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Australians leading the charge on crypto-currency

7:37AM | Thursday, 3 July

While the Australian Tax Office labours over whether or not it should classify bitcoin as money or property, here are some of the Australian companies and individuals already operating on the cutting edge of the crypto-currency space.   Jackson Palmer, creator of Dogecoin   Palmer accidently invented Dogecoin in December last year and has since relocated to San Francisco. Dogecoin is an open source peer-to-peer digital currency, inspired by the popular Doge meme.   Coinjar   The Melbourne-based bitcoin exchange and payment system is Australia’s largest and longest running bitcoin company. Coinjar’s app allows users to manage their bitcoins on multiple devices, keeps those bitcoins safe and buy more bitcoins.   Domenic Carosa, co-founder and chairman of the Future Capital Bitcoin Fund   The Future Capital Bitcoin Fund has launched a $US30 million fund that will invest in companies that are leveraging services based on bitcoin and other crypto-currencies.   Bitcoins Reserve   This Melbourne-based company is the world’s first crypto-currency arbitrage investment fund. It’s a subsidiary of the Hong Kong-based Chesham Group Limited and has been operating for the past year.   It says it has generated a 662.3% return on investment for its customers, in its first 11 months.   Diamond Circle   Diamond Circle is a startup based in Brisbane that offers debit cards and cashless ATMs for bitcoins. The company uses technology like that found in credit cards capable of wave and pay, to allow distributors and merchants to accept bitcoins, and earn commission by accepting bitcoins on purchases, providing cash-out facilities and by selling bitcoin debit cards.   Igot   The South-Australian based bitcoin exchange is one of the few, if not the only, exchange that accepts BPAY, direct debit and bank transfers.   Cointree   A new Melbourne-based bitcoin exchange that says it’s focusing on price, ease-of-use and security. It has no buying or selling fees, no bitcoin withdrawal fees, and a 2% cash withdrawal fee. CoinTree creates secure bitcoin wallets for its users and transfers actual bitcoin into the wallet when purchased, which enables users to verify their balance at any time using external sites.   Forepost   Forepost is an Australian startup that allows its users to buy bitcoins via over-the-counter bank deposits at any one of Australia’s big four banks.   Cryptothrift   Cryptothrift runs an eBay-style online auction site where users can buy and sell items with bitcoins and litecoins. It sells everything from computer game download codes, to fishing hats, laptops and tablets.

Building an eBay-style marketplace for bitcoins and litecoins

7:38AM | Tuesday, 1 July

Australian bitcoin and litecoin marketplace Cryptothrift, wants to become eBay for crypto-currencies and is trying to create an economy for anonymous currencies.   The company, which runs an eBay-style online auction site where users can buy and sell items with bitcoins and litecoins, was founded last year by Sydney-based crypto-currency enthusiasts Ahmad Aoun and Paul Screen.   Cryptothrift sells everything from computer game download codes, to fishing hats, laptops, tablets and YouTube video views.   Sellers pay a 2.5% flat rate or a transaction fee, whichever is higher. Buying items is free, but the company charges a 1% fee if escrow is selected at the checkout.   Screen told Private Media the company was accepting a number of other crypto-currencies for a brief period, but it just wasn’t worthwhile.   “In practice there just wasn’t the volume in sales to advocate supporting them,” Screen says.   “What we’re seeing is people are only interested in bitcoin.”   Screen says the company’s sales are continually growing month on month, 90% of which are in bitcoin, with litecoin making up the other 10%.   Dealing with scammers attracted by the anonymity of bitcoin has been Cryptothrift’s biggest challenge.   In response, Screen says the company has implemented an escrow payment system.   “Bitcoin and crypto-currency has this tag that it’s anonymous and therefore it tends to attract a lot of the wrong types of people,” he says.   “We’re trying to approach things from the opposite way, we want our system and business to be as transparent as it can, we’ve registered with ASIC here in Australia and we’re not hiding from the ATO (Australian Tax Office).”   Trust has been a problem for the site, it’s been accused by some users of being a scam. They’re accusations Screen says are inevitable, but unjustified.   “I can’t hide away from that, it’s going to happen,” he says.   “It’s why we’ve introduced the escrow system that allows buyers 30 days to determine if they’re happy with their purchase and release the funds.”   He says there have been cases of scammers operating on the site and “it’s generally pretty clear cut what’s happened”, but the company provides arbitration services and refunds.   A large number of the products available on Cryptothrift are digital, which Screen says can lead to stolen items being sold, something the company is constantly on the lookout for and doesn’t tolerate.   Screen says in the coming months, Cryptothrift is looking at introducing a verification process, to ensure transparency amongst sellers and in order to comply with know your customer regulations and anti-money laundering laws.   “We’ve been in talks for the last few weeks, we’re looking to outsource the verification process for simplicity, but the cost is holding us back, we need to justify that expenditure,” he says.   “We’re toying with the idea of doing it in house.”   The company has been funded entirely by its founders so far, and while they’re not actively searching for investment, Screen says they’re not opposed to external funding.   “It’s something we’re considering,” he says.   “We know we want to expand, and we have a lot of good plans for sure, there’s a lot we want to do, but we’re going to need some kind of capital investment.”

