What to watch as online retail takes off

Posted by Rhodes Docherty on 11 December 2018
The retail sector is experiencing a dramatic shake up with massive growth in online shopping indicating a shift in how consumers interact with products, sales and spaces.

Recent figures speak for themselves. Domestic online sales represented more than 50% of 2017 total retail sales growth in Australia as opposed to three years ago when they accounted for less than 10%.i

This rapid growth is staggering in a sector that has otherwise been sluggish of late. But what does it mean for consumers? With Christmas just around the corner, now's the perfect time to look at current trends in online shopping, what to watch out for, and how you can bag a bargain while saving a heap of time in the process.

The trends

Mobile Commerce
A few years ago mobile commerce represented a very small portion of online sales but as retailers have embraced app culture and made their websites mobile compatible, we've seen large growth in the sector. The main benefit for consumers is the ability to shop on the go. Rather than wait until you get home to make a purchase on your desktop, you can do it on your lunchbreak, on your commute, practically wherever you have your mobile.

Free Shipping
Shipping costs can be a snag for shoppers hoping to score a bargain online. But retail forecasters are predicting a big increase in the number of outlets offering free shipping in the lead up to Christmas.ii Do your research here and make sure to plan well in advance. Retailers are unlikely to bear the costs of express post.

Sale Events
Marketers have really been pushing online sales events in recent years and most of these work on an American calendar. Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Click Frenzy and Boxing Day are the big ones, and having an awareness of where they fall could save you a bunch. It also gives you a deadline to have your shopping decisions made. There's nothing more stressful than leaving your entire Christmas spend until the 23rd.

Things to be aware of

The biggest thing to be careful of when shopping online is how it can eat into your budget. It's a lot easier to get carried away sitting on your couch than braving the crowds running from store to store.

Online marketers know exactly how to entice us too. Algorithms can recognise your behaviors and direct you to other items you are likely to be interested in; countdowns on carts create a false sense of urgency; free shipping on items over a certain amount encourages you to buy more than you need. Knowing your budget, doing your research and a healthy dose of discipline can help here.

Buy-now-pay-later plans have been on the rise recently especially amongst younger consumers. Afterpay in particular has seen huge growth since it listed two years ago. More than 15 per cent of Australian millennials are already using it.iii

If you are considering Afterpay, make sure you know you have the cashflow to pay off the purchase in the ensuing months. Otherwise you could be hit with significant fees.

Online scams
Unfortunately amongst the genuine online retailers there is the occasional scammer out there branding fake goods as real, or worse, taking your money without ever delivering on the product. Luckily there are several warning signs that an online retailer isn't acting with good will.

The most obvious one is the form of payment. Money-order, pre-loaded money card, and wire transfer are payment methods to avoid, as it is very hard to get your money back. For a more detailed rundown of warning signs visit the ACCC's Scamwatch website.

Finally, whenever you shop online, make sure you check out all the reviews and ensure you are happy with the terms of the returns/refund policy.

The changing retail landscape can present numerous opportunities for savvy shoppers. And with a bit of caution, you could bag yourself a bargain without breaking the budget this festive season.

i https://www.businessinsider.com.au/australia-retail-sales-online-shopping-amazon-prime-2018-7

ii https://www.practicalecommerce.com/4-predictions-for-2018-holiday-shopping-season

iii https://www.afr.com/business/retail/millennials-drive-afterpay-growth-trajectory-20180222-h0wgza

Posted in: Online shopping Retail Christmas  

Rhodes Docherty - we're with you for the long haul

Posted by Rhodes Docherty on 29 July 2018

We live in dynamic times - fads, fashions and trends seem to come and go.

This is also true of small-medium businesses on average, in Australia, just over 1000 new business start-up each month.

Even more alarming is the fact that according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, more than 60% of small businesses will cease operating within the first 3 years of them starting.

So, it's refreshing and comforting to come across a business that has weathered the storm while gaining a solid reputation over time.

We are proud to say that Rhodes Docherty is one of these businesses.

Starting in 1979, Rhodes Docherty has been servicing the Sydney North Shore and Northern Beaches for close to 40 years now.

During this time, we've always been true to our purpose; helping small and medium companies as well as individuals with all aspects of their financial requirements ranging from self-managed superfunds, trusts, taxes through to financial & wealth management.

The Rhodes Docherty Difference

Technical knowledge and experience is just one small element of our ability and capability.

The difference between knowledge and success is how that knowledge is applied.

At Rhodes Docherty, we help to manage every aspect of your business by offering a full and comprehensive range of services.

And because we establish a one-one relationship with each of our clients, our advice will be tailored for you.

There is no 'one size fits all' solution and that's the difference at Rhodes Docherty personalised, individual and reliable advice designed to help you and your business achieve your objectives.

Integrated Accounting, Superannuation and Financial Advisory Service

Our aim is to provide you with advice when your business needs it - not just when you ask for it.

Having developed our auditing and accounting services into innovative client-focused services, Rhodes Docherty goes beyond the traditional role of accountants.

The range of services we offer include:

  • Taxation
  • Audits
  • Self-Managed Super Funds
  • Trusts
  • Acquisitions & Mergers
  • Financial Planning and Wealth Management
  • Business Services

Rhodes Docherty are also specialists in both Xero and MYOB cloud accounting systems.

For more information or to schedule a no obligation consultation, get in touch with us today or call us on (02) 998 4033.

