News Pulse for April 10, 2018

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

ATO small business ‘bullying’ allegations to get the Four Corners treatment

The battle between small businesses and the Australian Taxation Office (ATO Australian Taxation Office) will tonight be given a very human face.

As part of a major investigation with Fairfax, the ABC’s Four Corners program will tonight broadcast a program called “A mongrel bunch of bastards”.

Losing faith in our tax system

Australians revolted in the 1970s when the tax system became regarded as unfair.

Three decades on and I can see that once again the community is losing faith in its tax system, which will have enormous implications for long-term revenue.

Whistleblower exposes ATO ‘cash grab’ targeting small businesses

Two Australian Taxation Office whistleblowers have told a joint Four Corners and Fairfax investigation about a toxic internal culture where vulnerable small businesses and individuals are deliberately targeted to help meet revenue goals.

They allege unethical tactics are used for revenue raising, at the expense of correct procedure and fairness to taxpayers.

Here’s what the Australian Tax Office has the power to do

The Australian Tax Office (ATO Australian Taxation Office) has been described as one of the most powerful institutions in the country.

It has extraordinary powers more akin to police and law enforcement agencies. And when it makes mistakes, it can destroy small businesses and livelihoods.


WA app developer on brink as ATO demands grant back

A local app developer faces the prospect of going bust after the Australian Taxation Office demanded the return of a $35,000 grant it claims it mistakenly gave him 18 months ago.

It comes as the ATO Australian Taxation Office attracts widespread criticism for crushing small businesses through questionable business practices, abuse of power and mistakes.

Blowing the whistle on the tax office’s ‘cash grab’

Amid the chaos of the end of the financial year, Richard Boyle strolled into work at the Adelaide branch of the Australian Taxation Office, a key centre for debt collection.

“People were rushing around, there was a lot of paperwork, I wondered what was going on,” he says.

Westpac CEO Brian Hartzer says cashless society is just round the corner

Plenty of intriguing insights about fintech were delivered at The Australian Financial Review’s Banking & Wealth Summit last week. So, here’s a selection of highlights, in no particular order.

Brian Hartzer says cash is disappearing from the economy “faster than any of us anticipated”. A recent trip to Copenhagen by the Westpac chief revealed the decline of cash in Denmark is being driven by customers.

Tips, comments or suggestions? Let me know in the comments, send me an email or tweet me @simeonduncan.