Trading Names are Being Removed from ABN Lookup
The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) introduced a new business name register on 28 May 2012, replacing state and territory registers.
From November 2018, all trading names, including the trading name listed against your Australian Business Number (ABN), will be removed from ABN Lookup. Registered business names will continue to be listed on ABN Lookup.
If you want to continue trading under a specific name, you'll need to register it as a business name with ASIC. You can do this online through the ASIC website. Make sure you have your ABN when you apply.
You don't need to register a business name if you trade under your own name ('John Smith'), but you'll need to have a business name if it's anything else ('John Smith Plumbing').
You can't apply for a business name that is identical to one already on the register. Before you apply, use the 'Check name availability' search function to see if the name you want is available.
If the name you want isn't available, we recommend changing your name so that it is not identical. For example, instead of 'Bunch of Apples', try 'Sam's Bunch of Apples'.
The fees for registering a business name are:
- $35 for one year
- $82 for three years
After a business name has been successfully registered, ASIC will email you a copy of your record of registration and your business name will appear on ABN Lookup on the same day.
Notifiable Data Breaches Scheme
As per Privacy Act 1988 personal information is defined as 'information or an opinion, whether true or not, and whether recorded in a material form or not, about an identified individual or an individual who is reasonably identifiable'.
From 22 February 2018 all agencies and organisations with turnover greater than $3m, smaller businesses that collect, store or use personal information and private sector health providers are required to notify and report on eligible data breaches under the Notifiable Data Breaches Scheme (NDBS). These breaches if eligible, can occur both in person and online and require action on your behalf.
A data breach is considered an 'Eligible Data Breach' if it meets the following conditions:
- Unauthorised access to or disclosure of or loss of personal information held by an entity.
- Likely to result in serious harm to one or more individuals (must consider type of data, scale and safeguards in place).
- Entity hasn't been able to prevent the likely risk of serious harm with remedial action.
Under the NDBS, when you are aware or have reasonable grounds to believe that an eligible data breach has occurred, you are obligated to promptly notify the individuals likely at risk or serious harm. The Australian Information Commissioner must also be notified as soon as practicable through the Notifiable Data Breach Form found online. The notification to both parties must include the following:
- The identity and contact details of your organisation;
- A description of the data breach;
- The kinds of information concerned; and
- Recommendations about the steps individuals should take in response to the data breach.
Cyber Security are the techniques of protecting computers, networks, programs and data from unauthorised access or attacks that are aimed for exploitation. The major areas to consider are:
- Application Security
- Information Security
- Disaster Recovery
- Network Security
Without the presence of Cyber Security, you are at greater risk of a cyber attack or breach. In the context of business, through the introduction of NDB you also have an obligation to notify the individuals/s who are at risk of serious harm and the Australian Information Commissioner if a data breach occurs.
With the above in mind we recommend you ask yourself the following questions:
- Have my passwords been changed recently?
- Does my business have anti-virus installed on all computers?
- Do I have an effective data backup system in place?
- Are my hard drives encrypted?
- Have I implemented Two Factor Authentication?
- Have I done everything possible to protect our systems?
- Should I consider cyber security insurance?
With the continual development in technology the threat of a data breach or cyber-attack has increased dramatically hence it is important to implement safeguards to not only protect yourself but also your customers.
Tax Office Win Major Fraud Case
The Australian Taxation Office has released their 2017/18 ATO Fraud and Corruption Control Plan. This plan sets out the details of how the ATO is taking proactive measures designed to help reduce fraud, what measures they are using to uncover incidences of fraud and how the ATO will respond to fraud with default assessments, recovery actions and criminal prosecutions.
Tax fraud is simply making a false representation to the Commissioner of Taxation. This is based on evidence that the person made this representation knowing it was false or with such a degree of indifference or lack of concern about its correctness that it can be concluded that no real belief was held in the truth. SMEs need to be aware of tax fraud and the consequences for simple mistakes and omissions to declare all income they should, claiming a deduction they are not entitled to, or failing to remit PAYGW and or superannuation guarantee.
