As I may be eligible, at age 76, for the pension, I want to find out if there are any changes to eligibility criteria from January 1, 2015 for the age pension and the pension bonus scheme. I cannot find such an article but if there is one in the archives, could you direct me to it. My thanks.
Editor’s response: Thanks for your letter. Our recent articles covering the subject of the age pension and pension bonus scheme include Tax with Max: Property developments and taxes and Tax with Max: Behind the Telstra buyback. Otherwise, questions for our tax columnist Max Newnham are always welcome – send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
I watched your webcast (Investing overseas: What does the USA offer Australian investors?, September 30) and am interested in investing some of my funds in overseas markets. Platinum Asset Management seems a relatively easy way to do this. However, I have been on their website and have discovered that they have several ASX listed companies (PTM, PMC, etc) as well as several trusts one can invest in. When you advocate investing in overseas markets, are you referring to the ASX listed companies or the trusts?
Editor’s response: Thanks for your letter. The webcast didn't specify whether you should invest overseas through Platinum's open-ended trusts, through its listed investment company Platinum Capital (PMC), or via any other means such as direct share purchases.
Platinum, along with other fund managers, offer a variety of ways to invest overseas (see Platinum's website). According to Platinum, the distinguishing feature of investing in the LIC rather than the unit trust products is that it is taxed at source and it distributes a dividend (usually fully-franked) rather than a unit trust distribution.
Regarding Andrew Wilson’s article – Houses are getting more affordable, September 24. Bloody bollocks Andrew! The measure of housing affordability is not whether investors, in Sydney's case overseas investors, can afford it. The measure of housing affordability is whether our children born and bred there can afford to buy a home in their city, therefore allowing grandchildren to grow up living near and knowing their grandparents.
Energy supply and demand
Regarding the discussion about supply and demand in “Oil below 90” (Kohler’s Week, October 4). I wonder if you could see the whole world picture whether you would actually see a shift occurring in energy use - less demand for oil means there is more oil available - a bit like current electricity demand in Australia. Of course energy always powers the economy but the real question is where will that energy come from. Coal for example may have its last hurrah but into the future it is gone, of that I am convinced. I think, sooner than people expect, energy will be determined by what humans consciously decide to use and there will a seismic shift away from fossil fuels and indeed oil will be very cheap to buy then!
Understanding capital gains
Regarding the comment by the 73-year-old lady about capital gains tax (Bank stocks: It’s all about dividends now, October 1). Surely this is not right? My understanding is that a smsf in pension mode pays no capital gains tax.
Editor’s response: Thanks for your letter. It is correct that a self-managed super fund in pension mode pays no capital gains tax, and neither does it pay income tax.