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Beat the scammers at their own game

All / 28.06.2018

Beat the scammers at their own game

We’ve all seen media reports about ordinary Australians losing their entire savings after responding to a phone, email or mail offer that was impossible to resist. While some people may be naïve, scammers are also getting smarter.

Financial stings have become a serious threat to Australian consumers and businesses. According to the ACCC’s Scamwatch website, there were 161,582 reports of scam in 2017, for a total loss of more than $90 million!

All shapes and sizes

Identity theft scams involve someone stealing another person’s identity and can do anything with it from cleaning out bank accounts to taking out fake mortgages. But scams can come in many guises, including, but not limited to:

  • Online account and money transfer scams;
  • Health and medical scams;
  • Superannuation scams;
  • Get-rich-quick scams;
  • Lottery and competition scams.

If it sounds too good to be true…

Let’s look at the most damaging of all – investment scams.

Scammers know and use all sorts of tricks to entice the vulnerable but there are steps you can take to protect yourself.

Scammers usually make contact “out of the blue” with a blanket offer and use tactics to pressure you into the deal. These “professionals” try to make their offer look as genuine as possible and most will have any or all of the following features:

  • Quick, high returns and sometimes tax-free;
  • No risk for the investor;
  • Mention well-known companies or people (that are actually not involved);
  • Discounts for “early-bird” investors or special allocations not available through anyone else.

Investment scams can appear very professional on the surface. By the time the victim realises the offer was too good to be true, the scammer has disappeared with their money.

What should you do?

If you receive a call or email always check the validity of the offer and provider, by asking:

  1. What is your name and what company do you represent?
  2. Does your company have an Australian Financial Services licence and what is the licence number?
  3. What is your physical address?

If the caller can’t or won’t provide these details, it will be a scam. If they do answer, take down the details and check the Australian Securities and Investment Commission list on its MoneySmart website (www.moneysmart.gov.au) or the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) ‘Scamwatch’ site (www.scamwatch.gov.au).

Be proactive

Some scams aren’t as obvious so always protect your personal information. Never give out bank details or transfer money to anyone you don’t know or trust.

Always check your statements and report any suspicious transactions to your financial institutions. Make sure your computer and mobile devices are protected with strong passwords, anti-virus software and firewalls.

And beat the scammers at their own game – if you are contacted by one of these fraudsters, immediately report it to the ACCC via www.scamwatch.gov.au or phone 1300 795 995. Hopefully the scammer will end up the victim instead.

For more information or to speak to one of our Financial Advisers – please contact TNR Wealth Management on 02 6621 8544.

Disclaimer
Past performance is not a reliable indicator of future performance. The information and any advice in this publication does not take into account your personal objectives, financial situation or needs and so you should consider its appropriateness having regard to these factors before acting on it. This article may contain material provided directly by third parties and is given in good faith and has been derived from sources believed to be reliable but has not been independently verified. It is important that your personal circumstances are taken into account before making any financial decision and we recommend you seek detailed and specific advice from a suitably qualified adviser before acting on any information or advice in this publication. Any taxation position described in this publication is general and should only be used as a guide. It does not constitute tax advice and is based on current laws and our interpretation. You should consult a registered tax agent for specific tax advice on your circumstances
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Super in your 60s. Its still not too late!

All / 21.06.2018

Super in your 60s. Its still not too late!

For most Australians, their 60s is the decade that marks retirement. For some this means a graceful slide into a fulfilling life of leisure, enjoying the fruits of a lifetime of hard work. However, for many it means a substantial drop in income and living standards. So how can you make the most of the last few years of work before taking that big step into retirement?

Are we there yet?

Allowing for future age pension entitlement the Association of Superannuation Funds of Australia (ASFA) calculates that a couple will need savings of $640,000 at retirement to maintain a ‘comfortable lifestyle’ .) ASFA equates ‘comfortable’ to an annual income of $60,264.)

How are we tracking as a nation?

In 2015-2016, 50% of men aged 60-64 had super balances of less than $110,000. For women the figure was a more alarming $36,000 – not even enough to provide a single person with a ‘modest’ lifestyle. (ASFA estimates that to upgrade from a ‘pension only’ to a ‘modest’ lifestyle would require a retirement nest egg of $70,000.)

