Christmas Party Fails? This and More on our Newsletter Summer Edition


Inside this issue

- Paul's Introduction
- Paul's Fearless Predictions for 2017
- Christmas Party Fails 
- Cooking with Candice
- Quote of the Month


With 2016 shortly coming to an end, we reflect back on the year. If I had to describe the year in three words then it would be ‘year of upsets’.

With Donald Trump winning the US election, Britain voting to exit the European Union, Leicester winning the English Premier League (I wish I had some money at the start of the season), both the Western Bulldogs in the AFL and Sharks in the NRL and finally my soccer team losing our Grand Final (after being overwhelming favorites and controlling the game with over 75% possession).

It is a year of upsets!

The Australian economy has been experiencing varied success with states like NSW and Victoria bounding along while WA, SA and others struggling. This also reflects the property performance in the corresponding states. 2017 is going to be a very interesting year to gauge what will happen (I hope I have a better result in my fearless prediction than in 2016).

At Simeoni this was a very stable year, with a steady growth recorded. Based on the feedback from a wide range of clients, things are predicted to bound along in NSW with some softening in growth for Victoria. Western Australia which has been in the doldrums for the past three to four years, are showing signs of fresh sprouts and a hint of optimism.

Based on a number of client’s forward predictions in their businesses, the building and infrastructure boom in NSW (Sydney in particular) will continue.

The main concern for the Australian economy is the ability of Government to pass through legislation in the Senate. Also the ability of any party to get the budget into surplus and start repaying the debt is another issue. We will wait and see how 2017 will hold for us.

I would like to thank my wonderful staff who have worked tirelessly over the past 12 months and have shared in the Simeoni vision. Our clients continued support is always appreciated and thank you for allowing us to work with you.

I would like to take this opportunity to wish everyone a safe and enjoyable Christmas and New Year and we look forward to seeing you in 2017.

Paul’s Fearless predictions for 2017 ...

2016 has been a difficult year in predictions with only a score of 4.5 out of 10 (still better than Rish’s 2015 predictions)

My 2017 predictions include the following:

1)  Socceroos will qualify for the 2018 World Cup.

2)  Interest rates will increase during the year.

3)  Sydney housing will only slightly increase while inner city apartments will start to fall in          value.

4)  Donald Trump will commence building the wall but Mexico will not pay for it directly, it will      come out of grants paid by the US to Mexico. 

5)  Sydney FC to win the A league.

 6)  Malcom Turnbull will be challenged as prime minister during the year. 

7)  An Australian’s GDP will be between 2.50 and 3% in 2017.

8)  Mel Gibson’s Hacksaw Ridge will win the Academy Award.

9)  Gina Rinehart to regain the richest person in Australia status.

10) An Australian or Canadian will win a tennis or golf major in 2017.

Results for 2016 are...

Won but decreased majority

 1) Michael Turnbull to win the Federal Election with an increased majority.

 Y - 8 gold

 2) Australia to win between 8 - 10 gold medals at the Rio Olympics.

 Y - dropped by 0.25

 3) Interest rates will not increase during the year.

 X - 1.8% was on track until the Sept.16 Qtr

 4) Australia’s GDP will be between 2.25% & 2.5%

 X  - Adelaide Won

 5) Sydney FC to win the A league.


 6) An Australian will win a tennis or golf major in 2016 .


 7) An Australian, Ben Simmons will be a 1st round NBA draft pick in          2016.

 X -  11% Increase

 8) Sydney Property prices to drop by at least 2%.


 9) Hilary Clinton will win the Democratic Party nomination.


10) Prince Charles will be the new king of United Kingdom in           2016

Christmas party fails

Christmas….that time of year when the festivities not only bring joy but excessive expenses, potential harassment claims, and other employer headaches. As Phyllis Diller once said, “What I don't like about office Christmas parties is looking for a job the next day.”

This month, we explore the top Christmas problem areas:

Getting beyond merry: parties and alcohol

An employee has a few drinks before the work Christmas party, is served and helps himself freely to alcohol during the party, and then retires to a public bar with a few colleagues. This scenario sounds normal for many work Christmas parties. But, in his wake, this employee apparently told a Director to “F… off, mate” later advising that, “All those Board members and managers are f….., they can all get f….”, and was involved in five separate incidents involving female colleagues, telling one “I’m going to go home and dream about you tonight”, and another that, “My mission tonight is to find out what colour knickers you have on”. 

The employee in question was a Team Leader and ironically one of two elected employee Work Health and Safety Representatives. He had been through an induction process when he joined the company on its policies, and his employment contract stated that breaches of company policy may be grounds for dismissal. So, the company believed that, when the full picture of what occurred that night emerged, they were within their rights to dismiss him.  

