Older Families

What is middle age? Is it a number? Is it a stage of life? is it something that we are told we have now entered via a novelty birthday card?

With a bit of luck, they kids may have taken the hint and moved out, but these days they are likely to still be at home for quite some time with you, enjoying the good life with mum’s cooking and cleaning, and the use of dad’s car – and that’s before we mention the ‘Bank of Mum and Dad’.

Its probably around this time that you will hit your peak earning capacity, as you may go back to two full time salaries, and career wise, you might have a enough runs on the board.

Looking after each other might mean reviewing your Will, updating your death benefit nominations in super, opening a joint bank account or investment, taking out ‘couple’ health insurance, securing each others’ salaries through income protection insurance etc.

The GNS Group team would love to work with you and your partner to help you get the basics right, and then we can also move onto some of the fun stuff of planning your next stage of life – whatever that may look like. We’re not an old school stuffy accounting practice, and some of our team are in the exact same boat as you – so who better to answer your queries than someone you can relate to.

We’ve put our collective heads together and are happy to share some of our ideas on how you both can get ahead of others and some key topics for you to consider. But the real advantage that the clients of GNS Group receive is the ready access to our team to bounce ideas off and to allow us to understand what things are important to you.

Check out the information we’ve got here initially, but what we would really like to do is make a time for us to catch up either face to face, digitally or even over the phone so that we can work together, achieve your joint goals and get you off to a healthy financial future.

At GNS Group, we help build your wealth and protect your lifestyle.

But its also likely to be your peak spending period with secondary school fees or university, milestone birthday parties, trying to pay off your mortgage or upgrading your home to give everyone enough space, holidays etc. Careful planning is often required

We’ve put our collective heads together and are happy to share some of our ideas on how you can get ahead with some key topics for you to consider. But the real advantage that the clients of GNS Group receive is the ready access to our team to bounce ideas off allowing us to understand what things are important to you and your family.

The GNS Group team would love to work with you and your family to help you get the basics right (life insurance, income protection, home loans, tax returns), and then we can also move onto some of the fun stuff of planning for future lifestyle choices or with superannuation and wealth creation strategies.

We’re not an old school stuffy accounting practice, we are mums and dads just like you, some with kids in nappies and others with adult kids who just wont leave home – so who better to answer your queries than someone you can relate to.

Check out the information we’ve got here initially, but what we would really like to do is make a time for us to catch up either face to face, digitally or even over the phone so that we can work together, achieve your joint goals and get you off to a healthy financial future.

At GNS Group, we help build your wealth and protect your lifestyle.

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Estate Planning

Estate Planning

They often say there are only two certainties in life …DEATH and TAXES.

As you can imagine, being Accountants – we are all over taxes!

But when it comes to Estate Planning, it’s something that you may not have discussed or want to discuss.

Obviously we cannot make recommendations or prepare a Will, but we are often involved in the structuring of an Estate Plan with your Solicitor.

And if you don’t have a Solicitor, we are happy to recommend one to you.

We have seen some deceased Estates administered in an orderly fashion, with effective Tax Strategies, and Centrelink benefits.

On the flipside, there have been some real nightmare ones where a lack of proper advice from a Solicitor and our input from a tax perspective, have led to some unfortunate and costly outcomes

Some important reasons to address your Estate Planning:

  • If you die without a Will, an Administrator will distribute your assets in accordance with a Government Formula. It’s your money, you should decide who get is, not the Government.
  • Any assets in joint names will pass directly to the survivor and bypass your Will. This can work both for and against your wishes without consideration from your Solicitor.
  • Most people think of assets as being their house, bank account, shares, and Super. But Super is generally not an Estate Asset. It is up to the Trustee (Manager) of your Super Fund to work out who to give your Super balance to.
  • A Binding Death Nomination will direct the Trustee in how to pay out your Super and any Life Insurance inside your Super Fund. It is very important to make a valid Binding Death Nomination which reflects your wishes. And unlike a will, there are restrictions on who you can nominate as your Super Fund Beneficiary. Generally you can only nominate your spouse, a child or your Estate (commonly referred to as your “Legal Personal Representative LPR”). There are some other options, but leaving your Super to your parents or sister/brother is not always a valid nomination.
  • Power of Attorney documents are really important, but not often addressed. They can be issued for a specific purpose (such as while you are overseas on holiday) and they can be enduring (last through until revoked or death).
  • There are three main power of Attorney documents Financial: Able to deal with decisions regarding Bank Accounts, Property, Investments and Super.
    Medical: Able to decide what treatment is to be administered.
    Guardian: Able to decide where you will reside i.e. rehabilitation centre or aged care facility.

