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Tips for buying an Australian Investment Property

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There’s lots to consider when buying an Australian investment property

Q. “My family and I are considering buying an Australian investment property; however, we are not sure whether it is the right time and if there are any adverse tax consequences whilst we are expatriates?”

A. The Job Keeper program in Australia is in the process of scaling down until it finishes at the end of March 2021, together with bank loan repayment holidays coming to an end, largely in quarter 1, 2021. The combination of removing two relief programs from the economy could result in an additional supply of properties, which in turn could push some prices down and result in good buying opportunities. That said, the property market is complex, and I would always recommend speaking with an expert in this area.

There are however Australian Tax considerations for buying (and selling) Australian property when you are living offshore as a non-resident. These include:

Capital Gains Tax: As a non-resident of Australia for tax purposes, you are exempt from the 50% capital gains tax discount for the period when you resided offshore post 8 May 2012 (when this new rule came in), compared to the total period of ownership on a pro-rate basis. So, if you held an investment property for 10 years, 5 of which you were a non-resident, then on sale, you would qualify for a 25% capital gains tax discount only.

Also a major change that came into effect from 1 July 2020 was the removal of the capital gains tax Principal Place of Residence (PPR) exemption for non-residents, meaning that if you sell a property which has a PPR exemption period (i.e. you used to live in it for a period of time) while you are a non-resident of Australia for tax purposes, you will forgo this exemption. This does not affect those buying a future family home as an expat as you need to live in the property first for it to start accruing this tax free period, however this is a consideration for those selling a former family home during their time as an expat. If you are considering buying a future family home and renting it out until you return to Australia, these concessions are still available to you, however only for the period when you live in the property in the future and providing you sell it when you are a tax resident.

Negative gearing benefits are still available as an expat buyer, meaning that if you make a tax loss at the end of the year, this will then carry forward (assuming you have no other Australian sourced income to use it against) and be a future benefit to you against future Australian salary and wages, capital gains and other Australian sourced income and these losses will carry forward indefinitely. Interest, genuine repairs and maintenance and depreciation are all deductible (just to name a few) which can result in creating some useful additional tax losses for the future.

When considering a future property purchase, ensure you have done your cash flows to make sure you can afford it, now and into the future, including taking into consideration rental reductions and interest rate rises.

Tristan is an Australian Tax Agent and expatriate tax advisor based in Singapore, contact him below to discuss your situation in further detail. Select Investors Australia also presents regular webinars around these topics. The most recent Australian Property Market Update webinar is accessible at selectinvestorsevents.com

** The above commentary is general in nature and we always recommend speaking with us about your specific situation so we can provide tailored tax advice. Please do reach out for an obligation free tax consultation. Please contact us to discuss your specific circumstances on tristan.perry@selectinvestorsaustralia.sg The levels and bases of taxation, and relief from taxation, can change at any time. The value of any tax relief depends on individual circumstances.

ANZA Cycling, Let’s Get Social Initiative

ANZA Cycling has become legendary in Singapore for its strong, social community, strict safety code and incredible riding opportunities. Over 450 active members ride around the island in bunches, pretty much every day of the year. Our club sections include Road, Off Road, Racing, Triathlon and women’s only Cycling Chix.

Now is a great time to join, with ANZA Cycling’s Let Get Social initiative in full swing. When you go for post ride brekkie, lunch or drinks the club will pay the first $75. If your group includes one or more new member (this might be you!), your group will receive $100.

T&Cs apply. To find out more about ANZA Cycling or to join, click here.

Join the Community!

Your Guide to La Dolce Vita in Kampong Glam

Recently, ANZA members set off with Kristen Hobby on a Tour Bite to discover famous swiss rolls, cupcakes, local kueh, local chocolates, smoothies and ice cream, and indulge in a delicious tiramisu made by a Japanese Sushi chef. 

If you missed the Tour Bite but would like to enjoy this fabulous experience, Kristen and fellow ANZA Tour Committee member Kristie, have created a guide to the La Dolce Vita in Kampong Glam Tour Bite.

Download your copy here and enjoy!

