You already understand the benefits of a novation, why not add the family car to this? Even if your spouse is driving the car, this additional lease is still perfectly legal and once again it helps reduce the running cost of the vehicle that you have to pay for anyway. This means, not only are you paying for the car and it’s running cost but you are once again saving cash flow within the family budget.
  • Retirement, yep that’s right, are you getting ready to retire shortly? Why not set up that car now and pay for it out of your taxable salary rather than dipping into your superannuation? If you are looking for a tow vehicle or looking to do the Big Lap around Australia, take advantage of your fleet discount. Set the car up right with all the correct gear from ARB/TJM or ECB and get a professionals help with procurement so that you are not making expensive decisions twice. This can also help reduce your taxable income in your transition to retirement phase.

So, let’s look at the benefits of novating;

  • Further reduction in taxable income,
  • GST savings on purchase price of new and used vehicles,
  • GST and Tax savings on running costs of the car,
  • Everything, including running costs, is budgeted and taken care of,
  • Cheaper purchase price on a new car due to fleet discount,
  • And finally, a happy family driving their new car.

 

And of course, the cons;

The awkward speeding fine conversation. If a family member gets a speeding fine, since the vehicle is registered under the employee’s name, the speeding fine will be addressed to them as the registered operator of the vehicle. But if you obey the road rules like everybody does, this shouldn’t be a problem.

So, if your daughter is about to go off to uni, your husband needs that new ute for work or the family runabout is on its last legs, it could be time to look at taking advantage of the extra tax saving and hop into driver’s seat of your new car. To find out more, simply get in contact with one our fleet experts. They will run the numbers and get a second opinion for you. Just 10 mins on the phone could save you from either heartache or a few thousand in tax each year. Click the button below to get your instant quote now.

Get A Deal

Toyota Hilux continues to be Australia’s best-selling vehicle.

By | News | No Comments

After taking the title in 2016 for Australia’s best-selling vehicle, the Toyota Hilux has done it again and continues to hold the title for 2017.

According to the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI), in December alone the Toyota Hilux topped the market at 3949 sales, followed by the Holden Astra (3533), the Ford Ranger (3458), the Holden Colorado (3222) and then the Mazda3 (2807).

Not only have Hilux 4X4 sales increased by 13.6 percent when compared with 2016 but overall vehicle sales for 2017 that amounted to 1,189,116 units, meant a 0.9 percent sales increase. Another record year for overall vehicle sales. Despite economic warnings, this sales boom is expected to continue in 2018, as predicted by the FCAI, due to economic growth, low-interest rates, and competition.

Now the question is, will Australia continue to shun traditional sedans and hatchbacks in favour of utes and SUVs?

And with the sales growth of utes which now account for one in five new vehicle sales, will the Hilux take out the title in 2018? Stay tuned.

Want to help get the Hilux to the best-selling vehicle in 2018? Click the button below to our vehicle deals page to see our Hilux and many other deals.

Get A Deal

What is the Meal and Entertainment Card and how can this benefit be used?

By | News | No Comments

If you work for a not-for-profit employer or the Northern Territory Public Health Service, you may be eligible to salary package $2,650 per year by using the meal and entertainment benefit on meals, entertainment, and even accommodation. We interviewed our General Manager, John Heinke to give you more information about this benefit.

 

What is a Meal and Entertainment Card?

Meal and Entertainment cards are a type of Australian tax office salary packaging available to employers who work for the NT public health service or those who qualify as not-for-profit (an entity set up for the benefit of members) e.g. a trade union or a public Benevolent Institution (charity for tax purposes) e.g. Royal flying doctor service. The meal entertainment card allows employees to expense food and drink, entertainment, holiday accommodation, and even venue hire while using pre-tax dollars.

 

How much can an employee save each fortnight or each year?

In actual dollar terms, the employee can package $2,650 per annum. This can be spent on meals, accommodation and function hire using pre-tax dollars.

Any employee of a qualified employer can access the meal and entertainment card.

 

So, it’s an actual legal benefit offered to employees and is approved by the ATO?

Yes. There are rules around how much can be used, who can qualify to use the card and, most importantly, rigid ATO reporting requirements. But if your employer’s status qualifies for this approved tax benefit then employees can access the tax savings.

 

Why would an employer choose to offer this benefit to staff?

To be able to provide $2,650 of an employee’s salary in a tax-free method means the employee is financially better off. At a 30% tax rate, the tax saving is $795. Salary Packaging Australia can provide this benefit to employers at no cost.

 

How else can this be used as a benefit and is it all just about meals out and dining or can I use it in other ways?