It is generally advisable to address all 3 Power of Attorney documents at the time of preparing a Will.

A Solicitor will be able to appropriately advise on how to best address your Estate Planning needs. We recommend a joint meeting with ourselves and your Solicitor to make sure there are no adverse tax implications.

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Holiday Homes

Holiday Homes

We all understand the importance of having a break away from work, and for many of us, that also means escaping from home too.

Depending on whether you are the explorer type,who likes to visit new or exotic destinations abroad, or a comfortable and convenient traveller who likes to stick to a 1.5 hour drive from home. Many people fall in love with a town which they like to also call home.

Home away from home, holiday house, weekend getaway call them what you like, but there are some important things to think about.

Firstly, will the property just be for your exclusive use, or perhaps you’ll allow family or friends, or will you extend it to also include strangers?

Like most things in life, there are pro’s and con’s.

Keeping a place just for yourself (and perhaps family) is a great option to give you flexibility for a spontaneous getaway and means you can leave things set up how you like it.

For many people their finances may not allow as much freedom and getting some rental income might make your dream happen. But the obvious drawback is that you will have someone else using your stuff, you can’t leave personal or valuable there, and your tenants most likely want to use the property at the same time you want to.

A holiday house at say Rye for you and the kids to use during the school holidays, is also the peak time for rental, so preventing it being rented when you are using the house means you most likely are denying yourself of thousands of dollars.

And of course, as soon as you start talking about having a good time, the fund police (AKA Tax Office) like to crash the party.

There are 2 important tax considerations to be aware of. Firstly, your holiday home is unlikely to qualify as your Primary Place of Residence. Either by virtue of you owning 2 properties, or by your infrequent occupation of the holiday home. This means your holiday house will be subject to capital Gains Tax when sold.

So it’s important that you keep details of all your costs, such as the original purchase contract, stamp duty, improvement costs, council rates, insurance, water rates etc. All of these costs help to reduce the amount of capital gains tax on holiday homes along with the interest on your mortgage of course.

Besides capital gains tax, you will need to worry about income tax should you rent out the holiday home.

For partial rental, partial holiday home, you will need to apportion all of the expenses between the period of time the property is available for rent and not available for private use.

Whilst splitting thing on a per day basis sounds simple, the ATO take a dim view of you occupying a holiday home during say all of the school holidays and then making the house ‘available to rent’ during this period of time when it is unlikely to generate income. This is where the fun police come back and say, if you deny yourself the peak income periods, don’t ask for a tax break.

There is a lot of ATO guidance on these matters and your GNS Group Accountant can assist you in these matters.

Talk to us today to get the best understanding of how holiday homes work.

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Home Loans

Home Loans

Whether you are buying your first home, a replacement home, or an investment property, sticking your hand up at an auction and signing on the dotted line can be a daunting time. Plenty of excitement around your new purchase and often some uncertainty – did I do the right thing? Have I paid too much?

One thing that you’ll then be faced with is – which Home Loan?

Comparing one Home Loan to another is a bit like comparing mobile phone plans. They make it all so confusing with features, included services etc, it’s a real challenge knowing where to begin.

Through our finance company – GNS Plus Pty Ltd, you have access to a variety of home loan solutions.

If you have never used a Mortgage Broker before, here is a quick run-down:

Your Broker is working for you, not the Bank. Brokers have the skills, experience and tools available to get you a good deal, explain all the different options and make recommendations to you on how to maximise your repayments and to cut your interest bill.

