The small business specialists
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Increasing investment in Research and Development (R&D) is critical to boosting innovation, productivity and competitive advantage. The R&D tax offsets provides targeted, generous and easy access support for eligible R&D activity.
Effective from 1 July 2014 the benefits available have changed as follows:
Companies register their eligible R&D activities with AusIndustry and claim the tax offset in their company tax return through the Australian Taxation Office.
Your company must keep adequate records to demonstrate that it carried out eligible activities and incurred the claimed expenditure. Find out more information and to see if your business is eligible at business.gov.au
The Social Services and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2013 would allow for parental leave pay to be paid directly by Centrelink from March 1, 2014. The change will make it easier for employers, who will no longer have to administer the scheme themselves.
Impact on small business
Employers will still be able to opt in to provide parental leave pay to their employees should both the employer and employee agree to this arrangement. Prior to this, the system required employers to process parental leave pay after receiving an employee’s entitlement from Centrelink. It was unnecessarily complex, and forced small businesses to bear the costs of the extra workload and of restructuring their payroll and accounting systems
The Federal Government has introduced a national Paid Parental Leave Scheme which commenced on 1 January 2011. Under the scheme, which is fully funded by the Government, eligible working parents will receive 18 weeks pay at the National Minimum Wage rate.
The Commonwealth Family Assistance Office will provide these payments to small businesses in advance, with the direct payments to parents needing to be paid through the employer’s existing pay arrangements. As such, small businesses need to ensure they have their systems in place in order to disburse the paid parental leave payments.
More information on the Paid Parental Leave Scheme and an employer’s role in the scheme can be found at the Family Assistance Office
Changes to the Privacy Act 1988 (Privacy Act) will come into effect from March 2014 to provide better protections to individuals with regard to how personal information is collected, used and stored.
These changes include 13 new Australian Privacy Principles (APPs) replacing the existing National Privacy Principles.
Under the Privacy Act all businesses with an annual turnover of $3 million or more are required to comply with the APPs.
The Privacy Act also applies to small businesses with an annual turnover of $3 million or less, that are either:
Penalties for non-compliance are significant, with the Australian Information Commissioner having the power to apply for fines of up to $340,000 for individuals and $1.7 million for businesses in breach of the APPs.
To assist small business operators preparing for the changes, the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC) has developed a suite of resources including:
♦ Privacy Fact Sheets (related to various industries)
Recent changes in the application process for a Liquor Without a Meal (LWM) permit mean that restaurants in Western Australia which hold 120 people or less can now serve liquor to patrons who do not buy a meal.
The change came into effect on 4 June 2013, with the State Government removing the Public Interest Assessment for smaller, low risk venues, to reduce the time and expense of the approval process.
Now with the permit, liquor without a meal can be served until midnight, Monday to Saturday, and 10pm on Sundays. Also, restaurants will now receive their permits within 10 working days and the application fee has been reduced from $431 to $50.
From 16 July 2011, amendments to the Liquor Control Regulations 1989 will be in place and will provide for BYO alcohol to be permitted at some live entertainment venues and small functions without a permit. The new exemptions are outlined below.
The Commercial Tenancy (Retail Shops) Agreements Act 1985 regulates many retail shop leases in Western Australia.
Make sure you get professional advice before committing to leasing commercial premises. On 1 January 2013, important changes to retail shop laws came into force. There may now be issues important to your particular business circumstances. Refer to the detailed information on this website at:
On 14 November 2012, the Minister for Commerce, the Hon. Simon O’Brien MLC, introduced a draft Bill into the WA Parliament which aims to reform the state industrial relations system.
The Labour Relations Legislation Amendment and Repeal Bill 2012 proposes that:
For a full list of the proposed changes, please go to the Department of Commerce
All interested parties were encouraged to submit comments to the Draft Bill. The consultation period closed on Thursday 31 January 2013. For a copy of the Draft Bill, Explanatory Memorandum and details of where to submit comments please go to the Department of Commerce/LabourRelations
On 11 May 2012, the State Government announced that certain categories of small business will no longer need to be registered with the Department of Environment and Conversation (DEC) or pay the $624 environmental charge under changes to the Environmental Protection Regulations.
Small businesses which are impacted by this change are those whose operations do not pose a significant risk to the environment, including small food processing facilities such as small abattoirs and prepared meat processors, through to small plastics manufacturers. In addition to no longer having to pay for registration, they are now no longer at risk of being fined $25,000 for failing to register with DEC.
The new Building Act 2011 commenced on 2 April 2012. This new piece of legislation replaces the Building Regulations 1989 and parts of the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1960.
The new rules that apply are:
To view the new legislation or to access a building form, visit the Building Commission website
The State Government of Western Australia has amended legislation to enable small retail shop owners to now employ up to 18 staff compared to the previous limit of 13.
Small retail shops are able to open 24 hours a day, every day of the year, if they choose and small business operators now have the capacity to employ up to 18 staff. These legislative measures will enable more stores to trade 24/7 or to extend their current trading hours.
To apply for a free small retail shop certificate, contact the Department of Commerce's Consumer Protection Retail branch on 9282 0841 or for more information, go to the Department of Commerce website
Businesses using standard form contracts may be affected by changes to the unfair contract term laws that came into effect on 1 July 2010.
The laws are part of the Australian Consumer Law (ACL) reforms which replaced State and Territory fair trading acts and the consumer protection provisions of the Competition and Consumer Act 2010 with a nationally consistent generic consumer law. The ACL became fully operational on 1 January 2011.
As part of the reforms, there are new provisions regulating unfair terms in standard consumer contracts. The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has produced a free publication for small businesses on the changes called A Guide to Unfair Contract Terms Law To find out more information or to access the guide, visit the ACCC