What is a Living Away From Home Allowance?

A living Away From Home allowance is paid by employers when they require an employee to work in an area that is different to their normal workplace and the employer pays the costs to the employee for living away from home.

For example, I work and live in Adelaide and after a few months the Company requires me to go to Roxby Downs for a few months to do some work there. They pay me an allowance for the costs of living in Roxby Downs  because they have requested me to work there for a time.  I do not need to declare it in a tax return.  It is an allowance paid by an employer to an employee and is not subject to tax by the employee.   No expenses can be claimed against this allowance, nor should this allowance be recorded on my group certificate.

I have received $25,000 for an interview on a current affair show.  Is this taxable?

Yes this payment is taxable.  You have been paid for providing a service.

I have inherited some money.  Is it taxable?

No, the inheritance is not taxable unless advised by the executor that part is taxable. However, if you invest the income from the estate then any earnings will be taxable.

Can all the interest from our joint accounts be declared in my wife’s tax return because her income is much lower than mine?

No, all income must be apportioned to each recipient on the same basis as the accounts are held.

My bank interest is only $10.  Does this amount have to be declared?

Yes, you must declare all interest from all sources no matter how small the amount is.

My 14 year old daughter has received $600 from a trust distribution.  Does she have to lodge a tax return?

If this is her only income she does not have to lodge a return. During the 2008 income year a minor may have earned up to $1666 from investments before any tax would be payable on that income.   Income to a minor from an inheritance is different again.

I have just received a letter from the tax office saying that I did not declare some interest from my bank account.  What should I do?

Contact your bank to verify the income details for your accounts if you believe that this is incorrect.  The bank should notify the tax office in writing if this information is not correct.  You have 28 days to correct this information.  However, if you have omitted the income you will not need to amend your tax return.

Do I need to declare my overseas pension?

In most cases overseas pensions are taxable and you will need to include the amount in your tax return. There are a few exceptions to this rule. Please call us if you are not sure.

Do I have to declare income from Centrelink (Newstart, Austudy) on my tax return?

Yes, it must be declared.  This is because the tax office needs to determine what tax rate applies to your other earnings for the year.  At the end of the financial year you will receive a Payment Summary from Centrelink indicating how much must be included in your tax return (taxable amount).  You may be entitled to a rebate to ensure that no tax is payable on your benefit.

I have just moved permanently to Australia.  Do I have to pay tax on the money that I have brought with me?

No, you will only have to pay tax on any earnings that you make from the time that you moved to Australia.  If the money that you brought with you earns interest in a bank account you will have to pay tax on the interest.