Our GNS Plus Lending Manager has access to over 30 bank and can evaluate what is best for you from:

  • Variable/Fixed Rates
  • Owner Occupied/Investment
  • Residential Commercial
  • Offset/Redraw
  • Line of Credit
  • Constitution Loans
  • Interest Only/Principle and Interest
  • SMSF Gearing
  • Reverse Mortgages

The benefit for you is we do all the leg work and shopping around, so you can relax knowing you’re getting your finances sorted.

Contact Paul on 9499 7444 for a complimentary consultation to assess your borrowing power.

Paul Tsikopoulos is a credit representative 522646 of BLSSA Pty Ltd ACN 117 651 760 (Australian Credit Licence 391237)



Home Loan Tips

Refinancing your home loan

A GNS Plus Lending Manager can review your current home loan to ensure you still have the right product for your needs. Don’t assume that just because your loan was once competitive, it still is. Interest rates change and different types of loans are always entering the market. They will:

  • assess your current interest rate
  • assess your repayment level
  • assess your financial situation to determine whether a better deal can be sourced saving your money, and helping you pay off your loan faster
Tips to pay off your home loan faster

Select a home loan that meets your needs. While the rate is important, it is more important to have an appropriate level of flexibility and function.

1) Pay off as much as you can, as often as you can.

2) Avoid loans that penalise you for making extra repayment

3) Avoid ‘honeymoon’ loans that revert to a higher rate after the ‘honeymoon’ period is over.

4) Avoid loans with high exit costs.

5) Deal with reputable organisations


Fixed or variable interest?

This really depends on your current financial situation. A GNS Plus Lending Manager can help you select the right type of loan, building in the cost of every-day living to determine how much you can afford to repay each month.

There are advantages and disadvantages of choosing fixed and variable interest loans, and they are assessed on a per client basis.

Options to consider are:

  • fixed interest loan
  • variable interest loan
  • loan comprising of part-fixed / part-variable interest

Remember however, that if you elect to split your loan into part fixed / part variable, make sure you don’t incur two monthly loan maintenance fees instead of one.


Hidden home loan costs

There are many costs associated with taking out a home loan, which don’t relate to the price of the property.

These hidden costs include:

  • Lenders’ fees, including loan application and establishment fees
  • Government charges including stamp duty on property purchase and mortgage, and title fees
  • Legal expenses
  • Inspection costs

Buying your first home

Buying your first home is one of (if not) the biggest financial commitments you will ever make. Stay well informed of what is involved so you don’t make any rash decisions.

Good financial planning advice from your Count adviser combined with the advice from a GNS Plus Lending Manager, can save you thousands of dollars off your loan and help you own your home sooner!


Can you afford to buy a house?

A credit provider must ensure you can afford to repay a loan without suffering undue financial hardship before lending you any money.

The total amount that you can borrow is determined by three factors:

1) The value of the property you intend to purchase; and

2) The funds you use towards the purchase; and

3) Your borrowing capacity or “serviceability”. Serviceability is your ability to meet loan repayments, and will depend on your income and existing financial commitments. You will need to provide evidence of a continuous stable income.


You must have a budget!

Budgeting your income carefully and understanding your spending habits will help you make regular loan repayments and own your home that much sooner!

Paul Tsikopoulos is a credit representative 522646 of BLSSA Pty Ltd ACN 117 651 760 (Australian Credit Licence 391237)

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Income Protection

Income Protection

Often when we ask clients such as you “what is your greatest asset?” the answer we receive are – “Our House, Super, maybe a car”.

And sure these things are really important. But without being able to work and generate an income, you won’t be able to afford a House, grow your Super or the running costs of your car.

When you think about it, your wage literally pays for everything: Housing (Mortgage/Rent), Food, Holidays, Entertainment, Education, Cars, Credit Cards etc.)

But 7 out of 10 Australians do not have Income Protection Insurance – relying on the Australian attitude of “she’ll be right”. And for many Australians who do have some protection, its often not enough or structured in the best way to either maximise Tax deductions or minimise cash flow costs.

There are also so many different providers and options when it comes to Income Protection Insurance. And this is where GNS Group can help you.

We can understand what is important to you, how to best structure your protection and then compare different providers and policy definitions to make sure you will get a pay out when you really need it.

