News Pulse for March 2, 2018

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

Former Treasury secretary backs corporate tax cut

Former Treasury secretary Ken Henry backs a cut to the corporate tax rate but says taxes will need to go up to fund government spending.

The man who carried out a comprehensive review of Australia’s tax system a decade ago said the focus on corporate and personal tax cuts appears very strange given the “simple fact that seems too horrible to admit” that the total tax take is too low and “unsustainable”.

Ken Henry warns of tax stalemate unless ‘vested interest make way for the national interest’

National Australia Bank chairman Ken Henry is urging a shift in the bitter debate on tax reform, calling for a new focus on the “social welfare” from radical changes that should go well beyond the federal government’s $65 billion cut to company tax rates.

Dr Henry, who led the federal Treasury under three prime ministers, will on Friday call on business leaders to “get serious” about proving the gains for the entire community from genuine tax reform, while at the same time warning the existing tax system is broken.

Howard Govt veteran Helen Coonan will chair authority tackling SME financial complaints

The Federal Government will appoint former senator Helen Coonan as the inaugural chair of the Australian Financial Complaints Authority (AFCA), established to provide small businesses and consumers with access to a free, fast and binding dispute resolution service for financial complaints.

Minister for Revenue and Financial Services, Kelly O’Dwyer said Coonan’s background makes her “uniquely qualified” to Chair the AFCA.

Industry hails bitcoin tax blitz

Australian technology players have welcomed moves to tax bitcoin, with local executives declaring it’s time regulation on the the digital currency was ramped up.

As exclusively revealed by The Australian this week, tax-dodging Bitcoin investors will be investigated by the tax ­office , which said it will use anti-money laundering legislation due to come into force next month.

Workers want more money, businesses cry poor

Most Aussie workers believe their employers are in a strong financial position to dish out pay rises, but low wage growth suggests businesses aren’t being transparent about their true financial situation.

Global recruitment firm Randstad’s latest Workmonitor report suggested 57 per cent of workers actively anticipate a pay rise by the end of the current financial year.

Even more, 65 per cent believed their employer achieved strong financial results in 2017, and 70 per cent expect an even better year in 2018.

Safeguarding work-related expense claims on Budget wish list

Retaining the rights of all workers to make work-related expense claims tops the agenda on a list of CPA Australia recommendations for the May 2018 Federal Budget.

Other issues of importance include measures to foster more start-up businesses, encourage savings outside superannuation and rein in the black economy .

Paul Drum FCPA, head of policy at CPA Australia, fears a crackdown on the abuse of tax deductions for work-related travel and uniform laundering could be used to press for a total ban on taxpayers making claims for work-related expenses.

ATO begins random audits to crack down on false workplace deduction claims – SmartCompany

The head of the Australian Taxation Office has told a Senate estimates hearing there will be greater scrutiny placed on taxpayers workplace-related tax deductions, with auditors already knocking on the doors of Australian taxpayers.

Commissioner of Taxation Chris Jordan told the Senate Economics Legislation Committee on Wednesday evening that random audits reviewing “work-related claims” began 18 months ago.

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