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The services provided by BEC
(Darwin Region) Inc are partially
funded by the Australian
Government and NT Government.

10-Jun-2015


 

 

Message from the Manager

What do you think about the country’s unfair dismissal laws?

Former Howard Minister, Peter Reith recently stated that, in his view, they amounted to an additional tax on small business and called on the current Government to curb the laws which he labelled “Australia’s runaway growth industry” that has “no barriers to entry for a disgruntled former employee looking for a few quid”.

Reith cited figures from the Fair Work Commission that he said show 17,806 unfair dismissal claims were lodged last year—the highest number of dismissal applications since records began.

“There are about 70 claims of unfair dismissal each working day—more than one in every seven minutes that the Fair Work Commission is open,” Reith said.

He went on to say “the real story about unfair dismissals” is that most claims by employees are resolved before they reach the Fair Work Commission because it is cheaper for small businesses to pay the employee “go away money”.

“As one small businessman said to me recently, it’s ultimately cheaper to pay someone $5000 to drop their claim than to close your business for two days and fight your case at the commission,” Reith said.

“Unfair dismissal has effectively morphed into a secret tax on businesses—and no one is talking about it.”

This is obviously a very emotive topic and one that has been around for a long time.
Anyone prepared to share their thoughts or tell us about an unfair dismissal claim that they have had to deal with?

Jack Hughes
jack@becnt.com.au


BUDGET NEWS: $5.5 BILLION JOBS AND SMALL BUSINESS PACKAGE

The Australian Government’s $5.5 billion Jobs and Small Business Package is designed to help small business to grow and create jobs.

Ninety-six per cent of all Australian businesses are small businesses, employing more than 4.5 million people and producing more than $330 billion of economic output per year.

The package includes tax cuts for all small businesses to encourage investment and growth, and measures that will reduce red tape and promote entrepreneurship.

For more information, visit the Jobs and Small Business package page.

BEC SMALL BUSINESS WORKSHOPS

Looking to start a new business or expand your existing business in 2015?

The BEC is all about supporting individuals with sound practical advice from start up to business growth in the early years.

Our Small Business Workshops provide an introduction to five specific and important areas of business including business structures and tax, marketing and bookkeeping. Best of all the workshops are FREE!

Darwin

Venue: BEC Darwin, 20 Catterthun Street, Winnellie (Lower Level)
Dates: 22-29 June 2015 (Evening workshops), 20-22 July 2015, 17-19 August 2015, 28-30 September 2015

Alice Springs

Venue: QUEST, 9-10 South Terrace The Gap Alice Springs
Dates: 22-23 July 2015

Katherine

Venue: Katherine Training Centre, 19 Second Street
Dates: 11-12 August 2015

Bookings are essential : register online.

DEPARTMENT OF BUSINESS EVENTS CALENDAR

The Department of Business is holding the following FREE workshops over the coming months:

Alice Springs

  • Planning for Business Growth - Thursday 11 June 2015
  • Advanced Social Media - Wednesday 24 June 2015

Katherine

  • Workhealth and Safety – Wednesday 10 June 2015

Darwin

  • Tendering Essentials - Wednesday 10 June 2015

Register online today!

TAX TIPS FOR HOME-BASED BUSINESSES

Do you run a home-based business? Unsure of what deductions you are entitled to? The ATO has developed a range of tools, services and resources for start-ups, making it as efficient and simple as possible for new business owners to meet their tax obligations.

Click here for more information.

FAIR WORK OMBUDSMAN

Help for small business including:

  • Getting started – the basics, hiring employees and registering for My account;
  • Record-keeping and pay slips;
  • Finding the right pay;
  • Calculating leave;
  • Managing employees;
  • Ending employment;
  • Audit your payroll regularly;
  • Stay up-to-date; and
  • Useful links.

Click here to visit the website.

SMALL BUSINESS ENTITY CONCESSIONS

Small businesses with an annual turnover less than $2 million may be able to access a range of tax concessions. This applies whether you operate your business as a sole trader, partnership, company or trust.

