ATO accused of taking “belligerent” stance towards SMEs … ACCC tells businesses to prepare for surcharge change … Cyber attack knocks out TNT deliveries


The Australian Taxation Office has been accused of taking an “unnecessary, belligerent” approach towards small businesses about disputes at tax time, with submissions being made to the Australian National Audit Office (ANAO) around the ATO’s settlements approach, reports Fairfax.

Chartered Accountants national tax leader Michael Croker has made a submission to the ANAO after accountants representing SMEs were hearing complaints about the regulator’s conduct.

“Some criticism continues to come from chartered accountants representing clients in the small business and individual taxpayer segments who feel that they sometimes encounter ATO officials who still adopt an unnecessary, belligerent stance which does not lend itself to alternative dispute resolution or settlement,” Croker said in the submission.

“The availability of alternative dispute mechanisms and a willingness to consider settlement options does not appear to be as well-known or understood in these segments as perhaps it should be.”

SMEs told to “prepare now” for September 1 surcharge change

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has issued a warning to SMEs to get preparing now for the impending change around excessive payment surcharges that will affect all businesses on September one. on customer purchases

The change limits what businesses can charge customers for the use of digital payment services such as EFTPOS and Visa. Businesses will be receiving documentation from their banks to help calculate the appropriate surcharges in light of the change.

“Small businesses that choose to impose payment surcharges should review their surcharge levels to ensure they are compliant when the ban starts applying to them in under two months,” ACCC deputy chair Michael Schaper said in a statement.

“Businesses can only pass on to customers what it costs them to process a payment such as bank fees and terminal costs. For example, if your cost of acceptance for Visa Credit is one per cent you can only surcharge one per cent on Visa credit card payments onto your customers.”

Cyber attack causes ‘significant’ delays for TNT couriers

The Petya ransomware attack continues to affect the business world, and part of Fedex’s TNT express courier services, “significantly affected” by a cyber attack, reports the ABC.

“Like many other companies worldwide, we are experiencing interference with some of our systems within the TNT network,” the company said on its website.

“TNT continues to implement contingency plans to mitigate the impact of the virus that attacked our IT systems earlier this week.”

Services such as tracking have been entirely knocked out, with many small businesses telling the ABC customers were left in “limbo” as to the status of their orders.

“One … was a time-critical shipment, so they needed that particular consignment by the middle of next week,” business owner Brett Slatter told the ABC.

“We have no idea if we’re going to receive it.”

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