12 Habits Of Exceptionally Likeable People

Too many people succumb to the mistaken belief that being likeable comes from natural, unteachable traits that belong only to a lucky few-the good looking, the fiercely social, and the incredibly talented. It's easy to fall prey to this misconception. In reality, being likeable is under your control, and it's a matter of emotional intelligence (EQ).

In a study conducted at UCLA, subjects rated over 500 adjectives based on their perceived significance to likeability. The top-rated adjectives had nothing to do with being gregarious, intelligent, or attractive (innate characteristics). Instead, the top adjectives were sincerity, transparency, and capacity for understanding (another person).

These adjectives, and others like them, describe people who are skilled in the social side of emotional intelligence. TalentSmart research data from more than a million people shows that people who possess these skills aren't just highly likeable, they outperform those who don't by a large margin.

We did some digging to uncover the key behaviours that emotionally intelligent people engage in that make them so likeable. Here are 12 of the best: 

  1. They Ask Questions;
  2. They Put Away Their Phones;
  3. They Are Genuine; 
  4. They Don't Pass Judgment;
  5. They Don't Seek Attention;
  6. They Are Consistent;
  7. They Use Positive Body Language;
  8. They Leave a Strong First Impression;
  9. They Greet People by Name; 
  10. They Smile;
  11. They Know When To Open Up; and 
  12. They Balance Passion and Fun.  

Likeable people are invaluable and unique. They network with ease, promote harmony in the workplace, bring out the best in everyone around them, and generally seem to have the most fun. Add these skills to your repertoire and watch your likeability soar! 

Accountants Insurance - Better Safe Than Sorry... Are You Prepared?

It is no secret that the Australian Government and the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) will go to any lengths to raise revenue. One way of reaching this goal is by pursuing audit, enquiry, investigation or review activities in regards to lodgements for businesses, taxpayers and Self Managed Super Funds. As well as the additional funding the ATO has received, further data-matching capabilities allow for a more accessible landscape for them to come knocking on an accounting firm's door.

If you are subjected to an audit, enquiry, investigation or review you are responsible for the professional fees involved in us providing the required information. Even the simplest enquiry can require hours of work. In some cases, when there are complex environments, unusual circumstances, multiple years or multiple companies and trusts, thousands of dollars in accounting and legal fees can be incurred. In many cases, those who are audited are compliant and have done nothing wrong. However, work must still be undertaken and thus professional fees will be incurred.

We have responded to this growing threat by sourcing the most comprehensive tax audit insurance available and are pleased to offer to you and your business our Audit Shield Service. The Audit Shield Service is fully tax deductable providing you with peace of mind in relation to audit, enquiry, investigation and review associated costs. The features of this are: 

  • Our accounting fees in responding to audits, enquiries, investigations and reviews of your lodged returns, including those from previous years are covered; and
  • Specialist's professional fees if we need to engage a tax expert or lawyer for an opinion or defence are covered.

To find out more about our Audit Shield Master Policy, please speak to your accountant, manager or partner.

Get On Top Of Your Record Keeping

Effective and reliable record keeping is extremely important for small businesses.

Maintaining organised records will help you to meet your tax obligations and will be extremely helpful in the event that you get audited.

A good record keeping system can also help you to monitor and reflect on your cashflow, and can be a valuable tool when making business decisions.

Records must be kept in English or in a form that can be easily translated. While records may be kept on paper or electronically, it is advisable to lean towards electronic systems. Electronic record keeping systems can save you a significant amount of time, and there is a far lower risk of losing track of important documents.

Small business owners are often surprised to discover that it is necessary to retain financial records for a full five years from when the tax return was lodged.

Furthermore, if you are involved in a dispute with the tax office then you may be required to retain records beyond the five year period

Records that you must keep include:

  • Income and sales records for the business. This may include cash register rolls, receipt books and records of all cash sales;
  • Expense records for all purchases made by the business, including records of cash purchases; and
  • Records of any capital gains and/or losses:
    • GST records;
    • Bank records; and
    • Information on employees and contractors including ABNs and TFNs.

Harris Black Top 10 Wonders of the World

We know that officially there are only seven wonders of the world however the Harris Black team have decided to come up with their own 10 Wonders of the World.  All the places on the list have been personally visited by a Harris Black team member – what a well-travelled bunch!  

  1. Lake Louisa, Canada;
  2. Banaue Rice Terraces, Philippines;
  3. Harrods in London, United Kingdom;
  4. Pyramids of Giza, Egypt;
  5. Whitsundays, Great Barrier Reef, Australia;
  6. Crotto Dangri – Valle del Livo, Italy;
  7. Disneyland in Los Angeles, United States of America;
  8. Central Park, New York City, United States of America;
  9. Sao Paulo Ruins - Macau; and  
  10. Eiffel Tower, Paris, France.

