Accounting News & Blog


Aussies don’t usually need to be asked twice to spend time away from the office but when COVID-19 hit, it was a whole different ball game. People all over the world had to rapidly adjust to working from home. Many are still coming to terms with new systems, technology, processes, setting up suitable workspaces all at an incredibly stressful time when no one really knows what’s ahead. A few months down the track into the pandemic, we know much more about Corona Virus of course but still, many workers have not yet returned to normal working conditions.


At the time of writing, we in South Australia are in a great situation & we are in the process of opening borders to other States, except for Victoria who has unfortunately had a surge in cases. So, it's a suitable time to take a moment to reflect a little on what works, what doesn’t & also highlight some tax considerations so we can settle into a good, every day, sustainable work from home routine.

Creating a Suitable Workspace

There are so many variables that may affect someone’s capacity to work from home productively - family life, homeschooling, noisy pets, share houses, small homes & unit living or open plan house design, staying with loved ones, even temporarily isolation in hotels, internet & home computer capability, availability of appropriate furniture. Having a dedicated home office is probably the most ideal but it’s just not always possible.

Work Health & Safety


Your workspace also needs to be safe. State legislation requires employers and employees to ensure that those working from home do so in a safe space. Check with your employer about work from home policies & COVID-Safe Plans but note that you also have obligations for your own safety. And if you’re a Company Director running a farm business, for example, you have responsibilities to ensure other people working in & for the business are following safe work practices even if you’re married to them!


As communities open up & travel becomes less restricted, the COVID-19 health risks will increase. We're not health professionals but it goes without saying that practising good hygiene & social distancing is essential even if you're working from home. And if you, or a family member feel unwell, please get tested. For more information on COVID-19 health recommendations & advice, visit https://www.covid-19.sa.gov.au/recovery.


It's your responsibility to know your WHS obligations. If you're unsure, seek appropriate professional advice. For more information on working safely at home visit https://www.safeworkaustralia.gov.au/covid-19-information-workplaces/industry-information/general-industry-information/working-home.

Mental Health

There is mounting evidence coming through that COVID-19 is having adverse effects on many people's mental health. Though you might be working from home, it's important to know that you're not alone. Remember this is a pandemic! It's scary & it would be very unusual not to be worried or stressed. Tap into your support network of colleagues, family & friends. If you need additional support or a confidential chat with a professional, reach out to the SA COVID-19 Mental Health Support Line 1800 632 753 (8am to 8pm, 7 days).


Additional Tax Considerations


Working from home presents some unique issues when it comes to tax deductions. We’ll likely have more to say & we can’t cover everything in on this topic in a blog so please ask your Rowe Partners accountant for clarification. In general, the ATO requires the following when making an expense claim from your income tax;


1) YOU must have spent the money (not your employer) & you can’t be reimbursed for it by work.


2) Expenses claimed must be directly related to earning your income. See the ATO information on Home Office Expenses https://www.ato.gov.au/individuals/income-and-deductions/deductions-you-can-claim/home-office-expenses for more information, or talk to your Rowe Partners accountant.


3) You must have records to prove expenditure. Keep a timesheet, roster or diary that will show the hours you worked from home.


4) If you’re hoping to claim a proportion of rent or rates, it’s important to note that space must be dedicated office space. Same applies to claiming a proportion of phones, electricity, internet etc. Best to ask your accountant about this one too. There are a couple of methods we can use to calculate.


Do your tax without leaving the house!


Rowe Partners have a range of flexible options this tax season from as little as $110*. Visit https://www.rowepartners.com.au/tax to learn more or to book.


Dealing with Distractions


It’s easy to get distracted while working remotely. This can have significant impacts on efficiency and productivity. Those of us who are fortunate to have employers like Rowe Partners who have good, flexible work policies would have found the transition less bumpy.


We asked Katelyn Leske, Associate, at Rowe Partners to share some of her insights & tips for successfully working from a home base.


I’ve had flexible working arrangements since returning from maternity leave with my first child. I’ve been splitting my work hours between home and the office for the last three years. So, I’ve learnt a few things along the way.


Here are some of my tips to keep you focused and maintain your productivity whilst working from home:


  • Get dressed and ready for the day like you would for a normal workday. Now I’m not saying you must put on makeup and wear your office attire (unless required) but rolling out of bed in your pyjamas and getting straight to work can blur the lines between work time and personal time.

  • Maintain set breaks and worktimes. Keeping the same routine that you would have had in the office can help you to focus on the job at hand. It’s important to have breaks whether it be grabbing a coffee or a quick walk around the house to get your legs moving. Eat lunch away from your desk, or outside for a change of scenery. Take the opportunity to have a chat with someone else in the house to recharge your batteries.

