Check-in on the news that matters to small business owners as we unpack today’s headlines. Here’s what you need to know on Thursday, October 24 2019.
Westpac remediation and misconduct costs to hit $2billion
Finance analysts are tipping Westpac’s remediation costs following the fallout of the Royal Commission are set to hit $2 billion as the bank flagged a further $341 million in compliance fees and repayments to customers wronged by the bank. The latest announcement is just the beginning, with financial intelligence agency, Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre (AUSTRAC), ready to hit the bank with additional fines over its failure to report “a large number” of International Funds Transfer Instructions (IFTIs). Westpac’s misconduct costs have now total $1.9 billion since 2017.
NSW Treasurer calls for expansion of GST
NSW Treasurer Dominic Perrottet has called for the goods and services tax (GST) to be applied to more items. Perrottet made the call in a discussion paper released this week in which he made a case for tax reforms that included increasing the GST scheme.
Federal Treasurer Josh Frydenberg and the opposition leader Anthony Albanese both slammed the idea, with Frydenberg immediately suggesting there was no interest from government in increasing the tax.
“The Government would never expand the base of the GST without a mandate from the Australian people. This is not a mandate we have nor plan to seek,” he said.
ATO’s debt book grows to $45 billion
Taxpayers, many of whom are small business owners, owe the Australian Tax Office (ATO) close to $45 billion in tax debts.
The ATO’s annual report shows debt owed is on the rise, with collectable debt — that is debt owed by individuals, businesses and super funds — now reaching a record $26.6 billion, up from almost $24 billion in the previous financial year. The ATO says two-thirds of this debt (16.5 billion) is attributable to small business owners.