Archive for August, 2019

Small business tax debts to be revealed to credit agencies

The release of the federal government’s midyear budget review by Treasurer Scott Morrison this week suggests small business tax debts be revealed to credit agencies. Photo: Andrew Meares Inspector-General of Taxation Ali Noroozi’s report into the ATO’s management of debt owed found that “there is a difficult balance to strike” when recouping tax debts from small business. Photo: Louie Douvis

The tax man will now disclose small business tax debt information to credit reporting agencies under a new measure announced in the federal government’s mid-year budget update.

The measure, which comes as tax debts to the n Taxation Office hit almost $20 billion, will initially apply to businesses with n Business Numbers and tax debts of more than $10,000 that are at least 90 days overdue.

The revelation was made in this week’s release of the midyear economic and fiscal outlook (MYEFO) by Treasurer Scott Morrison.

According to the ATO’s latest annual report, the total level of collectable debt as of June 30 was $19.2 billion. It said that $1.7 billion in debt was written off as “uneconomical to pursue” (up from $1.4 billion the year before).

The ATO has been under pressure to move faster to recoup escalating tax debts.

Small businesses make up the majority (65.2 per cent) of taxpayers with debts, and according to the ATO remain “a key area of focus” since just 72.3 per cent of of small business tax liabilities got paid on time.

Small businesses accounted for $12.5 billion of total collectable debt holdings, an increase of 1.9 per cent over the previous year.

Chartered Accountants and New Zealand head of tax policy Michael Croker said: “It’s time something was done about the level of unpaid tax debt in .

“Business taxpayers need to engage early with the ATO and sort out tax debt problems. Tax law secrecy provisions will no longer hide tax debts from other creditors.”

There were “legitimate concerns” about whether the government was “setting the bar too low” in reporting tax debts.

But he warned it also could make life tougher for small business.

“In finance circles, telling credit reporting agencies about an unpaid tax debt is like putting an advertisement in the newspaper,” he said.

“It can make things difficult for future finance and supplier credit applications. This is a policy that needs to be implemented with care.”

Council of Small Business chief executive Peter Strong said: “We support this, as they will only take action if a business does not engage with the ATO.

“The issue has been that if you act too early it can stop a viable business from trading through a difficult time, and if you act too late the business may end up in worse trouble and thus can also impact on its suppliers,” he said.

In previous years the ATO has been criticised for acting too harshly against small businesses with debts.

Inspector-General of Taxation Ali Noroozi’s report into the ATO’s management of debt owed found that “there is a difficult balance to strike between recovering tax debt efficiently and minimising risk to government revenue on the one hand, and providing appropriate financial accommodation to the taxpayer on the other”.

His report had found cases where enforcement action had been undertaken “where it was perhaps not appropriate”.

It noted that while the ATO was taking positive steps to manage debts and ensure officers were adequately trained, junior officers had been authorised to make important decisions without senior officer approval, such as garnisheeing taxpayer bank accounts up to $50,000.

While the ATO was right to try to take swifter action to recoup debts, “the manner in which the ATO pursues debt recovery should not jeopardise a taxpayer’s ability to generate future income and economic contribution in ordinary circumstances”, his report said.

The n Taxation Office has previously told Fairfax Media it will be taking “more timely action” to prevent small business debts escalating.

The ATO had previously allowed companies to accumulate more than $345,000 in back taxes before taking legal action.

An ATO spokesman said the agency was rethinking its approach. “The community has told us they want firmer treatment of tax debtors who do not address their debt,” the spokesman said.

“Businesses that ignore their obligations will receive timely, firmer action from the ATO. This will include legal action where there is evidence the business is insolvent.”

Since 2006 the ATO has outsourced some debt collection to third parties who charge a flat fee per debt case referred.

The ATO has been working to improve its relationship with small business taxpayers after a 2014 parliamentary inquiry found that many of them had been intimidated, made bankrupt and suffered mental breakdowns and contemplated suicide after drawn-out disputes with the tax office.

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Kim Kardashian’s troubled brother Rob seeking ‘help’ after public spat with fiance

Kim Kardashian West’s troubled brother Rob Kardashian says he is seeking “help” after public spat with fiance, Blac Chyna. Photo: Greg DohertyRob Kardashian’s battle with mental health issues and his resistance to treatment has been well documented on his family’s reality TV show, Keeping Up with the Kardashians. But after a turbulent weekend and a very public spat with his fiance Blac Chyna that played out across a number of social media platforms, the younger brother of Kim Kardashian West said he is now seeking “help”.

