News Pulse for August 23, 2017

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

Big companies, small tax

The executives of the world’s largest technology companies will be grilled by a Senate inquiry into corporate tax avoidance on Tuesday, as the government hopes to claw back $4 billion in missing tax revenue.

Google, Facebook, Apple, Microsoft, and IBM Australia leaders are all expected to appear at the inquiry in Sydney, while a 1000-person taskforce combs through the records of Australia’s largest companies in a bid to turn around endemic levels of multinational tax avoidance.

Xero adds Outlook integration to HQ

Accountants and bookkeepers can now save emails into client records.

The Xero HQ platform for accountants and bookkeepers now provides integration with Office 365’s Outlook. This allows users to transfer emails into Xero HQ client records in order to make them more accessible.

ATO imposes ‘no penalty’ on Apple after five-year audit, Australian chief says

The Australian head of technology giant Apple says a five-year audit of the company’s tax affairs did not result in any penalties or ongoing disputes with the Australian Tax Office.

Furthermore, Apple was unaffected by the two major pieces of legislation Australia had introduced to crack down on multinational tax avoidance.

‘Huge win’ for small business as banks agree to eliminate unfair terms from contracts

The big four banks will capitulate to pressure over unfair terms in small business contracts.

Fairfax Media understands the banks will this week agree to specific changes outlined by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission and the Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman to eliminate unfair terms from their contracts.

Reckon revamps portal for small business

Australian accounting software provider Reckon says it has revamped the login portal on Reckon One to create a more “intuitive, accessible and cleaner system” as part of a major upgrade of its flagship solution.

The ASX-listed Reckon on Tuesday unveiled a major update to Reckon One which it says is aimed at delivering a “faster, smarter and simpler online accounting experience for small businesses”.

According to Reckon (ASX:RKN), the latest redesign will accelerate workflows and efficiencies for customers by simplifying the overall user experience and enhancing usability.

Retailers not buying Qld trading changes

The National Retailers Association says proposed changes to retail trading hours in Queensland are “farcical” and won’t make any difference for consumers or retail operators.

The legislation is on the agenda for state parliament this week after being delayed earlier this year to secure support from the crossbench.

Escaping the small business company tax trap

When the Treasurer Scott MorrisonThe Hon. Scott Morrison, Federal Member for Cook Treasurer from 21.9.15 announced he was delivering a tax cut to small businesses operated by companies , the small detail of how this could result in the loss of accumulated tax credits was not mentioned. Thankfully, there is a way that these potentially lost imputation tax credits can be used.

Unlike other small business tax concessions, such as the instant write-off of assets under $20,000 and claiming the small business 50 per cent active asset discount, this so-called decrease in tax rate for small business companies from 30 per cent down to 27.5 per cent is automatic, and owners cannot choose to pay tax at the general company tax rate of 30 per cent.

Fintech startup AirBux gives Cairns small businesses a loyalty boost with its digital currency app

An Australian fintech startup is aiming to solve the “pain point” of loyalty program aggregation for small businesses through a trial of its AirBux Pay platform in Cairns.

AirBux is both a mobile application and a payment and loyalty system, allowing customers to sign up, register a credit card, and transact with a business. They then earn loyalty points in a digital currency called “AirBux” which can be accrued and spent at other Airbux-supported businesses.

Microsoft makes major settlement with Australian Taxation Office

MICROSOFT has reached an undisclosed settlement with the Australian Taxation Office believed to be worth hundreds of millions of dollars.Earlier this year, The Daily Telegraph reported the ATO Australian Taxation Office had hit seven publicly listed companies with tax bills of between $250 million and $800 million after extensive audit processes.

Earlier this year, The Daily Telegraph reported the ATO Australian Taxation Office had hit seven publicly listed companies with tax bills of between $250 million and $800 million after extensive audit processes.

ATO hails $7 billion sales surge

The world’s biggest technology companies are booking an additional $7 billion in sales in Australia every year, which means they are paying twice, triple and even five times the amount of tax they were previously, Australian Tax Office officials told a parliamentary inquiry.

But trouble could still be brewing for some. While Apple said it had not been issued any penalties associated with a five-year audit by the ATO Australian Taxation Office and Microsoft has just reached an out-of-court settlement, Google, Facebook and IBM confirmed they were still being audited.

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