To work out your eligibility and for a range of concessions visit the ATO website.

PROTECT YOURSELF AGAINST PHONE SCAMS

The ATO is warning the public to be aware of a phone scam that is again circulating where fraudsters are intimidating people into paying a fake tax debt over the phone.

The aggressive scam attempts to force people to pay a fake tax debt over the phone by threatening arrest if they don’t comply.

If people receive a call from the ATO and are concerned about providing their personal information over the phone, they should ask for the caller’s name and phone them back through the ATO’s switchboard on 13 28 69. If people think they may have fallen victim to a phone scam, contact the ATO on 1800 060 062.

For more information and examples of recent scams visit the ATO website or scamwatch.gov.au.

OCTOBER BUSINESS MONTH

Opportunities for sponsorship and event hosts for October Business Month are now available. As an OBM Sponsor, you will be provided the opportunity to showcase your services to over 9000 attendees across the Northern Territory's Business Community.

Businesses that sponsor OBM, can take advantage of various opportunities:

  • Showcase your business's corporate social responsibility and updated for 2015 investment into the Territory's business community.
  • Establish and maintain a prominent profile across the Territory as a supporter of small to medium enterprises.
  • Network with business leaders, service providers, experts and industry professions.
  • Be part of event that attracts widespread media coverage.
  • Access OBM's extensive promotional and marketing opportunities.
  • Launch new initiatives, services and engage with potential clients.
  • Access a captive audience.
  • Align your brand and product with OBM and associated Territory wide OBM events.
  • Exposure to a large and targeted audience within the Territory business community.
  • Achieve a high community profile throughout OBM showcasing your business's brand and products.
  • Maximum return on your investment.

Head to the OBM website for more information and to download the prospectus.

IS YOUR OHS LICENCE EXPIRING?

A message from NT Worksafe

Employers are reminded that workers who currently hold an OHS licence to operate forklifts, cranes, boilers and hoists or perform scaffolding or rigging work will need to upgrade their licence to a High Risk Work Licence before the 30 June 2015.

OHS Licences previously granted had no expiry and were for life, however due to the adoption of national standards, a five year expiry is now in place along with a requirement to have a photograph on licences.

OHS Licences issued before 1 January 2005 have now expired. OHS Licences issued between 1 January 2005 and 30 June 2010 are still valid but will expire on 30 June 2015.

Valid OHS Licences can be upgraded to a High Risk Work Licence by filling out an application form and sending it to the Territory Business Centre. If your licence has expired, you will need to redo training and have your competency assessed by a High Risk Licensing Assessor before you can be reissued a licence.

The licence application can be downloaded from www.worksafe.nt.gov.au

Completed applications can be emailed to territory.businesscentre@nt.gov.au or lodged at one of the Territory Businesses Centre’s located across the Territory.

For further assistance on upgrading your licence, please call Territory Business Centre on 1800 193 111.

ACCC WARNS BUSINESSES USING DEBT COLLECTORS TO BE CAREFUL

The following article is via Smart Company

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has warned businesses using debt collectors they may be held responsible for the debt collectors’ actions in a report published last week.

The report, titled Research into the Australian Debt Collection Industry, found while there have been improvements in debt collection practices across Australia, problem areas remain.

The report found over 500 businesses offer some form of debt collection service in Australia and collectors make up to 65 million contact attempts each year.

Issues of particular concern identified in the report include:

  • Some debt collectors not abiding by the ACCC’s guidelines and the law causing considerable detriment to vulnerable and disadvantaged consumers;
  • Credit repair businesses which can charge consumers large fees –sometimes larger than the debts involved – for support that is freely available to them from other agencies such as industry ombudsman schemes and financial counsellors;
  • Debt collection processes that impose additional costs that can add to the detriment for consumers already in financial distress.
  • ACCC deputy chair Delia Rickard said in a statement accompanying the report that businesses engaging debt collectors may be held responsible for their agent’s collection activities even where the agent acts in a way that is contrary to their debt collection agreement.