Home-based business owner? There are some tax deductions you should be aware of

6:09AM | Tuesday, 3 June

Did you know you can claim for cleaning costs and wear-and-tear on your furniture at your home business?   As the name suggests, a home-based business is one where you operate the business at, or from, home.   That said, you don’t have to do your work at home to be a home-based business. For instance, a house painter would do most of their work elsewhere, but if they didn’t rent or own premises other than the home, they would count as a home-based business.   Generally speaking, a home-based business can claim all the deductions any other SME can; yet there are also some specific deductions to be aware of.   There are broadly two types of expenses you can claim related to your home business area: occupancy expenses and operating expenses.   Parts of the home you use for business   Occupancy expenses include rent or mortgage interest, council rates, land taxes and home insurance premiums.   Before you can claim occupancy expenses, you have to pass the Australian Tax Office’s interest deductibility test. This means you must have an area of your home set aside exclusively for your business activities, such as an office or workshop. When assessing this test, the ATO will consider factors including whether you have a sign identifying your business at the front of your house; whether or not the business area is also suitable for domestic purposes; and whether it is used regularly for client visits.   If you pass the test you can claim the proportion of your home mortgage or rent which corresponds to the amount of space you use for your business.   For instance, if the floor area of your home office or workshop is 15 per cent of the total area of your home, you could claim 15 per cent of your rent or mortgage interest, council rates and insurance.   There’s a potential sting in the tail you need to be aware of before you start deducting a portion of your mortgage. You might have to pay capital gains tax on the sale of your home if you pass the interest deductibility test. This can apply if you ran a small business from home, even if you never claimed; the issue is how much you transformed your home into a place of business.   Operating expenses: the costs of doing business   You can claim a deduction for any expenses in running your home business that are above the costs you would have incurred by living in the home.   Running costs include electricity and gas for heating, cooling and lighting; phone and internet costs; the decline in value of plant and equipment like chairs, bookcases and computers; as well as the decline in value in furnishings like curtains, carpets and light fittings. Cleaning costs are also deductible.   Like claiming the mortgage or rent, you can only deduct these expenses for the portion of your house that you actually use for your home business – and there are different ways of working this out.   You can calculate this figure using the floor area of your home office. For instance, if the floor area of your home office is 10 per cent of the total area of your home, you can claim 10 per cent of electricity costs.   This is the simplest method, but if you don’t have an area set aside for home use only, you’ll have to use another method and you must be able to show how you calculated your deductions. If you get audited, the ATO will want to see that the claim is fair and reasonable and excludes the expenses associated with normal living costs.   It’s a good idea to keep a diary for a four week period to demonstrate how use of your work-at-home office has increased your expenses, particularly your phone bill.   Another alternative is to claim a deduction of 34 cents for every hour you work at home. This method, however, covers only heating, cooling, lighting and furniture depreciation, and you will have to work out other expenses such as phone and internet usage separately. Don’t forget wear-and-tear   You might be able to claim a deduction for the decline in value of some of the assets used for your business, such as computers and other office equipment, electrical tools and motor vehicles, as well as furnishings, carpet and curtains.   As with other deductions, you can only claim the proportion used for business, so you should also record business and non-business use of these assets in a four week diary.   Chris Ridd is MD, Xero Australia