Last minute lift

If your super is looking a little on the thin side, there are a few ways to give it a boost before retirement.

  • Make the most of your concessional contributions cap. Ask your employer if you can increase your employer contributions under a ‘salary sacrifice’ arrangement. Alternatively, you can claim a tax deduction for personal contributions you make. Total concessional contributions must not exceed $25,000 per year, although from July 2018 you may be able to carry forward any unused portion of this cap for up to five years.
  • Investigate the benefits of a ‘transition to retirement’ (TTR) income stream. This can be combined with a re-contribution strategy that, depending on your marginal tax rate, can give your retirement savings a significant boost.
  • Review your investment strategy. A common view is that as we near retirement our investments should be shifted to the conservative end of the risk and return spectrum. However, in an age of low returns and longer life expectancies, some growth assets may be required to provide the returns that will be necessary to support a long and comfortable retirement.
  • Make non-concessional contributions. If you have substantial funds outside of super it may be worthwhile transferring them into the concessionally taxed super environment. You can contribute up to $100,000 per year, or $300,000 within a three-year period. A work test applies if you are over 65.
  • The 60s is often a time for home downsizing. This can free up some cash to help with retirement. The ‘downsizer contribution’ allows a couple to jointly contribute up to $600,000 to superannuation without it counting towards their non-concessional contributions caps.

Bye-bye tax, hello aged pension?

One reward, just for turning 60, is that any withdrawals from your super account will be tax-free. This applies to both lump sum withdrawals and income stream payments. Depending on the preservation status of your funds you may need to meet a condition of release to access your superannuation.

Based on your date of birth, somewhere between age 65 and 67 you’ll reach age pension age. The age pension is subject to both an assets test and an income test and some advanced planning can boost your eligibility for the pension. For example, the family home is exempt from the assets test. Releasing cash by downsizing may reduce your eligibility for the age pension.

Get it right

This important decade is when you will make the key decisions that will determine your quality of life in retirement. Those decisions are both numerous and complex.

Quality, knowledgeable advice is critical, and wherever you are on your path to retirement, now is always the best time to talk to your licensed financial adviser.

For more information or to speak to one of our Financial Advisers – please contact TNR Wealth Management on 02 6621 8544.

Disclaimer
Past performance is not a reliable indicator of future performance. The information and any advice in this publication does not take into account your personal objectives, financial situation or needs and so you should consider its appropriateness having regard to these factors before acting on it. This article may contain material provided directly by third parties and is given in good faith and has been derived from sources believed to be reliable but has not been independently verified. It is important that your personal circumstances are taken into account before making any financial decision and we recommend you seek detailed and specific advice from a suitably qualified adviser before acting on any information or advice in this publication. Any taxation position described in this publication is general and should only be used as a guide. It does not constitute tax advice and is based on current laws and our interpretation. You should consult a registered tax agent for specific tax advice on your circumstances
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End of year tax tips

All / 14.06.2018

End of year tax tips

For more information or to speak to one of our Financial Advisers – please contact TNR Wealth Management on 02 6621 8544.

Disclaimer
Past performance is not a reliable indicator of future performance. The information and any advice in this publication does not take into account your personal objectives, financial situation or needs and so you should consider its appropriateness having regard to these factors before acting on it. This article may contain material provided directly by third parties and is given in good faith and has been derived from sources believed to be reliable but has not been independently verified. It is important that your personal circumstances are taken into account before making any financial decision and we recommend you seek detailed and specific advice from a suitably qualified adviser before acting on any information or advice in this publication. Any taxation position described in this publication is general and should only be used as a guide. It does not constitute tax advice and is based on current laws and our interpretation. You should consult a registered tax agent for specific tax advice on your circumstances
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If I was 25 again I would……be wary of investment fads

All / 08.06.2018

If I was 25 again I would……be wary of investment fads

Today it’s crypto-currencies like Bitcoin. In 2000 it was technology shares. In 1987 it was shares in general, and way back in the seventeenth century investors were going nuts over tulip bulbs.

