News Pulse for December 13, 2017

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

How 457 visa changes are hitting start-ups

The 457 visas won’t be abolished until March but Simon Christie’s business is already feeling the pinch from the federal government’s changes to the visa system.

Christie owns video production company Adventure Set Production and has spent the past two years trying to hire two Chinese staff on 457 visas to try and target the China market.

Business conditions slide as profits unwind, while wages apparently rise

It might not be a crisis in confidence yet, but Australian business is becoming increasingly pessimistic about its immediate future.

The respected NAB monthly business survey reported a sharp decline in both conditions and confidence in November.

‘Tap and go’ reforms would save merchants $290m a year, says small business ombudsman

A parliamentary committee recommendation for banks to reduce ‘tap and go’ transaction fees has attracted support from the Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman Kate Carnell.

The  House of Representatives Standing Committee on Economics  recommended that banks let merchants send tap-and-go payments from debit cards through eftpos instead of credit, and that regulatory action be taken if banks do not comply by 1 April 2018.

“It’s galling”: Banks ordered to change tap-and-go payments policies, but small business owners say high fees are the real issue

A federal government review has demanded the banks give merchants and customers more options when using tap-and-go payments, but one small business owner says the lack of choice between credit and debit for purchases is only one part of the challenge for SMEs.

The House of Representatives Standing Committee on Economics report into the big four banks, released this month , has recommended financial institutions be compelled to give merchants and shoppers the choice of whether a purchase made by waving their card in front of a reader be charged as credit or debit.

NAB Labs budget doubles to prepare for open banking

National Australia Bank has doubled its investment in NAB Labs, its special unit that experiments with new technologies, to prepare for the federal government’s ‘open banking’ regime, which will liberalise customer data across the sector.

NAB’s chief operating officer, Antony Cahill, said a recent trip to London revealed many incumbent banks in the UK consider the European version of open banking, known as PSD2, as a regulatory burden, but the more progressive view is to see it as an opportunity.

Investors in BlueChilli startups automatically qualify for tax deduction after ATO ruling

Investors who back startups in the BlueChilli portfolio will now enjoy an immediate tax deduction plus capital gains tax exemptions. This follows a private ruling by the Australian Taxation Office (ATO Australian Taxation Office) approving BlueChilli as the nation’s first accelerator program with Early Stage Investment Company (ESIC) accreditation.

Under ATO Australian Taxation Office rules, investors who have met the agency’s  sophisticated investor test  and back an early stage innovation company (ESIC) are eligible to receive an immediate tax deduction (equal to 20% of their investment), with the annual offset amount capped at $200,000.  Additionally, these investors can disregard any capital gains tax if they sell their shares within ten years.

ATO warns small businesses it will come knocking in 2018, after netting $1.8 million from random Melbourne audits

The Australian Taxation Office is maintaining its scrutiny of businesses that deal in large amounts of cash, with reports it has recouped millions from smaller operators after a series of random audits across Melbourne.

The Whitehorse Leader reports a “blitz” on businesses in the eastern Melbourne suburb of Box Hill has seen $1.8 million been repaid in outstanding tax bills and penalties after more than 130 businesses received a knock on the door from the tax man earlier this year. Around $8 million in unreported payments were reportedly uncovered during the visits.

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