“Many in the industry clearly take their compliance obligations seriously and are committed to improving their reputation,” Rickard said.

“However, this report shows there is room for further improvement.”

Patrick Coghlan, commercial director at CreditorWatch, told SmartCompany the debt collectors he has dealt with have been very diligent and have followed the rules.

“I think over the years there have been a few bad apples that have spoilt the bunch,” he says.

Coghlan says professional debt collection agencies can be a helpful tool for SMEs.

“A lot of small businesses forget that a sale isn’t a sale until you have the money in your account,” he says.

“The average time it takes SMEs to get paid is pushing 50 plus days at the moment.A professional credit management debt collector will be able to collect the money a lot quicker than you do so you can focus on your business.”

Coghlan’s advice for small businesses engaging debt collectors is to ensure the debt collector has all the appropriate licensing in place and to look at their office location.

“A debt collection agency is easy to run out of a home office but in order to have the proper processes in place you really want to ensure they are who they say they are and they are a legitimate business,” he says.

“Look at testimonials if they are available.”

ATO NEWS

There are currently close to 100 serious criminal tax offence matters before the courts across the country. This is a result of government agencies working together to catch tax offenders and bring them to justice.

Serious fraud offences that go before the courts include use of falsified invoices to claim deductions not entitled to, GST refund fraud, excise fraud (alcohol and fuel tax credit fraud), identity crime with suspected links to overseas organised crime groups, and income tax refund fraud.

People who are unclear of their tax or superannuation obligations, or are struggling to meet their obligations, should contact the ATO on 13 28 61 to discuss their situation. If you believe someone is doing the wrong thing, you can report suspected tax fraud by calling the ATO on 1800 060 062.

The ATO now has a prosecution list on their website demonstrating some of the serious criminal tax convictions.

Lodging tax file number (TFN) declaration data electronically

Lodging online is a quick, secure way to meet your reporting obligations, and has the advantage of:

  • reducing your paperwork (there is no need to send forms to us)
  • eliminating the possibility of loss or damage to your paper documents sent by mail
  • allowing you to lodge reports after hours
  • ensuring you complete all reports correctly (using inbuilt checks)
  • providing you with an online confirmation of your lodgment.

If you lodge your reporting obligations electronically, you can now accept a payees' electronic signature on an electronic TFN declaration form.

Click here for more information.

R&D tax incentive

The ATO is working closely with AusIndustry to identify taxpayers involved in aggressive Research and Development (R&D) tax incentive arrangements which may include tax avoidance and fraud. The ATO is concerned businesses and tax agents are following R&D consultant advice without substantiation of expenditure or objectively assessing the advice.

Click here for more information.

ATO provides advice on taxi travel services through ride-sourcing

The ATO has released advice on the tax consequences of a range of collaborative consumption activities, including taxi travel through ride-sourcing (also known as ride-sharing or ride-hailing), provided as part of the ‘sharing economy’.

The ATO has confirmed that people who provide ride-sourcing services are providing ‘taxi travel’ under the GST law. The existing tax law applies and so drivers are required to register for GST regardless of their turnover.

Recognising that some taxpayers may need to take some corrective actions, the ATO is allowing drivers until 1 August 2015 to get an ABN and register for GST.

For more detailed information on the sharing economy and tax requirements for ride-sourcing, visit the ATO website.

Did you lodge your own 2014 income tax return?

If you lodged your own 2014 income tax return you may have inadvertently over-claimed some deductions for new assets or motor vehicles.

Your deductions could have been affected by law changes from 1 January 2014 that:

  • reduced the instant asset write-off limit from $6,500 to $1,000
  • removed the accelerated initial deduction for motor vehicles.

If you need to adjust your return you still have until 30 June 2015 to lodge an amendment and avoid penalties.

Amendments lodged after 30 June 2015 may attract shortfall interest and penalty charges.

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Phone: 1800 229 500 | PO Box 37192 Winnellie NT 0821 | www.becnt.com.au

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