If your business has provided fringe benefits to your employees, you should be aware that the 2021 FBT return (for the period 1 April 2020 to 31 March 2021) is due, and payment of any associated FBT liability is required immediately.

If you prepare your own return, it can be lodged up until 25 June 2021 without incurring a “failure to lodge on time” penalty. However, the associated FBT liability must have been paid by 21 May 2021, and a general interest charge will apply to any payments made after that date.

If your business hasn’t paid FBT before, you are required to make the payment in a lump sum for the year on 21 May. This also applies where your business paid FBT in the previous year, but the liability was less than $3,000. If you paid $3,000 or more in the previous year, the FBT liability will be paid in quarterly instalments with your business’s activity statements in the following year, with the balancing payment to be made on 21 May.

You also need to be aware that while there have been a lot of recent announcements about changes to FBT, many of these proposed changes are not yet law. In those instances, you need to apply the legislation current at the time of your return, and make the appropriate amendments later when the changes do become law.

For example, the government recently announced an FBT exemption for retraining and reskilling benefits that employers provide to redundant (or soon to be redundant) employees where the benefits may not be related to their current employment. While this change is intended to apply from the date of the announcement once the legal change is enacted, businesses need to apply the current legislation to this latest FBT return and amend it later if necessary.

Tip: The change to allow businesses with less than $50 million in turnover to access certain existing FBT small business concessions will apply to benefits provided to employees from 1 April 2021 onwards.