InFocus September 2019 - Volume 28 Issue 8

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Reminder - financial reports due soon, lodge online to save time!

Many companies and financial service licensees are due to lodge financial statements in September and October. The easiest way to lodge is online.

The following forms can be lodged online through the ASIC website:

  • Form 388 Copy of financial statements and reports

  • Form FS70 Australian financial services licensee profit and loss statement and balance sheet

  • Form FS71 Auditor's report for AFS Licensee

Doing so is quick and easy. Depending on the form you lodge, you may also receive immediate confirmation the statement has been added to the registers.

Before submitting financial statements online, make sure:

  • each attachment is less than 10MB. For information on reducing the file size refer to your software support.

  • you don’t convert documents to a PDF file using your photocopier or scanner. It's better to use a PDF creation program (such as MS Word).

You can submit a maximum of five attachments.

Learn more about how to lodge financial statement and reports.

Want to register a company within minutes? Move online with the Business Registration Service

The Business Registration Service (BRS) makes it easier to start a business by providing a single online service, including payment by credit card, for business name, company, Australian Business Number (ABN), and tax registrations.

The BRS was launched in June 2018 through the website, hosted by the Department of Industry Innovation and Science (DIIS). This is the first time a company registration service has been offered directly by government through a website.

The BRS accounted for around 8% of all new company registrations (and around 28% of business name registrations) since it’s official launch in June 2018.

Company registration through this online service provides customers a clear advantage over paper applications and helps align with the Government’s strategy to deliver faster and easier to use digital services.

For more information about the BRS, visit their website.

The difference between trading names and business names – what you need to know

A ‘trading name’ refers to an unregistered name that businesses could use before the introduction of the National Business Names Register on 28 May 2012. It is not a registered business name.

A business name is a name under which an entity conducts a business. Businesses are required to register their business name if they carry on business within Australia and are not trading under their own name.

If you’re currently operating your business under an unregistered trading name, to continue using it you need to register it as a business name.

Exceptions to this include:

  • if you are operating as an individual and your operating name is the same as your first name and surname

  • if you are in a partnership and your operating name is the same as all the partners' names, or

  • if you are an already registered Australian company and your operating name is the same as your company's name.

For example, if your name is John Smith and you’re operating your business under the name ‘John Smith’, it doesn’t need to be registered. If the name you trade under is ‘John Smith & Co’, then you must register the business name ‘John Smith & Co’.

The Australian Business Register and ABN Lookup still display unregistered trading names. From November 2023, trading names will be removed and only registered business names will be displayed.

A transition period is in place from 28 May 2012 to 31 October 2023 to allow businesses affected by the removal of trading names sufficient time to inform their customers, suppliers and other stakeholders of any changes to the name that they use to conduct their business.

Find out more on our website.

Improved protections for whistleblowers

From 1 July 2019, whistleblowers who report misconduct about companies and company officers can access stronger rights and protections in the Corporations Act 2001 (Corporations Act).

The Corporations Act now better protects corporate whistleblowers with requirements to maintain their confidentiality and prevent them from suffering or being threatened with detriment. Whistleblowers can also seek compensation if they suffer loss, damage, or injury for making their disclosure. These protections are important to encourage whistleblowers to come forward to the company or to ASIC to raise their concerns.

ASIC has issued two information sheets for people to understand who is eligible to access the whistleblower rights and protections under the Corporations Act and how we will respond to reports of misconduct from whistleblowers:

  • Information Sheet 238 Whistleblower rights and protections (INFO 238)

  • Information Sheet 239 How ASIC handles whistleblower reports (INFO 239)

ASIC encourages companies to implement a strategy for dealing with whistleblower reports they may receive in line with their obligations.

The changes to the whistleblower protections will also require public companies, large proprietary companies, and corporate trustees of registrable superannuation entities to have a whistleblower policy from 1 January 2020.

ASIC has released Consultation Paper 321 Whistleblower policies (CP 321) with proposed guidance to help these companies establish, implement and maintain a whistleblower policy that complies with their obligations. We are seeking feedback on our proposed guidance by 18 September 2019.

See the whistleblowing page for links to further information.

Last updated: 02/10/2019 12:37