Uber drivers and employment rights

Uber drivers and employment rights

In a Fair Work Commission hearing in December 2017, Deputy President Val Gostencnik found that under Australian law, Uber drivers are independent contractors, and therefore ineligible for unfair dismissal protection.

10 legal tips every small business owner should know

10 legal tips every small business owner should know

Not every small business owner has the time to think through legal issues that could make or break their business. However, there are some important legal tips that every business owner should be aware of to avoid time consuming and expensive issues down the track. To assist the time poor, we have put together 10 legal tips to help small business mitigate business risk and achieve their commercial goals .

Crowd-sourced equity funding: First steps

Crowd-sourced equity funding: First steps

Equity crowd funding has taken some first, tentative practical steps.  The new crowd-sourced funding (CSF) regime that started at the end of October 2017 - designed to reduce costs and red-tape for start-ups and SMEs looking to raise capital from a large number of small investors – is still being tweaked, as proprietary companies were excluded from eligibility.  This will be rectified with a bill currently before the Parliament. 

Fairness and good business: a year of Unfair Terms

Fairness and good business: a year of Unfair Terms

It’s been over a year since the Australian Consumer Law provided that terms that are ‘unfair’ in new or renewed consumer and small business contracts could be deemed void and unenforceable.

SMSF – extended time for annual returns this year

SMSF – extended time for annual returns this year

In a move welcomed by SMSF trustees (and their advisors!) the ATO has announced the extension of the lodgment date for self managed superannuation fund (SMSF) annual returns for the 2016/17 year to 30 June 2018. The ATO has confirmed that because 30 June 2018 falls on a Saturday, lodgment can occur on Monday 2 July 2018 without penalties.  
 

The “sting-in-tail” of overseas luxuries

The “sting-in-tail” of overseas luxuries

Do you own a unit in Noosa, a villa in Tuscany, or a ski-lodge in Japan, or hanker for such luxuries?
It is increasingly common for people to own assets in other states or other countries. This can create complications for their wills and estates.

Ultimate Consumer Test - Broad Definition of Retail Leases confirmed in Victoria

Ultimate Consumer Test - Broad Definition of Retail Leases confirmed in Victoria

A broad interpretation of the definition of a retail lease in Victoria has again been supported by the courts.  Section 4(1) of the Retail Leases Act 2003 (Vic) (RLA) defines 'retail premises' to include 'the sale or hire of goods by retail or the retail provision of services' but does not further define these terms. 

Prepare now for data breach notification

Prepare now for data breach notification

Cyber security experts counsel us that it’s a matter of when, not if your data will be compromised in some way either maliciously or by accident.  The opportunity for personal information to be lost only increases as businesses store greater and greater amounts of electronic information and outsource marketing, HR and operational activities to third parties without considering how they will protect information entrusted to them. 

Court Rules On Private Rulings Involving Assumptions About Future Events

Court Rules On Private Rulings Involving Assumptions About Future Events

The recent case of  FCT v Hacon illustrates the practical difficulties in obtaining a private ruling that depends on assumptions about future events - in particular, in the context of the application of the anti-avoidance provisions in Part IVA of the Income Tax Assessment Act 1936.

New GST withholding regime for purchasers of new residential premises and new subdivisions of potential residential land

New GST withholding regime for purchasers of new residential premises and new subdivisions of potential residential land

From 1 July 2018 purchasers of new residential premises or of new subdivisions of potential residential land that are taxable supplies will be required to pay 1/11th of the purchase price directly to the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) at settlement, if  the exposure draft legislation released by the Government on 6 November 2017 passes in its current form.  Subject to limited exceptions under proposed transitional rules, the new GST withholding obligation will apply even if a vendor applies the GST margin scheme.

High price for assisting others to contravene the Fair Work Act

High price for assisting others to contravene the Fair Work Act

In May 2017, the Federal Circuit Court (FCC) found the accountant’s client, the operator of a Japanese restaurant chain in Melbourne, underpaid its workers and thereby contravened the Fair Work Act. Critically though, the judge found the accounting firm, which provided the restaurant with book-keeping services, knew its client underpaid its employees and had ‘deliberately shut its eye as to what was going on’.

Harwood Andrews: A History of Community Building and Service

Harwood Andrews: A History of Community Building and Service

Geelong law firm Harwood Andrews celebrated its 175th birthday in October 2017, making it nine years older than the state of Victoria, and 17 years older than the Geelong Football Club. And, like the famed Cats, Harwood Andrews can lay claim to being significantly woven into Geelong’s social fabric, in fact even more so than the club that formed at the Victoria Hotel in 1859.                  

Losing capacity – don’t leave it too late

Losing capacity – don’t leave it too late

You never know if or when you might lose capacity, that is, lose the ability to manage your affairs. For example, you could be in a serious accident, you could suffer a stroke, or you could develop dementia. You might lose capacity temporarily or permanently.

Employers beware: the Fair Work Act is getting even tougher

Employers beware: the Fair Work Act is getting even tougher

All businesses and employers need to be aware of the recent amendments to the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) (Act). The amendments were part of a number of changes made by Parliament in the wake of recent underpayment scandals, particularly those involving prominent franchise operations.