  • Have a dedicated workspace to work from and avoid the spaces that are associated with leisure time such as the lounge or bedroom. You also want a workspace that you can leave set up as it’s a pain to be setting up and packing up your workspace at the start and end of each day. It is also important to set boundaries for this workspace so that others in the house know when they can enter and when to stay away.

  • The easiest way to avoid loneliness and isolation is to keep connected regardless of where you are located. Stay in contact with clients and work colleagues by using group meeting and video conferencing software. Seeing people’s faces, even if it’s on a screen, means that you can communicate more effectively and reminds you that you are a part of the bigger picture. You can still maintain your traditions such as Friday night drinks to maintain social ties, everyone grabs a drink at home and schedules a video conference call. It can also be helpful to take a break from the silence of your own home by simply putting on the radio or some music while you work.

  • Log out of social media and turn off notifications so that you aren’t constantly distracted if somebody mentions you in a post. You can check this during your scheduled breaks but try to remain focused during the dedicated work hours.

  • No housework during work hours! It’s easy to think I will quickly do the washing or unload the dishwasher but its distracting and a form of procrastination. It’s helpful to give the house a quick clean or tidy each night after work hours or in the morning before you start so that you don’t feel the need to do it during the day.

These are just a few general tips to help you adjust to a remote working environment. Everyone’s circumstances will be different whether it be home alone, multiple people trying to work from the same household or trying to home-school children at the same time so it’s important to consider your own needs & requirements carefully.

Despite COVID-19 being around for a few months now, it may take a bit more time for us all to get into the swing of things & accept that this working from home or even an on & off-site hybrid approach may be our new normal for some time.


Some great tips there from Katelyn!


Like you, the team at Rowe Partners have all had to adjust to working from home. We know that it's not always easy to juggle everything in this crazy situation but it's been a good test of resilience & responsiveness.


Stay well!


Yes, it is that time of year again. We love tax season, but we know that most of our clients are not so keen. That’s why we work so hard to make it as easy as possible for you no matter how busy and crazy the world gets.


At Rowe Partners Accountants & Business Advisors we strive to deliver the best tax return service and advice that we can offer. However, as you know, COVID-19 has thrown everyone a curveball. So tax time will look a bit different this year as we continue to steer our business through the COVID-19 pandemic and help our valued tax clients to meet their ATO obligations.


Solving Covid-19 Tax Time Challenges


We have carefully worked through a strategy and have implemented solutions for this upcoming tax season that will work to ensure you receive the level of service and support you have come to expect from us - all at a safe social distance.

Rowe Partners Now Offer 3 Great Tax Return Options


Depending on your preferences and individual circumstances, you can choose from 3 secure COVID-Safe, contactless tax return options including remote tax preparations services via Zoom, phone and email. To find out more or book, visit https://www.rowepartners.com.au/tax

  1. RP Tax Express

  2. RP Tax Connect

  3. RP Tax Direct.

RP Tax Express e-tax returns start from only $110*. If you are working from home, have a straightforward tax return or would simply prefer not to come into our offices, RP Tax Express will probably suit you. If you prefer a one-to-one, more personalised service and have more complex tax considerations such as investment properties, investments, Capital Gains Tax, business, or depreciation schedules then RP Tax Connect or RP Tax Direct, starting from $175* will be ideal.


To find out more or book, visit https://www.rowepartners.com.au/tax


Here Are Some Handy Tips From our Associate Accountant Tegan Harrison To Make Tax Time Easier!


Tegan Harrison Associate Accountant Rowe Partners

Everyone’s tax situation is different but here are some general tips that will help you and/or your business be prepared for the end of the 2020 financial year.


Tegans' #1 Tip


Get tax records organised early to save time and money


We find that people who are better organised with tax and financial paperwork tend to save money on tax preparation fees at the end of the financial year.


Here are 3 key things you need to provide your Rowe Partners accountant with so we can help you best and get your return completed more efficiently.


  1. A copy/backup of your accounting software including login details such as username and password and version of software

  2. Copy of your balance sheet and profit/loss statement if you are unable to provide your accountant access

  3. Rowe Partners can generally access information such as PAYG Payment Summaries, bank interest received, Centrelink Payment Summaries, dividends received, however this depends on whether the ATO has it on record. If you book an early appointment with us, please note we may not always have access to this information. Please make sure you have access to the following:

  • Employer PAYG Payment Summary

  • Centrelink Payment Summary (you will need to log into your My Gov account for this information. Centrelink no longer sends it)

  • Superannuation PAYG Payment Summary

  • Bank interest received for the financial year/ Most banks, credit unions will provide a summary as at 30 June.