Some Insurance Companies get a bad reputation when it comes to paying out. And it’s probably the biggest concern people have. The 3 most common reasons for receiving what you expected are: Inaccurate/incomplete medical disclosure at the time of application A poor quality policy with weak definitions on how and when you will get paid Incorrect structuring of the policy to properly protect you.

When it comes to Income Protection Insurance – you get what you pay for!


The things that GNS Group will assist you with includes:

Appropriate Structuring (inside Super or personal policy) Waiting period (7 days, 30 days, 6 months) Benefit Period (You will be paid for 1 year, 2 years, 5 years, until age 65) Stepped/Level Premiums (Stepped premiums cost more every year you have a birthday, Level premiums do not increase with age) Agreed/Indemnity Value ( A bit like Car Insurance, Agreed Value gives you certainty, Indemnity or market Value is how much you are earning immediately before making an insurance claim) Super Booster/Mortgage Benefit (Something extra to help with the Mortgage or to pop into Super while you are not working to allow it to keep growing)

When someone purchases their first car, they make sure that they get the proper insurance. But when someone gets their first job, not many people even consider Income Protection Insurance.

Insuring a $40,000 car that reduces in value every year for $1,500 seems to be a good deal, but spending $1,500 to insure your $40,000 wage that grows in value every year is lower down the priority list.

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Financial Adviser Ivanhoe

You are never too old nor too young to invest, or to seek investment advice. Similarly, the saying that it is the time in the market, rather than trying to time the market, which should always be remembered.

None of us have a crystal ball of what will happen in the future, but there are some key tools which we use when offering advice to clients, that help to deliver appropriate and risk adjusted returns over the medium to larger term.

So what exactly can you invest in and how can the GNS Team help you achieve your investment goals.


1. Cash and Bank Accounts
Relatively simple to understand, low risk, low interest rates, but your money is generally available ‘at call’ or when you need it. Great for day to day transactions.


2. Term Deposits
Again, quite a simple to understand investment, with a low level of risk, money is likely to carry a government guarantee depending on the amount. You get to nominate the term (length) of the term deposit – typically 30, 60, 90, 180 days or 1,2,3,4,5 years. The Bank will pay a fixed rate of interest for the length of the term. You can cash out a term deposit before maturity, but you will need to give the bank 31 days notice and you will also lose any accumulated interest.

With all of these strategies, your adviser should help to determine what is most suitable for your situation. At GNS Group, our financial planning team, based in Ivanhoe, have some of the most knowledgable investment advisers Melbourne has to offer. Please contact us today to book an appointment to discuss your requirements.


3. Bonds
Generally buying a bond directly is out of reach for most of us. Most bonds trade in $500,000 amounts, although there can be opportunities to buy in smaller amounts. So what is a bond – generally issued by a Public company, a Government, or a Government agency – will be for a fixed term, have an identifiable asset as security for the bond and can offer either a fixed rate of interest or a floating rate of interest. Typically, closed as a conservative investment due to the predictability of returns, the biggest variable will be the interest rate offered. This is determined by the quality of the organisation, the type of security being offered and the length of the bond term.

If you don’t have $500,000, don’t lose heart. You can still access bond investments via a bond managed fund. Your money is pooled with other investors to collectively get far in excess of $500,000 and to be then able to have multiple bonds in a portfolio to give you diversification and to minimise risk. Your money will also be professionally managed again giving you an advantage over choosing bonds yourself.

To help you select an appropriate bond fund, talk to a GNS Financial Adviser Ivanhoe today.


4. Hybrid Shares
Are part share/equity and part debt. Usually listed and traded like normal shares, hybrids will pay a fixed or variable interest payment or an unsecured Note. Often these notes will convert into ordinary shares at some future time if not redeemed by the issuer.
Being unsecured, they will carry a higher interest rate than a bond due to the increase risk associated with them. Many investors have treated these investments as a Term Deposit on steroids, and discounted many of the risks of hybrid shares. The regulator ASIC has raised this as area of concern.
Hybrids do play an important role in an investment portfolio, but care needs to be taken, this is where a GNS Group Financial Consultant can assist. If you are based in Melbourne, we recommend coming into our offices to discuss matters further.