When it comes to investment, fads occur when asset prices are driven up by irrational excitement, greed, and ‘FOMO’ – the fear of missing out.

The fundamental rules of valuing an investment fly out the window and speculation dominates trading as hoards get caught up in the frenzy before experiencing a crash.

While it may be difficult to resist the temptation to join in I would, instead, put my money only into investments that I understand; those with values based on a more realistic capability of generating long-term income and/or capital growth. I wouldn’t rule out the occasional small flutter on a ‘speckie’, but it would come out of my entertainment budget rather than being part of my core portfolio.

For more information or to speak to one of our Financial Advisers – please contact TNR Wealth Management on 02 6621 8544.

Disclaimer
Past performance is not a reliable indicator of future performance. The information and any advice in this publication does not take into account your personal objectives, financial situation or needs and so you should consider its appropriateness having regard to these factors before acting on it. This article may contain material provided directly by third parties and is given in good faith and has been derived from sources believed to be reliable but has not been independently verified. It is important that your personal circumstances are taken into account before making any financial decision and we recommend you seek detailed and specific advice from a suitably qualified adviser before acting on any information or advice in this publication. Any taxation position described in this publication is general and should only be used as a guide. It does not constitute tax advice and is based on current laws and our interpretation. You should consult a registered tax agent for specific tax advice on your circumstances
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If I was 25 again I would… …pay extra off my mortgage!

All / 31.05.2018

If I was 25 again I would… …pay extra off my mortgage!

If I could find just $100 extra per month – less than the proverbial cup of coffee every day – and added this to my repayments on a $300,000 mortgage with an interest rate of 3.75% per annum over a term of 25 years, I would save $17,466 in interest, and shave more than two years off the term of the loan.

If I couldn’t make the extra payments regularly I’d aim to use any windfalls to pay down the loan. An additional $1,000 paid at the start of the same mortgage would save me $19,795 in interest over the term!

In practice, the easy way to do this is through a mortgage offset account. This would ensure all my savings, including the extra amounts I can find here and there, are working to reduce my total interest bill. And if interest rates rise, the savings will be magnified.

For more information or to speak to one of our Financial Advisers please contact TNR Wealth Management on 02 6621 8544.

Disclaimer
Past performance is not a reliable indicator of future performance. The information and any advice in this publication does not take into account your personal objectives, financial situation or needs and so you should consider its appropriateness having regard to these factors before acting on it. This article may contain material provided directly by third parties and is given in good faith and has been derived from sources believed to be reliable but has not been independently verified. It is important that your personal circumstances are taken into account before making any financial decision and we recommend you seek detailed and specific advice from a suitably qualified adviser before acting on any information or advice in this publication. Any taxation position described in this publication is general and should only be used as a guide. It does not constitute tax advice and is based on current laws and our interpretation. You should consult a registered tax agent for specific tax advice on your circumstances
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Get Ready for June 30 – NOW!

All / 24.05.2018

Get Ready for June 30 – NOW!

When it comes to getting the most (money) from your annual tax return, there is usually a lot to think about, so we’ve identified a few options that could open the door to some opportunities to save on tax.

The key here is to plan ahead.

Deductions — lower your tax liability

Pay now for some of next year’s expenses

If you have some spare cash available, paying for certain expenses before June 30 could mean you get your tax break back from the ATO earlier. Expenses paid in July could leave you waiting more than 12 months for the return. A popular expense in this category is prepaying interest on an investment loan, but be careful because not all expenses qualify for a tax deduction in advance.
This year the ATO is focusing on work-related expenses. If you are planning to claim expenses for things like a home office, mobile phone, tools and equipment, etc, make sure you claim only eligible expenses and have the paperwork to substantiate them.

Cash back for insuring your income

You can claim the premiums you have paid for your income protection insurance as a tax deduction. Note that you can only claim the portion of the premium that covers you for loss of income, not for any benefits of a capital nature. Premiums for other personal insurance cover such as life, critical care or trauma cannot be claimed. You also can’t claim deductions for premiums that are paid from your superannuation contributions if your policy is held in your fund.

Super contributions — don’t waste the limits

June 30 is not just about deductions for expenses. It’s also a good time to review your superannuation contributions to date and take advantage of the annual caps.