Budget 2014: Funding slashed for Australian Tax Office and ASIC as government moves to privatise regulator

5:23AM | Tuesday, 13 May

The Australian Tax Office and Australian Securities and Investment Commission have both had their funding cut in this year’s budget.   The ATO’s funding will be cut by $142 million over three years from 2015.   The tax office will bring forward 4,700 job cuts that were already planned.   900 staff will be cut this year, 500 next year, 1,600 in 2015-2016, 1,200 in 2016-2017 and 500 in 2017-2018.   ASIC’s funding will be cut by $120 million over five years.   The budget papers do not outline how the corporate regulator will make these savings, only saying ASIC will “adjust its priorities”.   The savings from both measures will be redirected by the government “to repair the budget and fund policy priorities”.   The government also announced “scoping studies” into privatising ASIC’s registry function.   “The proceeds from future privatisations will be reinvested into the Asset Recycling Fund for new productive infrastructure,” the budget papers state.   As previously reported by SmartCompany, ASIC’s register is estimated to generate more than $625 million in revenue and has annual costs of around $140 million.   ASIC chairman Greg Medcraft told the economics references committee in February the corporate register was “frankly, a technology business” and there could be “huge benefits” in separating the registry business and “merging it with other government registries to leverage the economies of scale from [its] Siebel management system”.

Five small business tax deductions to keep in mind at tax time

5:32AM | Friday, 16 May

The end of the financial year is fast approaching and small businesses need to get their tax affairs in order. Chris Ridd of online accounting software provider Xero outlines strategies to help your business minimise its tax bill.   Tax time takes it out of the best of us. A small saving grace is the general rule that you can claim deductions for any expense your business incurs while generating its income. Many of these deductions are straightforward – rent, materials, wages, supplies – but here are five you might not have heard of.   Interest – don’t overlook what you can deduct   You can deduct any interest on money your business borrows, including interest paid on business loans, overdrafts and other finance facilities. This might sound obvious, but there are other interest expenses you can deduct that can easily be overlooked.   Firstly, any interest that is accrued on a business loan but not paid by June 30 is potentially deductible.   Secondly, many small business owners fund their business through personal loans or with their personal credit card. And because the interest costs aren’t being incurred by the business itself, but by the business owner, you can claim a deduction on the interest in your own personal income tax.   Depreciation – take advantage of the $6500 cap   Small businesses shouldn’t forget to claim for depreciation – getting a deduction for the loss of value and wear and tear on the business’ assets.   Assets usually have to be depreciated bit by bit over several years, but special rules for SMEs mean that they can get an immediate tax write off for any asset with a value of up to $6500. For example, if your business bought a $4000 computer in the current tax year, the business could claim an immediate 100% tax deduction when you do your tax return.   The federal government has signalled it wants to drop the limit to $1000, backdating the change to 1 January 2014. This denies SMEs to take advantage of this concession before it goes out the window (although it remains to be seen if this change will be passed by the Senate). Nonetheless you can, at the very least, take advantage of the $6,500 cap for assets purchased before 31 December 2013.   Motor vehicles – drive a better deal with the tax man   There are also generous depreciation concessions for small businesses when they buy motor vehicles.   SMEs can depreciate cars, trucks or vans and so on more quickly than other businesses. They receive 100% deduction on the first $5000 cost of the vehicle and can then depreciate the rest at 15% in the year they bought it. So a $14,000 car would attract a tax deduction of $6350 in the year of purchase. (If the vehicle cost less than $6500, the whole amount can be claimed as an immediate deduction under the instant asset write-off provisions outlined above.)   But, as with the general depreciation rule, the government wants to remove these concessions; the initial deduction on a $14,000 car would then drop to $4200.   But, as with the general depreciation rule, the government wants to remove these concessions and backdate them to 1 January. If this happens the initial deduction on a $14,000 car would drop to $4200.   Trading stock – profit from your losses   Tax time is a good opportunity to do a stocktake to see if you qualify for any deductions on your trading stock – anything you produce, manufacture, purchase for manufacture or sell for your business.   You can write off any lost, damaged or obsolete stock for a tax deduction. If your stock level changes by more than $5000, you must take into account the change in value of your trading stock when you work out your taxable income for the year. If the value of the trading stock is higher at the end of the year than at the beginning, then the rise counts as part of your taxable income. But if your stock is worth less you will qualify for a deduction.   There are three different methods of valuing stock: the price you bought it for; its current selling value; and its replacement value. You can choose which you use for which piece of stock, giving you the opportunity to maximise your deductions.   Bad debts – there is some good news   It’s always bad news for a small business when debtors fail to pay for the goods or services you’ve sold them. But at least there’s a small silver lining – you can claim a tax deduction for the bad debt.   A bad debt is any debt which has been outstanding for 12 months or more and which you have made a reasonable effort to recover. It pays to go back through your outstanding invoices to find bad debts and write them off before the tax year on June 30.   Also, if you calculate your GST on an accrual basis, don’t forget to claim a refund for the GST you paid to the Australian Tax Office when you issued the original invoice.   So there you have it: five small business tax deductions to start looking at before the end of the financial year.   Chris Ridd is managing director of Xero, an online accounting software provider which helps small businesses get their financial affairs in order. This article was updated after changes were announced in the budget.