It is unknown exactly what that “help” entails, but the 29-year-old certainly seemed to regret airing his grievances about the mother of his five-week-old daughter, Dream, after someonehacked her Instagram account and posted some disparaging texts she allegedly sent a friend about Rob Kardashian, calling him “lazy”, “fat,” and “insecure,” and saying she would leave him after one year. Flirty texts purportedly exchanged with actor Will Smith’s son, Jaden Smith, 18, and rapper Young Thug, 25, were also posted, as well as a discussion with her lawyer about trademarking the Kardashian name. The screenshots were not verified.

Taking to his Instagram account on Monday under a red carpet picture of his on-again, off-again, on-again, off-again fiance, he wrote: “This weekend I was in an emotional bad place and did some things that embarrassed myself and my family. I apologise and I’m seeking help to deal with my flaws/issues. Please pray for me and I’m sorry Blac Chyna. You are a great mother to our child and I love you.”

He also posted a message to his baby girl: “I am going to get better for you Dream. You are my life and gave me a new start on being a better me. Love you.”

Chyna, 28, real name Angela Renée White, seems to have forgiven Rob Kardashian by regramming his post with a red heart emoji – a modern-day version of waving the white flag.

It is not known, however, if she has decided to move back into the Calabasas home (owned by his younger sister, beauty magnate Kylie Jenner, who was once Chyna’s arch-nemesis) she shared with Kardashian for less than a month. The stripper and rap video dancer turned beauty entrepreneur left over the weekend, taking their daughter, the furniture, and all of the food, including a freezer full of Eggos (a brand of frozen waffles in the US) and a bag of half-opened crisps.

Kardashian showed off the empty home, pantry and fridges on Snapchat videos that he also posted to Instagram. He has since deleted the posts, but thanks to the art of screengrabbing and downloading they will exist forever more on the internet.

“Chyna took the baby, took the whole nursery we built, and… she left and she just left me alone and took the baby,” he said. “I’m pretty upset, I’m pretty sad, because it’s about to be Christmas and I want to be with my baby.”

The video’s caption read: “I thought this was going to be the best year of my life… Had a beautiful baby Dream and haven’t spent Christmas with family in years and I just can’t believe she really hurt me this way. She knows how to hurt me and I loved her so hard like I’m supposed to. Like any man is supposed to love their Wife. Chyna knew exactly what she was doing to get me. I can’t believe she did this to me. And this isn’t for some ratings this is my real life so please understand I’m just being open right now. Cuz if it was for ratings I wouldn’t explain all this here. And with Chyna’s messages and her leaving with everything and the baby I am broken. I go 1000 percent for my girl. I am so confused how a man who gives and loves everything about a woman is the one left alone. I’m sorry for being so open once again… This is killing me. (sic)”

But it was the lack of snacks that really seemed to cut deep. “She took all the Eggos. Man, all my Eggos. Where’s my sugar? She took my sugar! She took my OPEN bag of my favourite chips!”

Chyna blamed the drama on Kardashian’s “personal issues” and said she tried to coax him to lose weight and take better care of his appearance and his mental health but to no avail.

The ratings he refers to centres on their KUWTK staged-reality spin-off, Rob & Chyna, executively produced by Kim Kardashian West and his mother, momager extraordinaire Kris Jenner.

Coincidently or not, the day after the drama all kicked off, Jenner’s cash cows had a show special focusing on the birth of their baby girl. Some have accused them of confecting their latest saga to help boost their ratings.

A clash may have been brewing for some time. Most recently it has been revealed that Kardashian West and her sisters, Kourtney and Khloe Kardashian, are trying to stop their sister-in-law-to-be from trademarking their name.

The Kardashian sisters have long had a fractious relationship with Chyna, which may have been another factor in the legal stoush.   ❤️ @robkardashianA photo posted by Blac Chyna (@blacchyna) on Dec 19, 2016 at 11:53am PST

Chyna started out as a friend to Kim Kardashian, attending her Italian wedding to Kanye West in 2014. But things turned sour when then 16-year-old Kylie Jenner (Kim’s half sister) started dating Chyna’s rapper ex, Tyga, also the father of her son King Cairo Stevenson, 4, around the same time they were breaking up in August 2014.

Chyna triumphantly announced her engagement to Rob Kardashian almost two years later with an Instagram of a seven-carat diamond engagement ring worth $435,000. Rob Kardashian, who has struggled with anxiety, depression and weight gain, did not tell his family about his plans to propose: they found out during a ski trip to Vail. A month later she announced her pregnancy with a Chyna emoji.

