Company Directors should be aware of a law called the Personal Liability for Corporate Fault Reform Bill 2012. Basically Company Directors become personally liable for outstanding superannuation guarantee charges and PAYG withholding tax if the company fails to make these payments within the stipulated time. Further it places the burden of proof on Company Directors to prove that they are innocent.
The Commissioner of Taxation must issue a Notice and wait until the end of twenty one days after issuing that Notice before commencing Proceedings. A Director can achieve remission of their personal liability by causing one of three things to happen before the Notice is issued or within twenty one days after the issue of the Notice:
a) The company pays the liability;
b) An administrator for the company is appointed; or
c) The company begins to be wound up.
This is only a brief summary of the law and full advice should always be obtained if the company is in difficulty in meeting its taxation liabilities.
The importance of a director’s duty in exercising care and due diligence was stressed by the judge in a case involving Centro; the shopping centre owner. It was ruled that the directors were in breach of the Corporations Act as a result of failing to take reasonable steps to ensure that the accounts were correct. The directors in question had approved financial accounts that had classified over $2 billion in short -term loans as long-term loans. The decision identifies the importance of directors being able to have a basic understanding of basic accounting and in not placing reliance on management and external advisors. To delegate such responsibility is fraught with danger.
Employers take note when considering disciplinary action for breaches of safety regulations. In a number of recent unfair dismissal cases Fair Work Australia has ordered the reinstatement of employees after taking into consideration the personal and economic situation of the employee. Factors such as age, education, employment prospects, possible resulting financial hardship and the repercussions on the relationship with spouse/partner are seen as worthy of consideration together with their employment record, training intervals and a demonstration of real remorse and contribution coupled with an undertaking to improve in the future. As a result, employers are advised to take into account the consequences of their occupational, health and safety policy on employees.
There is no requirement to have a fence if you and your neighbour don’t want one but if you want a fence and your neighbour doesn’t you should get a quote for one to be built and discuss it with your neighbour. If you don’t reach an agreement you can give the neighbour a written notice specifying the fencing work proposed. If after serving the notice you and your neighbour still cannot agree either may ask the Local Court to make an order about the fencing work required. If a fence is to be built you and your neighbour, usually, though not always will have to share the costs.
Further, usually, you will both share equally the cost of repairs to any fence between your properties unless the fence was damaged because either of you was careless then the responsible party must pay for repairs.
Under the new Australian Consumer Law suppliers of consumer goods and product related services who become aware of a death, serious injury or illness caused by the use of a consumer good, must now report the event to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission within two (2) days or risk being guilty of a criminal offence.
Suppliers are those who sell, lease, exchange, hire or make available for hire purchase consumer goods. Suppliers of product related services provide, grant or confer those services. A product related service includes services such as installation, maintenance, repair or cleaning, assembly and delivery of consumer goods.
Under recent changes to the Law subcontractors can now claim against principal contractors for payments due to them from contractors. If you are a subcontractor the changes effectively enable you to earmark money owed to a contractor from the principal contractor to secure the former’s liability for progress payments to you. It minimizes the risk of non payment due to a contractors insolvency. You must first lodge an adjudication application and then serve on the principal a payment withholding request. On receiving this the principal contractor must hold back from an money owed to the contractor an amount equal to that specified in the request pending a court decision.
This obligation extends to owners.
The failure to recognize that a private company is a separate identity and that dealings between the company its shareholders and directors have tax implications is a misconception which causes tax payers a steady stream of problems. The fact that companies and individuals have difference tax rates creates tax complexity, allowing for deliberate or sometimes accidental tax planning. It makes tax sense for shareholders and directors to use company profits, say by way of loans or use of assets owned by the company, instead of the company paying taxable dividends to them. Care should be taken when there is any transfer of funds or assets between the company and the shareholders.
All adults should have a Will, Power of Attorney and Guardianship. A Will ensures your estate is managed by the person/s you want (executors) and your assets are bequeathed to your chosen beneficiaries. A Power of attorney appoints a person/s to manage your financial affairs and a Guardianship appoints a person/s to manage medical issues if you become incapacitated. The absence of these may result in difficulties.
The State Government has amended the demerit points for driving offences. Under the new rules a driver with an unrestricted licence (black licence) can accrue 13 demerit points before his or her licence is suspended for a period of three (3) months. Accordingly, once a person has twelve (12) points accrued any further offence will result in the loss of licence. Following the accrual of the thirteen (13) demerit points the usual procedure is for the Roads and Traffic Authority (RTA) to write to the driver indicating that the licence will be suspended for a period of three (3) months. The alternative to the three (3) month suspension is to accept a six (6) month good behaviour bond. That means that there is no suspension but if during the six (6) month period an offence occurs then the licence is suspended for six (6) months and there is no right of appeal. A Barrister whom we brief once commented that the only people that should accept a six (6) month good behaviour bond are people that reside west of Bourke. In other words it is highly likely that most people would be unlucky enough to have at least one offence during the six month period.
The Government has also now amended the relevant legislation whereby demerit points will no longer be imposed where a Magistrate makes an Order dismissing a traffic matter under Section 10 of the Crimes (Sentencing Procedure) Act 1999. In other words if an offence occurs and a person wishes to defend same then the fine should not be paid and the driver should elect to have the matter dealt with by the Local Court. Even if the Magistrate finds the offence proved he or she may decide due to the good driving record of the person that the demerit points will not be imposed.
The above is information of a general nature and your specific matter should be discussed and Cluff & Associates can provide assistance in that regard.