Your Money

Leap year (01)

- February 25, 2016 4 MIN READ

We’d all love a bit of extra time in our lives, and this year we’ll get just that. That’s right, 2016 is a leap year which means that your February just got a day longer.


This is great if you can weasel a day off, but if you’re on a fixed annual salary you’ll be working for free today. Sorry, happy Monday anyway.


But before you get too depressed, consider what an extra day to the calendar means for you and the economy. The answer really depends on who you are and what you do.


If you’re on a salary chances are you won’t even notice the change in your pay, as it’s spread out over each pay of the year. However, based on the national average wage, this additional day works out to just under $190 worth of work that you’re doing for free this year.


On the other hand, if your job measures monthly KPI’s you’ll get an extra day to outdo last year’s numbers, so make the most of it. The same goes for casual employees, who have an extra day to outdoes tar cash this year.


Renters and anyone with yearly paid subscriptions will also be getting an extra day for absolutely nothing. But unless you’re subscription-mad, it’s not going to even out completely.


So what can you do to make up for the lost income? You’ve got a few options.


The sharing economy has made it easier than ever to work outside of the nine-to-five in ways that are flexible and actually worth the time you put in. A few hours as an Uber driver or running errands on Airtasker can quickly cover that missing $190.


The freelance economy is booming and it’s not just for those wanting to make a career of it, with plenty of after-work money makers cashing in on the action. Two guys at our family business work full time, and then do food delivery and ride sharing after hours for a bit of extra money.


If you prefer to use your downtime relaxing, you could use the extra day to spend nothing at all. Stretch out some leftover food, cycle to work, go to a free summer festival… Do whatever you can to spend little or nothing for this one day. Or, stretch that saving out over a few weeks or months until you’ve reached the target.


Another option is to cut out something you might not need anymore. It could be a magazine subscription or buying takeaway lunches during the week. To make it a little more rewarding, tackle an area that will provide a positive impact on your life like quitting smoking or drinking less.


You’ll be doing yourself and your wallet a big favour.


Whatever it is you decide to do with the extra time, and dip in your pay cheque, take solace in the fact that it only comes around every four years and find a way to spin it in your favour.


And if you’re a bloke that’s been putting off a marriage proposal for a little too long, beware… A leap year is when women traditionally broke the mould and proposed to their man, a custom that comes from 13th century Scotland. Are you in for a surprise?


Why do we have leap years?

The earth takes 365.25 days to complete an orbit around the sun, however our Gregorian calendar uses 365 days. So an extra day is added each four years to keep our calendars in sync with the sun and our seasons.




Collaborative consumption is the new buzz word in the digital world and the new strategy for average Australian’s to earn extra income.

Collaborative consumption is just the fancy term for the sharing economy where we “share” our possessions with others… For a fee. It makes a lot of sense. If you don’t use a possession continually, why not share it with others when you’re not using it.

The idea has taken off like wildfire.

Whether it’s renting your house on Airbnb, a couch on Couchsurfer, your yard to campers through ???, your car on ??, or even tools on ?? the sharing economy has become big… And a great way to earn extra cash.

But with any new, growing income stream, the Tax Office is sure to take an interest.

Along with the 1.8 million people who own an investment property, the ATO is also targeting Airbnb customers.

The Tax Office has access to your bank records to assess any extra income coming in and also looks at the Airbnb website to see who is renting properties out regularly. So all the information is readily available.

Where the tax rules become a bit confusing is the differentiation between simply earning a bit of extra income renting out a room and being a professional Airbnb user so that it becomes more like a business.

Either way you should make sure your accountant or registered tax agent knows about your Airbnb transactions when preparing this year’s tax return. If they think your usage falls into the business area then you’ll need to comply with a higher more complex level of tax comcompliance than if it’s just a few extra irregular dollars.

In both instances, good record keeping of income and expenses will be essential… Because the Tax Man is watching.