2021 Tax time hints & tricks

Hi everyone, I’m Alison from A K Tax Services and since it’s tax time I thought I would share some hints, tricks and answers to some of the frequently asked questions that I receive from clients.

 

Receipts or it didn’t happen

Many people assume that there are automatic deductions or a certain amount that you can claim without records. This is not entirely true, even for items claimed under a cents per hour or kilometre method you need diary evidence to support your claim and just using your bank statements as records is not enough. For example, if you are claiming your motor vehicle use under the cents per kilometre method, you still need to have records to show how you have come up with the kilometres you are claiming.

If you aren’t great at keeping receipts, I suggest taking pictures of your receipts with your phone, putting them into a folder called “tax receipts” and keeping a separate folder for each financial year. Make sure the folder is backed up to the cloud, so even if you lose your phone you don’t lose your receipts.

If you use software such as MYOB or XERO, they each have in-built options so you can attach copies of receipts to the relevant transaction in the software (trust me, your Accountant will love you for doing this).

If you are ever audited by the ATO and can’t provide receipts to match up to your claims, you can say hello to a tax bill AND penalties imposed by the ATO.

Sco-Mo’s $1080

As part of an election promise a couple of years ago, Scott Morrison and his government introduced the $1080 rebate (I refer to this as ScoMo’s bribery payment).

Many people assume that everyone is entitled to it, but this is not the case. Your taxable income must sit between $48,000 and $90,000 to receive the full payment of $1080. The amount gradually reduces on either side of those income thresholds.

Even if you sit within that income bracket, you are not guaranteed to receive this amount back into your pocket. It’s a tax rebate so it forms part of your income tax calculation. If you haven’t had enough tax taken out of your earnings, the $1080 will be swallowed up by any tax payable on your income.

So, your total refund or payable amount on your tax return includes this $1080 already.

Super yourself

If you are self-employed, contributing money into your superannuation fund is a great way to gain a tax deduction without furthering another business’s profit. Spending money on buying tools, cars, etc will also give you a tax deduction, but those assets will decrease in value and most likely cost you money to maintain.

Think of contributing to super as investing in yourself. You get the tax deduction AND the value of your super will generally continue to increase, and your future self will thank you!

If you did contribute to super and are planning on claiming a tax deduction, please make sure that you complete an “intent to claim” form before completing your tax return. Your super fund and the ATO both need to acknowledge the claim before you can complete and lodge your tax return.

Of course, because super is a financial investment, I always recommend getting advice from your financial planner prior to doing anything in this area.

Thanks for reading this far, if you have any other topics or questions you would like answered in future posts, please let me know!

For more information about accounting services head to Alison’s website 

A Journey to Self Care, Escaping Diet Culture! (trigger warning #dieting)

How many times have you thought to yourself, if I just lost maybe 5kg I’ll be much happier?

If I just fit into my pre-wedding jeans, I’ll definitely live a more fulfilling life and not worry about a diet anymore, right?

Have you ever looked in the mirror and loved what you saw? Like truly, unconditionally loved your reflection. Not picked anything apart??

Yeah, me either.

I just thought I was like everyone else, hating on their flaws, I never realized I had a crippling case of disordered eating!

 

My whole existence has been a relationship of yo-yo diets, weight management programs, exercise overhauls, I cannot tell you the last time I ate something that I ‘felt’ like eating or listened to my body for a ‘hunger cue’ what is that?! I eat according to my plan or diet, or because someone who I paid an exorbitant amount of money to told me too.

 

Yep 35 years of my entire time on this planet and I had not learnt how to eat? More shocking than that, I hated myself and have never valued myself as a being. But ask anyone who knows me, who is Jess and what is she like? I know they would say kind, loving, generous, good mum, businesswoman, supportive, friendly, likes to laugh, genuine, …. happy. But is she happy? And what defines happiness?

 

For me, having a BMI of between 20-25. Yep, I am not worthy unless I can fit into a dress off the rack at any store because that is all I’ve known, and all that society tells us. I could never describe myself as anything like my family and friends would.

