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You open the mail. You owe us $422,030.64 says the ATO. What??

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Imagine this. You arrive home from work. You’re a freelance consultant; an engineer or maybe an IT specialist currently doing work for a bank. Even an aged care worker or a plumber! You’re one of the 2 million plus self-employed people in Australia, one of the new breed of entrepreneurial ‘gig’ economy workers, so the commentators say!

A month ago you had a phone chat with a couple of seemingly friendly ATO officers who had queries about how you work and your tax returns. You were open and honest. Nothing to hide! Pretty simple really?

There’s a letter. You open it. It’s 18 pages of confusing Tax Office bureaucratic blabbering. Somehow you’re accused of tax fraud/evasion. You struggle to understand. But one thing hits you. It’s a demand to pay $422,030.64 for taxes going back 10 years, with 50% penalties and interest! More...


ATO tax audit officers like you’ve NEVER seen them!

Sunday, June 25, 2017

If you’ve been following the ATO-Cranston-tax fraud scandal, you’ll see the story is getting murkier and grimier by the day. Here’s the latest.  And here’s our tracking of the story. It’s not just about tax fraud but the way the scandal castes a question mark over the very integrity of the Australian Taxation Office’s operations. More...


We’ve changed our name! But we’re still the same—only getting stronger

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Well here’s a turn-up for us! In 2000 (goodness, 18 years ago!) we formed Independent Contractors Australia to advocate for the rights of self-employed people. And in that time we’ve been more successful than we could have envisaged. More...


Good news: BIG review of Australian Taxation Office

Thursday, June 08, 2017

You’ll be aware of our ongoing heavy criticism of the Australian Taxation Office in their treatment of small business people.  In our view:

‘Mum and dad’ businesses are targeted by the ATO with unfair, even questionably legal, tactics.
And as just one example, we successfully defended Rod Douglass from baseless ATO accusations of fraud/evasion. More...


Big end of town to pay on time! Or are they?

Saturday, June 03, 2017

It looks like truly good news. The ‘big end of town’, through the Business Council of Australia, last week launched a new small business ‘pay on time’ code. That is, big businesses signing up to the code have agreed to pay small business suppliers on time. And the Council of Small Business of Australia (COSBA) has endorsed the code.

Let’s be clear. It appears that BCA has moved on the code because the Victorian government has implemented one, the Federal Small Business Ombudsman, Kate Carnell, has been pushing for one and the ‘big end of town’ doesn’t want to see legislation forcing them on this.   More...


Like naughty schoolchildren, banks now complying with unfair contract laws

Thursday, June 01, 2017

Readers might recall our news alert headline, “we’ll only do what we’re made to do!” This was a senior counsel from one of the banks responding to our efforts about eight years ago asking them to support the unfair contract laws.

Then in March this year we said that NAB was trashing its own small business brand because it had, in our view, lied about changing its small business contracts to comply with the now operational unfair contract laws.  More...


Tax scams and others. If it’s too good to be true, it usually is!

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

If you’ve followed the revelations of the $165 million tax fraud, you’ll know that one of the ATO’s top enforcement officers allegedly sought to cut a deal for his son, one of the ringleaders of the fraud

This case, of which we’ll hear lots more, highlights how self-employed people can get caught up in scams quite quickly. The ACCC is always warning us about scams and it pays to keep watch on the ACCC scam websites: here and here.   More...


‘We’ll only do what we’re made to do!’ says bank’s legal counsel

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Around 8 years ago, we (ICA) were approaching the banks about supporting the introduction of unfair contract laws for small business people. One of the big bank’s chief legal counsel said to us “We’ll only do what we’re made to do!” What a sad attitude. But, unfortunately, in our dealings with many at the ‘big end of town’, that’s our experience with them.

Unfair contract protections
It took us ten years of hard advocacy, but late last year the small business unfair contract laws took effect. Now the change is happening. In The Australian yesterday Robert Gottliebsen detailed how the ACCC has forced Sensis to fix unfair contract clauses. Sensis had concealed clauses that renewed contracts without the small businessperson agreeing. Sensis could cancel contracts but the small businessperson could not. Sensis has agreed to make refunds.  More...


Will franchisors get away with it? Vulnerable Workers Bill

Sunday, May 14, 2017

It’s getting close to decision time in the Senate! Remember the 7-Eleven wages fraud scandal exposed by 4Corners/Fairfax late 2015? The scandal has spread since then with Pizza Hut, Domino’s Pizza, Caltex and United Petroleum being caught out underpaying workers.

The Federal government has put forward legislation (The Vulnerable Workers Bill) that will require franchisors to be at least partly responsible if underpayment occurs. We strongly support the Bill. It will force franchisors to properly support the 79,000 small business franchisees to prevent underpayment. More...


The Australian Constitution protecting our freedoms

Tuesday, May 02, 2017

ICA Executive Director Ken Phillips spoke at a ‘Liberty’ conference in Sydney over the weekend. With over 350 people in attendance and with more than 70 speakers it was a stimulating, ideas-packed weekend. Not everyone agreed with each other, but all present agreed on the right to speak freely.

Ken talked about how we at ICA have used the Australian Constitution to defend individual liberty, specifically the right of people to be self-employed. You might recall last year our:  More...



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