Most of us have shares either owned directly or as part of our super funds. Being a shareholder means you are a part owner of a business, and as a result you share in the profitability of the company. If the business suffers a loss or even a expectation of a lower profit, then your shares can decline in value and can even become worthless should he company enter bankruptcy.

It is for this reason that shares are the most volatile form of investing, but history tells us that over the longer term, share based investments perform very well.

The trade off between risk and return is something that the team at GNS Group spend considerable time discussing with clients, and should only be considered for long term investments.

Shares will also pay out some of its profits as dividends. Profits earned in Australia will have been subject to company tax at 30%, and this 30% tax can be passed on to shareholders as an Imputation Credit or a Franking Credit, this is done to avoid double taxation.
The Financial Advisers at GNS Group can assist you with both share recommendations and placing the trades for you. As a trusted consultant, this is what we do regularly for our clients.


6. Managed Funds
These are a great way to increase diversification, by pooling your money with many other investors to access investments and markets that cannot be easily and cheaply obtained directly.

Whether it be to start off with a small balance, or to get exposure to a particular type of investment, Managed Funds play a role in most people’s investment portfolio.

Besides choosing the asset class – ie (Aust/International) shares, property (Aust/International), Fixed interest (Aust/Int), cash, commodities, infrastructure etc, it’s also important to consider the style of fund manager – Growth, value, income, active, passive etc. Each have their role to play and this is where a GNS Group Financial Adviser can add real value. We will understand what your goals are and how best to reach those goals through appropriate investing.

Selecting the right consultant to help you on your investment journey can be a challenge. We pride ourselves on our ethics and knowledge and always like to meet face-to-face with our clients (if they are based in Melbourne) in our Ivanhoe offices. However, if you are located interstate, a phone call to discuss your requirements is perfectly fine.

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Life Insurance

Life Insurance

Let’s face it, no one like talking about death, but is going to happen sometime.

And while living well in to your 80’s or 90’s is not an unrealistic expectation, the reality is some of us won’t make it that far.

If you were not around, what impact and changes would that mean for your spouse, children, family and co-business owners.

If you were to die would your family be financially better off, worse off, or the same?

Life Insurance won’t bring you back, but it will provide a lump sum to clear a mortgage and other debts such as business loans or credit cards, cove the funeral costs and most importantly provide a remaining lump sum which can be invested to replace your lost income earning capacity

So how much is enough?

This is where working with GNS Group can make the process so much easier. GNS can cut through the fine print of different policies to make sure you get what you pay for, understand what is important to you, compare different policies and features and in most cases, there is no requirement to do a medical.

It is also important to understand the best way of owning your policy and funding the premium costs.

Should it be inside super or non super, what about your business paying the cost of the insurance? It is not just an issue around cashflow and who is paying the cost, but also tax needs to be taken into account as you might see a big chunk of your Life insurance payout heading to the ATO rather than your desired beneficiaries. This is where the GNS team can help to explain all of the different options and recommend the most suitable course of action for you and your family.

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SMSF Ivanhoe

Lots of people get excited by the thought of setting up a self managed super fund, and we are certainly big fans of them. But it’s certainly not for everyone.

We spend considerable time with our clients, not just those from Melbourne, but all over Australia, exploring all of the options and education them on the alternatives before making a recommendation to establish a SMSF.

A well-thought out smsf investment strategy that suits your situation is vital when considering this as an option.

We feel too many people are seduced by slick salesmen with properties, loans, incorrect smsf strategies and get rich quick schemes – and are very sceptical of these arrangements as a result. But a smsf setup that is tailored to your needs can certainly work in your financial favour, however a sound strategy is required to ensure it works for you.


Here are some key points:

Self Managed Super Funds allow up to 4 members and are governed by the same type of rules that apply to public super funds.

SMSF’s certainly give the members absolute control and discretion over how they invest their retirement nest egg, but this does not mean you cannot seek professional assistance from the team at GNS. If you need guidance with the smsf setup process, book a consultation at our Ivanhoe offices, we’re here to help.

Being able to make an investment in Term Deposits, listed shares, managed funds and residential/commercial property comes with a lot of attractions, particularly if you are borrowing to invest or a small business owner looking to pay rent to your own SMSF.