 

So, then I thought, what on earth is self-worth, and why don’t I have it? The shocking truth, the revelations came about in a twist of fate. Reading Goodbye Money Guilt from Shona Gates, I figured my journey into making money, wealth was simple and only had to do with my bank account and job…WRONG! I was lead down a dark and unnerving path to unravel what went wrong, anything and everything that might have impacted my attitude towards keeping money?

 

Tears were shed reliving some dark moments from my past. Bullying, the ‘harmless’ comments from family about my size at every gathering, all the TV shows with thin actresses, the toxic relationship straight out of high school cementing everything from my youth. That I was worthless because I was not thin. It hurts me to type it, I am still learning that this is false, I AM NOT WORTHLESS. I can have self-worth but my gosh it is a hard pill to swallow that the root of everything is in my head, I am not worthy of anything.

 

The process of discovering self-worth or the lack of it has not been an easy journey nor have I arrived at my destination, I have only just started. But I know this, there is a direct correlation between the constant need to lose weight, how I eat, diet culture, and my self-worth. But 35 years of bad habits need to be un-learned. Where does one start??

 

First – get off the damn social channels – if you are following anyone that is making you feel like shit, get off or unfollow. Diet culture is rife in society and it is not going away anytime soon. Think about every single aspect of our lives and tell me the last time you saw a normal woman with curves as the feature? The reason I do not value myself is because there is no-one out there doing everyday things or even AMAZING things that look like me, or anyone I can relate to! So, stop it, stop comparing yourself to everyone else because they are not you.

 

Secondly, read honey! So, I finished my Goodbye Money Guilt, I did end up manifesting a shit-ton of money (thanks Shona!) And then went on to read “Things they don’t tell fat girls’ By Jes Baker, Holy Shit that was a good book and goes into depth about how we are all programmed to think thin is good, fat is bad. If you’re fat you’re not worthy or you’re just plain lazy…but I am anything but. I inhaled that book (pun intended) hungry for more! (hee hee another pun) Luckily Jes had a whole list of books to educate on fat culture, health, self-worth…. you name it. Which is how I racked up a $350 bill on books from an online store.

 

I’m currently reading two further books – Health at every Size by Dr Lindo Bacon and listening to The Resilience project by Hugh Van Cuylenburg. These are opening my mind to body acceptance and gratitude, specifically that the excuse of “I need to lose weight to be healthy” is a myth. In fact, Dr Lindo Bacon provides a lot of scientific evidence that thin does not always equal healthy, in some cases being fat or as doctors would say being ‘overweight/obese’ prevents or helps eliminates some diseases, yep you read that right. The whole new idea of me being my size is ok and I won’t die of a cardiovascular disease or Type 2 diabetes is absolutely blowing my mind!! It is not to say I want to eat all the things, on the contrary I want to learn about how to eat, and what foods are beneficial. But not to lose weight.

 

This leads to my step 3, intuitive eating. This is a new term I have only just learnt since being on this journey of discovery. Apparently, there is a whole intuitive movement that nutritionists and holistic health practitioners are promoting because we have lost our way. Like I said I have no idea how to eat, what to eat, when to eat and intuitive eating is learning to listen to your body, hunger cues, with the aim to satisfy your hunger. Easier said than done so yes I have books on those too which are in the mail (watch this space).

 

Finally, gratitude. I have started a gratitude journal. Nothing fancy just an old notebook, I aim to write 3 things daily with what I am grateful for. Don’t over think it, just verbalize them or acknowledge it somehow. The more I’m focusing on what I do have the less I focus on the ‘body’ I don’t have or the weight loss goal I haven’t hit. And I’ll say it again, it’s a work in progress I am not finished yet but since starting my daily gratitude my mood has lifted, I’m not snapping at the kids as much (I’m not perfect) I’m more resilient when things don’t go my way, my husband and I are actually talking more rather than just two ships passing in the night…..this whole journey of self-discovery, self-worth is grounding me to appreciate everything I have, I’m slowing down and you might like to say I’m smelling those damn roses.

 

If you would like to follow my journey or create your own to self-worth and un-learning all those bad habits – I’m on Instagram @jess_engles DM me I’d love to hear from you.

