News Pulse for August 2, 2018

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

Sunday surcharges remain despite falling penalty rates

If you have indulged in a takeaway pizza on a Sunday or a public holiday you might be familiar with paying a surcharge for the privilege.

Restaurants and food chains use surcharges to make up for the cost of penalty rates, rather than absorb them into their bottom line.

Ensuring all multinationals pay their fair share of tax

Today the Turnbull Government released draft legislation for public consultation that cracks down on foreign entities leveraging their debt to reduce the amount of tax they pay in Australia.

The thin capitalisation rules prevent multinationals from shifting profits offshore by using excessive levels of tax deductible debt to fund their Australian operations.

Watchdog nod for banks’ code of conduct

THE nation’s biggest lenders will be named and shamed and ordered to pay back customers if they breach a new banking code of conduct covering everything from credit card usage to small business customers.

The new code was approved by the corporate cop, the Australian Securities and Investments Commission, on Tuesday.

No Bill, the economy is not really like an ATM

Bill ShortenHon Bill Shorten MP,  Federal Member for Maribyrnong Leader of the Opposition from 13.10.13 is confusing the tactical survival of four Labor seats in byelections at the weekend with a great strategic victory for his policy program of burdening the economy to pay for faux fairness spending programs. The rhetoric level is back at full strength.

Yesterday the Labor leader was back out telling telling voters that “if you take tens of billions of dollars out of the nation’s ATM, to give away as corporate tax cuts, something’s got to give. You have less money available for schools and hospitals”. Mr Shorten did not get the memo from the Treasury that cutting taxes boosts investment and wages. The economy is not an ATM that can be emptied – at least, so long as a Shorten-inspired Labor treasurer isn’t left running it. With the right incentives in the company and personal tax systems, economies grow – and so can spending on schools and hospitals and other social programs. But, self-vindicated, the Labor leader is now doubly unrepentant. A month ago he retreated from snatching back a 2.5 percentage point tax cut for mum-and-dad businesses with turnovers up to $50 million, just days before they were due to become law. Now he’s back at it again, saying it was “rubbish” to be concerned with such things as business tax thresholds, even for small business. And he will continue to block further reductions to 25 per cent.

Small business challenger bank Judo raises $140 million

Small business challenger bank Judo Capital  has raised $140 million from investors to  tap into the shortfall in lending to small and medium-sized businesses.

Investors in its first equity round include the Ontario Pension Trust, Abu Dhabi Capital Group, Credit Suisse Asset Management and Myer Family Investments.

Judo chops out big banks

Start-up Judo Capital is cashing in on the growing demand for alternative lenders in the local market, completing a $140 million equity raising that takes it a step closer to its goal of becoming a “challenger bank” for the small-to-mid-sized business lending market.

Judo, founded by former National Australia Bank senior executives Joseph Healy and David Hornery, began trading in Melbourne in April and already has plans to open a Sydney office. It has also applied to the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority for a banking licence, which it expects to be ready by the end of the year.

Bank code shifts power balance

The corporate watchdog has ­rubber-stamped the first serious overhaul of the banking code of practice in 25 years, but conceded ground to the industry by accepting a lower threshold definition of small business.

The result is that the code’s protections will apply only to businesses with a maximum of $3 million in total credit facilities.

Reckon teams up with IPA to launch cloud accounting solution

Australian accounting software provider Reckon is partnering with the Institute of Public Accountants to launch a “member-first” cloud accounting solution.

Reckon (ASX:RKN) says the “unique, first of its kind industry partnership” will empower small- to medium-sized enterprises to deliver a greater customer experience by leveraging the cloud to bolster productivity and fuel growth.

Businesses urged to get data sharing consent following Facebook scandal

A spate of high-profile breaches and the Facebook Cambridge Analytica scandal mean that data-driven businesses will have to work harder than ever to assure customers there is a genuine benefit in sharing their personal data.

That was the core message from a panel at The Australian Financial Review Innovation Summit , which examined how Australia develops a data-driven economy amid the risk of data breaches.

Xero buys Hubdoc for $94m in its biggest ever deal

Accounting software firm Xero has made its largest ever acquisition, picking up Canadian tech company Hubdoc in a deal worth $US70 million ($94 million).

Hubdoc, based in Toronto, has a software product that is used by accountants and small businesses to capture data from bills and statements from organisations such as banks, utilities and suppliers.

Government welcomes first day of family and domestic violence leave | Ministers’ Media Centre, Australian Government

The Turnbull Government has today welcomed the first day of family and domestic violence leave for up to 2.3 million workers, while committing to extend the entitlement to a further six million workers.

This follows a decision by the independent Fair Work Commission on 26 March 2018 to provide five days of unpaid family and domestic violence leave per year to workers on modern awards.

Fintech startup Tic:Toc raises $11.5 million to take the hassle out of home loan approvals 

Aussie fintech startup Tic:Toc has raised $11.5 million in Series B funding in its bid to improve the customer service around home-loan approvals.

The funding round was led by Genworth Mortgage Insurance Australia and La Trobe Financial, and also included some existing shareholders.

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