20 November 2018

Making the most of your Business Conference

By Steve Marsten

Well it’s that time of year when I go to conference. We often look for the best business conference that is available and affordable. These are often overseas – not because we want to go overseas, though a change of scenery is always appreciated but because they tend to offer value for money.

Now clients ask me what value do I really get out of a conference other than the Gala dinners (which I rarely attend) and the beer and wine? Now I take this time away from my business very seriously. I know many people go to conferences because it’s a junket and there’s no real plan to actually assess the value and what the real return is of the investment they’re making.

We have found that there are a number of good Australian business conferences that attract quality speakers. We always have a plan in place based on the agenda and a strategy to identify valuable business lessons.

So here are several reasons why I attend a good business conference.

  1. It helps motivate me to carry out the work I do. Too much time behind a desk can wear you down and I know some have said – just “google it”. There is a lot of information on the net but not all that is written is useful and truthful. It’s important to get out and about and hear from people who are doing what you do but differently or creatively or more innovatively! This is what can reignite your enthusiasm.
  2. Learning industry and business trends and how they’re implemented. Well organised conferences specialise in finding compelling subject matter and top-notch speakers for their sessions. Attending events and learning about the latest trends and how they’re being used in your industry augments your knowledge base and gives you something valuable to bring back, and possible apply, to your own business and share with colleagues.
  3. Evaluate and meet new vendors. Most professional conferences include vendors whose reason for being there is to connect with you. They help educate you on their latest and greatest products and services. You may find new tools you were unaware of, tools that could provide a solution to problems your business, or your customers, are facing.
  4. Develop ideas for content based on sessions. As business communicators, we are often tasked with the job of developing marketing and public relations content for our businesses and clients. In addition to providing educational value, conference sessions can spark new ideas for content.

Take time out straight after the conference to prepare your action sheets and assess the good, the bad and the ugly of your conference. For more information on getting the most out of conferences, call the team at UHY Haines Norton on 07 4972 1300.

13 November 2018

Be Uber Aware of Tax Requirements

By Joe Smith 
Most of you will know by now that Uber is coming to Gladstone – it was only a matter of time before they expanded their operations outside of the major cities!  And while many people will be interested in earning some extra cash, they should also be aware of their requirements for tax purposes.

The ATO classes Uber and any other ride sourcing as taxi travel.  This means that anyone wishing to operate a service through Uber must get an Australian Business Number (ABN) and register for GST regardless of how much income they earn from it.  There is no threshold that applies regarding ride sourcing and the requirements for GST registration.

As with any other business, full records of all income and expenses should be kept.  Then the expenses should be apportioned as only the percentage that relates to your business activity can be claimed as a tax deduction.  As well as this, GST can only be claimed on the portion of expenses that relate to your business activity.

Business Activity Statements (BAS) will also be required to be lodged on a monthly or quarterly basis and payments made to the ATO as required.  And then you will have to declare your business income on your tax return for each financial year that you operate a ride sourcing service.  My advice here would be speak to an accountant before you begin operating.

The key thing with this and any other business is that you put funds aside to cover any amounts due for GST and tax.  Not all of the money that you receive from your business operations is yours to keep.  And with the ATO constantly improving their IT and data matching abilities they may be able to identify exactly how much income that you earn! 

The ATO can also check vehicle and boat registrations which they can use to identify any differences in the income you earn and the lifestyle you lead.  And keep in mind that they can also check Facebook, Instagram and other social media too.

If you are thinking of starting a business and would like our assistance please call UHY Haines Norton on 4972 1300 or email info@uhyhncq.com.au  

06 November 2018

Fighting Fair

By Tina Zawila
Maybe it was just a coincidence that this Halloween, the ATO visited Gladstone?  For many the thought of the ATO showing up on your doorstep may be a little frightening, however, the purpose of their visit was to provide an update on their activities and to gain feedback on how our region was coping with the significant changes in our economy.

In particular, the Chair of the Tax Practitioners Board advised that the ATO will be focusing on several areas this year, but in particular he noted work related expenses claimed by salary and wage earners and the black economy.

Now you may think that the black economy has nothing to do with you, as we typically associate the black economy with the big end of town – the giant corporations who don’t pay their fair share of tax.  However, the facts are, that the black economy represents 3% of our economy at A$50billion, of which corporate tax losses from multinationals is only A$3billion.  You may also think of drugs, illicit tobacco, counterfeit goods, unregulated offshore gambling etc, however, it is actually understated business income that represents a significant portion of the black economy (A$10-$20billion). 

We are all aware of the cash economy and unconsciously many of us participate – how many of you ask a tradie or a retailer “how much if I pay cash?”, expecting a lower price?  The problem with this common practice is that it promotes an unfair playing field where the businesses who do the right thing are at a commercial disadvantage.

The Black Economy Taskforce gathered evidence from many sources including contractors who are outbid on contracts in various industries because they don’t make cash payments to their workers and contractors.  Many of them are completely frustrated that their ability to earn their income was being undermined by people who were just aggressively under-pricing and cheating. 

The Taskforce final report argued for a “near non-cash world”, however the government didn’t quite embrace that concept.  They did accept many of the report’s recommendations including things like an economy-wide cash payment limit of $10,000, a ban on electronic sales suppression tools, making businesses report payments to contactors in high-risk industries, and extending ATO audit and compliance programs.

So we can expect to see an increase in ATO audit activity regarding cash transactions, contractor payments and “sham” ABN’s used by people who are engaged as contractors when they should be employees. 

If you need further advice or assistance with tax compliance or reporting obligations contact the professional team at UHY Haines Norton on 49721300.