Thank you to Sal for the space to share my process and progress of self-discovery.

 

Brand review: Supercharge your brand in 2021

Welcome to 2021! January is traditionally a time of reflection, intentions and goal setting. We reassess our health, set lofty New Year’s resolutions and exciting goals for our businesses. It’s also an excellent time to review your brand! So, come along with me and supercharge your brand in 2021 with a brand review.

Sounds daunting right? Trust me, once you know the steps, you’ll find it quite simple, and it probably won’t take you more then 10 minutes. You’ll know very quickly in your gut whether things need to change.

So, what is a brand review?

Very simply, a brand review is an overall health check for your brand. Take a step back and assess the brand from different angles, ensuring that it is aligned with your vision and goals. I know that sounds vague, but you can go into as little or as much depth as you feel you need to. Ready to take the ride?

Here are the aspects of your brand that I recommend looking into for your 2021 brand review:

  1. WHERE ARE YOU GOING?

What is your 5-10 year vision for your brand? Where is it going, and what do you want it to represent and achieve? How are you going to get there? Who are you serving, how and why?

  1. WHO ARE YOU SERVING?

Who are you serving? What are their pain points? What motivates them and how are you filling their needs? Is your offer aligned with what they feel they need?

  1. VISUAL BRAND

Is your visual brand aligning well with your vision, mission and target audience? Or is it outdated, tired or representing a previous iteration of your brand that is no longer relevant? Sometimes in the early years of business, our brand evolves as we hone in on what our audience wants and needs. The personality may shift as we realise how to best communicate our brand visually to our audience.

  1. BRANDING PHOTOGRAPHY

How’s your brand photography looking? I’m not just talking about products here… it’s imperative in today’s marketplace to include personal branding photography even if you’re a product-based business. Are your images aligned with your visual brand vibe? Hopefully they’re no more than two years old! Here’s a  couple of great resources to find out more about either core branding imagery or personal branding photography.

  1. BRAND VOICE

How’s that website copy sounding? Is it hitting the heart of your audience, or is it dry, chalky and lifeless? How about your captions? Check out this post about using your voice as branding.

Well, there you have it! If you use these points as a springboard, you’ll soon be able to identify which aspects of your brand need a spruce up. You’ll know in your gut whether or not things need to change. Indicators are usually that your message isn’t aligning with your ideal client, the components that make up your visual brand are outdated or tired, or your brand has recently developed or even changed directions completely. Either way, it’s important to regularly check in with your brand! Here’s to a supercharged 2021!

P.S. If any or all of these points are making your mind boggle, I’ve got you lady! Enrolments for my signature brand foundation course, Brand Alchemy are opening soon. Learn to communicate your brand message effectively to capture the hearts of your dream customers. Say goodbye to second guessing, and hello to sparkling brand consistency. Join the waitlist to learn more: http://www.brandalchemy.net

 

I AM BEAUTIFUL

I am beautiful, I am amazing….and so are you!

 

I would look in the mirror and I didn’t like what was looking back at me.

3 months into COVID-19, I would see all of these things on Instagram of COVID-19 fitness and this girl lost this much weight through a COVID-19 miracle workout. It was making me so miserable.

I was literally at a stage where I had tried every single diet. Intermittent fasting, keto, gosh if they had told me to drink the blood of a baby goat, I probably would have given it a go, I just desperately wanted to lose weight. So, I spoke to my sister-in-law, she works for a clinic that does gastric bypasses, and I started to find out some more information about it, what you needed to qualify, sort of all the entry level stuff. I wasn’t convinced I was going to do it because I am slightly terrified of needles, but I had started to go down that track at least.

The next day I had a meeting with my ‘crazy’ doctor, and I was telling her about the process and the journey that I was looking at going down. My doctor asked me to wait for six months and during those six months we would work really closely on my mindset.

I wasn’t really 100% convinced but I thought it was  going to be just six months so let’s just give it a go. She asked me to every night when I went to bed to tell myself that I loved myself. To tell my body it was beautiful, to thank it for all of its hard work during the day, to thank it for growing my two beautiful children and for overall just being amazing.

