The switch to digital payments is making foreign checks almost obsolete

Through various acquisitions, I hold stocks that are listed on a United States stock exchange. Over the years I have reinvested all dividends and listed them with the Australian Taxation Office. The company recently made an offer for “small volume sales,” which I accepted. I received a check for $4000. I have not been able to exchange this check for Australian currency despite trying various banks and many phone/email communications. My bank – Westpac – no longer deals in foreign checks and others require you to be their customer for at least six months. The check clearly states that it is only valid for six months. Is there another way to deposit this check into my bank account? Eventually, when I sell the remaining shares in this company, the problem will only get worse.

A Westpac spokesman said the bank stopped processing foreign currency checks in May 2021.

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The change was made in response to changing customer demand, migration to digital payment methods and fewer in-person payment requests, they said.

Customers who require constant foreign currency funds should instead request payments via international money transfer direct to their Westpac account.

I am single, over 75 and confused. If someone downsizes from a single family home while on a Centrelink partial pension, does that mean forfeiting the pension? Do You Have to Pay Capital Gains Tax (CGT) When Selling a Single-Family Home?

If the family home held on your behalf is a CGT-exempt asset. It is not taken into account in the income or assets test for the old-age pension, but money in the bank is.

If we assume you are a single homeowner with net worth of $320,000, your pension should be around $819 per fortnight. If you reduced and freed up another $250,000 in cash, your investable assets could increase to $570,000 and your pension would drop to about $69 every two weeks.

If you have money left over from your home downsizing that brought your total assets to more than $593,000, you would lose the annuity entirely. It is therefore important that you, as a pensioner, seek professional advice for your individual life situation – and calculate – if you are thinking about downsizing.

We are considering selling a property and making a list of expenses over the 20 years since purchase. Can we claim property maintenance expenses? If yes, what is alimony? Can we claim garden costs like lawn mowing? We have never rented the property. What about the electricity and gas and water tariffs?

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