With reality television to be staged and money to be earned, the fractious relationship between Chyna and the Kardashians/Jenners is far from over, but America’s unofficial first family have met their match in Chyna.    I am going to get better for you Dream. You are my life and gave me a new start on being a better me. Love youA photo posted by ROBERT KARDASHIAN (@robkardashian) on Dec 19, 2016 at 11:19am PST

Sydney Fish Market gearing up for 36-hour Christmas marathon

Angelo Vaxevani and Devi Lama at Nicholas Seafood at the Sydney Fish Market. 20th December 2016 Photo: Janie Barrett Photo: Janie Barrett By the time the market closes at 5pm on Christmas Eve, the six wet fish retailers will have served 100,000 customers around 700 tonnes of seafood. Photo: Janie Barrett

Who needs a ham, when you can have a whole tuna for Christmas? Photo: Janie Barrett

Prawns for sale in the auction at the Sydney Fish Market in the busy week before Christmas. Photo: Janie Barrett

Rumour has it that prawns could cost up to $50 a kilogram this Christmas.

The talk, coupled with murmurs of a prawn shortage, follows a recent outbreak of white spot disease in prawn ponds south of Brisbane.

White spot disease, which was not previously known to be in , can stop prawns and crabs from growing but poses no risk to humans. The outbreak has sparked a temporary ban on prawn and crab fishing in the Logan River area, while the Prawn Farmers Association has labelled it a “national emergency”.

But the NSW Department of Primary Industries said shoppers can be assured the incident “will not affect availability of prawns for Christmas”.

“National response arrangements are in place…NSW has implemented an Importation Order prohibiting uncooked prawns from an area within 10km radius of the first infected premise on the Logan River,” a DPI spokesperson said.

Traders in NSW have also assured shoppers that prawns will be as abundant as ever.

“White spot shouldn’t affect us. They are trying to isolate it to the affected farm, and we’ve all ordered our prawns already,” said Angelo Vaxevani, retail manager for Nicholas Seafoods, at the Sydney Fish Market.

“We’re looking at selling for $24.99 to $36.99 a kilo, which is a couple of dollars down on last year. There has been better buying stock this year and a lot more product around … around 50 per cent more than last year,” he said.

From 5am on Friday, the fish market will open its doors for the 21st annual 36-hour seafood marathon.

By the time the market closes at 5pm on Christmas Eve, the six wet fish retailers will have served 100,000 customers about 700 tonnes of seafood; including 200 tonnes of prawns, 900,000 oysters and everything in between.

“Each year the favourite is always prawns,” Mr Vaxevani said.

“But what we are also seeing is other crustaceans becoming popular [at Christmas]; like lobster, scampi, bugs, clusters and Alaskan skin crab.”

Mr Vaxevani said the average customer spends about $70, but there is always “the odd customer who really likes their seafood,” and parts with about1500.

Sydney Fish Market general manager Bryan Skepper said, while the outbreak of white spot disease was a “tragedy”, Sydney would likely be unaffected.

“Longer term it could have a bit of an impact, but we are expecting really good supplies of prawns. Talking to the fisherman late last week, I’m told the phasing of the moon has been really good this year,” he said.”The fishing for prawns and a lot of seafood species is impacted by the season of tides, but prawns tend to get a better catch just after the full moon, and they’ve been getting good catches.”

Oysters, crabs, snapper and barramundi are also expected to be popular choices in the lead-up to Christmas, Mr Skepper said.

“But I wouldn’t leave it too late. We’ve had some years when people leave it to the last minute and they miss out. Give yourself time and don’t rush.”Traffic at the Pyrmont markets will be managed by police throughout the marathon, while extra parking will be available at Glebe Secondary College.

The light rail is also recommended for those who want to avoid heavy traffic, but shoppers who do so are reminded to “bring an esky”. Interact with us on Facebook – Savvy ConsumerLatest consumer news

Victorian Peter Handscomb ready to embrace Boxing Day Test

Emerging batting star Peter Handscomb has declared he is ready to embrace the spotlight of a home Melbourne Test and has hit back at claims Pakistan’s late resistance in Brisbane had put fear into the ns.

Having celebrated their 39-run win in what ultimately was a great escape at the Gabba, Handscomb and his Test teammates returned to their home ports on Tuesday, and will resume training as a squad at the MCG on Friday ahead of the Boxing Day Test.

This will be Handscomb’s maiden appearance on the biggest cricketing day of the summer, and he will pad up in superb form after his composed 105, including 10 boundaries and a six, in ‘s first innings in Brisbane.