The consequences of tax fraud vary and can be extremely punishing and range from simple penalties, criminal convictions, fines and prison sentences. If penalties are applied for an individual, the monetary penalty can be up to $900,000 and for a company, $4,500,000.
A recent case handed down in the NSW Supreme Court resolved around the creation of false losses overseas to evade corporate tax in Australia. This resulted in a jail sentence for one of the perpetrators of ten years.
Export Market Development Grant
This grant assists exporters or businesses proposing to export to defray some of the costs involved in establishing export markets. Eligible expenditure can be claimed under a number of separate categories including:
- overseas market visits (maximum $350 per day)
- overseas representation expenditure (representatives to act on your behalf on a long-term basis to market/promote your product/services)
- free market samples
- trade fairs, literature and advertising
- marketing consultants (maximum $50,000 per application)
- overseas buyers' visits to Australia (maximum $45,000 per application)
- promotional literature and advertising
- registration and/or insurance of intellectual property
The maximum claim for an Export Market Development Grant is $150,000.
The grant is available for any type of entity with income under $50M and any type of industry, including the tourism industry.
If you would like to discuss an Export Market Development Grant claim with us, please do not hesitate to contact us.
The Australian government has a special grant program to assist entrepreneurs, researchers, inventors, start-ups, commercialisation offices at universities and small/medium enterprises address the challenges associated with commercialising novel intellectual property in the form of new products, processes and services. This program is known as the Accelerating Commercialisation Grant Program and is part of the Entrepreneurs' Program.
Eligibility is open to businesses with turnovers from $0 - $20 million. Initially, the applicant can be from any enterprise category but, if a grant is offered, the applicant must have incorporated as a company.
Grants of up to $1 million are available on a 50% grant basis. The commercialisation activities that are funded by the grant have to be completed within a maximum of 2 years.
Corporate Governance is a Topical Subject
With more and more boards of directors giving consideration to the potential to raise capital as Crowd Sourced Funding Companies or Early Stage Innovation Companies, many directors are thinking about improving their "corporate governance knowledge".
Corporate governance covers a wide range of issues because this is what company directors need to cover – a wide range of issues.
Corporate governance for company directors and for committee members of not-for-profit's and charities includes:
- company legislation and the legislation affecting not-for-profit's and charities
- duties and responsibilities of directors and committee members
- understanding "all things financial" relative to the organisation, including understanding Profit and Loss Accounts, Balance Sheets, Source and Application of Funds, Budgets etc
- people management including an understanding of how Fair Work Australia operates
- understanding of Workplace Health and Safety issues
- leadership issues and an understanding of a director's role in establishing appropriate cultures within an organisation
- understanding of marketing and selling as it relates to the organisation
- understanding of the key taxation issues affecting the organisation
- understanding of government grants available for which the organisation might apply
The Consequences of Not Registering on the Personal Property Securities Register Can Be Very Expensive
Every business should give consideration to developing a policy of registering customers on the Personal Property Securities Register so that the business has some protection in the unfortunate event that a customer has an insolvency problem.
Businesses which are undertaking contracts with other organisations that relate to services being provided over an extended period of time and the business receiving progress payments can also incur significant problems if their customer has had a liquidator, trustee in bankruptcy or administrator appointed in that the liquidator etc., could issue a claim relating to alleged preferential payments.
If the business has registered that customer on the Personal Property Securities Register there is very little opportunity for the liquidator to be able to make a successful claim against the business.
If your business has placed assets on someone else's premises and an insolvency event occurs, this can also be a considerable problem if you have not registered that transaction on the Personal Property Securities Register.
If you would like to have a discussion with us relative to protecting your business by developing an ongoing policy to consider registering customers and others that you are dealing with on the Personal Property Securities Register, please do not hesitate to contact us.