  • Dividend statements, information regarding cost base/sale if any shares sold

  • Managed Investment Tax Statements

  • Rental income/expenditure

  • Private Health Insurance statements

  • Accurate records of expenses, including logbook of kilometres travelled for work/business purposes, an internet/phone diary, payments for income protection insurance. Please include any items that you have questions on, your accountant will inform you why/why not certain items can be claimed as deductions.


#2 Tax Tip - Book Your Tax Appointment ASAP


The sooner your tax return is processed and lodged, the sooner any refund monies are in your bank account working for you.


Book an appointment with us as soon as your financial records/documents are completed and before your lodgement due date. The ATO will start the processing of 2019/20 financial year tax returns on 5 July 2020 and expect to start paying refunds from 16 July 2020.


Tax returns for individuals and trusts, with one or more prior-year tax returns outstanding are due on 31 October 2020. Tax returns for remaining individuals and trusts are due 15 May 2021 (providing the tax return for individuals and trusts whose latest return hasn’t resulted in a tax liability of $20,000 or more – which are due on 31 March).


#3 Get Up To Speed With Electronic Record-Keeping


We recommend that you go digital with your record-keeping with a quality accounting software program and scanned copies of receipts for expenditure. Shoe boxes filled with paper receipts are so yesterday! But if you don’t use accounting software, Excel spreadsheets, labelled folders are a great way to manage income and expenses.


Keep your tax information in a folder labelled 2020 Financial Year and organise the folder with heading lines for example;

  • Business Reports (Balance Sheet & Profit/Loss)

  • Bank Statements (feel free to use a separate folder if you have too many – these are generally not required for an individual tax return)

  • Bank interest

  • Income (for PAYG Payment Summaries, dividend statements etc.)

  • Rental Property

  • Expenses and include your invoices/receipts for work/business related costs

  • Shares

  • BAS & IAS

  • Or a list of income/expenses set out in an Excel spreadsheet

#4 Complete Bookkeeping Jobs By June 30 or soon after


At the end of the financial year, there are some jobs that need to be completed either by June 30 or not long after. Here is a list for some of them. Note that not all of these are required. It depends on your business. Contact us at Rowe Partners if you have any queries:

  • Reconcile all bank accounts and credit cards as at 30 June 2020

  • Stocktake as at 30 June 2020

  • Ensure any outstanding BAS/IAS are lodged

  • Back up your software file if not using cloud software

  • Ensure any wage updates are made

  • Employee PAYG Payment Summaries, these need to be sent to employees by 14 July and to the ATO by 14 August

  • Taxable Payment Annual Report by 28 August

Experience The Rowe Partners Advantage. It Pays Off!


The quality of our service, our experience and in-depth tax knowledge, as well as a genuine focus on providing clear advice truly sets Rowe Partners Accountants & Business Advisors apart from other accounting firms.


Your Rowe Partners Accountant will work with you to help minimise your tax liability. We are happy to review your accounts and offer services such as tax planning to help minimise the risk for any surprises in the upcoming financial year. We can also offer support and provide advice on changes that could be made to help reduce your tax liability, such as keeping better records and ways to do this.


For a more in-depth, personal tax consultation, we recommend you book a RP Tax Connect or RP Tax Direct Appointment. This will ensure we have sufficient time to fully assess your situation and make appropriate recommendations. Tax diaries are open now.


Call 1800 04 7693 to book.

Call us now for your...


Free, no-obligation 60-minute emergency check-up to help you determine your business & financial weak points, identify urgent issues & actions you can take now to mitigate them. Plus understand the range of advanced forecasting & modelling tools we can apply to prepare you better for the storm ahead.

N.B Social distancing protocols will be applied. We have a range of options & technical solutions that we can use to deliver services to you remotely depending on your individual circumstances.

Level 1, 4 Smart Rd

PO Box 570

Modbury SA 5092

33 Florence St

PO Box 639
Port Pirie SA 5540

8 Church St

PO Box 2247
Port Augusta SA 5700

Murray Bridge

Ground floor, 30 Seventh St

C/- PO Box 570
Modbury SA 5092

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Rowe Partners Pty Ltd (ACN 105 365 688) as an agent for Rowe Partners Partnership (ABN 65 250 711 759). Directors: R P McDonald FCPA, C R McKnight FCPA, P J Connolly MIPA, F B Cammarano AIPA, M R Nutt CPA. Liability limited by a scheme approved under Professional Standards Legislation other than for the acts or omissions of financial services licensees.

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