Posted in: Rhodes Docherty  

Low Value Imported Goods (LVIG) - GST Impact

Posted by Rhodes Docherty on 29 July 2018

From July 1, 2018, new legislation has come into effect that imposes GST on goods that are deemed to be Low Value.

This means any product, such as books, jewellery, electronic devices, sports equipment, cosmetics, or clothing will incur a 10% GST on the price of the item, regardless of its value, when imported into Australia.

Prior to this legislation, imported goods worth less than A$1,000 were GST free.

Read on to find out more about what low value goods are and if you are a supplier of these, what this new legislation means for you.

What is the deFinition of Low Value Imported Goods?

Low value imported goods are those with a customs value of A$1,000 or less.

Overseas vendors who sell more than A$75,000 of low value goods to Australian consumers are now required to register for GST and collect and remit GST on low-value goods to the ATO.

Why was this new legislation introduced?

The Government is ensuring that all Australian businesses particularly, small retailers are not unfairly disadvantaged by the current GST exemption that applies to imports of low-value goods.

Currently, Australian retailers are required to charge a 10% GST on all goods they sell to consumers, regardless of the price of the item.

However, imported goods under A$1,000 have been exempt from GST charges.

The new GST laws ensure that low value goods imported by consumers in Australia are treated in the same way as goods that are sold locally.

It means imports of goods worth less than A$1,000 are no longer be exempt from the tax.

Which businesses are impacted by this legislation?

If you or your business either makes or facilitates sales/deliveries of LVIGs to Australian consumers, then you will be subject to GST on those transactions.

Typically, entities that will be affected include:

  • Sellers
  • Operators of online marketplaces (i.e. operators of online services that allow entities to make supplies to end-users)
  • Re-deliverers (i.e. entities that assist Australian consumers acquire goods from overseas)

GST will now need to be collected If a business's Australian GST turnover meets or exceeds the GST threshold of A$75,000, including the value of LVIGs.

Are some LVIGs GST free?

Some goods, such as certain medical appliances, foods, or education course materials are GST-free.

Where these goods are imported into Australia, no GST will be payable and the value of these goods will not be included in calculating the GST registration threshold.

While the Government is doing its best to simplify the registration, collection and reporting process for LVIGs, care must be taken to ensure compliance and proper reporting.

If you and your business fall into the definition of LVIGs sellers, then we strongly advise you consult with your accountant to ensure you take the right steps.

We'd be more than happy to answer any questions you have on this new legislation.

Contact us today or call us on (02) 998 4033.

Posted in: GST  

Tax claims for work-related car expenses

Posted by Rhodes Docherty on 29 July 2018

Another year another ATO crackdown!

It seems each year, the ATO chooses a theme to focus its attention on when it comes to work related expenses.

In years past, we've seen crackdowns on laundry, travel and self-education.

This time round, the focus could fall on car expenses.

Many small-medium businesses work on the principal that if the business incurred an expense, then it must qualify as being a deductible.

Our response to this is may be, may be not!

Let's first look at the ATO rules on work related expenses.

  1. The taxpayer must have incurred the expense themselves
  2. The expense must be incurred in gaining or producing assessable income
  3. The claim must comply with the substantiation rules

Why is the ATO focusing attention on car expenses?

The ATO is particularly concerned by a pattern where a significant proportion of claims were 'right at the limit that did not require detailed records'.

Under current law, deductions using the cents per kilometre method do not require written evidence if no more than 5,000 kilometres are claimed.

Car tax deduction methods

Previously, there were 4 methods to calculate and claim work related car expenses.

These were:

  • 12 percent of the original value
  • One third of actual expenses
  • A logbook for 12+ continuous weeks
  • Cents per kilometre

The ATO has since eliminated the first 2 methods.

Now there are only 2 methods to calculate car expense claims on your tax return:

  • The logbook method, or
  • The cents per kilometre method

So, which method is best for you?

Well, it depends very much on how you use your car for work and of course, how much you use it.

Here's a brief overview of each method.

Logbook method

  • Keep a logbook for 12 continuous weeks
  • You must own the car
  • You only need to complete the logbook process one time every five years (or less)
  • Record all business trips AND all personal trips in your car logbook
  • Keep receipts for all expenses related to your car, including:

o Petrol
o Registration
o Insurance
o Servicing
o Interest on loan costs
o Depreciation
o Other running costs

Cents per kilometre method

  • Claim up to 5000km per year using this method
  • No log book required
  • ATO can ask you to explain how you calculated your claim and how the use of your car was work related
  • You can claim 66c per work related km

Consult with your accountant as to which method is best for you and your business.

Also, remember:

  • You can't claim car expenses for travel between home and work or vice versa.
  • You can't claim car expenses on your tax return if you were reimbursed for the same costs by your employer. Only claim it if you paid for it yourself.

For more information or to schedule a no obligation consultation, get in touch with us today or call us on (02) 998 4033.

Posted in: Taxation  

No Obligation Consultation Today



What to watch as online retail takes off

Dec 11 2018
The retail sector is experiencing a dramatic shake up with massive growth in online sho...

Rhodes Docherty - we're with you for the long haul

Jul 29 2018
We live in dynamic times - fads, fashions and trends seem to come and go. This i...

Low Value Imported Goods (LVIG) - GST Impact

Jul 29 2018
From July 1, 2018, new legislation has come into effect that imposes GST on goo...
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