 

4 things you should know about getting married in Singapore

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With COVID-19 measures in Singapore being constantly updated, many couples will find themselves having to revise their wedding plans at short notice, or even delaying the special day until things are much calmer and safer. For those that are adamant about keeping to their wedding date, Pacific Prime Singapore has some advice for getting married in Singapore during the pandemic.

1.   Number of people allowed at the wedding

For solemnisations held at home, up to 10 people can attend, excluding the Licensed Solemniser, the interpreter (if required), and vendors (kept to a minimum). However, for solemnisations held at other venues, couples can invite up to 100 people, excluding the Licensed Solemniser, the interpreter (if any), and vendors (kept to a minimum). Invitees must be split into multiple zones with no more than 50 people in any one zone. For instance, 100 guests must be split into two groups of no more than 50 people.

2.   Safety precautions to adhere to at the wedding

During the ceremony, the wedding couple must wear their face masks or face shields. However, they are allowed to remove their face coverings at key stages of the solemnisation process, which includes the exchanging of vows and rings, the kiss, and during march-ins/outs. In addition, the couple must maintain a two-metre distance from the rest of the attendees whenever masks and face shields have been removed.

3.   Focus on the wedding

During this pandemic, the best thing any wedding couple can do is to lower their expectations and focus more on the purpose of getting married. After all, a wedding is about the couple pledging their love for one another, right? Being realistic and embracing the experience is all that matters.

4.   Consider securing health insurance

Once married, you may want to turn your attention to getting coverage for COVID-19 for your family, especially if you are planning to have children down the line. If you don’t know where to begin, Pacific Prime Singapore can help.

To learn more about what Pacific Prime Singapore can offer, you can contact the broker and compare health insurance plans for individuals and families today!

JCU: The Place for Gaming Enthusiasts

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Associate Professor Roberto Dillon with participants at the 5th Retro Inspired 2019 Game Jam, 8 November 2019

With the world in the grip of a pandemic, video games present a captivating form of escape – whether it is building a life on an island paradise or puzzling out a mystery with friends online, or more. But beyond the obvious joy of connecting with something interactive and exciting, there’s something deeper to video games that the Singapore campus of James Cook University (JCU) recognises. “Game development merges technology and design in a unique mix that makes both teaching and learning a truly rewarding experience,” says Dr Roberto Dillon – Academic Head of Science and Technology, and Associate Professor of Information Technology at JCU.

It comes as no surprise, then, that for creative minds who are interested in crafting amazing video game worlds for us to escape to, JCU offers game design programs such as the Bachelor of Information Technology and the Master of Information Technology (Majoring in Interactive Technologies and Games Design).

The Bachelor of Information Technology provides a solid foundation for knowledge and skills essential for professional IT careers, along with subjects in interactive visualisation, games, design thinking, programming and more.

Meanwhile, the Interactive Technologies and Game Design major dives deeper into front and back end integration of interactive technology design, with the technological and software engineering skills applicable to games design execution.

What’s more, the Singapore campus is home to Singapore’s only video game museum. Visitors to the museum can learn about gaming’s vast history through informative posters and hands on opportunities with well-known retro consoles such as the original Xbox and the Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES), to more obscure ones like the Vectrex and the Magnavox Odyssey, along with their accompanying games and related paraphernalia.

In previous years, the Singapore campus would also host an annual Retro Inspired event, which provides participants with the opportunity to have hands on experience in developing a video game within the time limit of 24 hours. This allows them to forge a more profound understanding of the challenges in game development, like limited resources and a tight schedule, which is particularly useful for those who study the subject. While the pandemic has had an impact on extra-curriculum activities this year, JCU hopes to make up for it in the near future.

After all, gaming and games development are not just fantastical getaways, but they are also ways for us to show our sense of innovation and creativity.

Join Centre Stage for Festive Fun this School Hols!

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Under usual circumstances, Centre Stage School of the Arts, Singapore are a busy production house, staging dozens of in-house shows a year, including a beloved annual Christmas Pantomime.

Always popular with families, these shows enable many children to take part in a full-scale professional production, featuring an international cast. They have strong industry links, regularly hosting workshops with visiting professionals and work in association with Tring Park School for the Performing Arts in the UK.

