Australian Tax Office
A Coalition government will commit Commonwealth departments and agencies to pay small business suppliers on time or face paying interest on outstanding bills, Opposition treasury spokesman Joe Hockey says. “Under the Coalition, all small businesses that provide services to the Commonwealth will get the benefit of a ‘pay on time or pay interest’ approach- formal contracts or not,” Hockey said in a post-budget speech to the National Press Club in Canberra. He says that if a bill isn’t paid within 30 days, interest will be applied at the same rate the Australian Taxation Office expects people to pay for late tax payments, currently 9.95%. “Small businesses work hard for their money and should not be bankrolling government,” he said. Hockey attacked the Labor government’s budget handed down last week, which revealed a $19.4 billion deficit, claiming it lacks integrity, pledging the Coalition would build a strong economy. Pointing out he came from a family of small business people, including cousin Gus whose menswear business in Sydney had recently gone broke, Hockey says enterprise is the backbone of the Australian economy. He says government should support business and reiterated that small business would be a cabinet portfolio within the Treasury department if the Coalition wins the federal election on September 14. The Coalition’s objective is to reduce the overall tax burden on businesses and taxpayers “over time”, he said. Hockey says the Coalition would also seek to create a more “cooperative” relationship between taxpayers and the Australian Taxation Office by appointing people with business experience to senior posts, reducing the complexity of tax laws while increasing their certainty, and establish a standing Parliamentary Committee to oversee tax administration. Expressing reservations about the ATO administering and policing Australia’s tax system, Hockey says the Coalition would be prepared to break up the tax office and separate its policing and administration functions if the oversight committee believed it was necessary. Australian Tax Office staff numbers were boosted by 508 in the federal budget as the government announced a crackdown on trusts and closing corporate tax loopholes. Tax and small business experts had expressed concerns the crackdown could extend to small businesses.
The father of Swisse chief executive Radek Sali has launched a defamation action following claims on ABC’s consumer affairs program The Checkout, claiming a recent episode ‘‘severely injured his reputation and standing’’. Presenters Craig Reucassel and Julian Morrow along with executive producer Nick Murray and the ABC are all named as defendants in the lawsuit. Avni Sali’s lawsuit centres around claims made during the episode broadcast March 21, which alleged the National Institute of Integrative Medicine he founded was not independent in conducting clinical tests of Swisse products. “The program was meant and was understood to mean that the plaintiff performed clinical tests... and then manipulated the published results for the commercial benefit of Swisse,’’ Sali says. Packer lieutenant John Alexander appointed to Seven West Media board Seven West Media has announced it is appointing John Alexander, the former executive deputy chairman of James Packer's Crown Casino empire, to its board of directors. "We are delighted John has accepted the invitation to join the board of Seven West Media," Seven West chairman Kerry Stokes states. “His success in media and business speaks for itself. His appointment adds further depth to the board of our company as it continues to develop its businesses.” Treasury looks at closing tax loopholes for digital services The Treasury has released an issues paper examining the ways in which international online giants, including Google, Apple and Microsoft, minimise their tax bills by shifting profits from online services into low-tax jurisdictions. “The global reach of multinational enterprises, along with the developments in information and communication technology…provides them with a high degree of flexibility in how to structure their affairs,” the paper states. “These developments raise serious concerns about the efficiency, equity and sustainability of the income tax system.” The paper also calls for submissions suggesting possible solutions to the erosion of tax revenues by international tech companies, along with further data that could assist the Australian Tax Office. Overnight The Dow Jones Industrial Average is up 0.9% to 14831.6. The Aussie dollar is up to US102.48 cents.
This article first appeared June 22, 2012. With warnings of a second global financial crisis and consumers at home who refuse to part with their cash, it may seem like hard times are ahead for Australian small businesses.
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