Articles tagged in personal finance

  1. $21 Billion Hardware Rectification?

    ASX Tickers Herald Sun: Futures trading halt 'lead to big stock fall'. From the report, "ASX halted futures trading about 12:45pm to address an urgent 'hardware rectification', and that lasted until about 2pm. In the meantime it left traders with no where to hedge risk, so they took to selling physical stocks instead." If it is really the case, it would one heck of an expensive hardware rectification, as $21 billion were wiped off the All Ordinaries today (red everywhere on our real-time screens).

  2. Done with Tax

    "Everyone has a dead line this week", I joked about in the Bible study group on Sunday. Students have their assignments due this week (last week before the exams over here), and I have my tax return to do. Actually, I have two to do as I also have to do the tax return for Vivian, but that's another story.

    Anyway, the task was completed just past mid-night last night, leaving me a whooping 24 hours ahead of schedule. Yupee! Although these guys are still getting it down ahead of me. Maybe I'll try not to procrastinate next year. Maybe.

    There are more surprising improvement on the etax software this year. Although it is still a VB app that runs exclusively on Windows, there is no way I am going back to paper-based submission again. Well done ATO! At least it made me not feeling that bad after discovering there's still more tax to pay for my last financial year. Anyway, things I like are:

    • Import interests from major banks. Just put in your account number and it fetches the right amount for you, over the Internet.
    • Import managed-fund related values from fund managers. Also only your account number is needed. Currently only Colonial First State is supported, but it is already a huge improvement.
    • Managed fund worksheets. That's a big plus -- most fund managers are already giving investors instructions "putting this value into this field", but are always referring to the field number on the paper-based tax return form. This year etax allows you to just map values to field numbers, skipping all that accounting jargons -- even engineers can do it! It also adds up the amount for you if you have multiple funds.

    I still think importing data from previous year's etax file, and depreciation worksheet is genius, although they have been available for a while. Saving me lots of time going through spreadsheets, receipts and credit card statements to figure out how much depreciation can I claim.

    One thing that always puzzled me though is, since ATO already knows my interests, managed fund/trust info, capital gains, etc through my Tax File Number, why can't they just develop an etax app that has one single click "Calculate My Income"? It should work for 95% of the cases, shouldn't it?

  3. Tax Cut in Budget 2006

    Like last time, Peter Costello has done it again in his 11th budget. Personal tax cut for all, well, almost all workers anyway. Here's the new rates:

    CurrentNew from 1st July 2006
    Income thresholds ($)Tax rate (%) Income thresholds ($)Tax rate (%)
    0 - 6,0000 0 - 6,0000
    6,001 - 21,60015 6,001 - 25,00015
    21,601 - 63,00030 25,001 - 75,00030
    63,001 - 95,00042 75,001 - 150,00040
    95,001 +47 150,001 +45

    Bold types are the changes. If you want executive summary, i.e. you can't read tables,

    • Top 2 thresholds have been reduced to 40% and 45%.
    • Top 2 thresholds have been lifted to $75,000 and $150,000.
    • Other than the tax-free threshold, all others have been lifted.

    In summary, you will get paid more even if you haven't receive a pay rise. Especially the very high income earners. And now the top band has twice as much threshold as the second band, it really limits the number of people who can potentially be up there.

    Nothing changes to company rate, and it stays fairly high at 30%. Expect foreign investment to stay limited.

    Oh yeah! Everyone loves tax cuts, but the question is -- is it the right thing to do for the Australian economy?

    It is probably offset by recent rate raise and raising petrol prices. According to this SMH article this morning, it might also give each individual a false sense of wealth, which might also drive up inflation and more rate raise. Moreover, when the government focused on only personal tax (instead of company tax), we got to ask why? Is election around the corner yet?

    I agree Australia needs a lot of money elsewhere to boost its infrastructure, to create more opportunities, to provide more affordable education, etc. It is great that the government has lots of surplus due to booming mining industry. Put them into places that will help this country in long run, than making each tax payer a little bit more self-fulfilling in a short little while. Especially when more income does not bring more happiness.