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The gift card is dead. Salary packaging business ownership is a real incentive.

ESOP

The gift card is dead. Salary packaging business ownership is a real incentive.

By , August 8, 2018
Bringing positive energy to the workplace

Motivating key staff is an important part of a business owner’s employee retention and engagement strategy. Many methods for incentivising loyalty end up coming straight from the company’s coffers, offering bonuses or rewards for high-performing or long-serving employees. But what if it didn’t cost a business any extra to keep and motivate their best staff – it actually saved money?

It’s estimated to cost up to 45% of a departing employee’s salary to replace them, once you factor in the time to recruit a new candidate, train them, and include lost productivity IP and client relationships, etc., etc.

While there is no panacea for staff retention, there is a way to minimise transition costs by building in a performance-booster, a way to “lock in loyalty” with equity, reward staff with a profit share style plan (which is self-funding) and generate income tax savings as well.

There are several types of Employee Share Ownership Plans in Australia. Well designed salary packaged plans allow employees to have their cake and eat it – without costing the business owner more money. In fact, they can get a tax deduction for the contributions.

The tax law (Div. 83A) provides for a tax-exempt $1,000 ESOP contribution to be made annually. That’s tax-free income which can be reinvested into a capital appreciating asset – shares in the employer company. In addition, employees in an employee remuneration trust (such as our Peak Performance Trust) which can receive tax-deductible contributions from the employer ( based on a profit share plan ) to fund employees purchase of shares.

A structure like the above allows favourable tax treatment for both employer and employee. Employees can also salary sacrifice into a complying ESS plan, reducing taxable income, and further buying into in the company they work with.

If structured correctly to comply with the ATO’s rules, an ESS allows the employee to only pay Capital Gains Tax (CGT) on any gain, not income tax on the initial purchase.

If you’re looking to attract, retain and motivate key staff – consider using salary sacrifice to fund their investment into an ESOP. Having your employees think and behave like business owners will make a substantial difference to your business performance.

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Craig West

Craig West

CEO | Succession Plus

Craig West is a strategic accountant who has over 20 years’ experience advising business owners. His background as a CPA in public practice, provided invaluable experience in the key issues of concern to business owners. Following 6 years of study to gain two masters degrees, Craig focused on Capital Gains Tax (CGT) for business sales advising on strategic management of tax issues. This experience formed a very strong view that business owners (and often their advisers) were unprepared and unaware of the steps required to prepare a business for exit.

Craig now acts as a strategic mentor for mid-market business owners and has written four critically acclaimed books on employee incentives, succession planning, asset protection and exit strategies. Craig has conducted numerous seminars and keynote presentations throughout Australia & internationally, including adviser education programs for the Institute of Chartered Accountants and CPA Australia.

Succession Plus CEO