So with July firmly upon us, a number of legislative changes have commenced. Always a touchy subject but is information we have to know. Coming from across federal, state and local government, four changes concern the current cost of living, three to taxation and two were relate to either superannuation or grant related according to QEAS director Nick Behrens.
The cost of living changes cover a wide basis, firstly the Major Bank Levy on NAB, ANZ, CBA, Westpac and Macquarie and anticipated flow on increases in home and commercial lending rates are now in place. Council rates are set to rise across Queensland with a recorded 2.3% for the Sunshine Coast, Gold Coast 1.8%, Brisbane 2.4% and anywhere from 1.75-3.99% for the remainder of regions in the state. Electricity bills in Regional Queensland are set to rise by 3.3% for households and 4.1% for small businesses, Water and sewerage charges will increase for example by 2.3% in Greater Brisbane (Queensland Urban Utilities) and 3%t in SEQ (Unity Water).
A number of tax changes will also be happening from a 1.5% surcharge to be introduced to absentee payers of land tax on holdings worth $350,000 and above to other land tax payable, however this is only applicable to interstate investment. The ATO are now unfortunately disallowing deductions for travel expenses relating to inspections, maintenance or collecting rent for a residential rental property. Foreign tax residents are now subject to increased capital gains tax withholding rate of 12.5% from 10%, with a reduced Capital Gains Tax holding threshold of $750,000 which has been brought don from $2,000,000.
A more positive change from the recent legislation is that first home buyers entering the housing market will see a rise in the Queensland First Home Owners’ Grant temporary increase from $15,000 to $20,000 for contracts on newly constructed homes purchased between July 1, 2017 and December 31, 2017. Specific voluntary contributions from superannuation after 1st July 2017 are now accessible for first home buyers also, the voluntary contributions will be accessible by individuals from July 1, 2018. Limits apply to the amount that individuals can contribute under this measure to $15,000 per year and $30,000 in total.