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  The Legal Obligations Of Marketing 
 
Businesses must be mindful of the relevant regulations when setting prices and advertising products or services to ensure they aren't misleading their customers.

Like many other areas of business, marketing efforts are regulated and need to comply with the legal requirements.

Advertising

When promoting products or services, businesses must ensure that any branding, statement, quote or other representation is not false or misleading. There are some tactics businesses use to try to advertise products that make them more appealing but don't necessarily give the full picture, such as:
  • Component pricing; when the price of a product or service is advertised or displayed in separate parts. When advertising uses component pricing, companies must also provide the full price inclusive of additional costs in a prominent way. 
  • Bait advertising; where a product is advertised at a certain price without a reasonable supply. Bait advertising is illegal if a business sells the product knowing that they cannot meet expected demand. 
Being aware of advertising regulations is an important aspect of running a business to its full potential.

Email marketing

There are specific Australian email marketing laws and standards of practice that must be adhered to when developing an email marketing service for your business. The Spam Act 2003 governs email marketing and messages sent via SMS, MMS and instant message in Australia. The Act covers three main areas:
  • Consent; you must have consent from the recipient in order to send a commercial electronic message that offers, advertises or promotes the supply of goods or services. Consent can either be expressed (the recipient has deliberately opted-in to receive emails) or inferred consent (refers to the relationship between the sender and the recipient, e.g. subscriptions). 
  • Identification; the sender of the communication must identify themselves and provide accurate contact information that is valid for at least 30 days after the message is sent. 
  • Unsubscribe options; there must be an unsubscribe option for emails or an option to opt-out of other electronic messages. 
Factual messages such as emails that provide a price, product description or quote to a customer are exempt from the Spam Act as their purpose is not promotional.

Signage and brochures

Before you place a sign, you need to apply for a permit for display from the state or territory government and in some circumstances may also require public liability insurance. Signage includes 'A' frames, sandwich boards, or permanent signs on buildings, footpaths or roads.

Handing out brochures, flyers or promotional materials on public property also typically requires a permit. Under state environmental protection legislation, it may be illegal to place advertising material on a vehicle. Both permits can be downloaded through the ABLIS website for the relevant state or territory. 



    Perfecting Your Pitch 
   
The sales pitch of a product or service can make or break a prospective sale. An effective sales process is essential to any business. 

When planning a pitch to a potential client, don't treat the meeting as if you have already made the sale. Instead, take a moment to focus on the client and what you can do for them, how you can actually help them and how to convey this through your pitch.

Remove agendas

Prospects can often identify when a sales pitch is running off an agenda. The seller can come across as pushy, they don't match the prospect's concerns with the product or service on offer and they don't give the prospect much time to talk. This approach can appear insincere and impersonal, thereby creating the opposite effect and driving the prospect away.

What do they want?

Approach the potential client with questions about what their desires, concerns and challenges are. Find out what is important to them and what their expectations are. You can then go on to demonstrate how your product or service is suitable by clearly outlining their advantages. Benefits, such as saving time, money or effort, can help to demonstrate why you are best equipped to help them.

Highlight value

Value is a critical factor in a prospect's purchasing behaviour. Using value-based selling can be helpful at generating more sales as it focuses on addressing the prospect's problems by showing them the benefits of your product/service. An emotional appeal in your campaigns also helps to better connect with your customers and ultimately drive sales. If your products or services aren't a solution for them, provide alternatives or come to a compromise to ensure that both parties are happy.

Give evidence

Sharing positive feedback from existing customers is a great way to demonstrate credibility and gain the trust of prospective customers. Asking for a referral or feedback, or using customer satisfaction surveys can help to boost your business' reputation and also provide insight into what's working and what needs to be improved. Creating a referral program where the referring customer gains a discount or reward is a good way to boost your word-of-mouth marketing. Not only do you benefit from the new customer but it gives your existing customer an incentive to spread the word.

 
    The Art Of Effective Negotiation 
   
Effective negotiation strategies leave all parties satisfied while improving and maintaining personal relationships.

The key to success is remembering that everything is negotiable, and to get a deal you must ask for one. Negotiating is not always a straightforward process, with many people even finding it uncomfortable. It doesn't have to be this way, as there are many different styles of negotiating you can use to find a solution. In order to effectively negotiate and improve your chances of maintaining positive relationships, the key is to focus on three main areas.

