December 8, 2016
Cyber-Crime

Top cyber security tips for business

Top cyber security tips for business It is important you keep all your business and client information secure. If your data is lost or compromised, it can be very difficult or very costly to recover. The ATO has developed these tips in consultation with the Cyber Security Working Group (CSWG), a group of tax practitioner industry groups and other industry partners, such as software developer associations, who are working with them to combat the growing threat of identity theft and cybercrime. Ensure your passwords are strong and secure Use multi-factor authentication where possible. Regularly change passwords, and do not share them. Multi-factor authentication requires users to provide multiple pieces of information to authenticate themselves – for example, a text message sent to your phone when logging into a website. As a business owner, remember: multi-factor authentication puts an additional layer of security on your accounts – it can make it harder for […]
December 1, 2016
Enjoying-your-business

Not enjoying your business? Here’s what to do about it

Not enjoying your business? Here’s what to do about it We recently came across this article on mybusiness.com.au and we wanted to share it because we often hear from business owners who go through the cycle described below. If you’re not enjoying your business, there are things you can do before deciding to pack up and sell it. According to Jacob Ohlson of PowerNET IT Solutions and Cryo he believes happiness in your business involves shaking up your management and doing what you love. “The key to success is doing what you love doing,” says Jacob on the My Business Podcast. “You can’t work crazy hours a day and just do stuff all the time and love doing it if you don’t have a passion. “I was just very lucky, in that perspective, to find something that I have a passion with and I stuck with it.” Jacob says businesses have a […]
November 21, 2016
Contractor_or_emplyee

Is A Contractor Really An Employee?

Is A Contractor Really An Employee? There are so many myths about when is a contractor really an employee? Not understanding the differences could leave you in a lot of trouble with the ATO. Here’s a short video explaining more. There are a number of key determinants as to whether an employee is a contractor. Some include: Employees generally work under the direction and control of their employer, while independent contractors exercise more personal control. Employees carry no financial risk, while contractors bear the risk of making a profit or a loss from the job. Employers are paid superannuation and leave; contractors generally aren’t. Employees get tax deducted by their employers but independent contractors pay their own PAYG and GST. Like so many aspects of employment law, contracting is something you need to know more about than the people who work for you. Although it might appear to be a tax-effective decision […]
November 17, 2016
Cashflow-Crisis

Small Business Cash Flow Crisis

Small Business Cash Flow Crisis In 2014/15, 20,018 businesses in Australia became insolvent, with inadequate cash flow being a key reason. At 30 June 2016, small business owed more than $12 billion in collectable debt, accounting for almost two-thirds of total collectable debt. Evidence shows that businesses which manage their cash flow effectively are more likely to succeed. Despite the large amount of information on cash flow management already available in the market place, it is recognised that cash flow remains a significant issue for small business. The ATO provided the following information on statistics and research: There are more than 2 million small businesses in Australia. The ATO defines a small business entity as a business with less than $2 million aggregated turnover. 96% of all Australia’s businesses are small businesses, producing over $330 billion of our nation’s total economic output. Small businesses employ 4.5 million people, almost half of […]
September 21, 2016
Scam-Alert

Scam Alert – Tax Time Is The Perfect Time For Scams

Scam Alert – Tax Time Is The Perfect Time For Scams Yet again, the ATO is warning tax payers against fraudsters attempting to scam them by posing as ATO representatives. In 2015 almost 87,000 phone and email scams were reported to the ATO, an increase of over 90 per cent from 2014. From January to May this year, the ATO has received over 40,500 phone scam reports. Of these, 226 Australians handed over $1.2 million to fraudsters and over 1900 gave out some form of personal information, including tax file numbers. Assistant Commissioner Mr Graham Whyte said that while most people were able to identify scams, it is important to remain alert during tax time. “Most Australians are pretty good at catching fraudsters in the act. This is clear from the amount of scams reported to us compared to the number of people handing over money and personal information,” Mr Whyte […]
September 21, 2016
Identity-Theft

