Issue 117 - October 2017
New standards relating to credit card surcharges imposed on large merchants from last year have now been applied to all other merchants from 1 September 2017.
Merchants will retain the right to impose a cost-based surcharge on card payments, but any surcharge is limited to the amount it costs the merchant to accept that type of card for that transaction. The costs to the merchant of accepting card payments are limited to the fees paid to the merchant's acquirer (e.g. their bank) and certain other costs paid for services directly related to accepting card payments.
Banks and other payment facilitators must provide merchants with an annual statement that clearly sets out their average cost of acceptance for each of the card payment systems in percentage terms.
If you currently impose credit card surcharges on your customers or if you intend to do so in the future, you will need to review these surcharges at least once a year to ensure that the surcharge applied to each transaction does not exceed the cost of acceptance for that specific type of card. The cost of acceptance for each type of card can be obtained from the annual statement provided by your bank or payment facilitator.
You can add certain other fees to the cost of acceptance, however these are limited and must be calculated in a certain manner. Please contact us for advise if you would like to include other fees in your surcharge calculation.
Your costs of acceptance for some payment methods may fluctuate from month to month, and this will be shown on your monthly statements. You may wish to reset your surcharge levels frequently based on these monthly statements. However, you are only required to analyse your payment costs once a year, using your annual statement and any other applicable costs, and set your surcharge for the next year based on this information.
The new law currently applies to payment surcharges in six card systems – eftpos, Debit MasterCard, MasterCard Credit, Visa Debit and Visa Credit and the American Express companion card system. However, other card systems may include conditions in their merchant agreements that are similar in which case merchants may be contractually bound to similar caps on what they can surcharge cards from other systems.
Merchants may choose to set the same surcharge for a number of different payment systems, provided that the surcharge is no greater than the average cost of acceptance of the lowest cost system included. For example, a merchant may choose to set the same surcharge for two credit card systems, which have average costs of acceptance of 1% and 1.5%. In this case, the maximum common surcharge that could be charged would be 1%. However, if the merchant wished to surcharge the two systems separately, it could charge 1% and 1.5% as appropriate. In this example the merchant would not be able to blend both these costs into a 1.25% surcharge since it would be surcharging excessively for the scheme that costs 1%.
If merchants have more than one acquirer or payment facilitator, it will be reasonable for merchants to use the information on the statement provided by their main acquirer or payment facilitator. Alternatively, they may calculate an average acceptance cost.
Please contact our office if you require further information about credit card surcharges.
The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) knows that many business owners use some of their trading stock for their own private use and each year the ATO issues a ruling on the estimated value of this stock that needs to be accounted for in your business tax returns.
The below table shows values for the 2016-2017 income year as a guide for business owners in regards to the value it expects to be allocated for any goods taken from trading stock for private use.
Greater or lesser values may also be appropriate in some cases. The ATO has recognised this and if you are able to provide evidence of a lower value, this is what should be used.
The Wine Equalisation Tax (WET) Rebate was originally intended to support small wine producers in rural and regional Australia. This intention has not been met by some, who have structured their businesses to maximise rebate claims. The wine industry asked the government to urgently reform the WET Rebate, claiming that the rules had contributed to excessive wine grape production and low value wine.
The government responded with the following changes which received royal assent on 23 August 2017:
- introduced additional eligibility criteria for the WET producer rebate from 1 July 2018 with some transitional arrangements from 1 January 2018.
- created a stronger link between rebate claims and the payment of WET by limiting entitlements to WET credits and changes to the quoting rules from 1 July 2018.
- reduced the WET producer rebate cap from $500,000 to $350,000 from 1 July 2018.
- strengthened the associated producer provisions, so that from 23 August 2017 the associated producer test a.pplies at any time during the financial year
Running A Productive Business Meeting
Business meetings can be really interesting, or they can be extremely boring.
Fortunately, there are ways to make business meetings more engaging and productive so no one is twiddling their thumbs or fighting back yawns.
