I'VE read that self-funded retirees may not be aware that they qualify for the Commonwealth Seniors Health Card (CSHC) because it is linked to taxable income, rather than the complicated income calculation used by Centrelink to calculate benefit payments. Are we eligible for the card? My wife and I are younger than 65 and we are still working 16 hours a week with a combined income below the $80,000 a year eligibility threshold.
I'VE read that self-funded retirees may not be aware that they qualify for the Commonwealth Seniors Health Card (CSHC) because it is linked to taxable income, rather than the complicated income calculation used by Centrelink to calculate benefit payments. Are we eligible for the card? My wife and I are younger than 65 and we are still working 16 hours a week with a combined income below the $80,000 a year eligibility threshold.The CSHC card is available to those who are of age-pension age, which is 65 for males and 64.5 for females. No assets test is applied but eligible applicants must have an Adjusted Taxable Income (ATI) of less than $50,000 for singles and $80,000 for couples. ATI is described as the income you would pay tax on, for example bank interest and dividends. It also includes reportable fringe benefits and reportable employer super contributions. Account-based pensions do not count towards the $80,000 as they are not taxable if you are 60 or over. Keep in mind that a person may have a taxable income even if they are not required to lodge a tax return. If both of you are not yet of age pension age you may qualify for the low-income health card.I'm 51, single, earn $90,000 and pay $250 a week rent. I've $400,000 in super and salary sacrifice about $36,000 a year. Almost all my money is in shares valued at about $1.2 million. I have $40,000 in cash. I will inherit a small home in Britain sometime in the near future and could live there during my retirement. I'm considering selling some or all my shares and buying a house or unit in Sydney (mortgage free) but my gut feeling is that the property market is overvalued and in for a fall and that the share market is likely to produce better returns. Also, as I'll soon turn 52, instead of keeping the shares in my own name should I sell some, pay the capital gains and then buy shares through a self-managed super fund?As you are a direct share investor a self-managed super fund may well be appropriate for you. Only you can decide whether the property market is overvalued in the area where you wish to buy but my belief is that it is always worth buying a bargain if you can find one. Just make sure that any capital-gains costs incurred in moving the money to super do not exceed the gains you make by saving tax.My wife and I recently sold an investment block of land for $200,000. When we bought it in 1990 we combined the cost under our existing home loan. Can we claim any interest on that loan as expenses for capital gains tax and, if so, how would we work that out?Unfortunately, as the property was acquired before August 20, 1991, you cannot claim interest but you can claim purchase costs and of course deduct the selling expenses from the gross sale price.How can I know the exact balance of my super to tell if I'm above or below the $500,000 cut-off on super concessional contribution? I'm over 50 and belong to the government's defined benefit scheme. Looking at my statement, it doesn't say what my super balance is at a given time. Accumulation funds provide you with an exact balance as of today.Unfortunately, we don't have the legislation yet and we don't know how this provision will apply to interest in defined benefit schemes. The government could propose methods to calculate notional interest or could provide an exemption. Until the release of the actual draft legislation, I guess anything is possible.Noel Whittaker is a director of Whittaker Macnaught. Advice is general and readers should seek their own professional advice. Contact noel.whittaker@whittaker macnaught.com.au.Questions to: Ask Noel, Money,GPO Box 2571, Qld, 4000,or see moneymanager.com.au/ask-an-expert.