Sky Update – January 2019

By Sky Accountants

In this Sky Update, we bring you all the latest tax news along with some other items that may pique your interest.

Scam Alert

We are continuing to hear reports of clients receiving calls from scammers purporting to be from the ATO.

These calls can be quite alarming and upsetting for the recipients.  And for the uninitiated, it can be difficult to ascertain if the call received was legitimately from the ATO.

We note that a person who uses a Tax Agent is unlikely to receive contact from the ATO directly.  If you receive a call, you can verify if it was a legitimate call by telephoning 1800 008 540.

The ATO have issued advice on how to spot a scam.  You can also contact our office for advice and support.

We also regularly see scam emails purporting to be from ASIC.  ASIC have issued guidance on how to identify if an email purporting to be from ASIC is legitimate.

Another scam that is becoming more prevalent is scammers impersonating legitimate businesses sending requests to change bank account details for payment of invoices.

Now more than ever, we need to be vigilant to verify the legitimacy of communications received.  Businesses must also ensure that procedures are in place to validate the authenticity of invoices and communications received from suppliers.

For more information, please get in touch.

 

Victorian Gaming Machine Entitlements

Victorian Clubs and Hotels that have been allocated new post-2022 gaming machine entitlements are reminded to plan for the second instalment that is payable by 28 February 2019.

The second instalment is 2.5% of the entitlement price for Clubs and 5% for Hotels.

Venue operators that are experiencing financial difficulty should seek advice and determine if a variation to payment terms should be sought.

If you need assistance, please get in touch.

 

Single Touch Payroll (STP)

STP is a change to the way that employers report employee’s tax and super information to the ATO.  Businesses that had 20 or more employees on 1 April 2018 have been required to adopt STP from 1 July 2018 with the intention that smaller employers come into the system on 1 July 2019.

The legislation to extend STP to smaller employers with 19 or less employees has passed both houses of Parliament and is currently awaiting Royal Assent.  For all intents and purposes, STP is now a reality for smaller employers.

Those employers that have not already started making preparations for STP should start now to ensure that they are ready to start on 1 July.

If you need help to prepare for STP, please get in touch.

 

New Requests for Flexible Working Arrangements Rules

From 1 December, modern awards include new rules about requests for flexible working arrangements.

Under the new rules, requests can only be refused on reasonable business grounds, and where the business refuses a request, a written response must be provided to the employee.

Employees meeting the service period requirements can request flexible working arrangements where they:

  • are the parent, or have responsibility for the care, of a child who is school aged or younger; or
  • are a carer (under the Carer Recognition Act 2010); or
  • have a disability; or
  • are 55 or older; or
  • are experiencing family or domestic violence; or
  • provide care or support to a member of their household or immediate family who requires care and support because of family or domestic violence.

Employers must take the time to get up to speed with the changes to ensure that they can handle any requests for flexible working arrangements correctly. If you need assistance, please get in touch.

 

South Australian Single Use Plastics Discussion Paper

The South Australian Government has launched a discussion paper seeking business and community views on ways to reduce the environmental impact of single use plastic items such as coffee cups, straws and plastic bags.

Whilst it is just a discussion paper at this time, this should serve as a clear signal to businesses that Governments will be taking action to reduce the prevalence of environmentally damaging single use plastics.

Historically, hospitality businesses have been big users of single use plastic items such as coffee cups and straws.  For those businesses that still use these items, we urge them to take action to either change their practices or to source environmentally sustainable options.

Making the changes now in a planned and organised way will minimise the detrimental impact that may be caused by Government intervention.  And with the increasing environmental consciousness of consumers, a change of practices can give these businesses a competitive advantage over their less progressive rivals.

For more information, please get in touch.

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