News Pulse for December 11, 2017

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

Cleaning company hit with record $500k in penalties for exploiting overseas workers

The “deliberate”, “repeated” and “systemic” exploitation of three overseas workers has resulted in a West Australian cleaning company, including its husband and wife operators, being hit with nearly $511,000 in penalties for Fair Work breaches.

Catherine Paino-Povey, Mark Povey and their company– Commercial and Residential Cleaning Group Pty Ltd – were fined $77,400, $72,240 and $361,200 respectively in the Federal Circuit Court after proceedings were brought against them by the Fair Work Ombudsman.

How to use data to improve business: Xero boss

“You don’t have to be a technology expert anymore” to use readily available data analysis tools.

Small and mid-sized businesses are generally not taking full advantage of the data analysis tools that are available, Xero Australia managing director Trent Innes believes, even though “access to tools is better than it’s ever

ATO report cruels tax debate

I’m pleased to see the Australian Taxation Office has taken some of my advice in its accompanying statement on this year’s so-called “Corporate tax transparency report”, in now gently hinting that it is actually about as transparent as a solid lead wall.

It nevertheless still failed to do what it should have done if it took seriously its obligation not to publish misleading and even dangerous tax data which only serves to pollute the debate about tax, tax avoidance and evasion and the complexities of tax in a globalised world.

ATO has Exxon in crosshairs

The Australian Taxation Office is auditing oil and gas major Exxon over eight years of its tax returns as revenue officers try to lock the resources sector into paying healthier returns.

A report released today by the Tax Justice Network, backed by unions that are at industrial war with Exxon, reveals the Australian arm of the multinational is part of a complex network of companies involving entities in The Netherlands, the Bahamas and Singapore.

“We’re helping SMEs navigate the lending market for the best loan outcome,” says ebroker CEO

Due to the ‘gigantic profits’ banks derive from processing the ‘lion’s share’ of home loans in Australia, traditional lenders haven’t had a compelling case for servicing small businesses – rejecting around 50% of their loan requests,  according to Simon Isaacs, founder and CEO of fintech startup ebroker .

“Banks can lend $62.50 for every dollar* of their own capital if its secured against property and they can charge interest against the entire loan,” the entrepreneur told  Dynamic Business.  “Conversely, they can only lend $10 for every dollar of their own capital towards an unsecured business loan . In the first scenario, the interest a bank earns against their own capital is gigantic, whereas in the latter, they have to provide a much higher ratio of their own capital. As such, its less attractive for banks to lend to a small business that doesn’t have bricks-and-mortar security.”

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