The Meal and Entertainment Card can be used for;

  • Venue Hire
    • Events such as 21st birthdays or engagements fall within the definition.
  • Holiday accommodation
    • From a five-star resort to a caravan park satisfies the accommodation rule
    • That ship cruise you have always wanted to go on.
  • Meals
    • Café, restaurant or hotel meals all satisfy the criteria
  • Food and Beverages
    • Consumed at special occasions such as weddings and birthdays also satisfies the criteria.
  • Family and friends
    • Can be included in all of the above expenditure

 

What can’t I include as a benefit with the Meal and Entertainment Card?

But as we know with any tax legislation the rules must be followed, therefore you cannot include;

  • Takeaway food or bottle shop purchases
  • Regular groceries
  • Hiring outside of meal and venue hire e.g. an Elvis impersonator
  • Movies or musicals
  • Flights to and from your five-star resort

 

Does this mean that my annual holiday just got cheaper? Can I use it to go overseas or is it for Domestic travel only?

Yes, your annual holiday suddenly can be paid in tax-free dollars. You can use the benefit overseas but be mindful of any additional costs due to currency exchange.

 

It sounds too good to be true!

The meal and entertainment benefit accrues to employers that either work for NT Public Health, have not for profit status or qualify as a charitable organisation. Due to these classifications, the tax system allows the employer to add value and incentive to their employee’s wages. This adding value is achieved by using the Fringe Benefits Tax legislation. The reality is that the tax system allows it and therefore the employee is within their rights to exercise the benefit.

 

Do I need to keep receipts?

Yes. Only if you are hosting an event, you will need to keep a record of the event and the attendees. This is just like claiming a deduction with your tax return. It is expected that you retain itemised receipts for all purchases made while using the benefit outside of the card, including venue or holiday accommodation. However, when charging expenses using the meal and entertainment card receipts are not required to be retained.

If you wish to use the SPA money management tool you will be reminded that the expense is of a meal and entertainment nature immediately and you can lodge a photo of the receipt electronically to satisfy ATO requirements.

 

What if I don’t spend my allocated funds by the end of the FBT year?

Your funds will roll over, but they do not accrue as a benefit. Unfortunately, if you miss the FBT year, you miss the benefit.

 

What about my HECS and HELP repayments

The $2,650 benefit is reportable. This means that a reportable fringe benefit will appear on your group certificate in the amount of $5,000. You will not pay tax on this $5,000 but it will increase your assessable income. This may have an impact on your repayment of the debt. We suggest you contact your financial advisor for advice where required.

 

Take advantage of being an employee of NT health or a not-for-profit Employer and start getting your taxation reducing benefits now. If you are unsure whether you are eligible for this benefit then give SPA a call on 1300 786 664 or click the button below to find out more.

Find Out More

What are the January Runout Sales and is it a good time to buy a vehicle

By | News | No Comments

VIEW OUR JANUARY RUNOUT DEALS

It’s January. Christmas has been run, done and won and the wonderful holiday season is now over for another year.

 

Every time you turn on the TV or the radio there is someone rabbling on about their HUGE run out deal on 17 plated cars and their Factory Bonus is that big that it will never be repeated. So you, as the everyday consumer, might ask if this is a great time to purchase that new vehicle or is it better to wait. Well, depending on your situation, it may be a great time to buy if you fit the requirements. Below are few ideas to take into consideration.

 

What are run out sales?

 

Run out sales are what motor dealers use to move out last year’s stock. In essence, they are the same as any retailer.  Aging stock is a hindrance on the bottom line and turnover is key. The more turn over, the better chance of profit, just like in any sales based business. It’s the same way that clothing stores sell last season clothes at a discount at the end of the season to move it on e.g. a jumper will normally be 50+% off in summer. A discount needs to be offered to persuade the purchaser to take something that is older and has not sold.

 

When is the best time to buy?

 

The earlier the better. Like most things in life, the bargains go early and the more desirable models will move quickly. You’ll find many of the major popular Japanese brands will time their stock allocation so that they hold very few cars over this time period and therefore have to discount less. What that means for you as the consumer is it’s generally best to get in early. No one really wants a purple Mazda 2 with beige interior anyway! The best models will be sold out quickly in the first few days and by the end of the month it will be the less compelling models left at the dealership e.g. unpopular colours, incorrect transmissions for vehicle class, and cars with obscure factory options. As a rule of thumb, the more obscure the car selection, the bigger the discount. However, remember that if it took a big discount to sell the car in the beginning, it’s going to be harder to sell when it goes back on the market.

 

Things to keep in mind

 

How long are you going to hold on to this car? It might be worthwhile hanging on until later in the year when all the “fresh” 18 plates arrive if you turn over your cars on a regular basis e.g. every 24-36 months. If you prefer to keep your cars long term, it’s a great time to buy if you are sensible and think about what you are doing and don’t get swept up in the hype from the dealer.