How to determine whether you qualify for the R&D Tax Incentive

2:13AM | Monday, 10 February

My business is innovative and experimenting with new ideas. How do I determine whether we qualify for the R&D Tax Incentive?   The Research and Development (R&D) Tax Incentive program was developed to assist businesses recover some of the costs of undertaking R&D.   The program is administered jointly by AusIndustry and the Tax Office. The R&D tax incentive provides a tax offset to eligible companies that engage in R&D activities.   Companies engaged in R&D may be eligible for either:   a 45% refundable tax offset (equivalent to a 150% deduction) - for entities with an aggregated turnover of less than $20 million per annum, or a 40% non-refundable tax offset (equivalent to a 133% deduction) - for all other entities.   Eligibility begins with the structure that is conducting the R&D. The following are considered eligible entities:   an Australian resident company; or a foreign company that: is a resident of a country with which Australia has a double tax agreement; and carries on R&D activities through a permanent establishment in Australia; or a public trading trust with a corporate trustee.   If you are operating through an eligible entity, you must register your R&D activities with AusIndustry:   within 10 months after the end of the income year (registering for the income year in which the offset is to be claimed), and prior to claiming the R&D tax offset in the tax return.   This means that you have until 30 April to submit your R&D application with AusIndustry. Once you have met the deadline and submitted your application, AusIndustry will review your activities in order to determine whether they are eligible ‘core activities’.   To be eligible, core activities must be experimental. Experimental activities are (as per the Tax Office's Guide to the Research and development tax incentive):   activities whose outcome cannot be known or determined in advance on the basis of current knowledge, information or experience, but can only be determined by applying a systematic progression of work that: is based on principles of established science; and proceeds from hypothesis to experiment, observation and evaluation, and leads to logical conclusions, and that are conducted for the purpose of generating new knowledge (including about creating new knowledge or improved materials, products, devices, processes or services).   Excluded activities can be found through the AusIndustry website.   Non-core R&D activities include:   market research; management studies or efficiency surveys; developing, modifying or customising computer software for the dominant purpose of internal administration of business functions; and commercial, legal and administrative aspects of patenting, licensing or other activities.   The registration of R&D activities is managed by AusIndustry, which checks that the activities comply with the law. The Australian Tax Office (ATO) determines the eligibility of the expenditure claimed in the company tax return.   A common misconception is that the R&D Tax Incentive is a government grant.   It is a tax incentive and its benefits flow through the company tax return. This means that the R&D Tax Incentive has nothing to do with government grants.   The law and logic here is that anyone advising businesses on R&D Tax for a fee must be a registered tax agent. Make sure that your adviser is one and has the experience necessary to guide you. If in doubt, visit the Tax Practitioners Board website.   One final note – the deadline for the 2012/13 financial year for the submission of the R&D application and activity registration form is 30 April 2014. Best to connect with your tax advisor before the April rush.

