News Pulse for February 22, 2017

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

Crowdfunding bill under threat

After a tumultuous and ‘exhausting’ four-year journey, the government’s equity crowdfunding bill is set to safely pass through the Senate next month, despite being dubbed a “dodo” and “self-defeating” by the Opposition.

The Corporations Amendment (Crowd-sourced Funding) Bill 2016 was introduced to the lower house in December last year, but Labor quickly withdrew its support and referred the bill to a Senate inquiry.

Small business tax cuts won’t boost ‘growth and jobs’

The Turnbull government’s signature economic policy at last year’s election was a 5% cut in the company tax rate, over a ten-year period, at a cost to revenue estimated to be in excess of A$48 billion. As the government itself has conceded , this now stands very little prospect of being passed by the Senate.

However, there is one element of the government’s proposal which appears to enjoy almost universal political support – the idea that “small” companies should get a tax cut. The only disagreement among the Coalition, Labor and the Greens on this score is how small a company should be in order to be deserving of paying a lower rate of tax.

Banks urged to act to rebuild trust with SMEs after review of Code of Practice

Australian Small Business Ombudsman Kate Carnell says that if Australian banks don’t adopt recommendations made off the back of a number of recent inquiries into their interactions with SMEs, it will show they “aren’t serious” about improving transparency in the sector.

On Monday a report into the Australian Bankers’ Association’s Code of Banking Practice was released, with independent reviewer Phil Khoury echoing calls made by Carnell that the code should be altered to improve transparency and fairness around loan terms for smaller businesses.

Why startups can’t and shouldn’t wait for government to drive real world change

The excitement of a new cabinet or new leadership is waning for the startup ecosystem – we’ve been here before.

Folks it’s groundhog day. We will get our heads around the new order and we will respectfully make the procession to meet the new kids on the block and hear their vision for their portfolio’s that impact on us (innovation, business, trade, investment).

Aussie ridesharing startups hit out at Uber over GST ruling

Is Uber right? Should its drivers not be required to register for, and pay, goods and services tax (GST)?

Some Australian ridesharing services don’t think so, with GoCatch chief executive David Holmes this week calling Uber a “bully” in its attempt to dodge the tax.

Justify our trust: Australian Tax Office to companies

If you are a company director, did you realise that you now have personal responsibility for ensuring your company’s tax governance and risk framework is in good working order? And that sometime this year the Australian Tax Office (ATO Australian Taxation Office) will review it?

If not, you missed an ATO Australian Taxation Office announcement last month which detailed its so-called “justified trust” initiative .

Tips, comments or suggestions? Let me know in the comments, send me an email or tweet me @simeonduncan.

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