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Self-employed, small business people are a key in this election: Here’s why

Sunday, April 14, 2019

Now that the federal election has been called (18 May) the importance of how self-employed people vote can be understood.

Demographer Bernard Salt gives an excellent analysis in this article from The Australian. Salt draws on ABS small business activity data calibrated to electoral boundaries. He looks at demographic changes between the last election in 2016 and now. He focuses on sole trader and small business activity.  More...


Can the ATO fix its cultural problem with contractors? Australian entrepreneurship depends on a fix

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

You might recall the campaign hullaballoo we generated in late 2017 when the ATO cancelled the ABNs of 16 low-income, work-from-home, self-employed women. The ATO ‘assessed’ the women as employees. The denial of ABNs destroyed their incomes and forced many on to welfare. After 13 weeks of intense campaigning, the ATO ‘temporarily’ reinstated their ABNs.

The weird thing about this situation was that when we asked if any of the women were not paying their required tax, the ATO replied that it didn’t know. We checked and verified that all the women were paying tax as required. The ATO’s job is to collect tax. But in this case the ATO didn’t care about tax compliance. We discovered another agenda. We confirmed that powerful forces in the ATO are obsessed with the thought that there is something wrong about self-employed people. The ATO seeks to stop people being contractors whether or not tax compliance is occurring. This is the ATO acting well outside of its remit.  More...


The ‘What’ and ‘Why’ of the ATO small business reform

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

We wrote yesterday to thank the many players involved in efforts to reform the ATO’s treatment of self-employed, small business people. Today we explain what that reform is and why it’s important.

The reform is the creation of the Small Business Tax Tribunal (SBTT) that started on 1 March. It’s a division within the Administrative Appeals Tribunal. There are two key documents to understand: More...


Thank goodness. Morrison Government is DOING, rather than just promising, ATO reform

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Usually, in the lead-up to elections, governments make all sort of promises in the hope that this will give them favour with the electorate. But we’re delighted to report that with small business tax reform the Morrison government is delivering, not simply talking.

Today the government announced that the Small Business Tax Tribunal will start up on the 1 March 2019—just two weeks away. This is huge. We continue to see bad ATO small business audits and an ATO incapable of quickly fixing glaring audit errors. It’s an audit system of considerable incompetence, with small business people the victims.  More...


China and the ATO – Dictatorship vs the Rule of Law

Friday, February 01, 2019

Yes, we have focused heavily on seeking reform of the Australian Taxation Office in recent times. But the issue is not simply about tax revenue. It’s much bigger. It’s about the rule of law. In this longer-than-normal communication we explain what motivates us by drawing some parallels between China and the ATO.  More...


Here’s some really interesting (not?) holiday reading

Monday, January 07, 2019

We trust the Xmas pudding and New Year champers have worked through your system and you now feel suitably relaxed as the new business year slowly winds back up.

If you’re after some ‘exciting’ tax reading (yawn!), we had bit of a flurry of submissions we needed to get to the government and parliament before Christmas. Here are a couple of them. More...


ATO seeks new small business destruction powers. This must be stopped.

Thursday, February 15, 2018

The Turnbull government is proposing new legislation that would give the ATO the power to report (alleged) small business debts to credit rating agencies.

We absolutely oppose this, as reported in The Age and Sydney Morning Herald this week.

We want this Treasury Laws Amendment (Tax 3 Transparency) Bill 2018: Transparency of taxation debts withdrawn. It has nothing to do with transparency. It is a new grab for power by the ATO.  More...


Another BIG win for the ‘little’ person

Wednesday, September 06, 2017

We’re delighted to report that the Vulnerable Workers Bill passed the Senate on the evening of 4 September. This is the new law resulting from the 7-Eleven worker wages fraud scandal exposed by 4 Corners/Fairfax in late 2015.

The Bill passed with only minor amendments, but that kept the integrity of the protective measures in place. Here’s our analysis of the Bill from May. The law will not only protect low-paid workers but will: More...


ATO’s humiliating admission exposes its baseless accusations of fraud

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

On Monday, ICA's Ken Phillips sat in the Federal Court in Sydney with our legal team witnessing an extraordinary event.

We were defending Rod Douglass against the ATO. You’ll remember we’ve been assisting Rod for nearly two years. We’ve explained this before.

Rod had been accused by the ATO of fraud/evasion on the basis that he should have sought ‘professional’ advice before submitting his tax returns even though he followed ATO website information in completing his returns. He had declared all income. Yet the ATO sent Rod a $550,000 tax bill backdated 10 years which meant he would be bankrupt.  More...


So there are no unfair contracts? Look again

Sunday, November 13, 2016

When we first started arguing for unfair contract laws for small business people in 2009 we had discussions with the Federal Attorney-General's Department. They told us that there wasn’t a problem because no-one complained. But we campaigned persistently for seven years until the laws were passed.

The new laws started last Saturday, 12 November 2016. (Hooray!) The Australian Consumer and Competition Commission last week released a report into the 12 months' research they have done on unfair contracts. The ACCC believes that somewhere between 8 and 10 million (yes million) contracts will need to be re-written to comply with the new laws.  More...



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