People

Separating people from the issues will benefit your negotiation strategies. Ensure that each party understands the other's perception of what is involved, and what each person expects from the negotiation. Identify the underlying emotions on both sides and acknowledge them in your discussion. Listen actively and speak to be understood, not merely to argue a position.

Options

Work with the other party to come up with a variety of options. You may look for areas of agreement by identifying shared interests. Think of ways that you can compromise differing interests by exploring options that are of low cost to you and high benefit to the other party, or vice versa.

Criteria

Insist on negotiating within a mutually agreed upon standard of fairness in order to avoid conflict. By developing an objective criteria prior to negotiation, it will allow you to come to an equitable final agreement. The criteria may involve historic precedent, industry best practices, market value or legal rulings. Negotiating within these standards can help to eliminate emotional bias and is crucial to establishing a foundation of trust on which you can then build a relationship.

 
    WorkCover QLD - Due 31 August 2019
   
Employers with QLD employees are required by law to insure all employees with WorkCover QLD against workplace accidents.

The WorkCover premium is calculated based on your industry and the amount of wages you pay to your employees each year.

To ensure you are covered for another year, you need to declare your wages information by 31 August each year.

Wages generally includes gross salaries, superannuation, fringe benefits and payments made to individual contractors deemed as workers.

Wages excludes any remuneration paid to the employer as capacity of directors, trustees, partners or sole traders. Wages also excludes any allowances or expenses reimbursed, lump sum termination payments or WorkCover reimbursements.

Recommended Action

Employers should ensure now that they:
  • Have a WorkCover policy in place
  • Calculate the wages correctly for the annual declaration
  • Refer to the Wages Definition Manual prepared by WorkCover Queensland
  • Use the correct industry code
  • Exclude any remuneration paid to themselves as capacity of directors, trustees, partners or sole traders
If you have any further questions or would like further details about a WorkCover or Employer Risk Review and its benefits, please do not hesitate to contact Bjorn Kirberg.

 
    Taxable Payments Annual Report (TPAR) 
   
Businesses in certain industries are required to annually report their payments to contractors via their Taxable Payment Annual Report (TPAR).

The TPAR for the 2019 financial year is due to be lodged with the ATO by 28th August 2019.

It is the first year that businesses providing cleaning and courier services must report payments made to contractors from 1 July 2018 to 30 June 2019, along with businesses in the building and construction industry.

Details required for the TPAR for each contractor can generally be found on their invoices including their Australian Business Number (ABN), their name and address and the gross amount you paid to them for the financial year (including any GST).

From 1 July 2019, entities that provide the following are also required to report to the ATO:
  • road freight;
  • security, investigation or surveillance; or 
  • IT services 
If you have any questions, please contact us for further discussion. 


    Removal Of Tax Deductions For "Non-Compliant" Wages 
   

An important change to the tax deductibility of payments to your employees has come into effect from 1 July 2019. If you have not met your PAYG Withholding and Reporting obligations in relation to an amount paid to a worker, then that payment will no longer be tax deductible.

Payments That Must Comply

The following payments can only be claimed as a tax deduction if they comply with the PAYG Withholding and Reporting Obligations:
  • salary, wages, commissions, bonuses or allowances to an employee;
  • directors' fees;
  • payments under a labour hire arrangement; and
  • payments for a supply of services (except from supplies of goods and real property) where the contractor has not provided their ABN.
PAYG Withholding and Reporting Obligations

To ensure your payments are still tax deductible, you must:
  • withhold the appropriate amount of PAYG Withholding Tax from that payment; and
  • report that amount to the ATO (via your Activity Statement).
If you are currently complying with your PAYG Withholding requirements, then these changes will not affect you.

  
    Ride-Sharing Travel Expenses Not FBT-Exempt 
   
There is an exemption from Fringe Benefits Tax (FBT) for taxi travel expenses paid on behalf of an employee where the trip begins or ends at the employee's place of work. In addition, taxi travel by an employee is an exempt benefit, where the travel is both:
  • a result of sickness of, or injury to, the employee
  • the whole or a part of the journey directly between any of the following:
  • the employee's place of work
  • the employee's place of residence
  • any other place that is necessary, or appropriate, for the employee to go as a result of the sickness or injury
The ATO have recently confirmed their views that ride-sharing operators are excluded from the definition of a taxi for FBT purposes. The exemption is specifically limited to travel in a vehicle licensed by the relevant state or territory to operate as a taxi.

However, where the travel would be ordinarily deductible, such as travel between two places of work, then the benefit will still be exempt.