Although this year’s Christmas Pantomime won’t be going ahead in its usual format, children can join the Centre Stage team for a week of festive fun and celebrations this school holidays – as they bring to life seasonal holiday stories, books, films and musicals – as well as keep the tradition of Pantomime going with “Pop Up Panto” camps.

As well as a jam-packed week of Creative Drama, Acting and Musical Theatre, lots of festive arts and crafts will be enjoyed too! Find out more: https://centre-stage.com/home/creative-arts-holiday-programmes/

 

 

 

About Centre Stage

Centre Stage School of the Arts, Singapore was founded in 1999 with the primary aim to unlock the creative potential in every child – from those who need encouragement, confidence building and enhanced self-esteem, to those who have a passion for performing on the stage!

Centre Stage teachers are drawn from all over the world and all have their own experience in performing, from the West End of London to world tours. In addition, they are experienced teachers in their own fields, and it is this combination of experience, practical application and theoretical expertise that allows students a rich and vivid understanding of the numerous applications of the performing and creative arts.

Centre Stage provides a comprehensive programme of performing and creative arts programmes (both weekly classes and holiday camps and workshops). They have over 100 classes in Drama, Dance, Musical Theatre and Early Years for toddlers up to teenagers and even adults, scheduled across two centres, one in the West and one in the East – so there’s really something for everyone.

At the moment, needless to say, numbers are kept very low – and with strict safety measures in place) check out their full schedule here: https://centre-stage.com/home/full-timetable/

Website: https://www.centre-stage.com

Main Centre

15 Woking Road, 138694

info@centre-stage.com  +65 6732 7211

East Coast Centre

5000G Marine Parade Road, 01-32 Laguna Park, 449290

east@centre-stage.com +65 6449 6211

Signs of Depression & Stress in Men

 COVID-19 has thrown most lives into disarray and uncertainty

COVID-19 has thrown most lives into disarray and uncertainty, but for some men, it can be hard to speak up or seek help if they feel overwhelmed or unhappy. “The COVID-19 pandemic has put pressure on us all – job security, money concerns, fears for the health of loved ones far away and the feeling that the world is irrevocably changed,” says IMC GP, Dr Forrest. “Surveys show that men find it difficult to open up about mental health, however they are significantly more at risk of attempting suicide than women.”

What is depression?
It’s not uncommon to experience days of feeling blue – especially if you’re mourning your old way of life, the freedom of travel, or missing your friends and family back home. “This is normal,” says Dr Forrest. “Mood swings do happen but for some people, the mood just does not swing back up. The days turn into weeks or months, and can turn into a major depressive disorder, or clinical depression. Depression is a disease, caused by changes in chemicals in the brain called neurotransmitters. It’s not a choice, and it does not mean you are weak, bad or going crazy.”

Signs of depression:
Depressed mood most of the day, every day (feeling sad or empty, being tearful)
Loss of interest in activities that you normally enjoy
Changes in appetite
Changes in sleep patterns (either insomnia or sleeping more than usual)
Loss of energy or fatigue
Inappropriate feelings of guilt or worthlessness
Difficulty thinking or concentrating
Possibly recurrent thoughts about death and suicide

Stress in Singapore
Many men have been under greater stress during the pandemic, either under the fear of losing their job or increased hours. They might be finding it hard to juggle work responsibilities with childcare during extended work from home periods. “Stress is a common human emotion and it’s completely natural to experience stressful periods at certain points in our lives, but especially now,” says Dr Forrest. “Unfortunately stress is an expected part of life in Singapore, particularly for those working in executive roles with regular deadlines, long hours and high levels of responsibility.”

The stress response
Stress serves a protective function in our evolutionary history by mediating the ‘flight or fight’ response to protect us from danger. “Being stressed heightens our awareness and focus and prepares the body to respond to a threat,” says Dr Forrest. “What humans have not evolved very well to cope with is persistent stress. When we are exposed to even low-level stress on a day-to-day basis, problems can arise.”

