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ATO Warns Against GST Fraud Attempts

Posted on May 29, 2022 by admin

Registering for an ABN and applying for GST refunds when you don’t own a business or are not eligible is fraud.

The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) has identified a significant number of GST refund fraud attempts, totalling an estimated $850 million to around 40,000 individuals. This fraud involves predominantly participants inventing fake businesses to claim false refunds.

Sophisticated risk models deployed by the ATO, coupled with intelligence received from banks including through the AUSTRAC-led Fintel Alliance and the Reserve Bank of Australia, identified a recent spike in suspicious refunds. Currently, the ATO has stopped $770 million in payments from being issued.

The fraud involves offenders inventing fake businesses and Australian Business Number (ABN) applications, many in their own names, then submitting fictitious Business Activity Statements in an attempt to gain a false GST refund.

Currently, this fraudulent activity has been circulating as online advertising and content, particularly on social media and their platforms. 

Reminders For The Community

What This Means For Businesses:

Were You Involved?

The ATO is urging anyone already involved to come forward now on a voluntary basis rather than face tougher consequences later. They will be recouping the funds, and there will likely be a better outcome for you if you approach them first. 

People who have participated in this fraud may have unwittingly followed advice they have read online, claiming to help access a loan from the ATO, or receive other financial government support such as a disaster payment.

However, for others where there was nothing accidental or unintentional about setting up a fake business in their own name and seeking an unearned refund, harsher penalties could be faced.

If you become involved in this arrangement, you need to speak with the ATO now. They will be able to support you with a range of self-help options. You may be able to correct it yourself, the ATO may be able to assist you, or you may be referred to a trusted advisor like a tax agent (such as us) to help you.

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Looking To Upscale Your Business? Here’s What You Need To Know…

Posted on August 14, 2022 by admin

It’s a wonderful feeling when you have reached a point where your business is so successful that you need to upscale. Whether hiring more people or moving location, upscaling has its unique challenges. What can you do to ensure that you are hitting the ground running while upscaling?

Set Realistic And Actionable Goals

Businesses should set realistic and actionable small goals which they can work towards, rather than broad goals which provide no direction. Setting broad and unrealistic goals is demotivating and makes any progress made seem insignificant. Every person in the business should be given a target to meet over a reasonable timeline, contributing to achieving a larger goal.

Establish Standardised And Automated Processes

Small businesses can make the mistake of ‘doing things as they come’, but this means that as the business grows, adjusting to high-scale tasks is difficult. To avoid this, businesses should standardise all processes of work. Any individual placed into a role should be able to follow standardised procedures and yield a product that is of similar quality to the previous one. Investing money into automation tools is worthwhile for this procedure. This can include automating social media management, email, and customer relationships. Both of these will contribute to creating structures that support growth.

Identify Competitive Strengths And Weaknesses

Recognising the strengths and weaknesses of one’s business is essential. Strengths will allow businesses to hone in on their unique qualities, giving them a competitive advantage. Weaknesses will reveal which areas require growth so that changes can be made before upscaling takes place.

Network

Businesses should continue to develop relationships with service providers, sales channel partners, suppliers and customers. Keeping an open mind about partnerships or potential collaborations could open up different avenues of business growth.

Anticipate The Adjustment Pace.

No matter how prepared you feel, any change in an organisation will require a period of adjustment for the rest of your team. Give them time to recognise the need for change and accept this opportunity’s challenges. More importantly, they need time to understand their roles in the bigger picture of your organisation’s plans to scale and determine how they can make the most of their skill sets and add value to the company. Make sure to consider adjustment protocols and allocate a reasonable period for such adjustments in your scaling plans and process.

Outsourcing The Non-Essentials

As the business increases in stature, there will be a lot more little and frustrating tasks, meaning that you can’t focus on what’s important. Outsourcing components like payroll or marketing to companies with the professionals to do it effectively means that you can focus on upscaling the business.

Upscaling can be very stressful, but whether it’s making changes to your business’s technology or outsourcing things in the short term, to upscale a business means focusing on what is best for your business.

To get to this point, you’ve made a success of it, so it’s important not to lose your identity in the process. Upscaling your business is taking what’s great about your current operation and building it outwards.

If you are looking towards how your business can take itself to the next level, business planning for any eventualities can be of benefit. Consulting with a trusted adviser can be of great help when moving forward in your business’s upscaling endeavour.

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