At first, I must admit that I did feel like a little bit of a ******. It felt stupid, maybe I was a little bit embarrassed even saying those things to myself but I had promised my doctor and so I did it. I honestly don’t even think it took very long for me to start noticing little differences.  I stopped being so worried, I started to feel more relaxed. I started to put in just these little extra bits of effort. Now I’m not talking about doing my makeup everyday, but I would at least brush my hair even if I were just dropping the kids off at school. I stopped worrying that other people were even noticing me, never mind thinking bad things about me but understanding that we’re all so busy most of the times we don’t even notice other people.

I felt lighter and I don’t mean that as in I had lost weight, I just felt like I was carrying less. Less stress, less problems, less paranoia, I definitely felt better. My mood had improved and because of that I was eating better. I wasn’t stress eating I wasn’t emotionally eating on the couch, and because my mind wasn’t taken up with so much worrying about my weight and what other people were thinking, I actually had time, mental time to start making better lifestyle decisions.

I think it took 10 days for me to believe it. I could walk past a mirror see my reflection and think gosh Sandra you are beautiful. It wasn’t about a vanity thing; it was because I was happier and at the end of the day what is more beautiful than a happier person?

When I think back on all of the things that I used to tell myself, all the horrible things I used to say, now that embarrasses me more than telling myself that I am beautiful.

If we actually stop and take 2 minutes to think about the things that we say to ourselves, things that we would never ever say to another person, like you’re ugly, you’re fat, you look hideous in that; can you imagine if our children said these things to themselves? I once caught my daughter looking in the mirror and saying she was fat. I’m not sure I’ve ever actually cried so much because there’s really only one place she’s ever heard that, and that’s from me saying it to myself. Our children, especially our little girls are always listening, and I want my daughter to hear me saying that I’m beautiful. I want her to copy that.

I’m four months into my six months. It has not been a perfect journey; it’s definitely been an easier one. I’ve decided that it’s none of my business what anyone thinks about me and so I stopped worrying about it. I’ve gone from being so horrible to myself to being my own best friend. To speaking to myself like I would my friends. I’ve gone from thinking that being skinny would make me happy to just being happy. Everything that I need to be happy is around me and so I simply am happy.

I still tell myself exactly the same thing. I am beautiful, I am amazing and so are you!

Ps……I’m also down 7 notches on my belt, simply by changing my mindset.

How to stop feeling freaked out by money – by Shona Gates

 

Ever heard the phrase, ‘money is the root of all evil’. Of course, you have, everyone has.

Somehow that one little phrase has so many people all over the world totally blocked, frustrated and stuck. It has incredible women undervaluing themselves. It has mums feeling guilty for going to work. It has total boss babes hiding their ambition, scared of judgment.

But, I 100 per cent know you c

an be a total rich babe and a spiritual / good person / incredible mum at the same time.

I know that’s kind of a strange concept to wrap your head around because pretty much everything in the world will try to tell you otherwise. However, …

  • Being wealthy doesn’t make you “less spiritual”
  • Being “broke” doesn’t make you more “woke”
  • Struggling doesn’t make you more pure or worthy or morally right.

Because, despite what you’ve heard … money is not evil and having money doesn’t make you a bad person.

In fact, I 100% believe having money helps you become a better person all round because it gives you opportunity, it gives you choice and it amplifies the best of you.

  • A mum who doesn’t have to stress about bills or struggle to pay her electricity bill can be a more present mum, play with her kids, read them stories, cuddle with them.
  • A dad who has enough money he doesn’t need to work 18 hour days can help volunteer at his sons school to build the new playground.
  • The woman whose baby boutique clothing store is selling out of stock superfast can hire more staff, giving jobs to other mums in the community.
  • The business coach who has her first 20k month, can donate thousands to a charity that provides food for the homeless.
  • The grandma who made some smart decisions with real estate in her 40s can afford to send her grandchild to a summer music program.
  • The young mum who joins a MLM and brings in some extra money every week can afford to shop at the organic farmers market every week instead of living off pasta and 99c rice.