Stress vs. anxiety
Anxiety and stress can seem similar, but they are not the same. “Anxiety frequently occurs in people who have been chronically stressed, however in many it can happen with no obvious trigger,” says Dr Forrest. “One of the key differences between stress and anxiety is that most people can clearly recognise why they feel stressed. In anxiety, the focus shifts away from the trigger/situation and onto the feelings and emotions being experienced. You can start to feel anxious about feeling anxious.”
Symptoms of anxiety
As it becomes more severe, anxiety can lead to physical symptoms:
Sleep problems
Restlessness, agitation, anger
Loss of appetite
Low mood/depression
Palpitations, dry mouth, nausea,
chest pains
Panic attacks

Anxiety related disorders
These disorders include the following:
Generalised anxiety disorder (GAD) is a common anxiety disorder, characterised by uncontrollable worrying. Sometimes people worry about bad things happening to them or their loved ones, and at other times they may not be able to identify any source of worry.
Panic disorder is a condition that causes panic attacks, which are moments of extreme fear accompanied by a pounding heart, shortness of breath and a fear of impending doom.
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a condition that causes flashbacks or anxiety as the result of a traumatic experience.
Social phobia is a condition that causes intense feelings of anxiety in situations that involve interacting with others.
Obsessive-compulsive disorder is a condition that causes repetitive thoughts and the compulsion to complete certain ritual actions.

When to seek help
If you’re experiencing issues in coping with feelings of stress and anxiety, help is available. “Come and speak to your GP and we can help you find ways to feel better,” says Dr Forrest. “This can be anything from exercise, meditation and relaxation techniques, referral for psychological therapy and occasionally medication. It is important to remember that most people will experience symptoms of anxiety at some point in their life and most will make a complete recovery. The key is recognising the problem, sharing your feelings and seeking help before things get worse.”

Dr Neil Forrest is a British trained GP based at IMC Camden. For appointments please visit:
imc-healthcare.com or call 6733 4440

Volunteer with Virtual English Tutoring

Assist Karen students from the Thai-Burma border region continue their studies

What is Virtual English Tutoring? 
We’re matching people from around the world with Karen students from the Thai-Burma border region. I had a number of students asking me to help them with their English and it expanded to a group of ANZA members who were also assisting with English proficiency skills. We were having so much fun and found it such a hugely rewarding experience that we decided to expand it. Groups like Friends of the Museum Singapore and Rotary International joined with the ANZA members and their friends and families. Now we have over 50 tutors from Australia, Singapore, Thailand, Belgium, UK, Ireland and the USA working with 50 students. Because of poor bandwidth in the region we do all our tutoring one-on-one.

Why is it important they continue their English studies?
Schools and colleges were closed during the pandemic, like in other places around the world. Many students were stuck in their remote villages without textbooks and with weak data connections. The students in this region are particularly susceptible because many are in refugee or Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) camps or are stateless. This means travel back to migrant schools in Thailand is impossible or at best very dangerous.

What impact has COVID-19 had on schools and tertiary institutions in this region? 
Many students travel from areas in Myanmar where there is civil unrest, to stay in school and college dormitories in Thailand. Attending school is not only about accessing education, but also having a safe place to study. Unfortunately, COVID-19 has meant that the students are again in a precarious position, so we are trying to bridge the gap until travel and education is again possible for them.

A volunteer session in progress!

What sort of volunteers are you looking for? 
The volunteers need to have a willingness to grapple with the various challenges that are thrown up, such as technological breakdowns. They must have the ability to be creative about teaching with few or no resources. Most students have only a phone, an exercise book and a low budget for data.

What do volunteers need to do the job?
To volunteer you do not need to be a teacher. Anyone who is willing to work on English speaking, listening, reading and writing with the students, we will embrace. We love to incorporate exchanges about our countries and cultures into the learning experience.

Are the sessions informal? How do they work?  
We don’t have a set curriculum, but rather try to meet the student where they are at and build on their interests. Our English as a Second Language (ESL) teachers have curated a list of resources that the volunteers can use. We ask that volunteers spend at least one hour a week with their student, but it needs to be flexible for both volunteer and student. Some tutors and students work together five times a week if they are aiming to pass English proficiency tests such as IELTS, or enter Thai university – other pairs just chat informally.