“Obviously, it has given me a lot of confidence. I don’t think there is going to be a stage where you feel like you belong in such high-standard cricket, but it’s great to go out there now with confidence, knowing that I can make runs and just go from there and keep backing my own processes,” he said.

But recent history suggests he faces a tough task repeating such a knock in his home Test, for former fellow Victorian-born stars Dean Jones, Brad Hodge and Matthew Elliott struggled in the marquee fixture.

Jones had six Tests at the MCG but managed only two half-centuries, averaging just 25.1 in 10 innings. Hodge made seven and 24 in his only Boxing Day Test, against South Africa in 2005, while Elliott was also unable to produce the big score he would have craved, finishing with six and one in his only MCG Test, against the Proteas in 1997.

However, former n captain Graham Yallop averaged 69.16 in four Tests at the MCG, including thumping 268 against Pakistan in 1983.

Handscomb has attended the Melbourne spectacle as a spectator and, in what will only be his third Test, can expect a raucous response when he walks out into the middle.

“I have been to the Boxing Day Test before but, obviously, not in this capacity. I have seen guys walk out, I have heard the cheer before, I have been part of that cheer. I think it’s going to be great to actually be there, walking out and, hopefully, just embrace the moment that is going to come,” he said.

“I will be trying to think of my batting process and making sure that my game is ready to go. I will take a moment to enjoy, hopefully, that walk out there but once we are in the middle, it’s game on and you have got to be switched on.”

Handscomb’s old-school technique, where he stands deep in his crease and prefers to play off the back foot to the fast bowlers, has stood up well so far, while his willingness to bound on to the front foot and pounce like a cat when the spinners are introduced makes him an all-round threat.

He hopes the drop-in MCG deck does not have as much bounce as he encountered through the Sheffield Shield this season.

“I am hoping the pitch is going to be a bit flatter than the shield wicket which would be even better. That will be great,” he said.

“Like I said, I have the confidence coming into this game which is awesome for me but also awesome for the team because we are coming off a few wins now, especially with the one-day series. We have the momentum coming into this game, so we are coming in hot and with a lot of confidence.”

Pakistan fast-bowling great Waqar Younis said the tourists had “put the fear into the Aussies’ minds” after their second-innings fightback in Brisbane, but Handscomb disagreed, insisting the hosts were ready to claim the series.

“We are winning games. We won the last Test against South Africa, we have won this Test and the boys won the one-day series (against New Zealand) quite convincingly. I wouldn’t say there is any fear in our minds at all – we are going out looking to win and we are confident we are going to do it,” he said.

The ns added West n allrounder Hilton Cartwright to their squad on Tuesday to provide greater bowling depth after Mitch Starc and Josh Hazlewood had a heavy workload in Brisbane, each bowling 56 overs.

Cartwright, who was selected in the one-day squad earlier this month, would almost certainly replace struggling batsman Nic Maddinson in the XI.

Maddinson has failed in his two Test matches, the latest in Brisbane with one run in the first innings and just four from three balls in the second when the hosts were chasing quick runs.

“It’s not he is out of form at all. He is hitting ’em unbelievably well in the nets and, if he gets his opportunity in the Boxing Day Test, I see no reason why he won’t be making plenty of runs,” Handscomb said.

Cartwright has taken only 14 wickets at 42.50 in 14 Sheffield Shield matches but his batting has improved in the past year, thumping a century for A against India A in September.

Mitch Marsh had been the all-rounder for 19 Tests but was dumped after the loss to South Africa in Perth, predominantly because of his poor batting.

Red, white and clues: taking the mystery out of Hunter wines.

QUALITY: Assistant winemaker at Brokenwood Wines Kate Sturgess … Brokenwood produces a top Hunter semillon. Picture: Simone De Peak

So, you know the Hunter Valley makes impressive wine, but not much more?

Relax, you’re not alone. And yes, wine talk can be downright intimidating. Besides, youdon’t know if what they’re saying in the bottle shop is codswallop anyway.So here is a quick rundownon Hunter wine. And not a word to confuse you.

Let’s start with white wine.

Semillon: This is the Hunter’s star. Nowhere on the planet does it better. True. Trouble is it’s notnecessarily an easy wine to like. It can be a bit tart. Semillon flavours are lemon, lime and citrus.That’s not everybody’s cup of tea. Personally I love the stuff, but that’s me. It’s an acidic, fresh, zestystyle of wine and if you want to see it at its best, try it with seafood. It’s a wonderful match. Oldersemillon (say, five or six years) is more golden and picks up richness and complexity – honeyed,toasty flavours. If you can afford two bottles, buy a young wine and an older and taste thedifference. Labels: Mt Pleasant, Brokenwood, Thomas, Leogate.