Because the government gives so much flexibility to SMSF’s, you are required to lodge an annual tax return, prepare financial statements and most importantly, subject yourself to an annual compliance Audit. This is where the GNS team can further assist you in meeting your compliance obligations.

Generally, as part of our investment strategy for you, we would not recommend setting up a SMSF with less than $250,000 as the annual compliance cost would outweigh the benefits in many situations.

Besides the flexibility of investment and control that we mentioned earlier, another big advantage that comes with a SMSF is the benefit of TIMING.

Having control over when to sell an asset and trigger a Capital Gains Tax event can have a major impact on your overall performance.

Eg- selling an asset inside 12 months will not allow access to the CGT concessions, similarly selling an asset on 29th June will mean the tax is payable this year, whereas selling on say 2 July means you can hold onto an investment for longer before paying the CGT to the ATO. The same principle holds true selling before the commencement of a pension where Capital Gains Tax applies compared to waiting until after a pension has commence and no CGT is payable.

The benefit of timing cannot be underestimated as a great way to enhance your returns and should be a consideration in your assessment of the pros and cons of a SMSF.

Based in Ivanhoe, in the north-east of Melbourne, the team at GNS Group, spanning Financial Planning, Tax Accounting and Audit have all of your needs met and can answer all of your questions regarding these types of financial services, including the self managed super fund property investment rules, as we are members of the SMSF Association.

Our strength lies in our ability to tailor an investment strategy that is best suited to your needs.

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Salary Sacrifice/FBT

Salary Sacrifice/FBT

Often you will hear of people having a work phone or a company car, but what does it all mean and how could you benefit too?

Many, but not all, employers will offer their staff the ability to reduce their wage and take part of their income in the form of another benefit.

There is no real limit on what you can package as part of your Salary, but it often come down to what your employer will allow you to do and if there are any tax advantages.

The 5 most common things you could consider salary sacrifice for include:

  • Extra Superannuation
  • Cars
  • Entertainment and meals
  • Phone/Internet
  • Computers and laptops

So why would you even consider salary sacrifice? TO SAVE TAX!

How much tax you save depends on 3 things:

  • How much you earn
  • What expenses you package up
  • Who you work for

Let’s look at these reasons a bit further.

1. How much you earn – Being able to get your taxable income down on the face of it sounds like a good thing. But this only really helps if you are able to get a concession or can eliminate having to pay Fringe Benefits Tax. It is this where the distinction between salary Sacrifice and Fringe Benefits Tax makes a difference. You see, the actual Tax in Fringe Benefits Tax is levied at the highest marginal tax rate.

So unless you are on the top tax rate (above $180k) you really don’t want to forgo you lower taxed wages in order to cop FBT at a higher rate.

2. so if you want avoid actually paying FBT, but are still open to the idea of Salary Sacrifice then you need to consider what types of expenses you package up:

  • Extra Super is generally taxed at 15%, so you can really save some tax by putting away some extra money for retirement.
  • Portable Electronic devices that you can predominately use for work purposes – e.g. laptop, iPad, phone etc. – are exempt from FBT if you can demonstrate their use for work purposes.
  • Any other expenses which could ordinarily be used for work purposes e.g. brief case, Qantas Club Membership, Internet, study courses etc.
  • Cars have their own special rules, and depending on the type of car, its value, how many km’s you travel each year, how many km’s are for work purposes etc. will determine the wide range of benefits.

These 4 key areas often give employees the most advantages but it really does depend on individual circumstances. Talking to a GNS Accountant will help to maximise your benefits.

3. The final piece of the FBT puzzle is who you work for. Most private companies don’t really want the paperwork headache of allowing their employees to package any expenses. It’s for these reasons that extra Super and cars may be all they are prepared to offer.

But besides private companies, special rules apply if you work for a charity or a public hospital (public benevolent institutions). The Government allows very generous FBT concessions and exemptions to workers in these types of organisations, which can save thousands of dollars in tax each year.

These benefits will often see employees package up rent/mortgage payments, credit cards, private health insurance, private school fees, holidays, meals/restaurants etc.

As you can imagine, being able to get those types of expenses paid before tax is a big advantage and it’s vital that you get professional advice from a GNS Group Accountant to make sure you maximise your FBT Concessions.

