Pulse Alert – News Pulse for August 13, 2019

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

Record losses expected as scammers target Australians | ACCC

Australians are set to lose a record amount to scams in 2019, with projections from losses reported to Scamwatch and other government agencies so far expected to exceed $532 million by the end of the year, surpassing half a billion dollars for the first time.

This year’s National Scams Awareness Week (12-16 August) theme is “too smart to be scammed?” and the ACCCAustralian Competition and Consumer Commission The ACCC is Australia's competition regulator and national consumer law champion., along with over 100 campaign partners from government and industry, is urging consumers to test their scams knowledge and refresh their scam protection and detection skills.

Scam losses set to exceed half a billion dollars for the first time: ACCC

The Australian Consumer and Competition Commissioner has projected scam losses to exceed $532 million by the end of the year, surpassing half a billion dollars for the first time.

Last year, over $489 million was lost to scammers, with ATO Australian Taxation Office impersonation scams contributing to over $2.8 million in losses.

‘They promised to do something’: Labor builds pressure over franchising

The government has batted away calls for swifter action on the franchising industry after an investigation into Subway revealed store owners claim they are being pushed out and the sandwich chain is the subject of an inquiry over underpayment of staff.

The parliamentary committee’s inquiry into franchising published its report into the sector in March but five months later the only recommendation the government has taken up is the establishment of a taskforce to examine the inquiry’s suggested reforms.

Fast-rising IT salaries outstrip slow national labour market

While wage growth has stagnated for most of the workforce , the job market for skills in information technology is bucking the national trend.

A rising number of technology businesses and increasing digital investment is driving competition and double digit wage rises in key technical areas, such as “full stack developers” and data scientists, and non-technical roles, including product managers and business analysts.

Unions warn against new test for workplace agreements

Unions have warned thousands of workers will be left worse off if the Morrison government backs the call by big business to introduce a new test for the approval of workplace agreements.

Business Council of Australia chief executive Jennifer Westacott says the Fair Work Act’s “better off overall” test is a “productivity killer” that should be replaced by a test that requires groups of employees only to be better off than the award minimum rather than every individual employee.

Big business demands Labor-style investment scheme

Big business has called on the government to introduce a Labor-style investment allowance as a compromise for not going ahead with company tax cuts.

Business Council of Australia chief executive Jennifer Westacott said while Parliament would eventually come to terms with the “drag effect” of a 30 per cent company tax rate on larger corporations, the need to increase  productivity required a lift in business investment now.

ATO boss Chris Jordan says lawsuits against him could spike if he can’t get protected documents

Tax Commissioner Chris Jordan says he should be able to access confidential taxpayer information in order to fight a defamation case against him, because if he doesn’t, other individuals in dispute with the Australian Taxation Office could launch lawsuits against him.

ABC News has obtained court documents in relation to Mr Jordan’s decision to take his own department to court as part of his defence in a defamation case brought against him by Sydney accountant Vanda Gould.

Cleaners income under the microscope

The Australian Taxation Office will have an unprecedented view of how much cleaning and courier contractors are making as payment details start to flow through for a new reporting scheme designed to prevent taxpayers from under-reporting income.

The office has warned businesses involved in cleaning or courier services must lodge a “taxable payments annual report” by August 28 detailing all payments made to contractors and sub-contractors in the 2019 financial year, including cash payments.

Moula: Proposed tax reform likely to push businesses away from ‘Bank of ATO’

Australian businesses that fail to cooperate with the Australian Tax Office (ATO Australian Taxation Office) in paying back substantial tax debt could have their information shared with credit reporting agencies under new reforms proposed by the Federal Government.

Presented to parliament by Assistant Treasurer, Michael Sukkar, late last month, the Treasury Laws Amendment (2019 tax integrity and other measures) bill would allow the ATO Australian Taxation Office to pass on tax debt information of non-cooperating businesses to credit reporting agencies – potentially affecting credit scores.

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