Money is powerful. In a GOOD way … in a way that we can positively impact the world. In the way where we can have more choice and freedom and change.

In a way where you can buy the reusable beeswax wraps instead of the plastic cling wrap because your passionate about saving the turtles. In a way where we can make decisions based on what aligns with our true purpose instead of what we can afford.

Money is sexy.  But, if you’re reading that sentence and cringing right now, it’s probably because somewhere along the line someone or something convinced you that money was evil, gross, dirty, corrupt, etc.

Don’t worry, you are not alone … in fact, up until a few years ago I had this exact same blueprint

I mean, think about most movies you watched as a child —The Little Rascals, Lizzie McGuireMean Girls, even Harry Potter — the rich kids are always the bad guys. The average or poor kids are the heroes, the underdogs we all root for.

Subconsciously we take on this story, this pattern as our own belief system … demonising wealth, success and ambition. Glorifying struggle.

We become stuck with these subconscious messages clouding our own self-worth, stopping us seeing our own value keeping us small.

But this story no longer serves us. It’s time to let it go, So how do we let go of that negative money blueprint? By reframing the way we view wealthy people.

What happens when you see a wealthy person, that mum with the $2500 pram, the woman driving a Range Rover, those parents who takes their kids overseas for holidays every year to EPIC locations

What thoughts enter your mind? ‘Might have money but I bet she’s a cow’ … ‘money can’t buy happiness’ … ‘rich kids are always brats anyway’ etc

Now it’s time to disrupt the narrative …

Some of the wealthiest people I know of are also the most hard working, the most generous, the most enlightened and the most spiritual.

Change the script … see people with all the potential they have, with all their incredible humanness recognise and choose to believe that they worked bloody hard to get where they are today.

Here are my top three tips to not only build your confidence around money but also release your judgment of other wealthy/abundant people.

3 ways to build your confidence around money

  1. Don’t say you’re bad with money

Stop saying ‘I’m bad with money’ or ‘I’m not good with money’ or ‘money is the root of all evil’. Instead, try swapping it to ‘I’m learning about money’.

Simple, so simple, and just watch as this little shift makes a massive change to the way you view yourself and learning about finances and creating more abundance.

  1. Start getting comfortable with money

Every day when you have your breakfast or your morning coffee, check your bank account. Open your online banking, check your accounts and think about things you’re grateful for that money gives you.

Do this EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. and it will slowly build your confidence. Bit by bit the ‘money is ewww’ mindset will start to slip away.

  1. Write a letter to money

Write a brutally honest letter to money as if it is a real person. Be as calm or as angry as you want to be. Get it all out on paper — don’t hold back.

After you have written out your honest, angry letter to money, spend a moment to journal and ask yourself ‘if money was a person and you were in a relationship with him/her, how have you been treating him/her and how could you treat him/her better in future?’.

Remember … money is not bad, it’s not evil. It is a resource and when you have resources, you have access to things that help you grow and create a fulfilling and meaningful life.

Money is amazing and it will give you the resources to give back, to create, to empower and support others.

But it’s only amazing when you let go of the idea that it’s bad or that it’s not right to have a lot of it. It’s just not true.

Choose love over fear, abundance over lack. Rewrite your money blueprint. You DO deserve to be a wealthy abundant badass babe!

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Nutrition for the Busy Mama!

By Amelia Ricci

As a mum it’s easy to fall into the trap of drinking coffee all day and eating sugar for a quick energy hit, rather than making nutritious choices. You know the drill; you make awesome healthy foods for your kids and you come last.

With sleep deprivation and little time to think about yourself, one day can pass so quickly and then you realize its dinner time and you may not have had a healthy meal.

Even as a fitness professional (who should know better) I have been there! But these poor food choices made me feel terrible and did nothing for my health and fitness goals.

When my kids were young, I wanted to find quick and easy ways to feed both of us, so I created the handy guide below to use ingredients for my meals and my kids at the same time – winning!

Baby and toddler foods matched with my favourite ‘go to’ snacks for mums and bubs on the go.

