tax deduction

Get 3 Years of Tax Deductions in 3 Weeks!

Three Year Tax Deduction

Get 3 years of tax deductions in one hit.

Right now the Australian government is practically throwing money at you in the form of tax benefits. What are they and how can you take advantage of them? Read on!

A few weeks ago I wrote a blog post titled Replace or Die, showing a number of recent hardware failures experienced by our clients, and when you should look at replacing your computers (hint: it’s 5 – 7 years). No matter how good your equipment is, these failures invariably happen to good businesses!

Since writing the original blog post, we’ve had 2 more client computers experience sudden hardware issues, so the trend continues. True, as an Apple tech support company we do see more than our fair share of hardware issues, but our IT support experience guarantees us that it will happen to you, sooner or later.

The great news is that it’s the perfect time to replace your Mac, Windows PC, and any computer related equipment you may have. Read on to find out why.

The tax reward, and how to get it

The Australian Federal Government is letting small businesses claim the depreciation of any asset purchased in this financial year (to the value of $20,000 per asset) in one hit. This is great because normally assets are depreciated over several years.

To qualify, all you have to do is:

  • Have an annual turnover of less than $10 million (the majority of small businesses do)
  • Buy your new gear by 30 June 2018

Example

Peter runs a marketing business which had a potential tax bill of $85,000 in FY 17/18. Peter decided to replaces his 5 desktop computers, 4 notebooks, 2 iPads, projector, colour laster printer, and server. Each item is under $20,000, and in total Peter spends $29,000 on the gear. This saves Peter $7,975 in taxes, reducing his tax bill from $23,375 to $15,400, while at the same time refreshing his entire office IT.

Peter doesn’t have to think about depreciating the gear over 3 years; it’s all done in one step.

Of course, this is just an example, so please always consult your accountant regarding any tax or other implications and benefits for your business.

Why now?

June is the obvious best time of the year to do this, as it’s the last month of the financial year, an purchases made now will minimise the time gap between buying your new assets and reaping the tax benefit.

Hurry!

There isn’t much time until the end of June 2018! If you have a shopping list ready, or even just want to investigate what you should buy, contact us at info@ihelpit.com.au, or call us on 1300 469 622 and we can help you get the ball rolling.

Related Tag: IT Support Sydney

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broken imac Replace or Die

Replace or Die

Broken iMac

Over the past 4 weeks, the iHelp IT office has been inundated with a number of iMacs, MacBook Pros, and PCs with hardware problems.

In the words of the late, great, Tyler Durden, “on a long-enough timeline the survival rate for everyone drops to zero”*.

Computers are no different. Parts wear out and die the death.

What struck us, though, was the number of computers with hardware issues in a relatively short period of time. We thought maybe there was a curse, maybe solar flare activity, maybe even aliens!

But, when we looked closer, it turned out to be the ubiquitous frenemy to us all: time.

Out of the 8 machines which have had hardware problems in the last 4 weeks (yes – that’s 2 a week), the youngest was 4.5 years old. The rest were all over 5 years old, and that’s significant.

Why 5?

Big things tend to have longer lifespans than smaller things, so the size of a thing might be a fairly reliable indicator of how long it should last; it’s useful life. There’s even a theory on this – called the Rate-of-Living Theory.

That’s all well and good for the living, but can this theory be extended to the non-living, and specifically electronics?

To find out, we charted the lifespan versus the size of a smattering of common electronics, below.

Common Electronics Lifespan

The size and lifespan of common electronics. The bigger the thing, the longer it lasts.

As you can see, as a general rule of thumb, the theory seems to hold. Both lifespan and size are trending in the same direction (though not at the same rate!). Big things last longer, but it’s not linear.

Recently, I wrote a blog post on the new iPhone X, in which I specifically advised iPhone 6 and 6 Plus owners that it’s time to upgrade. This, and telco phone plans generally, would seem to give smart phones a useful life of 2-3 years before parts start to fail, the new operating system runs too slow, and new apps don’t work.

Applying this to computers, and recent events, we have a new golden rule: the rule of 5 years.

And this fits nicely with our size v lifespan chart, above.

Tipping Point

One of the 8 machines which recently failed had the simplest (and most common) of failures; a hard disk failure. This machine was from 2011, and it’s value on Gumtree was around $450. To replace a hard disk the cost is typically $110 for the hard disk, and an average of 3 hours of labour (replace the hard disk, install macOS, migrate the data from a backup), or $594.

Total cost $704, which is a lot higher than the resale value of the Mac.

Is a repair worthwhile? No (unless you get the Mac for free!)

At some earlier point in the now 7-year-old iMac’s life it was the same cost to fix it as you’d get to sell it.

This point in time is the Tipping Point**. Insurance companies know it. Tyler Durden knew it***.