Salary sacrifice or concessional contributions

The annual limit for these types of tax-deductible contributions is $25,000 per annum, regardless of age. If you’re an employee, this limit covers both employer super guarantee and salary sacrifice contributions.

How much has your fund received in contributions so far this year? Do you need to review and adjust your current arrangements?

After-tax contributions

Anyone under 65 (whether working or retired) can contribute $100,000 each year to super as after-tax or non-concessional contributions. You can also contribute $300,000 in a single year by bringing forward the limit for the following two years. But – when it comes to super there’s usually a ‘but’ – check your total super balance to ensure any extra contributions do not exceed the general balance transfer cap of $1.6 million for 2017/18.

And one final point on super contributions – the total contributed is based on how much is received by your fund, not when you sent it to the fund. Another reason why planning ahead is crucial.

These are just a few ways to manage how your money is taxed. Depending on your circumstances, other options may be available. Your licensed adviser can work with you to help you achieve what is best for you this financial year. But please don’t leave it too late.

For more information or to speak to one of our Financial Advisers please contact TNR Wealth Management on 02 6621 8544.

Disclaimer
Past performance is not a reliable indicator of future performance. The information and any advice in this publication does not take into account your personal objectives, financial situation or needs and so you should consider its appropriateness having regard to these factors before acting on it. This article may contain material provided directly by third parties and is given in good faith and has been derived from sources believed to be reliable but has not been independently verified. It is important that your personal circumstances are taken into account before making any financial decision and we recommend you seek detailed and specific advice from a suitably qualified adviser before acting on any information or advice in this publication. Any taxation position described in this publication is general and should only be used as a guide. It does not constitute tax advice and is based on current laws and our interpretation. You should consult a registered tax agent for specific tax advice on your circumstances
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Boost your super before 30 June

All / 24.05.2018

Boost your super before 30 June

The end of the financial year is rapidly approaching and, along with it, the opportunity to claim a tax deduction on additional superannuation contributions.

Why contribute more to super?

Superannuation does impose restrictions on access to your money. It is, after all, intended to provide for your retirement. So why would you lock up more of your money? Because superannuation remains one of the most tax-favoured environments within which to build wealth. That can make it an ideal place to invest your long-term savings.

What are concessional contributions?

Concessional contributions are super contributions that have been claimed as a tax deduction by someone. They include employer contributions – both super guarantee and salary sacrifice – as well as personal contributions on which you may be eligible to claim a tax deduction.

How much can I contribute?

For the 2017/18 financial year the limit on concessional contributions from all sources is $25,000. For example, if your annual salary is $150,000 and you only receive super guarantee contributions, your employer will contribute $14,250 (9.5% of your salary) to your fund. That means you can make personal contributions of up to $10,750, and if you meet the eligibility terms, claim a tax deduction.

Entering into a salary sacrifice arrangement with your employer would achieve the same result. Based on the above salary, the maximum amount you could salary sacrifice is also $10,750, but you may not have enough time to do that this financial year.

When is the deadline and what paperwork is required?

Your contributions must be received and credited by your super fund by 30 June. To play it safe make your personal contribution at least two weeks before the end of financial year.
You must also notify your superannuation fund that you intend to claim a tax deduction for a personal contribution. Your fund may send you the appropriate form to complete or you can use form NAT 71121 available from www.ato.gov.au provide written notification to your fund. Your super fund must acknowledge receipt of this notice to make it a valid claim.

What if I’m approaching the cap?

If you’ve maxed out your cap for this year and your spouse’s income is under $40,000, you may pick up a tax offset of up to $540 by making a spouse contribution to their fund.

Need help?

Your financial adviser can help you work out how to make the most of your concessional contribution cap and explain the finer details. And if you miss this year’s deadline, talk to your adviser about putting in place a plan to ensure you take advantage of next year’s concessional contribution opportunity.

For more information or to speak to one of our Financial Advisers please contact TNR Wealth Management on 02 6621 8544.