Food Baby or toddler’s snack Fit mums’ snack
Wholegrain rolled oats cooked with water. Puree or mash with steamed pears. Add chocolate WPI protein powder and walnuts to make porridge.
Sweet potato, steamed or boiled. Mash with avocado. Serve with chicken breast fillet and hommous.
Chicken Breast fillets roasted in the oven with lemon juice and parsley. Puree or chop finely and combine in the blender with a can of drained chickpeas for a creamy texture. Older toddlers can eat raw or steamed carrot sticks and use the mixture as a dip. Serve with brown rice, broccoli and snow peas or make a chicken sandwich with salad.
Plain yoghurt (no added sugar). Finely chop strawberries and mash into the yoghurt. Combine yoghurt with blueberries and almonds.
Raw carrot and cucumber. Grate carrot and cucumber and mix with ricotta cheese for a smooth texture. Dip raw sticks or carrot and cucumber into a low fat tzadziki dip.
Chia seeds soaked in water. Mix with banana and yoghurt. Make a protein shake with water, vanilla WPI, cinnamon and banana. Blend with ice.
Oven roasted pumpkin, cubed. Puree or mash with steamed baby spinach. Add chunks of pumpkin to a fry pan with ½ cup of egg whites from a carton and top with sliced tomato to make an omelette.

 

Tips for healthy and happy mealtimes

Toddlers need to eat small amounts often. The guideline is 3 small meals and 2-3 snacks.

Sit down together and relax, whether it be at a café, park or at home. Give meals and snacks plenty of time.

Eat together so your child can see the family eating a wide range of foods.

Be patient and do not worry or dismiss a certain food if your child does not immediately like it or makes a funny face! They will take time to get used to new textures and flavours.

If you provide healthy food, your child will decide to eat the amount they choose, try to avoid battling about the amount they eat. Let their appetite guide how much they eat.

As a mum never feel guilty about taking time to eat your meals and drink water. It is important that you are fit and healthy as you will have greater energy to care for your little one.

Here’s my fave muffin recipe that also freezes well so you are never stuck without a meal.

Amelia Ricci’s Chicken and Rice Muffins

Ingredients

1.5 cups cooked brown rice, divided into 6 x 1/4 cup portions

4 whole eggs, lightly beaten

450grams raw white chicken breast – finely diced

1/3 cup low sodium vegetable stock liquid

1/2 cup cherry tomatoes – halved

1/2 cup chopped spinach

1/4 cup finely diced onion

2 tsp poultry seasoning (this is a blend of rosemary, sage, thyme, marjoram, black pepper) – make sure no gluten or wheat or msg

How to Prepare

  1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees
  2. Coat a 6-cup muffin pan with cooking spray. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, combine chicken, eggs, vegetable broth, tomatoes, spinach, onion, poultry seasoning and garlic powder. Stir to mix well.
  4. Scoop ¼ cup brown rice into each muffin cup. Divide chicken mixture evenly into each of the 6 muffin cups and press down with back of spoon to pack down firmly over the rice.
  5. Put in oven and cook for 25-30 minutes, or until top is lightly browned and chicken is fully cooked. Remove from oven and let cook for a few minutes before serving.

One serve is two muffins with green salad.

About Amelia

Amelia Ricci is a mum to Orlando, 6 and Alessia 2 years old. She is a certified Nutrition Coach, Personal Trainer and Pilates Instructor with 20 years’ experience and writer for fitness magazines internationally. Her mission is to educate and inspire women to live a healthy life, with a balanced approach to holistic nutrition. Amelia’s qualifications include Health and Nutrition Coaching, Pre and Post Natal Fitness, Pilates and she also holds a Master of Business Degree, and a Bachelor of Business Degree.  

Amelia believes perfection is boring and the way to feel great is to eat fresh clean foods, train hard, love yourself and never stop learning.

Buy her nutrition guide here

https://livingbeauty.com.au/downloads/4-week-bikini-bundle/

Buy Amelia’s FIT pregnancy guide here

https://livingbeauty.com.au/downloads/fit-pregnancy-beyond-new-book/


Connect with Amelia on Instagram @livingbeautyamelia

https://www.instagram.com/livingbeautyamelia/