Employee Share Scheme Tax Law Changes On The Way

The Government says it will improve the taxation arrangements for employee share schemes. According to the Minister of Small Business, Bruce Billson, the proposed changes to the tax law are designed to increase the international competitiveness of the country's tax system and allow innovative Australian firms to attract and retain high-quality employees.

A key change proposed is to reverse some of the changes made in 2009 to the point at which rights issued as part of an employee share scheme are taxed for employees of all corporate tax entities. Another key change is to provide employees of certain small start-up companies with further concessions when acquiring certain shares or rights in their employer. These further concessions would be an income tax exemption for the discount received on certain shares and the deferral of the income tax on the discount received on certain rights, which are instead tax under the capital gains tax (CGT) rules.

The ATO has also commenced consultations with stakeholders on how to streamline the process of establishing and maintaining an employee share scheme.

TIP: The tax law amendments are proposed to commence on 1 July 2015. This could mean swift passing of legislative amendments through Parliament. Companies should keep a watch on the progress of the legislation. 

ATO Code Of Settlement

A code of settlement has been developed by the ATO. The code sets out the ATO policy on the settlement of tax and superannuation disputes, including disputes involving debt. It states that settlement negotiations or offers can be initiated by any party to the dispute and can occur at any stage including prior to assessments being raised.

The ATO notes that when deciding whether or not to settle, it will consider all the following factors:

  • The relative strength of the parties' position;
  • The cost versus the benefits of continuing the dispute; and
  • The impact on future compliance for the taxpayer and broader community.

According to the ATO, settlement would not generally be considered in situations where there is a contentious point of law which requires clarification, or when it is in the public interest to litigate, or when the taxpayer's behaviour is such that the ATO needs to send a strong message to the community.

TIP: According to the code, a settlement agreement provides a reasonable basis for treating similar issues in future years unless it is specifically stated that it is not to apply to future years or transactions, or the taxpayer's circumstances change materially, or the law remains either unclear or amended. However, the Code states the ATO can provide greater certainty to a taxpayer for future years if required.

Personal Services Income When No Service Is Provided 

The ATO has determined that a payment received by a personal services entity (PSE) from a service acquirer during a period the service provider is not providing services to the acquirer until further called upon is personal services income (PSI) under the tax rules. The ATO says there may be circumstances where a payment made by a service acquirer to a PSE during a period in which the service provider is not called upon to do anything is not PSI because the payment appears to be in consideration for doing nothing. However, the ATO says such a view is "clearly not in accord with the intention of the legislature given the alienation measure is targeted at salary like payments".

The following example illustrates the ATO's point:

A sole director/shareholder ("Jim") provides his expertise and skills to a client company for a flat monthly contractual fee that is non-contingent. During a specified period, a dispute arises between Jim and the client company which results in no work being performed for the period. However, Jim is still paid the monthly contractual fee. According to the ATO, the monthly fee during the dispute period is considered to be personal services income under the tax rules notwithstanding that the client company did not call upon Jim to undertake further services.

Court Confirms Tax On Transfer Of Land To Joint-Venture Trust

A corporate trustee (the taxpayer) has been unsuccessful before the Full Federal Court in a tax matter concerning the transfer of land owned by the taxpayer to a joint-venture trust. The taxpayer had purchased the land in 1995 and began discussions with other adjoining lot owners in 1997 with the idea of commercially developing the combined lots and selling them off. In 1998, a joint venture agreement and the joint-venture trust were created among the landholders, and the land was transferred to the trust.

The ATO assessed the land transferred to capital gains tax (CGT). The taxpayer argued there was no taxing event under the CGT rules, or that there were exemptions to the rules that applied. Essentially, the taxpayer argued there had been no change in the beneficial ownership of the land. However, in disagreeing with the taxpayer, the Full Federal Court confirmed that the transaction effecting the transfer of the land from the taxpayer to the joint-venture trust for the purpose of redevelopment was taxable under the CGT rules and that the specific exemptions under those rules did not apply.  


Important Tax Dates

21 March 2015 

February 2015 monthly activity statements, lodgement and payment.

31 March 2015

Tax return for companies and super funds with total income greater than $2 million in latest year lodged, lodgement and payment unless required earlier.

Tax return for head company of a consolidated group with a member who had total income greater than $2 million in latest year lodged, lodgement and payment unless required earlier.

Tax return for individuals and trusts whose latest tax return lodged resulted in a tax liability of $20,000 or more, lodgement only.  

About Us






Since 1994, Harris Black has been providing accounting and advisory services to our valued clients to help them achieve their business and personal wealth goals.


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Harris Black is a key participant in a network of nationally affiliated independent chartered accounting firms called the Brentnalls Group.


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