If you are providing benefits to your employees by way of paying for or reimbursing ride-sharing expenses and would like further information, please speak to your Harris Black team member.

 
    Disclosure Of Business Tax Debts 
   
The Government introduced a bill into parliament on 24 July which will allow the ATO to disclose tax debt information of businesses to registered credit reporting bureaus.

Under the proposed law, the ATO will only be able to disclose tax debt information of a business where certain criteria are met.

Businesses which are engaging with the ATO to manage their tax debts will not have their tax debt information reported to credit reporting bureaus.


 
    New ATO Data-Matching Program – Overseas Movement Data And HELP Debt 
   
The ATO said it will acquire overseas movement data from the Department of Home Affairs (DHA) for individuals with an existing HELP, VSL or TSL debt. The data matching program will be conducted for the 2019-20, 2020-21 and 2021-22 financial years.

Those living and working overseas with a Higher Education Loan Program (HELP), Vocational Education and Training Student Loan (VSL) and/or Trade Support Loans (TSL) are required to update their contact details and submit an overseas travel notification if they have an intention to, or already reside overseas, for 183 days or more in any 12 months; and lodge their worldwide income or a non-lodgement advice.


 
    Pension Deeming Rates Cut From 1 July 2019 
   
The Government has announced that it will lower the social security deeming rate from 1.75% to 1.0% for financial investments up to $51,800 for single pensioners and $86,200 for pensioner couples. The upper deeming rate of 3.25% will be cut to 3.0% for balances over these amounts.

The Minister for Families and Social Services, Senator Anne Ruston, said the changes would benefit about 630,000 age pensioners and almost 350,000 people receiving other payments. Under the new rates, age pensioners whose income is assessed using deeming will receive up to $40.50 extra a fortnight for couples, $1053 extra a year, and $31 extra a fortnight for singles which is $804 extra a year.

The reduced deeming rates have been backdated to 1 July 2019. Any additional pension payment will flow through into pensioners' bank accounts from the end of September 2019 in line with the regular indexation of the pension.


 
    Harris Black's 2019 Staff Day and 25th Anniversary Celebration 
   
Friday 26 July 2019 was a big day for the Harris Black Team! We kicked off with our Annual Staff Day where traditionally the entire team participate in a full day of discussion and activities aimed at reviewing our strategy and ultimately improving our client services. A review of the "Year That Was", presented by Director, Nathan Gordon was followed up by Guest Speakers Petris Lapis ("How To Be More Productive In the Digital Age") and Robby Stuart ("Working Smart with Outlook").

In the lead up to the day, staff put together videos in teams, each of which represented one of Harris Black's core values. Actor's we are not I'm afraid, and the team's efforts were reviewed with lots of laughter and numerous threats to post online.

   
26 July 2019: Harris Black's 2019 Staff Day & 25th Anniversary Celebration

At the end of the day we all headed off to a very special celebration.. "Harris Black's 25th Anniversary Event", held at Howard Smith Wharves and attended by numerous colleagues, staff, their partners, Directors' family members, (including some very proud parents!) and a small number of our valued clients also, many of whom we have had the pleasure of working with for a number of years. Additional to what was already a huge celebratory event, Director Brendan Power's 20 year milestone with HB was also formally acknowledged and warmly congratulated by many on the night.

A beautiful venue for a great event shared with a wonderful group of people!

 
    Important Tax Date 
   
21 September 2019
  • Lodge and pay August 2019 monthly business activity statement.
30 September 2019
  • Lodge PAYG withholding payment summary annual report if prepared by a BAS agent or tax agent.
21 October 2019
  • Lodge and pay quarter 1, 2019–20 PAYG instalment activity statement for head companies of consolidated groups.

  • Lodge and pay September 2019 monthly business activity statement.
28 October 2019
  • Lodge and pay quarter 1, 2019-20 Activity Statement if lodging by paper.
  • Make super guarantee contributions for quarter 1, 2019-20 to funds by this date.
31 October 2019
  • Final date to add new clients to your client list to ensure their 2019 tax return is covered by the lodgement program. 

     
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This material is for guidance only, any professional advice should be obtained before acting on any information contained herein. Neither the publisher nor the distributors can accept any responsibility for loss occasioned to any person as a result of action taken or refrained from in consequence of the contents of this newsletter. We recommend that you contact your Harris Black team member before making any decision to discuss your particular requirements or circumstances. 

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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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