your partner in business health and personal wealth

We welcome you to our March e-Bulletin

In this issue ...



ATO looks to add tax debts to credit rating

The Australian Financial Review has reported that, the ATO has suggested at the standing committee on tax and revenue that government could 'consider at some point' adding tax debts to credit ratings.
Small business debt is one of the biggest debt streams for the ATO, with SMEs comprising 60% of the debt owed.

There is currently no consequence for this outside of the clients ATO affairs. The ATO debt cannot be disclosed to the markets due to privacy laws.

Says ATO Second Commissioner Geoff Leeper: 'Although a person could receive failure to lodge or general interest charge consequences, being in debt [to the ATO] does not affect your credit rating'.

Having said that, it is now becoming common for banks to request ATO account balances when reviewing customers or applying for finance.

And we have noticed a much more aggressive approach from the ATO in recent months in following up outstanding debts – in particular using garnishee orders with banks very early on in their debt recovery process.

The bottom line is after a number of years of relatively easy credit from the ATO, expect a tougher stance moving forward.

Brendan Shepherd

If you have any concerns about a tax debt, make an appointment with one of our tax consultants.

Phone 03 5144 4566 without delay.

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New Privacy Policy takes effect

March 12 may not have felt like anything out of the ordinary, but it was in fact the beginning of a new regime of Privacy regulation in Australia.

Changes that were enacted over 18 months ago to the Privacy Act  (Privacy Amendment Act), have now taken effect. Thirteen (13)  guidelines have been established, which aim to interpret the new regulations and provide organisations with an understanding of their obligations.

The key considerations under the Privacy regime are:

  • An organisation or entity is bound by the Privacy laws unless they are a small business operator (annual turnover less than $3million) who does not provide a health service or deal in personal information.
  • New credit reporting provisions have been introduced, which give opportunities for credit providers to share information, but also power to the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner to oversee this area.
  • The requirement to have an up to date privacy policy and be open and transparent about how personal information is handled.
  • Considerations for where personal information leaves Australia to be used by overseas organisations.

Expect to hear more about the new Privacy regulations in the national Privacy week campaign running May 4-10.


Phillipsons is committed to ensuring the privacy of your personal information.

We respect your privacy and will not rent or sell personal information about clients to a third party.

Click here for our Accounting &
Business Services Privacy Policy

Click here for our Financial Planning
Privacy Policy

For any questions about our Privacy policy, please contact our office on 5144 4566.

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Simple things can make you happier

Easy things that research says will make you happier 
  1. Sit silently for 5 minutes a day. Turn off the laptop, mobile phone and television. Make yourself comfortable and just sit for 5 minutes, observing and not judging your thoughts. Close your eyes if you can, or keep focused on any object about 2-3 feet in front of you. If you find yourself deep in thought, simply observe this and then come back to the moment.
  2. Practice gratitude: every morning and every night, list five things for which you are thankful on paper or in your thoughts. These might be as simple as how good the pillow feels under your head or the really yummy lunch you had, or something much grander. It is the act of gratitude that counts.
  3. Give every day with a small act of kindness to someone in their presence or so they know it is you who gave. This may be as simple as smiling at the cashier or saying thank you to a co-worker or boss. Once a year, or if you are inclined, once a month or week, volunteer with a community organization or do something on your own or with neighbours to increase the well-being of others in your community.

For more insights into how to make your life happier, check out the following links:
03/ stop-waiting-for-that-one-thing-
to- make-you-happy/

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Why written employment contracts matter

A word from David Bates, our specialist employee relations partner

The Workforce Guardian team routinely represents employers involved in disputes with employees, involving anything from allegations of underpayments all the way through to long-term independent contractors claiming to be employees. One thing that almost all of these diverse disputes have in common is the lack of a clear, mutually-signed and fully-compliant contract.

This month, we take a look at why written employment contracts matter

  1. Contracts create certainty ... good contracts will help avoid misunderstandings and ensure you and your employees are on the same page right from day one ...
  2. Written agreements may be required ... many Modern Awards require certain employment-related matters to be put in writing and agreed by both the employer and employee ...
  3. Contracts help ensure fair work compliance ... many of the contracts we receive contain terms which are inconsistent with the National Employment Standards (NES), applicable Modern Award(s) or other parts of the Fair Work Act 2009 ...
Read the full article here.


To find out more about Workforce Guardian, jump onto their website - Workforce Guardian offers subscriptions to access expert advice and resources:

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The Australian Dollar & the resources boom

Our market analyst Fred Strauss takes a closer look at the effects of the resources boom and  the outlook for the Australian Dollar

Since the beginning of 2000, the Australian Dollar has appreciated by about 40% against the US Dollar. The main contributor to the strong currency has been the once-in-a- generation resources boom that Australia experienced since the turn of the millennium.

During the first or price phase of the resources boom starting in the early 2000s, China's emergence as an economic power led to a significant increase in the demand for commodities and to a corresponding large rise in global commodity prices.  Higher commodity prices led to an increase in export revenue for Australian commodity producers as well as to a significant increase in foreign demand for Australian assets tied to the production of commodities. These developments caused a significant increase in the demand for Australian dollars and, hence, led to the initial appreciation of the exchange rate ...

For the full story, click here.




Fred Strauss is an independent and highly regarded investment expert, and is part of our investment committee.

Fred keeps a close eye on international markets, and USA in particular.

If you would like to get more of Fred's insights or to discuss your individual investment strategy, contact our financial advisors on 03 5144 5207.
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Employ a young person in 2014

A new employment assistance program - The Employment Start Up for Business - provides financial assistance to eligible small to medium business (SMEs) that are struggling to fill vacancies, which hire and support young unemployed Victorians aged between 15 to 25 years.

The program aims to support at least 1,750 young people to start employment over the next four years. A further requirement is that the young person commence accredited training in conjunction with their employment of 30 hours per week or more.

Eligible SMEs can apply for a grant of up to $4000, which comprises two payments as follows:
  • $1,000 on initial employment of a young person between the ages of 15 to 25. The grant application must be made after the new young employee has commenced work and within eight weeks of their start date.
  • $3,000 after the employee has been employed for a 16-week period and has undertaken, or is enrolled in, accredited training that is appropriate to the workplace and the position description.

More information?


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Ride for the animals

Our own Ian Mein, Director of Financial Planning, took part in the 'Ride for the Animals' charity bike ride on behalf of Phillipsons to help in fundraising efforts for this worthy and important cause.

We believe that the work carried out by Animal Aid goes a long way to ensuring healthy and happy outcomes for animals in need and are proud to have been associated with this event.

On Sunday, 16 March, Ian and about 50 others started the ride from the Animal Aid shelter in Fulham (near Sale), with the journey ending at Bairnsdale Racecourse - a distance of approximately 90km!

The finish line celebrations, which started at 11am included stalls, jumping castles, face painting, pet parades, and live entertainment.
Congratulations to all those who participated – the event raised in excess of $30,000 for the cause.

And to our very own Ian Mein for coming 2nd across the finishing line – a very strong tail wind was noted, but regardless we are proud of your achievement.


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And finally, a word from the editor ...         

Another busy month, and even busier times ahead. Plenty of deadlines coming up, government budgets on the horizon and the end of another financial year not far behind.

Don't delay on getting your plans in place for 2014/15 and beyond – we will be working with many clients in the coming months to make sure their financial goals and business performance are in focus. We look forward to this time of year to help our clients plan for the future. More ideas on that topic in future issues.

All the best, until next time

Kurt Best
General Manager


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