News Pulse for August 14, 2017

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

US agrees to company reporting deal with Australia to hunt multinationals

The federal government’s Tax Avoidance Taskforce will be given additional intelligence to hunt down US-based multinationals after America formally agreed to share detailed information about companies with Australian authorities.

US authorities this month signed a country-by-country report exchange arrangement with Australia, which is aimed at giving tax authorities a more detailed picture of complex structures used by multinationals including their international related party dealings, revenues, profits, and taxes paid by jurisdiction.

Veredictum.io wants to fight online piracy with the aid of cryptocurrency

You can’t accuse Veredictum.io of lacking ambition: The Sydney-based startup is dedicated to fighting copyright infringement through the creation of a system that allows content creators to register their work; a distributed system to search for copyright violations; and ultimately a digital content marketplace underpinned by peer-to-peer distribution.

Women SME owners worry more about staff issues than men – national insurance survey

Women running small and medium sized businesses worry more about employee issues than their male counterparts, according to a national survey carried out by Vero Insurance, part of the Suncorp Group.

More than 1500 small business owners* – 45% of them women – were surveyed for the annual Vero SME Insurance Index.

Taxi driver protest over Uber pick-ups at Adelaide Airport ends

A protest by taxi drivers over Uber X pick-ups from Adelaide Airport, which saw passengers being forced to take the bus into the CBD, has ended.

Taxi drivers began protesting at the airport last night after a new agreement that will allow Uber to collect people from the terminal was announced.

Reserve lashes CBA: respect the law

Commonwealth Bank has earned a rare public rebuke from Reserve Bank governor Philip Lowe, who hit out at bank culture and warned that the lender needs to be held to account on the same day the corporate regulator announced its own investigation.

Just two days after the bank reported a record annual profit and attempted to take charge of an unfolding crisis, Dr Lowe criticised CBA over allegations it breached anti-money laundering laws, calling the issue “very serious” and warning that banks needed to be held to account.

Directors must ask if they would pass ‘the front page test’

Company directors have pushed back at Australian Securities and Investments Commission chairman Greg Medcraft’s use of the Commonwealth Bank crisis to advance the notion that directors can be held responsible for ruining a company’s reputation.

Confirming the regulator would conduct a separate probe into CBA, including a look at potential breaches of directors’ duties , Mr Medcraft said he wanted boards to take more seriously their responsibly for reputation, which was a company’s greatest asset.

Public speaking promoter ordered to refund business customer $4000 in first unfair contracts case in Victoria

Victoria’s small business commissioner has urged SMEs to contact her office if they are concerned about contracts they’ve signed, saying the first ruling from the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal to enforce unfair contract rules shows the fight to stamp out unjust agreements is gaining momentum.

On Wednesday, VCAT ordered Success Resources Australia Pty Ltd, a business that facilitates the booking of motivational speakers like Tony Robbins , to repay $3995 to a business client after it postponed a seminar that had been booked in November 2016.

Govt drops NBN tax bombshell

Consumers would pay just 20 cents a month extra if corporate internet services were excluded from the base of the planned broadband tax, the government has admitted.

The admission, made by the Department of Communications last night, casts doubt on assertions by NBN Co about just how “critical” taxing corporate and enterprise users is to the success of the tax.

Mobile payments app Sniip scores deal with Xero: Co-founder Damien Vasta on how startups can land major partnerships 

Brisbane-based mobile payments startup Sniip has joined forces with online accounting software provider Xero to deliver real-time billing to small and medium-sized businesses, after raising $3 million in funding in late 2016.

The partnership with Xero adds to Sniip’s growing number of relationships with larger organisations and co-founder Damien Vasta says being “flexible” and making sure your product solves a pain point in a potential partner’s businesses is key to securing high-profile deals.

Australian government opens consultation on open banking regime

The federal government will be introducing an open banking regime in Australia, hoping to transform the way customers interact with banks and the banking system.

In order to develop the regime, the government’s open banking review has published an issues paper that calls on representatives from the banking, consumer advocacCommunications Access Co-ordinatory, and fintech sectors, as well as others, to submit proposals on the most appropriate model and the best way to implement such a regime.

Crowdfunding pitfalls: The legal risks startups need to know before running an equity crowdfunding campaign

Changes in crowdfunding legislation, equity dilution and fraudulent dealings are all risks a startup can face when running an equity crowdfunding campaign.

Crowdfunding has become a valuable way of securing funding outside of traditional venture capital investment, and has seen everything from champion racehorses to potato Australian Taxation Office salad funded through individual consumers backing a product, yet there are inherent risks when securing this type of investment.

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