I see it so many times. A client comes in and tells me about some major financial transaction they did last week, last month or even last tax year. Had I known what they were planning to do I would have told them to put the brakes on, talk to someone, and do some planning first. With some forward planning they would have saved a sizable chunk of tax.
Before making any major transaction, like purchasing or selling a property, you should speak to your business support team. These are your accountant, bank manager, solicitor and financial planner. We are here to support you by helping maximise your personal wealth, saving costs like income tax, capital gains tax and stamp duty, ensuring everything is legal and that you have the financial capacity to repay any debts.
Speak to your business support team before signing any contracts. You may have the contract in the wrong name or entity, affecting your borrowing capacity or asset protection plans. It could affect your future tax liabilities if the property is sold at a profit in the future. You should also review how large transactions may affect the outcome of your wills.
Timing can be critical. Many of the current tax rules involve age limits, how long a property is owned, annual turnover limits and many other tests. Speaking to your accountant first will allow them to help plan with you the best timing for the transaction. For example, your turnover may have been higher over recent years or you may be approaching a certain age that is part of a test. Holding off a sale of a property with a large capital gain could give you the opportunity for planning to keep turnover under the limit or meet some of the other relevant tests. This could allow you to access small business capital gains exemptions which reduce or eliminate capital gains tax payable.
It pays to have a sounding board and run any proposed transactions past your business team first. I have worked with rural clients as a tax and agribusiness specialist for many years in Central Queensland and have had lots of these conversations. Have one with your trusted adviser.
- Helen Warnock is a partner at Kennas Chartered Accountants. This article offers general information only. Consult your personal adviser for advice relevant to your personal circumstances before taking action.