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Superannuation really should be fairly straight forward, but instead all governments like to tinker with it.

So here are some of the basics:

  • When you are working, your boss will contribute 10% of your wage to your superannuation as a minimum.
  • This money is generally taxed at 15% on its way into your superannuation Account.
    Once added to your Super Fund, it is invested and preserved until you retire.
  • Under the current rules, if you start a pension after the age of 60, your pension payments will be tax free to you.

Now that you have a few of the basics sorted out, let’s look at a few more of the important issues in a bit more detail.


Whilst your boss will pay a minimum 10% into your Super Fund, you can decide to make additional superannuation contributions. This is generally done as a Salary Sacrifice, where you give up some of your wage and have that paid into your Super Account.

So why would you do that? There are 2 main reasons; you want to put more money aside for retirement and often the biggest driver – to save Tax.
Both the compulsory Super (10%) and Salary Sacrifice amounts are treated as Concessional Contributions. This means they are subject to Concessional Tax Rates – generally 15% (for high income earners > $250k it’s 30%). Paying 15% Super Contributions Tax compares very favourably to wage taxes of 19-47%.

So as you can see, popping some extra cash into Super can be a smart strategy.

We mentioned Concessional Contributions just before. Getting a Tax break on Super Contributions does come with some restrictions. Depending on your age, there are limits on how much money can go into Super each year at the lower Tax rate of 15%.
The maximum Concessional Contribution is $27,500 for all workers aged under 65.

Many people will work backwards in order to get the maximum into Super. Start with $27,500, subtract how much work will contribute as part of your compulsory 10% Superannuation (say you earn $55,000 – your compulsory Super is $5,500) which will leave up to $22,000 that can be salary sacrificed into Super.

As of the 1st July 2017, you no longer need to enter into a Salary Sacrifice arrangement with your employer in order to get extra money into Superannuation, you can now make a personal contribution to your Super Fund and claim this a tax deduction and be entitled to tax credit when you lodge your tax return for the year.

There are few more important considerations and that’s where a GNS Group Financial Adviser can help you to get the maximum super contributions too.

After-tax contributions are called Non Concessional Contributions and go into super tax free and can be withdrawn tax free in retirement as well.

There is also a limit of $110,000 pa or you can put up to 3 years worth of contributions into super in one go ($330,000) so long as you don’t exceed the limit in the next 3 years. Commonly this is referred to the bring forward rules.

An example of how this could be used would be following the sale of their beach house, Mary and Jason have freed up $600,000. Jason has already retired and is aged 62, Mary is still working and aged 64. Having not made any previous non concessional contributions, Mary can contribute $300,000 this year to super and Jason can contribute the remaining $300,000 in his superannuation account.

Before any large contributions are made, professional advice is always highly recommended to make sure you are maximising the contributions and your retirement savings. This is where a GNS Group Financial Adviser can play an important role in guiding you through retirement planning.

If you are based in Melbourne, we recommend coming in for a visit to our Ivanhoe offices to discuss your option. We are one of the most knowledgable firms regarding superannuation companies Melbourne has to offer, and we’d love for you to take advantage of that.

Should you be based outside of Ivanhoe, or even Melbourne, we can initiate conversations over the phone.

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Individual Income Tax

Tax Accountant Ivanhoe

For many of us, doing a tax return is a hassle and a chore, and we only do them because we have to, not because we want to.

While you might think your affairs are fairly straight forward, its important that you don’t overlook something. There could be hundreds or thousands of dollars in refunds available to you, just by understanding what you can legitimately claim.

And this is an important consideration, just because your friend or family member can/can’t claim a particular deduction, doesn’t necessarily mean the same rules apply to you. Different occupations or role descriptions make a difference, so too does your age, health, marital and family status – so its important to make sure that your GNS Group accountant fully understands your situation and to best advise you. At our offices based in Ivanhoe, we have some of the best tax accountants Melbourne has; they’re passionate, knowledgeable and can advise you on all your accounting needs.

We find most people fall into one of two categories. The eager beavers who like to do their return as soon as they have all of the required documents in order; or, the tortoises who get around to doing things towards the deadlines.