Soloists rejoice as ATO, Fair Work told to lay off independent contractors

9:42AM | Tuesday, 24 September

The business community has enthusiastically welcomed the news that Small Business Minister Bruce Billson has issued a warning to the Australian Tax Office to go easy on independent contractors and the self-employed.   The comments fulfil a hope within enterprise that Billson’s appointment will plug a knowledge gap of small business issues in government.   “This is very good progress,” said Peter Strong, chief executive of the Council of Small Business of Australia.   Ken Phillips, chief executive of the Independent Contractors Australia, told SmartCompany he was “absolutely delighted”.   “I’m delighted to have a government moving so quickly on these key issues – it’s really impressive,” he says, adding this announcement is yet more evidence the new government doesn’t simply think of small business as a token industry.   “Bruce Billson has small business as his only title, and they’ve moved his department to Treasury which gives him a real authority.   “This is quite a big shift and clear signal at the earliest stage of government that what they’ve said about small business being front and centre is being taken seriously.”   Billson told The Australian Financial Review the ATO, along with the construction watchdog and the Fair Work Ombudsman, have been told to take it easy on independent contractors.   “The issue is less about the law itself; it’s the way in which it has been administered,” he said.   “There are hundreds of thousands of these courageous, enterprising, self-motivated individuals who are making a contribution to the economy but suddenly found themselves in the Bermuda Triangle as contributors to the economy.”   Billson claimed the previous government had told these authorities to pressure contractors in order to move them towards employment agreements in which unions have more sway.   “We’ve seen independent contractors … in the clothing, textile and footwear area engaged to do contract work now being told they have to be engaged as employees to get minimum hours.”   Billson also mentioned a practice within the Tax Office to either refuse issuing of ABNs or withdraw ABNs from individuals.   “We’ve had examples raised with us that the ATO has denied a business an ABN for reasons that were not clear but there is no avenue to appeal.”   The ATO regularly reviews ABNs to determine if their holders are actually carrying on a business.   The Abbott government has pledged one million new jobs during its term – Ken Phillips says in order to reach that number, it needs to focus on small business.   “It’s good to see the small business is front and centre here,” he says.   Peter Strong says independent contractors need to be protected if the government wants to promote the virtues of being self-employed.   “This works hand-in-hand with fixing up contracting law,” he says. “The people who have been targeted have been victims, so you need to stop haranguing those who are doing the right thing.   “This is about people who are looking to increase their income and aren’t doing it in any way that could be considered dodgy.”   The Fair Work Ombudsman has been consistent in cracking down on the practice known as ‘sham contracting’, in which businesses classify employees as contractors in order to avoid paying them wages and entitlements.

