News Pulse for November 17, 2016

A daily download of SME, startup, fintech and tax news from around Australia.

High Court confirms tax evasion by companies linked to wealthy businessman Vanda Gould

A series of companies associated with high-flying Sydney accountant who had scores of wealthy clients in Sydney’s eastern suburbs have been found to have avoided paying tax by the High Court, in a case that the tax office has described as “blatant tax evasion”.

Four companies linked to accountant, Vanda Gould, used a complex structure that gave the impression there was offshore control. Three of those companies were linked to Mr Gould’s business associate Swiss-based businessman, Peter Borgas, to give the appearance Borgas was in control of the businesses and therefore Mr Gould’s businesses did not need to pay tax in Australia. Another was linked to a company incorporated in Samoa.

Small business ombudsman inquiry to look at “the one thing that would change lives” for SMEs

In an effort to reduce the serious impact of late payments on SMEs, the Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman is launching a new inquiry into payment times.

The self-initiated Payment Times and Practices Inquiry will aim to identify damaging trends impacting Australian small businesses when it comes to late payments from larger businesses and governments.

Ombudsman sets date for small business inquiry report 

The inquiry will focus on the late payment practices affecting Australian small businesses. More details have emerged about the small business inquiry into late payments, which was initiated by the Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman (ASBFEO) Kate Carnell in September . The final report is expected in March 2017.

ASBFEO launches payment time inquiry

Having earlier expressed concerns regarding payment time issues in the industry, Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman (ASBFEO) Kate Carnell has launched a “self-initiated” inquiry to determine a pattern of commercial arrangement between big and small businesses and identify practical solutions to address concerns.

The Payment Times and Practices inquiry is inviting feedback from business owners and other industry stakeholders, and also seeking input from federal and state governments and other authorities to “weed out” patterns of behaviour that affect the viability of small businesses.

Firm applauds stance against ‘unfair’ contracts

The new changes to the Australian Consumer Law took effect on Saturday and will see amended rules applied to standard business form contracts entered into, renewed or amended after 12 November 2016.

According to Carroll & O’Dea Lawyers special counsel Ben Robertson, under the new rules, “unfair clauses will no longer be acceptable and caution must be exercised when drafting clauses that provide for: termination for the convenience of one party; variations to the scope of works and contract price, extensions of time to perform works under the contract; delay damages, substitution of materials; limitation of the liability of one party; and indemnities provided by one party to another”.

Melbourne start-up to disrupt $10 billion activewear market

A Melbourne sports-tech start up has claimed a world first.

Supacore has launched a seamless women’s compression range aimed at reducing the cost of injury in sport.

The patented technology claims it can improve core stability and aid with the recovery of hamstring, lower back and groin related injuries.

Fintechs must jump many hurdles on the road to disruption

B endigo & Adelaide Bank was one of the first Australian banks to invest in fintech start-ups. In 2012, Bendigo announced a $1.5 million investment for a 15 per cent stake in Adelaide-based NoQ , a joint venture with former Adelaide Crows AFL player Brad Moran. These days “NoQ” (no queue) provides independent supermarket and liquor retailers with e-commerce solutions.

Bendigo managing director and CEO Mike Hirst has said there are excess profit pools among the diverse product range of the Aussie banks that could be targeted by single product-focused fintechs such as NoQ.

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