News Pulse for June 1, 2018

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

Aussie businesses reveal Facebook fears

BUSINESS owners are being forced to advertise with the world’s two biggest digital platforms just to stay afloat, Australia’s competition watchdog has heard, even though some feel they’re not getting what they pay for.

The multibillion-dollar tech giants, Facebook and Google, have now completely taken over from the humble Yellow Pages, the advertisers argued, and were “locking” Australians into their digital tools and buying up new players so they could not switch to competitors.

Banks inquiry to hear from regulator 

The corporate regulator will get its turn to tell the banking royal commission about the rules applying to small businesses.

Two senior Australian Securities and Investments Commission executives will be the final witnesses at the banking royal commission’s small business hearing.

Amazon to block Australian shoppers from its US website

Online retail giant Amazon will block Australian consumers from its global sites to counter new laws to force it to collect the good and services tax on transactions.

From July 1 when the new GST regulations begin, Australian consumers shopping on Amazon international sites will be redirected to the local Australian site.

Consumer campaigner Christopher Zinn said shoppers will notice a significant reduction in options when browsing the internet for goods.

Melbourne startup ShareRing wants to change the car industry using blockchain

Melbourne-based sharing economy startup ShareRing, fresh from a $3.8 million capital raise in March, has signed up for a global consortium that wants to explore how blockchain can transform transport.

MOBI (Mobility Open Blockchain Initiative) is a not-for-profit foundation looking at applications for blockchain in what’s now known as a mobility sector, ranging from the car industry to public transport and even toll roads.

Senate inquiry reports at last

Companies with annual turnover of just $100 million would be forced to open their books and publicly report their tax details every year under a raft of proposals put forward by a long-awaited Senate inquiry into corporate tax avoidance.

The Senate economics committee inquiry into corporate tax avoidance late yesterday published its recommendations after four years, which included the endorsement of a government plan to charge extra tax on oil and gas companies only for projects which are yet to begin.

Small business ombudsman ‘disappointed’ after being left out of royal commission

The Small Business Ombudsman says she’s disappointed she hasn’t been called to give evidence at the Banking Royal Commission.

The royal commission is currently probing into lending practices to small business.

Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman Kate Carnell says her office has plenty of “intelligence” to provide the commission.

Open your books: big firms face tax crackdown under reforms

Iconic Australian firms would be treated like tax-dodging multinationals and forced to open their books under sweeping reforms to Australia’s tax system recommended by a powerful economics committee.

The corporate tax avoidance report, released after four-years and eight extensions on Wednesday, recommends all local firms with a turnover of $100 million or more be forced to publicly report their total incomes, taxable incomes and tax payable every year.

MYOB pulls out of Reckon buy, shares tumble

MYOB has pulled out of its $180 million deal to buy competitor Reckon’s accounting software products in favour of building up its own business, which will result in lower margins and higher spending on product development in the short-term.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission was due to make a decision on the deal by June 21, but it had issued a strong statement in March expressing concerns with the acquisition and its effect on competition in the space . MYOB chief executive Tim Reed said an update from last week indicated the competition watchdog was still inclined to block the transaction, forcing the $1.8 billion company’s hand.

MYOB’s plan B worries investors

It was a case of out of the frying pain and into the fire for MYOB chief executive Tim Reed on Thursday, after he announced he was pulling out of a $180 million deal to buy rival Reckon.

When takeover deals are announced, investors tend to fret and send a share price south. When they fall over, investors often celebrate by pushing a stock higher.

Banks split on small business code

A rift between the big banks and second-tier lenders has held the sector back from agreeing on a toughened-up code of conduct with the corporate regulator, ­according to Australian Banking Association chief executive Anna Bligh.

Appearing before the financial services royal commission yesterday, the former Queensland premier said she hoped a long-running dispute with the Australian Securities & Investments Commission about who should qualify for protections as a small business under the code would be resolved through top-level meetings in coming weeks.

SMEs caught in the spokes

After much anticipation, the Hayne royal commission has turned its spotlight on small business — the often forgotten sector that is regarded as the engine room of the Australian economy.

And it hasn’t been pretty for our major financial institutions.nnSmall and medium-sized enterprises have long been ignored by the big four, especially during the good times.

MYOB abandons Reckon takeover

It’s back to the drawing board for MYOB and its plans to grow through acquisition, with the accounting software maker abandoning its $180 million acquisition of rival Reckon’s accountants practice management unit.

The deal, designed to help MYOB expand its adviser base and propel its services into the small and medium business sector, had piqued the interest of the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission from the start.

If You Have A Stable Full-Time Job You’re An Endangered Species

Less than half of employed Australians now work in a permanent full-time paid position with basicAustralian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) is Australia’s corporate, markets and financial services regulator. entitlements like sick pay and paid holidays.

Ask any young job-seeker about their prospects of finding a permanent full-time job and they won’t know whether to laugh or cry.  Sure, they might get a few hours of work here, a few hours there: piecing together disparate “gigs” in the hope of paying the rent.

An “important step”: ATO moves to extend independent reviews to small businesses in tax disputes

Australia’s Small Business Ombudsman has welcomed a move by the Australian Taxation Office to extend its independent review function to small businesses through a pilot program.

Appearing before Senate Estimates hearings this week, ATO Australian Taxation Office Commissioner Chris Jordan said the ATO Australian Taxation Office will soon commence a trial that will allow for independent reviews to be conducted when a tax dispute arises between the tax office and a small business.

ATO’s Chris Jordan seeks to shoot the messenger

ATO Australian Taxation Office Commissioner Chris Jordan came out swinging in Parliament this week.

In his first comments, in fact his first public appearance, since a joint Fairfax Media and Four Corners investigation in April revealed an unfair and bullying approach to small business by his office, Jordan clearly wanted to take down the messenger.

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


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