Disclaimer
Past performance is not a reliable indicator of future performance. The information and any advice in this publication does not take into account your personal objectives, financial situation or needs and so you should consider its appropriateness having regard to these factors before acting on it. This article may contain material provided directly by third parties and is given in good faith and has been derived from sources believed to be reliable but has not been independently verified. It is important that your personal circumstances are taken into account before making any financial decision and we recommend you seek detailed and specific advice from a suitably qualified adviser before acting on any information or advice in this publication. Any taxation position described in this publication is general and should only be used as a guide. It does not constitute tax advice and is based on current laws and our interpretation. You should consult a registered tax agent for specific tax advice on your circumstances
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The Foundations of successful investing

All / 17.05.2018

Establishing an investment portfolio can be likened to building a home. The most destructive, yet unpredictable predator to the structure of a home is the weather. Even in these most technically advanced days, we are still unable to accurately predict the weather.

And so too, a man is a fool if he thinks he can successfully predict the future of the global economy. Like the weather it can be the most unpredictable and destructive threat to your investment earnings. But with a carefully built portfolio based on sound foundations, you have a much better chance of weathering a financial storm.

Investment principles

The foundations of a strong portfolio rely on four key ‘pillars’ or investment principles… quality, value, diversity and time.

We are probably all tiring of the old line, “don’t put all your eggs into one basket” – meaning to diversify your portfolio – but that is only one pillar on which to rely. The other three are equally important. Forget about just one and you are setting yourself up for a collapse.

Let us briefly explain why all four pillars are crucial to your investing success…

If we look at the first two pillars, quality and value, it’s obvious this means to look for assets that are expected to provide higher returns relative to their risks. Applying this to shares, quality companies should have a sound basis to their operations and growth; that is, their earnings are not driven by fads. This however, might mean they take time to deliver. Remember that investing in the share market is generally a long-term strategy.

Quality and value don’t always go hand in hand. Quality stocks may trade at such high prices that they offer low initial value or it could be that expectations for these companies are sometimes too high. The key here is quality… the expectation is that they will be around for a long time, not just a good time.

This takes us back to diversity. Diversity acts like the scales in a portfolio, providing balance. True diversity in a portfolio gives the investor the opportunity to take advantage of “hot stocks” or asset classes, whilst balancing out the risk with quality stocks and asset classes. It can provide a buffer against mistakes in assessing value because nobody gets it right all of the time. A well-balanced portfolio should be designed cope with occasional losses.

And finally, the pillar of time applies to the previous three. It can give you the best chance of success. Every market will suffer periodic downturns, however over time the upturn will always triumph. The golden rule is don’t panic and get caught up in the fear and greed cycle.

Make sure your investment portfolio is on solid foundations. Talk to your licensed financial adviser.

 

For more information or to speak to one of our Financial Advisers please contact TNR Wealth Management on 02 6621 8544.

 

Disclaimer
Past performance is not a reliable indicator of future performance. The information and any advice in this publication does not take into account your personal objectives, financial situation or needs and so you should consider its appropriateness having regard to these factors before acting on it. This article may contain material provided directly by third parties and is given in good faith and has been derived from sources believed to be reliable but has not been independently verified. It is important that your personal circumstances are taken into account before making any financial decision and we recommend you seek detailed and specific advice from a suitably qualified adviser before acting on any information or advice in this publication. Any taxation position described in this publication is general and should only be used as a guide. It does not constitute tax advice and is based on current laws and our interpretation. You should consult a registered tax agent for specific tax advice on your circumstances.

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The Secret to “Living the Dream”

All / 11.05.2018

The Secret to “Living the Dream”

We all, to a greater or lesser extent, have an idea of our dream lifestyle. So how, as a nation, are we faring?

To find out, the Financial Planning Association of Australia (FPA) commissioned a survey of more than 2,600 people from around the country. The resulting Live the Dream report provides an insight into the extent to which we are collectively living our dream life and, more importantly, reveals key habits and characteristics of those who are already doing so.

What’s the dream?

Of course, everyone has a different concept of a dream life. However, across all age groups, three definitions topped the list:

  • having the lifestyle of my choice;
  • having financial freedom and independence;
  • having safety and security.

More specific aspects ranged across travel, family time, career and hobbies.

Are we living it?

