News Pulse for May 24, 2018

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

Crossbench push to lock Australia’s 560 largest companies out of tax cuts

Woolworths, Caltex, Imperial Tobacco and the Ten Network would be among the hundreds of companies frozen out of the $35.6 billion remaining of the company tax package under a renewed push to cut benefits to companies with a turnover of more than $500 million a year.

The move, mooted by Senate crossbenchers to get the terminal tax cuts across the line, would see an extraordinary $1.5 trillion in turnover per year quarantined alongside more than 560 companies, according to figures from the Australian Tax Office.

Call to redraft company tax cuts blocked in the Senate

The Turnbull government is being urged to redraft its $35.6 billion tax cut for big companies to help more small businesses and ordinary workers, as another Senate crossbencher warns the flagship policy cannot be legislated.

In a dramatic intervention that will deepen Coalition divisions over the policy, Australian Conservatives senator Cory Bernardi declared the government would have to accept the will of the Parliament and overhaul the tax cuts.

Company tax revenues to grow by 22 per cent this year

Business will make a greater contribution to the federal budget even if Turnbull government’s proposed corporate tax cuts take place, with new figures showing a crackdown on loopholes and multinational avoidance will increase the coporate tax base.

In a challenge to critics of big business tax reform, PricewaterhouseCoopers partner Paul Abbey said company tax revenues will soar by 22 per cent by the end of this financial year as the government closes down some of the ways large coporations can avoid tax.

Banks warn rigid lending would lead to economic gridlock

Westpac and ANZ drove home the consequences of rigid credit rules on Wednesday as the Hayne royal commission was forced to weigh up the impact of tighter lending on economic growth.

The banks sought to explain how it was rarely a case of one-size-fits-all with small businesses and why they disagreed with the Financial Services Ombudsman’s interpretations of their responsible lending obligations.

Banking royal commission: A question of responsibility dominates SME hearings

Could the royal commission end up making credit conditions for small business even tighter?

That possibility was top of the combatants’ minds Wednesday morning, as senior counsel Michael Hodge QC pushed ANZ executive Kate Gibson on whether her bankers had exercised the “care and skill of a diligent and prudent banker” required under the industry’s code in lending more than $300,000 to a husband and wife team that wanted to buy a gelato franchise.

ANZ’s business lending push did not contribute to poor practices

ANZ has rejected claims that pressure placed on its small business team to attract new business loans led bankers to  ignore proper due diligence  as they scrambled to meet sales targets.

The royal commission was presented with internal bank documents that instructed small business lenders within the bank to ramp up the number of loans they were selling and “relentlessly acquire new-to-bank customers” from 2014.

‘The decline will only get worse’

AUSTRALIA is leading the world in the decline of small business start-ups, spelling bad news for the future prosperity of the nation in the face of an ageing population, a new book has warned.

Between 2003 and 2014, Australia’s small business entry rate declined by 40 per cent, a substantially larger decline than the US, UK and Canada, according to the book Demographics and Entrepreneurship , a joint publication by Liberal-aligned think tank, the Institute of Public Affairs, and Canada’s Fraser Institute.

Going cashless to end the black economy: MYOB supports Aus Govt findings

Business management solutions MYOB has praised the Australian Black Economy Taskforce in their findings to combat the black economy.

“MYOB welcomes the recommendations outlined in the Government’s Black Economy Taskforce report.

Klugo replaces Xero with NetSuite at Sydney investment firm

NetSuite partner  Klugo Group  has been selected by investment firm Vertua to consolidate its reporting system and give it transparency across the organisation in the process.

Vertua, which is listed with the National Stock Exchange of Australia (NSX), is based in Sydney and has four investment segments.

Opinion: The dangerous tragicomedy of the royal commission

The royal commission would make a great television comedy if it wasn’t so sad. At the heart of this week’s hearings are stories of shattered dreams and the harsh reality of failure.There are really only two archetypes in Hayne’s melodrama: heroes and villains.

The banks have been cast as the villains in this story, while their unsuspecting customers play the tragic heroes, the battlers, people like you and me who have tried hard and failed. It’s a story everyone can relate to — that’s the problem.

When’s a loan not a loan?

Bankers called it “supporting small business”, but a better phrase might be “lending money for profit”.

There’s nothing wrong with banks wanting to make a return on the money they lend out. If they didn’t, they would soon collapse, which begs the question: why were the executives in the witness stand at the royal commission apparently so afraid to call a loan a loan?

Fintech competition is pushing banks to change strategies

The banking sector is undergoing many changes currently, as technology is becoming increasingly important to keep up with fintech competition. It has become apparent that the space is evolving in a way that will see new technologies have an outsized impact in the next few years, according to a   report   from Temenos and The Economist Intelligence Unit. Additionally, the report examined the impact of open banking and how banks are shifting their business models, among other things.

ATO repeating banks’ mistakes

Normally when a succession of executives confess before a royal commission that customers were treated badly, boards and chief executives can duck for cover and blame the executives. But when it comes to small business, the core of the blame lies with bank boards and not the executives.

The disclosures in the royal commission about small business abuses stem from actions by the directors of the banks plus their legal advisers.

Investment scams cost Australians $64 million in 2017

The ACCCAustralian Competition and Consumer Commission The ACCC is Australia's competition regulator and national consumer law champion. is warning investors to be wary of scammers after its 9 th annual ‘Targeting scams report’ revealed that Investment scams had increased by more than 8 per cent, costing Australians $64 million in 2017.

This week marks Scams Awareness Week 2018 and ACCCAustralian Competition and Consumer Commission The ACCC is Australia's competition regulator and national consumer law champion. Deputy Chair Delia Rickard warns that ‘some scams are becoming very sophisticated and hard to spot.’

“Scammers use modern technology like social media to contact and deceive their victims.  In the past few years, reports indicate scammers are using aggressive techniques both over the phone and online,” she said.

Govt gives Open Banking regime the go ahead

Consumers will be granted new rights over their banking data from July next year, with the government this week announcing it would implement the recommendations of the Review into Open Banking .

Under the regime, banks and financial institutions will be obliged to share all information provided to them by customers and former customers, whenever they request it. They will also be obliged to share all transaction data in “a form that facilitates its transfer and use” and make public details about the price, fees and other charges of their products and services.

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