February 2024 Newsletter


  • Stage 3 Tax Cuts: How the Changes Affect You
  • Major ATO change to ‘protect’ taxpayers
  • Skills you’ll need to be an effective leader
  • Victorian Property Tax Changes from 1 Jan 2024
  • Picking your retirement point
  • 3 effective ways to improve employee engagement
  • Announcements

Stage 3 Tax Cuts: How the Changes Affect You

Australians earning less than $150,000 are set to benefit from changes to the stage-three tax cuts package from July, after federal cabinet approved plans to change the tax code. This includes those earning less than $45,000, who were set to miss out under the stage-three tax cuts legislated under the previous Coalition government.
Those earning between $50,000 and $130,000 will see the biggest benefit from the reported changes, according to modelling by Assoc Prof Ben Phillips at the Australian National University.

Major ATO change to ‘protect’ taxpayers

Taxpayers will soon notice a key difference in text messages sent by the Australian Taxation Office (ATO), as the agency announces a crackdown on scams.
The ATO has committed to removing hyperlinks from all outbound unsolicited SMS text messages by tax time this year. The government agency said there had been “significant growth” in cybercriminals targeting taxpayers via text messages.

Skills you’ll need to be an effective leader

To be effective, modern leaders must develop a wide range of essential skills and make a commitment to listen and to learn.
The leaders we admire and look up to possess many enviable qualities, including the ability to listen, problem solve and plan, along with a high degree of integrity, compassion and empathy.
For leadership expert Zarah Prior, the most important quality in a leader is their capacity for self-reflection. This is what enables them to positively influence others in a variety of situations.

Victorian Property Tax Changes from 1 Jan 2024

The State Taxation Acts and Other Acts Amendment Act 2023 received Royal Assent on 12 December 2023. The new law introduces significant property tax changes in Victoria with effect from 1 January 2024.
– Land Tax; Windfall Gains Tax; Vacant residential land tax (VRLT): Unimproved residential land
– Awareness and management of the changes

Picking your retirement point

One of the hardest decisions for many people – excluding those who want to keep on working – is choosing when to stop.
There’s no mandated retirement age as such, although there are prescribed preservation ages when people can legally access all or some of their superannuation funds.
Anyone turning 59 on or before 30 June next year, for example, if they choose to fully retire, can legally access their super after their birthday. 

3 effective ways to improve employee engagement

The statistics around poor employee engagement within our workplaces have been raised by many industry commentators as a cause for concern.
Dr Peter Dry, an engagement and strengths-based leadership expert, is one such commentator, stating that the consequences of workplace disengagement are far-reaching and that there is an urgent need for organisations to address engagement issues and reclaim their financial potential.



This month we congratulate Richard (17) and Laurie (16) for completing work anniversaries!
We also wish a very Happy Birthday to Maree!

Richard Kemp


Important ATO Dates

Lodgement Program  Date
January monthly activity statements 21/02/2024
Quarter 2 (October–December) activity statements 28/02/2024
Quarter 2 (October–December) GST instalment notices (forms S and T) 28/02/2024
Quarter 2 (October–December) PAYG instalment notices (forms R and T) 28/02/2024

Other News

Xero Changes

Classic invoicing is retiring

Xero is introducing a new version of their invoicing module. The current version will not be retired until 2 September 2024 at which time all users will move to the new version. You can make the switch to the new version of Invoicing at any point by selecting the ‘Switch to new version’ button. You can also switch back to classic invoicing until it’s retired.

What xero says about the new invoicing: “The new version of invoicing is packed with time-saving tools that make it easier to customise invoices, while simplifying the way you get paid. It features a modern interface designed to help you move faster, and it’s where all new functionality will be built going forward. While some things may look a little different, all of your settings and invoice templates will seamlessly carry over.”

If you’d like to learn more about the new version of invoicing and the exclusive and classic features that’ll be available for you to use, read our blog.

Victorian Flood Grant Support Extended

For existing applicant(s), please be advised in relation to the Victorian and Commonwealth Government’s Flood Support Package, the final date to submit eligible claims for re-imbursement has been extended from 13 January 2024 to 31 May 2024. Please note with the passage of time, some eligible claims immediately following the flood event are unlikely to be eligible claims if purchased now (e.g. fodder purchase). This extension applies to successful applicants of the:
  • Primary Producer Flood Recovery Grant,
  • Rural Landholder Grant, and
  • Transport Support Program.
For any questions regarding your application please call 1800 260 425 or contact us via email at admin@ruralfinance.com.au

ATO Data Matching of Unpaid Employee Super

Employers should already be aware that the ATO is shriving to reduce the amount of unpaid employee super. One initiative from 1 July 2026 is payday superannuation, employers will be required to pay their employees’ super at the same time as their salary and wages.
In the meantime we are starting to see a number of cases where the ATO is using their data matching capabilities to catch employers that have fallen behind in the payment of their employee’s super. In a number of these cases the Super Guarantee Charge penalties can be greater than the unpaid super amounts.
If you need assistance in keeping on top of your employer payroll obligations please contact our office to discuss how we can help!
Recent ATO announcement

Bigpond Email Addresses

It has come to our attention that a few clients have been moving from their existing Bigpond email to an alternative of late as they are concerned that Bigpond email addresses are being phased out. What we have ascertained:
  • Telstra stopped providing new Bigpond email address several years ago (2016), new clients are issued with a Telstra email instead
  • The hosting of Bigpond email addresses were migrated to a Microsoft server and are not ‘hosted’ by Telstra anymore
  • Any Telstra customer leaving Telstra and wanting to retain their Bigpond email would need to pay a $79 annual subscription fee
  • TPG recently ceased providing certain email services due to the cost and resources it tied up, this has led to speculation that Telstra may also
  • However it seems unlikely that Telstra would just shutoff Bigpond email without providing a viable alternative due to the huge number of customers this might encourage to go elsewhere
  • Those considering a change of email need to consider how this will affect logging into the various cloud services they may use where their username is their email address
For those clients that have already changed or are considering changing their Bigpond email address please remember to inform us so we can keep you up to date with any relevant tax information.

All the best from the Watts Price Team!