Consider the following tips for your next business meeting:
Have An Agenda
Strategically plan out what areas you wish to raise. If there is someone better suited in the office to talk about an issue, ask them to run the meeting. If your agenda is long, consider breaking the meeting into two smaller meetings. Be sure to provide employees with a summary of the agenda before the meeting so they have time to gather their thoughts and make a meaningful contribution.
Consider The Audience
Not everyone needs to attend every meeting. Open the meeting to employees who wish to attend, make it compulsory for employees directly impacted and make sure you engage with these audience members. If you are requesting an employee attends the meeting, make sure they play a valuable role. Engage with them, ask them questions and show that their opinion has been considered. Meetings can be really dry; sometimes the agenda is not that exciting. Think about ways you can present the information to make it retainable and interesting. Use anecdotes and case studies, incorporate visual aids where possible, and ask questions to engage your audience.
Set A Time Frame
One painful aspect of attending meetings is not seeing the end in sight. If you say it will be a half an hour meeting, it really should not go any longer than forty-five minutes. If the meeting is looking like it will run well past the expected time, prioritise what topics you will address and schedule another meeting or follow up with an email. If the audience is expecting the meeting to go for a specific time and it drags on past this they can quickly become irritated, bored and cease to be engaged.
Just as you sent out an email or memo detailing the agenda of the meeting, you should follow-up reiterating what occurred in the meeting. Any key pieces of information that were discussed should be acknowledged in writing and given to attendees as a point of reference.
Due to recent changes, more businesses can now access the Australian Taxation Office's Small Business Superannuation Clearing House service. The service can now be used by businesses with:
- 19 or less employees, or
- an annual aggregated turnover of $10 million or less (up from $2 million)
The Small Business Superannuation Clearing House is a free online service accessible on the ATO website. It is expected that the services will be integrated with the ATO Business Portal in early 2018.
If you are unsure whether this service could help your business, please contact your Brentnalls SA team members to discuss.
MYOB essentials can help you track and update information easily and timely with the following features:
- Link all your bank accounts to receive automatic data feeds
- Manage, create and Issue invoices and bills
- Web based secure easy sharing of data and files
- Constant online backup & security
MYOB Essentials also offers several add on programs to extend the software such as job tracking and inventory which integrate into the software seamlessly.
There are various plans offered by MYOB starting at $25.00 for an "Essential Accounting Starter" but the most popular product is the next version "Essentials Accounting" for $40 per month.
This month we are proud to be donating to Christmas Party for Special Children,
a charity giving children with special needs the opportunity to gather and share the
magic of the Festive Season with a group larger than their immediate circle of family and carers.
Congratulations to GJK Facility Services for winning the Community Contribution & Sustainability category at the 2017 Australian Business Awards.
Congratulations to Jo O'Brien from Tonkin Consulting on being awarded a High Commendation in the Future Leaders award category at the Consult Australia Awards for Excellence.
We welcome Vanessa Willans who has recently joined us as an administration assistant in the health division.
Congratulations to Stefan Sapio and his partner Danielle who recently announced their engagement.
We welcome Zoe Anastasiou and Damian Canala who have recently started as undergraduates.
Congratulations to Sally Storey and her husband David on the birth of Nicola, a baby sister for Alexandra.
||Congratulations to Kurtis Willson on winning Hockey SA premier league
male best and fairest at the annual ceremony. He was also the league's top
scorer and made the team of the year.
I started at Brentnalls SA nearly two years ago and since then have enjoyed working here whilst studying a Bachelor of Commerce at the University of Adelaide. I am hoping to complete my studies mid-way through next year and go on to become a Chartered Accountant.
I enjoy the diverse range of clients I get exposure to at Brentnalls SA and gaining knowledge across many different areas of accounting and tax. I enjoy working with clients to help them gain a better financial understanding of their businesses.
Outside of work I enjoying spending time with friends and family, playing the odd game of netball and volunteering with Vinnies once a week. I also love travelling and was fortunate to visit my brother over in Canada last Christmas.