Either way, it’s important to make sure a few basics are followed to maximise your return:

  • Keep everything (original or soft copy) throughout the year that could potentially be claimed (we have checklists to help)
  • Try to summarise all of the documents and records, it will make our life easier & your accounting fees cheaper!
  • Book an appointment at our Ivanhoe office and talk to your GNS accountant about what might have changed in your world over the past 12 months (there might be extra things you can claim)
  • Ask questions about what might have changed with tax legislation affecting your claims
  • Provide GNS with your current contact details; perhaps you have moved from Melbourne to rural Victoria, or interstate, or visa versa. (in case there are some queries)
  • Let us know your bank account details for an Electronic Deposit of your refund
  • Book a face to face appointment (if you are based in Melbourne) or a phone based consultation (to cover all of the above)

There are three key areas on a tax return – Income, Deductions, Rebates & Offsets.


This could include things such as your salary, bank interest, capital gains, rent received, dividends or managed funds etc.


This could include things such as your car or travel costs, union or subscription fees, rental property expenses,  Interest on investment loans, Income Protection Insurance, home office costs etc.

Rebates & Offsets

These are generally things which entitle you to a tax credit, and can include Private Health Insurance, Out of pocket medical expenses, credit for foreign income tax paid etc.

If you would like more information on what you might be able to claim, talk to one of our accountants today – we’d love to be able to help you.

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Total & Permanent Disability Insurance

Total & Permanent Disability Insurance

The thought of being Totally and Permanently Disabled is actually more confronting than death may be to people.

How would you not only deal with the emotional toll of becoming Totally and Permanently Disabled but the financial consequence as well?

Not only clearing your debts (home loan, credit cards, and business loans) but also seeking the best available medical treatment become big priorities. And this is where Total and Permanent Disability Insurance can take the financial headaches away and allow you to focus on adjusting to your latest medical impediments.

You have to remember that getting a lump sum payment from Total and Permanent Disability Insurance means a life changing diagnosis has been made; it’s not just a broken arm!

Things such as Quadriplegia, paraplegia, Multiple Sclerosis and Motor Neuron Disease. Medical conditions which there is no recovery from – Its Total and also Permanent.

As you can imagine, the cost of modifications to your home, perhaps even changing homes, might be required depending on the degree of impact and the way your home is set up. The cost of personal in home care might start to bite, and is often not covered by the cost of health insurance and wont be picked up by Medicare either.

So you need to look after yourself and your family, and when you do the sums, its not a big cost relative to the benefit that you would receive in the event of being diagnosed as Totally and Permanently disabled.

GNS Group can’t prevent these tragic illnesses or injuries from occurring, but we can give you and your family the peace of mind that you will not be a financial burden on them.

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How many of us go through life untouched by a loved on being struck down with a Heart Attack, Cancer or Stroke?

The financial impact can be devastating on singles and couples alike.

We have seen how normal routines and daily life can be turned on its head in a heartbeat. Work becomes a distant memory as your health becomes priority No. 1,2,3. And there is only so much sick leave you can use up.

A quality Trauma Policy takes away the financial pain of trauma diagnosis. It provides a lump sum benefit to cover the immediate bills and medical costs, which often far exceed Medicare and Private Health Insurance.

The relative comfort of knowing you are receiving the best medical treatment that money can afford, whether that be in Australia or with a Specialist in another country is re-assuring.

Besides Heart Attack, Cancer and Stroke, a good Trauma Policy will also pay out for many other life changing conditions such as:

Parkinson’s Disease
Motor Neurone Disease
Multiple Sclerosis
And many others.

Let GNS Group take the financial pain of trauma diagnosis away today.

Our promise


Proatively keeping our customers ahead of the pack.

Key Performance

Establishing Key Performance Indicators to track the critical success factors of our customers businesses


Identifying opportunities for our customers business’ growth and improvement rather than simply ‘crunching’ historical figures.


Assisting to build and manage wealth for our customers whilst complying with statutory requirements.

Value & Service

Charging a yearly, all inclusive fee paid monthly, rather than an hourly rate thus offering you better value and service.

Stay in touch and keep up to date
(03) 9499 7444Contact us
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