News Pulse for May 11, 2017

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

Finances done, attention turns to regulated payment terms

With the government’s spending plans for the year announced, the SME community is pushing for policy action – with standard payment terms firmly in their sights.

“Late payment should just be an illegal offence unless financial duress can be proven … this would be easily proven with a small business and much harder for larger companies who don’t pay simply because they don’t want to,” My Business reader Buddha said in response to a story on SMEs dipping into employee entitlements to cover cash flow problems.

Tech start-ups find little to cheer about in budget

IT start-ups and small businesses have generally not found much to cheer in the federal budget, with some lamenting the lack of any direct support for start-ups and entrepreneurs.

Other tech companies were disappointed at the fee that they would have to pay for each foreign worker they hired.

Budget 2017: 90,000 more small businesses to receive tax cut

The government has recommitted to lowering the tax rate for small businesses in this year’s federal budget, with an additional 90,000 businesses to enter a lower tax bracket.

Treasurer Scott MorrisonThe Hon. Scott Morrison, Federal Member for Cook Treasurer from 21.9.15 introduced the ten-year enterprise tax plan last year , which reduced the rate for small businesses from 28.5 percent to 27.5 percent. The rate will continue to fall to 25 percent by 2026-27.

Federal Budget: foreign worker tax introduced

Businesses that employ foreign workers will be subject to a new levy that will be used bankroll a fund for training Australian job seekers, the Government announced in the Federal Budget.

From March 2018, businesses will be subject to a levy of $1200 per foreign worker or $1800 if they’re on a temporary skilled visa. In addition, there will be a $3,000 one-off levy for foreign workers on certain permanent skilled visas. This one-off levy rises to  $5000 if a business’s turnover exceeds $10 million.

The $600m crackdown on sneaky cash

IF you make a living taking cash, or get jobs done on the cheap by paying workers under the table, it could soon be game over.

The Black Economy Taskforce is ramping up, and the Government plans to claw back almost $600 million through a fresh crackdown — with couriers and cleaners next in the firing line.

Winners and losers from the 2017 federal budget

Businesses soon to be hit with new levies for employing foreign visa workers say the changes will be “another barrier” in the way of their growth.

Under reforms announced in the federal budget, small businesses will be forced to pay $1200 a worker, while larger businesses, with turnovers of more than $10 million, will have to fork out $1800 a worker. There will also be one-off levies of $3000 or $5000 for every permanent skilled visa.

Federal Budget: small business $20k instant asset write-off scheme extended by one year

Businesses with an annual turnover of up to $10 million will benefit from the $20,000 instant asset tax write-off scheme for a further 12 months, the Government announced in the Federal Budget. The extension has generally been welcomed, although there have been calls to make the measure permanent and increase the write-off threshold to benefit more businesses.

Originally set to conclude at the end of 30 June 2017, the scheme allows small businesses to immediately deduct assets costing less than $20,000, instead of claiming deductions over numerous years. It is on a per asset basis allowing multiple claims for assets costing less than $20,000 to be deducted.

Federal budget: start-ups and innovation

This year’s Federal Budget is notable for its lack of focus on start-ups, innovation and entrepreneurship, according to Alex McCauley, CEO of Australia’s peak advocacCommunications Access Co-ordinatory group, StartupAus.

“That will certainly cause some frustration, because the Government has done a lot to build expectations that it is committed to making Australia one of the best countries in the world for innovators,” McCauley said in a statement.

Industry praises “tech-friendly” Budget – but would have liked more

The Federal Government is making a lot of noise about the benefits to small business from the 2017-18 Budget handed down on 9 May, but is there much in Scott MorrisonThe Hon. Scott Morrison, Federal Member for Cook Treasurer from 21.9.15’s plan for the sector to get excited about?

The most notable feature of the Budget for the small to medium-sized business (SMB) sector was the extension of the instant asset write-off program which allows businesses with turnover up to $10 million to deduct eligible assets each costing less than $20,000.

Budget 2017: SMEs “pleased”, but they still want practical support

The SME community has found plenty to like in a budget the Treasurer says is aimed at “backing in” small business, but entrepreneurs remain hungry for policies that help with the day-to-day challenges of running a business.“

“Small business owners are out there fighting for growth in their businesses every day. They deserve our respect and support,” Scott MorrisonThe Hon. Scott Morrison, Federal Member for Cook Treasurer from 21.9.15 said when he took to his feet in the House of Representatives last night.

Federal Budget set to ignite startup landscape

Small business is set to be one of the big winners from Treasurer Scott MorrisonThe Hon. Scott Morrison, Federal Member for Cook Treasurer from 21.9.15’s Federal Budget, handed down in Canberra last night.

Which means the time is right for startups and new small business players to enter the arena, and a golden opportunity to claim greater market share through a localised web address.

Foreign worker levy shocks small business

Small business is reeling at the government’s new $1200 foreign worker levy, warning that business costs could rise tenfold, making a new billion-dollar training fund unsustainable.

The government revealed on Tuesday that it will impose an annual $1200 levy on small businesses for every temporary skilled visa worker they use, with the levy jumping to $1800 for businesses with turnover of more than $10 million.

The one Budget 2017 policy startups are really excited about: Crowdsourced equity for proprietary companies

While many in the startup sector were disappointed by the lack of innovation-centric policies in Tuesday’s budget, the federal government’s move to extend its crowdsourced equity framework (CSEF) to proprietary companies has brought a sigh of relief.

The Corporations Amendment (Crowd-sourced Funding) Bill 2016  passed through the Senate in March, but at the time was shadowed by concerns about its capacity to benefit the startups that need it most.

Start-ups slam foreign workers tax

The time in the sun might be over for Australia’s technology start-ups, who have not only been largely left to their own devices in the federal budget but now also face the prospect of a tax on using foreign talent.

Sam Chandler, founder and CEO of document management start-up Nitro, now based in the US, said the Turnbull government has seemingly lost its enthusiasm for innovation.

Startups disappointed with ‘traditional’ budget

Startups have been left reeling from Tuesday night’s federal budget, with founders believing they have been left out in the cold – unless they’re a fintech company.

Medical Channel chief executive Nazar Musa said it was clear there was no direct focus on supporting startups, while phrases such as “diluted down,” “all talk” and “a joke” were rife through the sector after the budget was announced on Tuesday.

Fantastic, disappointing or just “not enough”? Startup leaders react to Budget 2017

Fintech startups are some of the biggest winners out of Tuesday’s budget, with the government unveiling policies including the expansion of the fintech regulatory sandbox, extending crowdsourced funding to proprietary companies and removing GST from digital currencies.

FinTech Australia chief executive Danielle Szetho believes the most exciting initiatives unveiled this week include the government’s plans to allow a wider range of fintech ventures to test products without a licence, for a period of up to 24 months instead of 12, as well as  the sector’s wish  for an open data regime being granted, which will force banks to share customer data when requested.

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

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