News Pulse for April 17, 2018

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

Fintech start-ups threaten mortgage broking old guard amid royal commission heat

The emergence of fintech disrupters to the lucrative mortgage broking industry is being driven by three key dynamics.

First, banks pay $2 billion a year in commissions to mortgage brokers for the delivery of home loan borrowers – but want to pay less.

Tech firms warn caps on R&D tax breaks could force start-ups overseas

Treasurer Scott MorrisonThe Hon. Scott Morrison, Federal Member for Cook Treasurer from 21.9.15’s plan to overhaul the $3 billion research and development tax incentive in the May federal budget will scare investors away from Australian technology start-ups and could force companies to relocate overseas, firms taking advantage of the scheme have warned.

Earlier this month Mr Morrison said he planned to reboot the tax incentive , which was designed to promote technology innovation and which refunds 43.5¢ out of every dollar that Australian companies spend on R&D, because it was being “taken for a ride” by some companies.

Labor demands commercial secrets from 10 top CEOs

Labor senators are demanding highly sensitive financial information from 10 CEOs backing corporate tax cuts as part of a strategy to kill the Turnbull government’s top economic policy.

In an aggressive move towards some of Australia’s biggest companies, a formal inquiry has told BHP, EnergyAustralia, Fortescue Metals Group, Qantas Airways, JBS Australia, MYOB, Origin Energy, Wesfarmers, Woodside Energy and Woolworths to provide forecasts of revenue, taxes, staff numbers, executives’ bonuses, directors’ payments, dividends, share buybacks and capital investment itemised by state.

Ombudsman calls for small businesses to share examples of ‘heavy handed tactics’ by the ATO

Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman, Kate Carnell, has encouraged business owners to urgently contact her office if they have experienced “heavy handed tactics” by the Australian Taxation Office.

The Ombudsman, together with the inspector-General of Taxation Ali Noroozi, has been directed by the Treasury to examine cases of unfair conduct the ATO Australian Taxation Office. The investigation, announced last week by Minister for Revenue and Financial Services, Kelly O’Dwyer, is the Government’s response to allegations raised in a joint investigation by Fairfax and the Four Corners (ABC).

Ombudsman will conduct inquiry into unfair ATO treatment, urges SMEs to share stories

Small businesses have been invited to report stories of heavy-handed treatment by the ATO Australian Taxation Office “as a matter of urgency”, with the Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman to conduct an inquiry into small business tax disputes in the coming weeks.

In a statement this morning, small business ombudsman Kate Carnell said that “under the director of treasury”, the ombudsman’s office and Inspector-Director of Taxation Ali Noroozi will be investigating alleged cases of “unfair conduct” by the Australian Taxation Office (ATO Australian Taxation Office).

Fintechs hit back on call for open banking delay

The fintech industry has hit back at the Australian Banking Association’s suggestion that lending products and credit cards be held back from the first phase of “open banking”, arguing this is merely a delaying tactic to protect their most lucrative offerings.

The government’s response to a recent report on “open banking” by King & Wood Mallesons partner Scott Farrell will be included in the federal budget.

Aussie start-up Unlockd puts off IPO after Google blocks its apps

Australian mobile rewards platform Unlockd has been forced to put off an impending IPO after Google removed its apps from the Google Play store and disabled the advertising content it serves through its technology known as AdMob.

In a statement , Unlockd said it had applied for an injunction in the UK High Court to prevent Google from removing its apps and disabling AdMob generated advertising content.

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