Posts by Quentin

Property investors in the crosshairs as ATO clamps down on deductions

March 14th, 2019 Posted by Financial Management 0 thoughts on “Property investors in the crosshairs as ATO clamps down on deductions”

Reported in Domain 14th Mar 2019, almost nine in 10 property investors who claim tax deductions on their rentals are making errors, new research shows. Investors are in the crosshairs of the Australian Taxation Office, which is turning its focus to the incorrect property claims made at tax time.

Tax commissioner Chris Jordan said that the ATO had been making random inquiries about tax returns. “Our auditors have now completed over 300 audits on rental property claims and found errors in almost nine out of 10 returns reviewed,” he said. “We’re seeing incorrect interest claims for the entire investment loan where it has been refinanced for private purposes, incorrect classification of capital works as repairs and maintenance, and taxpayers not apportioning deductions for holiday homes when they are not genuinely available for rent.”

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Health insurance is costing more 1 April 2019. Are you on the right policy?

March 11th, 2019 Posted by Lifestyle 0 thoughts on “Health insurance is costing more 1 April 2019. Are you on the right policy?”

The Federal Government has introduced a new tiered system of private hospital insurance which will begin rolling out from 1 April, 2019. Under this new system health funds will have to classify hospital policies into four tiers – Gold, Silver, Bronze and Basic, by 1 April, 2020. Private health insurance is an important issue to many Australians, with 55 per cent of the
population covered by some form of private health insurance. We’ve seen our policy premiums rise sharply over the years with more exclusions and gaps introduced. Many policies have become ‘junk’ status and not even worth having. It’s important that we review what policy cover we currently have and how this change may affects us.

The new tiers should, in theory, make choosing a policy simpler, however Choice  says that insurers could label their products as ‘Plus’, creating more categories; literally billions of versions of potential policies. The reforms may not reduce product confusion.

The federal government has created a factsheet to explain what treatments are included in Gold, Silver, Bronze and Basic policies. It’s good to examine your policy changes with your insurer and shop around.



Energy discounts. Are you getting what you signed up for?

February 21st, 2019 Posted by Case Studies, Financial Management, Payments 0 thoughts on “Energy discounts. Are you getting what you signed up for?”

It’s great to save money. That’s why pay-on-time discounts have grown in popularity among us in recent years, but are these discounts on our energy bills really all they crack up to be? Gobbill is a bill payment service for households and small businesses. It scans bills for fraud, pays the energy bill on-time and calculates the actual discount % for users. Recently Gobbill conducted a study of bills (for a year ending 31 Jan 2019) and compared the discounts to what energy companies advertise.


Diagram 1.0: Electricity bill in Gobbill

What’s the deal with pay-on-time discounts?

A recent Canstar Blue article “Pay on Time Energy Discounts Explained” mentioned that you can generally expect to see offers ranging from 10% to 30%, or even more in some cases. Pay on time discounts of up to 47% have been seen across Australia in the past.

Pay-on-time discounts reward you by discounting your energy bills by a set amount every month if you pay before the due date. However, conditions of your discounts can vary significantly depending on the provider and plan you choose.  Understanding your energy bill and the conditions attached to your discount can be complicated, and it can be even trickier to compare it with other available offers to find a better deal.

What is driving pay-on-time discounts? Last year, the ACCC found that pay-on-time ‘discounts’ have emerged in response to attempts by government regulations to constrain late payment fees. Pay-on-time energy discounts could be on the chopping block because it is tricky and confusing reported by Choice.com.au


What’s the catch?

Pay-on-time discounts seem like a great idea to save more cash but these ‘discounts’ on your energy bills can sometimes end up costing you more if you don’t manage to meet these conditions.

Customers also tend to forget that most of these discounts are only valid for 12 or 24 months from the commencement date of their plan. Without renewing these plans, you’ll be required to pay the full, non-discounted price of your energy bill.

Gobbill analysed a number of bills over the last year and found that some energy providers aren’t giving the discounts promised in their headlines. Gobbill is able to calculate the true discount you receive on your bill when you send your bill into Gobbill for payment.


You’ll be surprised what we found.

Gobbill found discrepancies between discounts advertised by energy providers and the actual discount applied to energy bills from a sample of several hundred Victorian bills over the last year. Our data suggests that certain energy customers may not be getting what they expected from the advertised headline discounts.

On top of that, the ACCC reported that energy retailers set their discounts with reference to their own set prices, making it complicated to compare headline discounts between energy providers. As a result, consumers tend to make decisions based on simple indicators, such as headline discounts. However, they may be signing up to exclusions and conditions that deliver a lower saving that other providers.


In some cases, Gobbill found that energy providers were promising discounts as high as 33% but only giving 23% off energy bills. If that was my electricity bill, I would be paying an extra $241.68 every year on my electricity bill alone.

Diagram 2.0: Electricity discounts expected vs. actual



Researchers warn of fake ATO emails carrying ransomware | Stay Smart Online

February 23rd, 2017 Posted by Alerts, Staysmartonline 0 thoughts on “Researchers warn of fake ATO emails carrying ransomware | Stay Smart Online”

Researchers are warning of a widely distributed email that claims to be from the Australian Taxation Office but actually aims to infect computers with malicious software.The researchers say the malicious email tries to trick recipients by claiming their Business Activity Statements (BAS) are available to view, and includes a link that claims to enable recipients to download their BAS. The ATO advises that BAS statements are not provided by email.

Source: Researchers warn of fake ATO emails carrying ransomware | Stay Smart Online

Beware of fake Qantas and Citibank emails | Stay Smart Online

February 13th, 2017 Posted by Alerts, Staysmartonline 0 thoughts on “Beware of fake Qantas and Citibank emails | Stay Smart Online”

You are advised to remain cautious in 2017 about fake emails that claim to be from reputable businesses. These emails are used to deliver viruses, ransomware and other malware. Researchers recently warned people to be aware of fake emails claiming to be from Citibank and Qantas that aim to capture information such as passwords, contact information and bank account details.

Source: Beware of fake Qantas and Citibank emails | Stay Smart Online

Fake driving infringement notices in circulation | Stay Smart Online

December 2nd, 2016 Posted by Alerts, Staysmartonline 0 thoughts on “Fake driving infringement notices in circulation | Stay Smart Online”

Scammers are circulating emails that claim the recipient is being fined for a driving infringement and directing them to a link that claims to take users to the relevant documentation.The message incorporates a fake infringement cause, number, date, fine amount and date by which the fine needs to be paid. The email states that it is an automated message and asks the user not to reply.You are advised not to click on the link in the email as doing so may infect your computer with malicious software such as spyware or ransomware. You should also delete the email itself.

Source: Fake driving infringement notices in circulation | Stay Smart Online