The employee however successfully claimed unfair dismissal. The Fair Work Commission found that, among other things:

• No manager was tasked with supervising the overall running of the Christmas function or the conduct of staff - the company relied on hotel management.
• Some of the events, including sexual harassment happened at the after party and were not sufficiently connected to work.  ‘Out of hours’ conduct can be a cause for dismissal but in limited circumstances.
• There were alternative actions to dismissal that the company could have taken. 
• There were issues with procedural fairness in how the company managed the investigation and employee meetings following the Christmas party incidents.

It’s important that employers hosting work Christmas parties ensure that where alcohol is being served, they have taken steps to make sure that the event remains in the spirit of the season, such as: making employees aware of the company policies and expectations of behaviour during the party (including the consequences of breaching policy); make sure someone at managerial level or above is responsible for managing conduct during the party (and the responsible manager is sober!); ensure that the function has start and end times; and team members have a way of getting home safely. 

Binging on Christmas expenses

It’s easy to spend too much at Christmas. If you are splurging on clients, to be a legitimate business expense and therefore deductible, the expense has to be related to how your business generates income. So, excessive expenses may draw the attention of the regulators and the deduction denied.

If you are hosting client functions, inviting them to lunch, or to your Christmas party, entertainment costs are not deductible.  

For staff, if you really want to avoid tax on your work Christmas party then host it in the office on a work day - that way, it’s likely to be exempt from Fringe Benefits Tax (FBT) regardless of what you spend per person.  

But, if you are hosting a work Christmas party outside of the office, keep expenses under $300 (GST incl.) per employee to stay under the FBT minor benefit exemption threshold. So, post Christmas party taxi travel expenses, the cost of the Christmas party itself (including meals, drinks and entertainment etc.,) will all be exempt from FBT as long as the cost is kept below $300 per employee.  But, employers cannot then claim a deduction for the Christmas expenses or claim GST credits.  

Christmas gifts for the team should also be kept to under $300 (GST incl.) to ensure they do not incur FBT. Employers can claim a deduction for ad hoc Christmas gifts as long as they do not relate to entertainment.

Post Christmas regrets

February is when a lot of businesses pay their Activity Statements. Avoid Christmas cashflow hangovers. Make sure you protect your position and stay on top of not just Christmas expenses but debtors, stock, and staffing costs. 

Cooking with Candice - Enjoy!  

Crispy Prosciutto White Lasagna



• 8 tablespoons butter
• 2 cloves garlic, minced or grated
• 1 tsp dried basil
• 1 tsp dried oregano
• 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt + pepper
• 1/4 cup flour
• 2 cups milk (I use light milk)
• 2 cups chicken broth (vegetable broth can be used)
• 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
• 1 cup parmesan cheese, grated
• 2 cups whole milk ricotta
• 2 cups shredded provolone
• 2 packages frozen spinach thawed and drained
• 1 - 2 boxes lasagna sheets
• 3 ounces prosciutto, torn
• Instructions
• Preheat the oven to 180 degrees. Grease a 9x13 inch pan.
• Melt the butter in a medium saucepan. Add the garlic, basil, oregano, salt, and pepper and cook 30 seconds or until fragrant. Whisk in the flour and cook for about 1 minute. Slowly add milk and broth. Bring to a boil and stir for 1 minute. Remove from heat and stir in the mozzarella cheese and 1/2 cup of parmesan cheese. Stir until the cheese is fully melted and the sauce is smooth. Set the cheese sauce aside.
• In a medium bowl combine the ricotta, provolone and spinach.
• Spread 1/4 of the cheese sauce in the bottom of the prepared baking dish. Top with 3-4 lasagna sheets. Spread with 1/2 the ricotta cheese mixture and then another 1/4 of the cheese sauce. Place another 3-4 lasagna sheets on top and then top with the remaining ricotta cheese mixture and another 1/4 of the cheese sauce. Add the remaining lasagna noodles and pour the remaining cheese sauce over top. Top with a 1/2 cup of parmesan cheese. Arrange the prosciutto on top. Bake uncovered for 45 minutes or until the top has bubbled up and browned a bit. Let stand 20 minutes before serving.

Quote of the Month

“Happy, happy Christmas, that can win us back to the delusions of our childhood days, recall to the old man the pleasures of his youth, and transport the traveller back to his own fireside and quiet home!” Charles Dickens

Merry Christmas

From all the team we wish you a very merry and safe Christmas. So many of our clients are friends as well and we are grateful for your trust and loyalty.

Be safe.  Be happy.  And, be merry!

Contact us today if you have any queries.


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