A 21.5 inch iMac around 5 years old will go for anything from $700 – $900 on Gumtree, whereas leaving the decision to sell for another 2 years means that instead of getting an average of $800 for it on Gumtree, the owner is now up for a $700 repair bill.

The tipping point has passed and it’s not worth repairing. You could say it’s time for the tip.

As an added sting, 2 years ago $800 would have covered 1/3 the cost of a new iMac. The now-broken iMac covers none of that cost.

Act Now

Now is the time to check if your Mac is over 5 years old, or even approaching that age.

A working 21.5 inch iMac from 2013 will run the latest macOS and is readily sold. The money you get for it can go towards a replacement. You don’t have to sell it – you might have kids, a niece, or just a local school that could do with a working computer for a classroom.

It’s your choice.

If you’re not sure how old your Mac is and want guidance on what to do, then call iHelp IT – we’ll help you to replace and not die.

Related Tag: IT Support Sydney


* Tyler didn’t say this, but the protagonist has no name.
** I just made this name up; but it’s pretty good.
*** I’m assuming that Tyler was at least aware of the rule.

 

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Data Breach

New Mandatory Data Breach Notification Laws

Catherine Higgins from Lawbase

New Mandatory Data Breach Notification laws came into effect during February. Catherine Higgins from Lawbase explains how these laws affect you, and what you need to do in the event of a breach.

Why are they needed?

Strong data management is integral to the operation of businesses and government agencies worldwide.  At the same time, data analysis has been widely recognised for its value as fuel for innovation.

This noted, one of the biggest risks organisations face with data management is a data breach.  A data breach involving personal information can put affected individuals at risk of serious harm and consequently damage an organisation’s reputation.

A change to the law

To support this protection, on 23 February 2018 and for the first time in Australia, those subject to the Privacy Act 1988 (Cth) (the Privacy Act) now have a mandatory obligation to promptly report eligible data breaches to both the Office of the Australian Information plainmissioner (OAIC) and any individuals who may be potentially affected by the data breach.

Mandatory data breach notification is designed to protect the individuals affected by a data breach so that they may take the necessary steps and measures to protect themselves from any harm or damage.

We believe notifying affected individuals is simply good privacy practice as it gives each person the opportunity to take proactive steps to protect their personal information and also helps to protect an organisation’s reputation by displaying transparency and openness.

Examples of an eligible data breach could be:

  • There is unauthorised access or unauthorised disclosure of personal information
  • Personal information is lost in circumstances where unauthorised access or unauthorised disclosure of the information is likely to occur
  • A reasonable person would determine that the access or disclosure would be likely to result in serious harm to any of the individuals to whom the information relates.

Notification obligations

If you believe there is an eligible data breach, there is a requirement to provide notification as soon as practicable.

The notification obligation involves a two-step process.

  • The organisation must prepare a statement containing certain (prescribed) information about the data breach and provide it to the OAIC
  • The organisation must then notify the affected individuals.

The notification statement must set out:

  • The identity and contact details of the organisation
  • A description of the eligible data breach
  • The kind or kinds of information concerned
  • Recommendations about the steps the individuals should take in response to the eligible data breach.

Will the new laws affect me?

Organisations with a turnover less than $3 million a year will fall outside the legislation.

Noting this, however, the Privacy Act does apply to some types of businesses with an annual turnover of less than $3 million so the new laws may still apply.  These businesses can include health service providers, gyms, child care centres, private schools, businesses that sell or purchase personal information and credit reporting bodies.

We recommend you confirm your status with OAIC.

How do I prepare if I’m impacted by these new laws?

First of all, don’t panic!  Experts are reporting that as many as 44 per cent of eligible Australian enterprises are not yet ready to comply with the new changes.  This said, you need to get your business up to compliance as soon as possible.

Taking reasonable steps to minimise risk

Eligible organisations should be proactive and take appropriate and reasonable steps to ensure the security of personal information.  It will, of course, depend on the circumstances and be determined by the following:

  • The nature of the entity holding the personal information
  • The amount and sensitivity of the personal information held
  • The possible adverse consequences for an individual
  • The information handling practices of the entity holding the information
  • The practicability of implementing the security measure, including the time and cost involved
  • Whether a security measure is itself privacy invasive.

Noting this, as guidance, the OAIC has advised that reasonable steps would include:

  • Performing or conducting Privacy Impact Assessments
  • Implementing Privacy by Design principles
  • Performing information security risk assessments
  • Creating and maintaining a Privacy Policy
  • Having a comprehensive and up to date set of information security policies
  • Restricting physical and logical access to personal information on a "need-to-know" basis
  • Keeping your software up to date and current
  • Employing multi factor authentication
  • Configuring your systems for security
  • Employing end point security software
  • Security monitoring tools to detect breaches
  • Using network security tools
  • Penetration testing exercises
  • Vulnerability assessments
  • Having a data breach response process

The Guide

For those that have begun the above process or those that need to act quickly to become compliant, we strongly recommend you review the OAIC Guide.  It has been prepared to assist Australian Government agencies and private sector organisations prepare for and respond to data breaches in line with their obligations under the Privacy Act.