What are some of the challenges?
Bandwidth and purchasing data are two of the biggest constraints. The most affordable and stable communication is via Facebook messenger. If the student has access to Wi-Fi, some lessons can be on Zoom, but in remote villages we need to fall back to text only. Something is better than nothing! It also gives the student connection to the outside world and a feeling that someone is looking out for them in these crazy Covid times.

What are the benefits for both volunteer and student? 
Most of our tutors say that it’s a richly rewarding experience to see their student progress in English, for others it’s been an immersive experience learning about Karen culture and history. The students have not only developed their English skills but have also learnt about technology, business, science, and politics and have a connection with someone from another country. If the students are in lockdown in a refugee or IDP camp they have something to look forward to, and it engenders hope for the future.

Do you have any success stories or great matches?  
We have a couple of matches made in heaven. There are some highly qualified ESL teachers that will assist students to take up scholarships, one in a Masters program at an international university as a result of the program. There are other more practical connections, such as a tutor who was involved in the tourism business that was fortuitously matched with a student who has dreams of pursuing a career in the industry. They are working on English and future job opportunities together.

There have been other surprising positive effects. I was discussing the transmission routes for diseases with one of my students when he promptly informed me he would give up eating rats after the discussion. Rats are a common food source when families need to flee from their villages and hide from conflict in the jungle.

How can people get involved?
We have an expression of interest form for volunteers here or people can contact me on safewatermyanmar@gmail.com

Join ANZA Casual Tennis!

Tennis and friendship on offer!

Who are ANZA Casual Tennis? 
ANZA Casual Friday tennis is a social group, combining a love of tennis with an opportunity to meet new people.  We meet at the Fairmont Hotel tennis courts in Raffles City when courts are available, on Friday mornings between 9 – 11am. We finish up our morning with coffee and a chat at a cafe in Raffles City.

What do you offer? 
Tennis and friendship. Some really strong connections have formed from this group over the years. It’s a great way to meet people when you’re new to Singapore. Our sessions are low key and combine exercise, a giggle and a chat.

How do people get involved?
You need to be a registered ANZA Member to play, and then you just need a tennis racquet, plenty of water and a suitable tennis outfit. Courts are shaded.

Who can join this group?
Anyone can join ANZA Tennis. Ideally, you might have picked up a racquet previously, but we do welcome all standards and we have a new beginner group on Wednesdays.
anza.org.sg/sports/tennis

Beginner clinic

Beginner clinic
Keen to learn the basics of tennis? ANZA Tennis has introduced a four-week introductory program designed for newcomers to the game. We keep the concepts simple, based on the players’ natural movements, and above all, have fun. The ultimate goal is for you to feel comfortable playing a casual game of tennis with friends.

Beginners’ Clinic meets every Wednesday from 11.30-12.30pm
Cost: $100
For more information and to register email: info@anza.org.sg

ANZA Netball Camps – December 2020

 

ANZA Netball Camps
15-18 and 21-23 December 2020

ANZA Netball are offering fun filled, high energy 3 and 4 day camps this December. Open to both boys and girls in the Berrick Hall at Tanglin Trust School.

Qualified and experienced professional coaches will lead the camps delivering a specialised programme designed to fit your child’s age. Camps will be filled with a mixture of activities to enhance your child’s spatial awareness, fundamental movements and ball skills.  Each day will include a wide range of games to keep them smiling and challenged, testing their awareness, balance and control.

In the older age groups, participants will focus on netball technique, match play scenarios, fitness and conditioning. Small groups will ensure individual attention from the coaches who will work on refining execution and correct technique.

Tanglin Trust School – Berrick Hall

15-18th December (4 Days)     $250

Age Group Sessions

  • 2014/2013/2012/2011/2010     8:30 – 11:30am

  • 2009/2008/2007/2006+            12noon – 3pm

21-23rd December (3 Days)    $200

Age Group Sessions

  • 2014/2013/2012/2011/2010     8:30 – 11:30am

  • 2009/2008/2007/2006+            12noon – 3pm

 

Places are limited and allocated on a first-come basis.

All camps subject to minimum numbers.

Registration Deadline 29th November

REGISTER HERE

Further information will be provided about attendance protocol closer to the time.