10 Questions to Ask Your Lawyer Before End of Financial Year (FY24)

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As the financial year wraps up, it’s the perfect opportunity to step out of the day-to-day grind and set your business up for future success.

During the end of financial year (EOFY), the insights and guidance from a lawyer can prove invaluable. They can help interpret upcoming legislative changes, address compliance matters, and assist with maximising returns. As we edge closer to wrapping up FY24, here are 10 crucial questions to ask your lawyer, ensuring your business is well-prepared and legally resilient for the new financial year.

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This month, sweeping amendments to Australia’s industrial relations landscape are being ushered in due to the passing of the Closing Loopholes amendments over the last financial year. These changes come into force over staggered dates.

Key changes you should explore with your lawyer include:

  • Right to disconnect: From 26 August 2024, employees will have the right to not respond to work correspondence outside of working hours without incurring consequences. Read more.
  • Criminalising underpayment: From 1 January 2025, underpayment by employees will be a criminal offence incurring imprisonment and fines for individuals and fines for companies. From 1 July 2024, unions will also have an expanded right of entry for suspected underpayment.
  • Workers in certain sectors: From 26 August 2024, new protections for road transport contractors and ’employee-like’ digital platform workers and greater oversight on conditions in these sectors by the Fair Work Commission.
  • Independent contractors: From 26 August 2024, new dispute resolution function for disputes regarding unfair contract terms for independent contractors.
  • Casual conversion: From 26 August 2024, the casual conversion scheme is being overhauled, placing the initiative on employees to request casual conversion, as opposed to requirement employers to offer it when a certain date is reached.

These changes could significantly impact your business operations, making it essential to consult with your legal counsel to understand their implications and ensure you’re adequately prepared. Read about additional details of the changes here.

2. Is now the right time to change business structures?

The end of the financial year provides an ideal opportunity to reassess your business structure. It could be the perfect time to register a company if your current business structure’s drawbacks – like higher individual tax rates and financial liability – outweigh its benefits.

3. What can I claim?

As the financial year wraps up, you should consider how to maximise your deductions. Before 30 June, you should consider whether you are eligible to claim the Instant Asset Write-Off, which allows eligible businesses to claim an immediate deduction for new assets.

    Various products and services are tax-deductible, including fees for accounting, bookkeeping, and legal services. You could even claim a deduction for our legal plans.

    4. What does the Budget mean for my business?

    The recently released 2024 Federal Budget says a lot about the Government’s plans for Australia’s economic recovery. Notably, the priority is to get Australians in jobs and ease the burden on businesses. Some announcements in the Budget you might want to ask your lawyer about are:

    • $22.7 billion of long-term spending on clean energy and strategic industries as part of the Future Made in Australia plan
    • An estimated one million eligible small businesses to have $325 deducted from their power bills
    • Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman: The Ombudsman will receive $2.6 million in funding over four years to support unrepresented small businesses in using alternative dispute resolution to navigate business-to-business disputes
    • eInvoicing network: The Australian Taxation Office will receive $23.3 million in funding to continue operating the secure eInvoicing network, which aims to disrupt payment redirection scams and increase productivity for SMEs
    • Small business helplines: The Government will provide $10.8 million over two years to extend the Small Business Debt Helpline, which offers financial counselling, and the NewAccess for Small Business Owners program, which offers mental health support for small business owners

    5. How can I recover money owed to my business?

    Having debts owed to you can be frustrating, especially when you’re trying to balance the books for EOFY. Your lawyer can advise on the correct process to follow to recover a debt, from issuing a letter of demand to lodging a claim in Court. 

    6. How do I manage employee pay increases?

    The end of the financial year is a common time for employees to seek salary increases. Consult with your legal team to devise a strategy that will either allow you to meet their request or suggest alternative compensations, ensuring you remain competitive in the upcoming financial year.

    7. What tax errors will the ATO be cracking down on this year?

    The ATO annually discloses common tax errors they intend to scrutinize. Familiarize yourself with these, as well as any key changes to tax policies, to avoid potential complications. This year, the ATO is expected to concentrate on:

    • Incorrectly claiming work-related expenses
    • Inflating claims for rental properties
    • Failing to include all income when lodging

    Consult with your legal counsel to ensure you’re compliant with all regulations and minimize the risk of misunderstandings with the ATO.

    8. How far ahead should I plan?

    Planning ahead is always smart, but you don’t want to plan so far into the future that you can’t adapt to changing circumstances. Your lawyer can advise on how far ahead you should plan your budgets and account for expenses such as tax, salaries and general administration.

    9. What’s the best way to maintain my records?

    Accurate record keeping goes a long way when it comes to EOFY. Your lawyer can provide some recommendations on how your books should look all year round, and how you can maintain them.

    Looking for a way to manage all of your legal documents in one place? Have a look at our legal plans to access and manage your documents at any time, from any device.

    10. Are there any changes to tax laws I should be aware of?

    Tax laws tend to change fairly frequently, particularly in light of the pandemic. It’s worth checking with your lawyer whether there are any updates that will impact your business.

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