Employee share scheme tax systems set for an update

6:10PM | Wednesday, 5 June

The federal government is set to consult with Australian industry over the tax treatment of employee share option schemes, which start-ups say needs to be overhauled to promote growth.   The government is aware the current tax situation around employee shares creates difficulties for some sectors of the economy, especially start-ups, and will consult with industry on the impact of tax and administration requirements for the schemes, StartupSmart has been told.   Revamping the tax treatment of employee share option programs is fundamental to growing the start-up sector in Australia, says Malcolm Thornton, investment director at venture capital fund Starfish Ventures.   “It’s a key currency that people employ to keep highly talented people on board while conserving cash,” says Thornton.   The start-up sector can expect consultations with the relevant federal government departments in the future, with sources telling StartupSmart the government is aware the current tax situation around employee shares creates difficulties for some sectors of the economy, especially start-ups.   Employee share option programs enable start-ups to attract and retain leading talent to their company by offering staff a proportion of the future company on top of the (often low) wages they are able to pay.   The complexity of the current system has held Australian start-ups back from embracing the system. A key drawback is that employees can become liable for significant amounts of tax based on the asset’s value, even if it’s not currently earning any capital.   Thornton says an update of taxation rules around the program is “imperative” for the start-up sector.   “It’s completely complicated and convoluted in Australia, compared to when our companies are US-based, and we can just take a program off the shelf and every lawyer in San Francisco knows how to manage the process.”   Thornton says the current system fails to grasp the variety of companies that would benefit from the implementation of such schemes.   “Start-ups and high growth companies have very different characteristics to large, mature multi-decade companies,” he says.   “One of the key elements to appreciate is that there is little to no value in the options until the company has grown and either lists or is acquired.”   Alan Downie, chief executive and co-founder of BugHerd, a visual bug tracker for web developers, has recently implemented an employee share scheme for one of his six staff and is working on setting the scheme up for another employee.   “It’s a critical issue for start-ups,” says Downie. “As a start-up you don’t have a lot of cash so it’s the way to keep talent. If you have to compete with guys like Telstra and Atlassian for developers, all you’ve really got is the growing company equity.”   Downie and his co-founder Matt Milosavljevic spent 12 months working out how to implement the scheme for their first hire, a developer.   “It was a very long and tedious and expensive process,” he says. “There is no standard way to do it and that’s the problem.”   “When our developer started with us, he was on a third of what he could make as a developer. But he was so engaged and he got we didn’t have the money, so it was really important to him to get a piece of the company.”   Downie says he spoke to four accountants, a few lawyers and several entrepreneurs about how to implement an employee share scheme, and they all had different answers.   “It’s still not ideal for the employee, as they still have a bit of uncertainty. From the employer’s point of view, you want to have solid understanding of what the government wants, rather than jumping through hurdles.”   He says the Australian Tax Office hasn’t spoken to any of the parties involved, so it’s still untested.   According to a report by the ABC, the employee share options scheme will be explored in the next update to the National Digital Economy Strategy.

Start-ups to be paid interest on outstanding Government bills: Hockey

5:54AM | Wednesday, 22 May

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 NEWS WRAP: The Chaser boys and the ABC sued by Swisse over The Checkout

5:17PM | Thursday, 2 May

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.

Top 10 fatal start-up mistakes

1:08AM | Monday, 7 January

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.

Insolvencies rise in October, but Christmas could bring a reprieve

3:43AM | Monday, 11 March

The number of businesses entering insolvency reached a record number in October, but insolvency firms say activity has lessened now they're settling in for the traditionally quiet Christmas period.

Abbott promises to double small business growth rate

3:50AM | Monday, 11 March

Federal Opposition Leader Tony Abbott has promised to double the existing annual rate of small business growth to 1.5% if elected.

Five businesses soloists can start on the cheap

8:45AM | Wednesday, 8 August

Getting start-up funding can be tough when you’re a solo operator. Investors are often reluctant to stump up the cash.

Federal Government spends almost $40,000 on a small business app

8:11AM | Tuesday, 7 August

The Federal Opposition has slammed a small business iPad app as "more Gillard Labor government waste", after it was revealed the app cost $37,950. But an independent app developer says that's a reasonable price to pay for an app.

Three key tax management rules to follow in the new financial year

5:51AM | Wednesday, 30 May

Tax represents a large cost for most SMEs and it undoubtedly contributes to the failure of many small businesses.

Seven essential tax time housekeeping tips

6:36AM | Wednesday, 6 June

The end of the financial year is now just weeks away.

THE NEWS WRAP: David Jones unveils plan to tap in to rising online sales

3:32PM | Wednesday, 21 March

David Jones is to invest $160 million in the next two years in a desperate attempt to turn around its fortunes in the face of rising online sales.

PricingProphets.com

11:19PM | Monday, 28 November

PricingProphets.com is an online service designed to help businesses answer the age-old question: what price should I charge for my product or service?

Manufacturing, tourism and retail worst hit by jump in collapses

7:08AM | Friday, 8 July

Insolvency experts are urging retailers, manufacturers and tourism operators to downgrade growth targets in light of new insolvency figures revealing that those sectors are the hardest hit.

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