Overall, just on a quarter of those surveyed are ‘definitely’ or ‘mostly’ living their dream. That may in part be due to the fact that most Australians are in the workforce and haven’t yet reached a point of true financial independence. Nonetheless, it reveals that there is a sizeable gap between the lifestyle that most of us are actually living and the one we want.

There’s no prize for guessing that a low bank balance is the number one barrier to having a permanent Nirvana lifestyle. Debt and a lack of time were the other major blockers.

Pursuing the dream

The good news is that there are some simple, key characteristics more commonly associated with those who are living their dream life. These people are more likely to plan – and to stick to those plans. They are more likely to seek advice from a financial planner. Interestingly, they are also more likely to meditate.

Age is a poor indicator of the extent to which we live our dream. Instead, the strongest influence revealed by the study was personality type.

Leading the race are the go-getters, with their big goals, clear idea of what they want in life, and a willingness to seek advice.

Bringing up the rear are the cruisers. They’re not great ones for forward planning but they are out there enjoying life now.

In between are the daydreamers and builders.

The number one solution

This doesn’t mean that the only solution for those not living the dream is to have a personality transplant! Personality is a fundamental part of who we are and most people display attributes from all of the personality types. Even the most dedicated cruiser will have a little of the go-getter lurking within. It’s simply a matter of nurturing the desire to go after your dream – and you don’t even have to do all the hard work.

According to Live the Dream the three most challenging aspects of planning are:

  1. not knowing what you want;
  2. finding the resources to help create a plan; and
  3. finding the time to plan.

Even before a plan is made, almost a quarter of those surveyed know they wouldn’t stick to it anyway.

If those seem like insurmountable barriers, then talk to someone who lives to plan – a qualified financial planner.

He or she can help you define your particular dream, identify the steps to achieve it, and save you time. And stay close by to keep you committed.

Once in place, your planner can nurture your inner go-getter, helping you step-by-step so that soon you won’t just be planning the dream, but living it.

For more information or to speak to one of our Financial Advisers please contact TNR Wealth Management on 02 6621 8544.

Disclaimer
Past performance is not a reliable indicator of future performance. The information and any advice in this publication does not take into account your personal objectives, financial situation or needs and so you should consider its appropriateness having regard to these factors before acting on it. This article may contain material provided directly by third parties and is given in good faith and has been derived from sources believed to be reliable but has not been independently verified. It is important that your personal circumstances are taken into account before making any financial decision and we recommend you seek detailed and specific advice from a suitably qualified adviser before acting on any information or advice in this publication. Any taxation position described in this publication is general and should only be used as a guide. It does not constitute tax advice and is based on current laws and our interpretation. You should consult a registered tax agent for specific tax advice on your circumstances.

 

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If I was 25 again I would… …pay more attention to my super!

All / 03.05.2018

I would take mental ownership of it rather than thinking it’s just something for old people to worry about.

First up I’d consolidate all of my super into one account to avoid paying multiple sets of fees. I’d also check to see if I was paying for insurance that I may not need at the moment, and if it offered the best deal on income protection insurance. I’d seek professional guidance to review the investment mix and whether it was appropriate for my long-term savings goals.

And despite all the other things I want to do with mylife before retiring, over the years I’d keep a close eye on my contributions to ensure my employer is paying what they should, and watch the balance grow to a big enough nest egg to give me financial independence by the time I eventually retire – if I ever want to!

For more information or to speak to one of our Financial Advisers please contact TNR Wealth Management on 02 6621 8544.

 

Disclaimer
Past performance is not a reliable indicator of future performance. The information and any advice in this publication does not take into account your personal objectives, financial situation or needs and so you should consider its appropriateness having regard to these factors before acting on it. This article may contain material provided directly by third parties and is given in good faith and has been derived from sources believed to be reliable but has not been independently verified. It is important that your personal circumstances are taken into account before making any financial decision and we recommend you seek detailed and specific advice from a suitably qualified adviser before acting on any information or advice in this publication. Any taxation position described in this publication is general and should only be used as a guide. It does not constitute tax advice and is based on current laws and our interpretation. You should consult a registered tax agent for specific tax advice on your circumstances.

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