Another Timely Warning Against Identity Theft

Another Timely Warning Against Identity Theft The ATO is reminding Australians to protect themselves against identify theft this tax time. Assistant Commissioner Graham Whyte said identity theft was more common during tax time because of the large number of people lodging tax returns. “With the amount of personal information being exchanged at tax time, it is a prime opportunity for fraudsters,” Mr Whyte said. “Highly organised crime networks use a range of methods to steal personal information in order to commit refund fraud.” In 2014-15, 32,110 cases of identity theft were reported to the ATO. Of these, 22,200 were reported during the peak processing months from July to November. Over the same period, 677 incidents of identity crime relating to refund fraud were dealt with by the ATO. Mr Whyte said there are a number of ways Australians can protect themselves against identity theft and refund fraud. It can be […]
September 21, 2016
Warning

Tax Scheme Sound too good to be true? It probably is!

Tax Scheme Sound too good to be true? It probably is! The ATO has launched Project Super Scheme Smart, an initiative aimed at educating advisers and individuals about the potential pitfalls of retirement planning schemes. The ATO has had considerable success to date in shutting down tax avoidance schemes but recently has seen an increase in schemes designed specifically to target those approaching retirement. “Retirement planning is a critical and exciting time in people’s lives as they work out how they’ll manage their finances after they leave the workforce. For many, they rely heavily on the advice of financial planners, accountants, and other advisers. “Unfortunately, promoters of these risky schemes are aware of the role that advisers play at this critical time and are targeting advisers to get their assistance in recommending schemes to clients,” Mr Cranston said. According to the ATO, people most at risk of being targeted are those […]
September 21, 2016
Dodgy-Deductions

ATO Targets Dodgy Tax Deductions

ATO Targets Dodgy Tax Deductions With over eight million Australians claiming work-related expenses each year, Assistant Commissioner Graham Whyte from the ATO is reminding people to make sure they get their deductions right this tax time. “Australians claim over $21 billion in work-related expenses each year, and we want to support taxpayers to claim what they are entitled to – no more, no less,” Mr Whyte said. “Most Australians want to do the right thing, but we are seeing mistakes, and while the amounts at an individual level are relatively small, collectively the overall impact is significant. That’s why, it is important for people to get their deductions right. “From time to time we see people deliberately making incorrect claims. We’ve seen claims for car expenses where log books have been made up and claims for self-education expenses where invoices were supplied for conferences that the taxpayer never attended. “Deliberately […]
August 1, 2016
Alert

Is it a scam? How to check if that caller or message is really from the ATO.

The sophistication of scams currently targeting Australians is increasing and we came across the following article from the ATO which we wanted to share with you as a reminder to stay vigilant. Story: You get a phone call. The caller says they’re from the ATO. They want you to pay a debt (which you know nothing about), or are asking for your personal details. But it doesn’t seem quite right. Maybe the caller: is aggressive threatens that if you don’t pay you will be arrested and sent to jail, or tries to make you call another number outside normal business hours. Or maybe you have received an email or SMS offering you a tax refund or asking for personal details, but it just smells wrong. What to do if you think it is a scam? You need to check it out. If you get a phone call, ask the caller […]
July 29, 2016
Tax-Returns

Don’t Get Stung by “Instant” Tax Refunds

It’s tax time again and there are plenty of promotions for “instant” or “same day” tax refunds. It might seem like an attractive option especially when you need money quickly at this time of year, but beware that you could get stung if things don’t go according to plan. Here’s how an “instant” tax refund works. First it’s important to understand that many of the companies promoting instant refunds are not actually issuing a refund. Only the ATO can do that. What you’re really getting with an “instant” tax refund is a short-term loan. The concept is that when you receive your refund, you will pay it directly back to the company to pay off your debt. The problems start if you later get a message from the ATO that your refund has been withheld for any reason (e.g. you didn’t declare your Centrelink debt). You will now be in […]