Chardonnay: These days the Hunter’s best can sit up with ’s finest. As a matter of fact FirstCreek Wines have been taking out some major national awards in recent times for theirchardonnay. In general terms (and chardonnay can have wide ranging flavours) the top Hunterchardies tend to have white peach flavours, and some citrus bite. The entry level chardonnays (lessexpensive, drink now wines) tend to have yellow peach flavours, and have a bit broader flavourprofile. Not as concentrated. A good way to experience this is to taste the Scarborough chardonnays– they make a range. Find the one that suits you best. Food? Go for roast chicken. Labels:Scarborough, First Creek, Tyrrell’s, Wombat Crossing, Lake’s Folly, Allandale.

Verdelho: This is a terrific wine for novice drinkers. Why? It’s a fruit salad in a glass. Full of bright,fruity flavours, it’s a good option for a hot day. Buy a bottle, make sure it’s well chilled, and sharewith friends. I’ll bet it disappears pretty quickly. Geez, even my Dad likes this stuff. Labels: Tulloch,Margan, Tempus Two.

They’re the big three, but there are two other Italian varieties that are starting to make a mark.

Vermentino: An Italian variety that the Hunter is starting to do well. Think pears, citrus, andminerally grapefruit or green apple flavours. Can be tight and racy or made in a bigger, fuller style.Like semillon, it goes well with seafood. Labels: Little Wine Company, Tallavera Grove, HungerfordHill.

Fiano: The new kid on the block. A touch hard to define, with pear flavours common, but it can alsohave ginger and musk, as well as a crisp, tangy finish. Absolutely worth a try. It goes well withseafood, but also lighter pasta dishes. Labels: Briar Ridge, Hart & Hunter, Comyns &Co,Mount Eyre.

Now to the reds.Again, the simpler the better –we’ll call it simply red. When it comes to an idiot’s guide, I’m your boy.

Shiraz: The Hunter’sstar red, with daylight second. But here’sthe thing, ifyou’reafter full bodied, macho, blood and thunder reds, then the Hunter is not your boy. For those,you’relooking at the Barossa Valley and McLaren Vale. The Hunter makes medium bodied, elegant shirazthat ages gracefully. Don’tbefooled, the Hunter’s finest are truly superb – I said elegant, not wimpy. They’ve faced some hurdles though. For years global demand was for big, blockbuster reds. It wasall the rage. But the cycle has finally turned. Balanced, elegant wines are back in vogue – HunterValley (drumroll please), come on down.

Local shiraztends generally to have a flavour profile of mixed red and black fruit, with an earthyquality about them – you can taste the soil (in a good way) – and they’resavoury. Food wines. Veal,beef, pizza even. There’sso much good shiraz in the Hunter it’shard to go wrong, so here’sjust afew- Gundog, De Iuliis, Thomas, Tyrrell’s, Brokenwood, McGuigan, McLeish, Usher Tinkler. By the way, sometimes they blend shiraz with another variety, often cabernet, making a shiraz cabernet –or a cabernet shiraz. Whichever is named first, makes up the majority of the blend.

Cabernet: There’snot a lot of cabernet in the valley, but certainly Lake’sFolly leads the charge. Itmakes a beauty, but at $70, it’s a bit steep for the novice wine drinker. A more affordableoption would be Margan or Meerea Park. Food – red meat … lamb, steak or venison, or just a good cheddar.

Pinot Noir: It’s lighter and more fragrant than shiraz. At its best, its stunning, but it prefers a cooler climate. A couple of local wineries produce it –Scarborough andTyrrell’s included – while others blend it with shiraz, making a shiraz pinot(Brokenwood, Briar Ridge, Meerea Park). It’salighter, more perfumed alternative tothestandard shiraz – and oh soeasy to drink.

Tempranillo: A Spanish variety that is feeling very at home in the Hunter. Medium body, a goodinitial hit of flavour – cherries, some spice. It’s agoodchoice for a wide range of foods,from salami to pizza and Mexican. Labels: Glandore,Audrey Wilkinson, Domaine De Binet.

Barbera: Northern Italian wine, medium bodied,fragrant and smooth – drink it young andenjoy. Mixed red and black fruit – strawberry and dark cherries, sort of thing – with violet aromas. A good one for a barbecue. Labels: Margan, David Hooke.

That’s it, you’re all schooled up. Now break out the creditcard, it’s Christmas.