“It's about the passion”

From the Desk of the Executive Director

Ken Phillips is co-founder and Executive Director of Independent Contractors of Australia. He is a published authority on independent contractor issues and directs research on related commercial and trade practices issues. Through his numerous articles in newspapers and think-tank and academic journals, Ken is known for approaching issues from outside normal perspectives and is frequently sought out for media comment.

Small business is losing confidence in the ATO

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

How would you feel if — after years of filling out your tax return in strict accordance with the Australian Taxation Office’s written rules and having your tax returns accepted by the ATO — you discovered that the ATO was accusing you of fraud?

Further, that the basis of the fraud accusation was that you were complying with ATO written rules. Confused? Go figure!

But this is the scenario confronting small business people today in their dealings with the ATO. More...


How Turnbull can realise his innovation dreams

Tuesday, November 03, 2015

Dear Prime Minister,

It’s fantastic that that you’re excited about ‘being alive’ and that you’re encouraging Australian’s to get out and ‘do things’. Yep, it’s people power that makes our society and economy vibrant and strong. If anything, you’re asking us to be entrepreneurs!

But I want to put my piece of caution to you as you drive us down the innovation road. More...


Small business budget redefines the Coalition

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

This is a highly political budget, as are all budgets. But this time it’s political in a different way.

The Labor Party brand themselves with their century-long moral mantra of the ‘working man’. Liberals historically have allowed their branding to be defined by the negative ‘bosses party’ image. This budget breaks that mould. For the Coalition it’s a brand re-positioning budget.

It’s definitely not a big bosses’ budget. The government claims it’s “the biggest small business initiative in our nation’s history”. It’s a claim probably justified on the detail of the package. More...


Small business policy is greater than the sum of its parts

Wednesday, May 06, 2015

It’s a bit of a magician’s act to make something big out of something small. But that’s the task the Abbott Government has put before it in staking so much of its economic credentials on the small business sector.

However, when you realise that over 60 per cent of the workforce work in SMEs, the government is not playing a magician’s game but responding to a hard-core economic reality. As the mining boom winds back, small business has to be a primary target for jobs growth. It’s already been announced that next week’s budget will strongly feature small business incentives. More...


How the ATO is oppressing small business

Thursday, March 19, 2015

The scariest thing about being a small businessperson in Australia is not the ‘normal’ commercial risks of business but rather that you’ll be targeted by the Australian Taxation Office. This is the conclusion that can be drawn from two official reviews of how the ATO deals with small businesspeople.

The first report is the Board of Taxation’s Review of Tax Impediments Facing Small Business released in February. (You can read my summary and comments here.) The second comes from the Inspector-General of Taxation into The Management of Tax Disputes released this month. (Again, you can read my summary and comments on this report here.) More...


Australia got caught out by Freelancer.com

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

The launch of Freelancer.com onto the Australian stock market last week created great excitement. Upon listing, its 50 cent shares skyrocketed to $2.60 settling at $1.60. Commentators referred to it as potentially Australia’s Twitter.

The story underpinning the share market hype reflects not just a new age technology but rather a transformation in the way business and work is organised. Freelancer highlights how the transformation is expanding and will continue to overpower human resource practices inside large organisations, labour and tax laws and the very idea of what constitutes a business.  More...


Actions hurting small business

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

The Rudd Labor government is spending big on media advertising declaring that it's small-business-friendly. But the facts show a government intentionally damaging small-business people.

In the past two years, for example, the number of micro-businesses (one-person businesses) has collapsed by 130,000. This is a direct result of a package of anti-small business, anti-self-employed measures imposed by the Labor government. More...


Hope glimmers in Abbotts small business spotlight

Friday, May 31, 2013

Slowly the Abbott opposition is revealing just how dramatically different business regulation and policy is likely to be under an alternative government. In essence they are preparing to put small business at the centre of key business policy in a way never before seen. And particularly, it might seem, with competition laws. More...


Paralysed in a tax office trap

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

The Australian union movement has been quite open about its campaign to stamp out independent contractors wherever it can. Running parallel to this, it's instructive to see that the Australian Taxation Office has shifted to a decidedly anti-independent contractor stance over the last few years.  The outcome (intentional or not) is to aid the unions' objectives. More...



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