As an overview, it is broken into five key parts.

Part 1: Data breaches and the Australian Privacy Act

This section outlines the requirements of the Privacy Act that relate to personal information security and data breach response strategy.  The principles contained within the Privacy Act for the handling of personal information may be adopted by any entity to lower the risk of a data breach occurring and to effectively reduce the impact of a data breach.

Part 2: Preparing a data breach response plan

The faster you respond to a data breach, the more likely it is to limit any negative consequences.  A data breach response plan is essential to enable a swift response and ensure that any legal obligations are met following a data breach.

Part 3: Responding to data breaches — Four key steps

An effective data breach response generally follows a four-step process — contain, assess, notify, and review.  This part of the guide outlines key considerations for each of these steps to assist entities in preparing an effective data breach response.

Part 4: Notifiable Data Breaches (NDB)

This section outlines the requirements of the NDB scheme under the Privacy Act.  The NDB scheme contains mandatory data breach reporting obligations in relation to certain data breaches, and requirements to assess suspected data breaches.

Part 5: Other sources of information

The obligations of the Privacy Act in relation to data breaches co-exist with other reporting obligations.  This section assists entities in identifying where they can find information about other data breach reporting requirements

Are there any penalties if I don’t meet my requirements?

Yes.  If you don’t comply with the notification obligation, you may be subject to anything from investigations, or in the case of serious and repeated non-compliance, substantial civil penalties.

In saying this, we believe not acting to protect the information of someone in your ‘care’ is simply bad practice and penalties should apply.

If you have any questions on the new laws or would like to discuss any elements surrounding them, please contact the author, Catherine Higgins, at Lawbase (lawbase.com.au).

 

Related Tag: IT Support Sydney

resilient-flower

Business IT Resilience

Like so many years before it, 2016 is set to be another transient year. We’re already in February, and before you know it we’ll be in May, then October will appear before you get a chance to pop your head up again.

While this transience gives us a great opportunity to reflect and plan, it’s not a word which should apply to the continuity plan of your business data and processes, including your IT systems.

You may have dodged some bullets over the past year, so it’s time to plan to avoid them altogether, by putting into place a business continuity and disaster recovery plan.

It’s time for resilience.

iHelp IT have a range of solutions to make your business IT resilient to both disaster and change.

Dramatic Disasters

The evacuations which took place as the 2014 Lindt Café siege unfolded are an extreme example of a disaster. Thousands were evacuated, and things didn’t return to normal in the city for almost 2 days. Less frequent but more devastating is a flood or fire. Recent extreme weather as the result of climate change demonstrate the random, uncontrollable nature of these events.

If your business premises were torn apart, razed to the ground, or swept away could you access your data? Could you answer your phones? Could you deliver work to your clients?

If your workplace was out for the count for 2 weeks would your business survive?

Common Catastrophes

While the scenarios above are possible, they occur far less frequently than the mundane, yet most business are not prepared for these common events either.

People want to work from home, staff travel for business, employees have babies, and (occasionally) the business moves location. Problems arise simply due to staff movements as they take knowledge with them. If Betty from accounts doesn’t have documented processes, how will her replacement, Bill, know where to start?

In these situations resilient systems become more vital, as money quietly slips out the door due to the loss of productivity.

Resilient Solutions

If your business can’t continue in the event of an unforeseen incident, or if everyday events present a challenge, then you are leaking money, and may not have a business after a disaster. You should consider better solutions.

iHelp IT can help you, with these solutions:

  1. DocumentSamePage is a system we’ve been using for years to document (samepage.io). It’s cloud based, free, and accessible via your web browser.
  2. BackupTime Machine is built into every Mac, so a local NAS is perfect for daily backups. For extra security we use and recommend CrashPlan Pro (code42.com/business) – it’s only $11/m for your server.
  3. Cloud email – We offer Kerio Connect mail / contacts / calendar hosting (mail.ihelpit.com.au). We backup daily, give you 25 GB of storage per mailbox, and offer our personal touch for support.
  4. Cloud phones – Get rid of that clunky old physical PABX, and move to a cloud PABX with My Cloud Phones (mycloudphones.com). Setup takes under a week, costs are dramatically reduced, and you can connect all your offices to one system.
  5. VPN – Access your server from anywhere in the world with a Kerio Control router and super-secure, stable VPN.

Ready to be Resilient?

When you’re ready to create a business continuity and disaster recovery plan to make your business resilient give us a call on 1300 469 622.

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