InFocus April 2021 - Volume 30 Issue 3

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Be wary of potential scams

Scammers have been contacting ASIC customers asking for payment to renew business names or companies. The emails often link to fake ASIC invoices that have incorrect payment details or infect your computer with malware when you click on them.

An email may not be from us if it asks you:

  • to make payment over the phone,
  • to make payment to receive a refund, or
  • for your credit card or bank details directly by email or phone.

For a business name, we will issue a renewal notice 30 days before your renewal date. For a company, we will issue your annual statement within a few days of your review date. If it's outside our usual timeframe, it might be a scam. You can check your renewal date or review date on our website.

To help protect yourself:

  • keep your anti-virus software up to date,
  • be wary of emails that don't address you by name, misspell your details, or have unknown attachments, and
  • don't click any links on suspicious emails.

If you're unsure if an email is legitimate, contact us and we can confirm if we've issued you a notice. You can also notify us of a scam by forwarding the email to ReportASICEmailFraud@asic.gov.au.

Natural disaster relief for affected customers

We are offering assistance to customers affected by recent floods by providing relief from various company-related fees that may be payable.

Where you or your customers are facing hardship or severe disruption as a result of floods, ASIC may be able to review or waive late fees that a company has incurred, provide alternative payment options or help obtain copies of documents and information from our registers.

To find out more about how to contact us, including what information to provide when contacting us about lost documents, visit our website.

Thinking of registering a business name? Make sure it's available

If you're thinking of registering a business name, you can use our 'Check business name availability' search to see if it's available.

You won't be able to automatically register a business name if:

  • it's identical or nearly identical to a name that's already registered,
  • it's 'undesirable' (for example, it's considered offensive),
  • it contains a 'restricted' word or expression like 'charity' or 'police', or
  • it includes invalid characters, like umlauts (ä).

When you check to see if your name is available, you'll get one of three results:

  • Green – The name is available and you can apply to register it.
  • Amber – You can apply to register the name, but we'll have to review your application to make sure that it's available.
  • Red – The name is not available.

For more information about the business name availability rules and the tests we apply, visit our website

Changes to ASIC self-service kiosks

ASIC self-service kiosks (computer and telephone) have transferred to a different provider as part of the Government’s Modernising Business Registers (MBR) program.

ASIC customers can still visit one of these service centres for access to a:
• computer to visit the ASIC website and ASIC Connect
• phone to call ASIC’s Customer Contact Centre.

Find out more about these changes on our website.

Three things you should do before closing your company

One of the most common questions we're asked is 'what do officeholders need to do before closing their company?' To keep it simple, here are the three key things:

1. Ensure your company has no fees outstanding
If your company has any fees outstanding, we'll automatically reject your deregistration application. You can check your current account balance online.

2. Ensure your company meets all the criteria for deregistration
Your company must also meet the deregistration criteria which includes, all members agreeing to deregister and the company's assets totalling less than $1000. Visit voluntary deregistration for the full list.

3. Apply for deregistration at least two weeks before your annual review fee due date
Finally, you should apply for deregistration at least two weeks before your annual review date. If you don't, your annual review fee will be charged and you'll need to pay it before the company can be deregistered.

If you are planning to deregister your company, we recommend you apply as early as possible.

For more information about closing your company and what you need to do, visit our deregistration page.

Modernising Business Registers Program

As part of the 2020 Budget Digital Business Plan, the government announced the full implementation of the Modernising Business Registers (MBR) program.

The MBR program will establish the Australian Business Registry Services (ABRS) and streamline how you register, view and maintain your business information with government.

The ABRS will:

  • progressively roll out between 2021 and 2024,
  • bring together the 31 registers currently managed by ASIC and the Australian Business Register (ABR) in one place, and
  • introduce the director identification number (director ID) initiative.

Find out more about this program of work on our website.

ASIC issues industry funding invoices

ASIC recently issued industry funding invoices to recover its financial year 2019-20 regulatory costs.

Entities must pay their levy invoice by 23 April 2021. Find out more about invoices and payment options.

For more information about industry funding, visit the ASIC Regulatory Portal.

Business interruption insurance claims and COVID-19: what you need to do

If you run a small business that’s been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and you hold business interruption insurance, talk to your broker to find out if your policy covers COVID-19 related losses. If you do not have a broker, speak to your insurer.

If you think your insurance policy covers COVID-19 related losses, start collecting evidence now to prove your claim and calculate your losses. Collecting the evidence now, while it is still readily available, will help make the claims process easier.

There are two ‘test cases’ currently before Australian courts which should provide greater clarity about whether insurance policies will cover business interruption losses from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Insurers will generally wait until the test case outcomes are known before they decide on claims. This may take some months.

For more information, visit our news hub article.

Don’t let an illegal phoenix business take you down

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Most businesses work hard to do the right thing, but a small few look for ways to avoid their obligations to employees and business partners.

The first step in avoiding phoenix activity is knowing how to identify it, and taking steps to protect yourself. To find out more on how to keep your business safe, see Illegal phoenix activity on the Australian Taxation Office’s website.

Australian Taxation Office - Cash Flow Coaching Kit

The Australian Taxation Office’s (ATO) Cash Flow Coaching Kit is a free resource for tax professionals and business advisors. It is designed as a value-add advisory service to use with small business clients. The kit helps deliver tailored coaching conversations about cash flow management at any stage of the business lifecycle.

Tax professionals and business advisors can use the resources in the kit to help small business clients better understand the actions they can take to manage their cash flow. This includes:

  • learning the fundamental concepts of cash flow,
  • understanding how cash flows in and out of their business and ways to assess business viability, and
  • scenario planning to identify possible actions to improve performance by increasing cash in or reducing cash out in their business.

The ATO advises that the kit does not replace any existing accounting or financial tools. It can be used to complement software accounting packages.

For more information please visit: Cash Flow Coaching Kit | Australian Taxation Office (ato.gov.au).

Introductory Guide to Family Business Succession Planning

The “Introductory Guide to Family Business Succession Planning” – co-produced by Family Business Australia and the Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman’s office – provides a step-by-step guide to passing the family business on to the next generation.

Fair Work Ombudsman (FWO) - Workplace Rights and Obligations for CALD Small Business Webinar -19 May 2021

The Fair Work Ombudsman can help culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) small businesses get it right.

The Fair Work Ombudsman (FWO) is a federal government agency responsible for promoting harmonious, productive and cooperative workplace relations and ensuring compliance with Australia’s workplace laws.

The FWO’s free tools and resources provide employees and employers with reliable, timely and easy to understand information.

Join the FWO in this webinar to learn about your rights and obligations as an employer in Australian workplaces, and take away key resources, such as the self-audit checklist, job advertisement template, employment contract template and pay slip template. Register here.

Last updated: 21/04/2021 04:24