If you are a novice at car buying, it’s sometimes best to enlist an expert, and I am not talking about Uncle Barry who reckons he got a great deal. Talk to us at SPA or someone else who does this for a living. We are in the market every day and know a good deal or price when we see one, as we have years of data and experience to rely upon. Unlike Uncle Barry, who’s mate said you should be able to get one for this much like he did when he bought his last one two years ago.

 

Things to avoid

 

As mentioned before, there are few things to really avoid. Over inflated discounts is one. The other is 0% or 1% finance offers. If it requires this sort of deal to sell the car there is generally a major problem. NO ONE WANTS ONE! It seems attractive on the outside but paying full retail price for sub vented finance offers will come back to haunt you in the long run. Car dealers aren’t offering this deal to be the kind caring souls that they are. They are doing it to sell stock that no one wants in the first place. An example of this is Toyota Camry or quite a few of the various French brands in the Australian market place.

 

Quite simply, popular cars aren’t discounted heavily because there is huge demand for both new and used. Cars that have “special” finance offers from manufacturers are normally impossible to sell second hand or are greatly reduced in value due to lack of demand.

 

The words of advice that I can give to you as a seasoned professional is pick up the phone and get an expert to do it. We don’t charge a fee for the service and can put a fantastic package together so that you can continue to save long after you leave the show room and help reduce the cost each week with great discounts on fuel and servicing along with all the benefits that pre-tax savings and  GST discounts.

VIEW OUR JANUARY RUNOUT DEALS

 

Looking for the best car loan? Then don’t get finance from a car dealer

By | News | No Comments

It’s the question we get asked at SPA a lot. How do I get the best car loan?

However, the question that customers should look at is how do I get the best car loan for my situation?

This question is far more appropriate, as comparing loans on interest rate alone can be treading a dangerous path. Whilst it’s a great way of measuring payment, it doesn’t necessarily take into account an individual’s situation.

In many cases, and industry studies, more than half of all applicants have to use a “non-conforming” credit facility.

So what does this really mean? Remember that power bill that was forgotten about when you moved rental properties or telco bill you disputed that took months to solve about being overcharged? Well, two to three of the major banks won’t even consider your loan.

This is why talking to a broker is a lot better than talking to a car dealer.

Most brokers will look into seven to nine lenders on a panel compared to a car dealer that only has one or two.

It’s always good to get a second opinion and look at what options and credit criteria meet your personal or business needs. Quite simply it’s the broker’s job to make sure they get the best rate and approval for your situation. If a 5 to 10-minute chat can save you a $1000 on your loan via reduced fees or rate, it’s well worth the phone call.

Additionally, a second opinion is recommended in most situations whether it be medical, purchasing or financial decisions. If you can’t find 5 minutes in your day, stop scrolling through Facebook looking for cat videos – give us a call on 1300 786 664, or email us at enquiries@salpacaus.com.au. Or if you would like more information on SPA car loans, click here.

Remember it’s your money. Make the most of it.

 

Prepare for your summer road trip with our playlist ideas

By | News | No Comments

It’s almost summer again and this can only mean one thing! It’s time for a swim at the beach or river with your family or friends. Everyone packs into the car to head off but there’s usually a fight over what comes over the audio system.

Similar to negotiating a peace settlement between nations, someone will have to come up with a playlist that keeps everyone happy! It’s harder than you think and all well-prepared individuals will have a few on hand to suit all audiences.

Get your road trip off you a happy start with these playlist ideas:

  • Think classic. Everyone likes the Beatles. They might say they don’t, but it’s hard not to sing along or tap your foot to a Hard Days Night, or even The Stones Jumping Jack Flash. Queen makes everyone happy too!
  • Avoid the obscure genres or artists that no one has ever heard of. No one wants to listen to the rare Leonard Cohen live track recording via bootleg on a European tour in 1976. Summer music has to be fun and Tom Wait’s gravelly tones probably won’t cut it either.
  • When thinking of beach or summer, you can’t go past the Beach Boys, or maybe even Jimmy Buffett.
  • Try to keep away from the latest overnight pop sensation that every tween is swooning over. No one deserves to be subjected to this torture. The trip needs to be enjoyable and everyone needs to agree.

An enjoyable drive there and back will make you forget about the parking, sand in awkward places and dash of sunburn that comes with each trip!

Now call your friends, grab your car keys, roll down the windows, crank up the volume and get your road trip underway.

 

Are you worried that you may need to upgrade your car to safely get to your destination, what better time to upgrade your car and sound system then road trip season? Call SPA today on 1300 786 664 to find out what deals you can get before summer rolls in.