New year, new regulations for small business

by AB08 Jan 2014
The government has kicked the New Year off with a wave of new regulation, while simultaneously reducing small business superannuation compliance.

The new regulations which came into effect on January 1 include increased data reporting requirements for businesses which are registered training providers, and the requirement for employers to pay superannuation levies in a super fund that is ‘MySuper’ compliant.

Another significant change involves expansion of the Fair Work Commission’s jurisdiction, which now allows employees who feel they are the victim of bullying to call on the Commission to make an order for the bullying to stop.

Peter Anderson, chief executive of the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, has called on the Abbott government and the federal parliament to take urgent steps in the first parliamentary sittings to unwind business costs, compliance burdens and red tape to offset the changes.

"The 1st January burdens, when added to the wave of anti-business regulation which happened from 1st July, is a cumulative cost that is unreasonable for a slowing economy,” said Anderson.

“ACCI calls for the first deregulation parliamentary day to be in the first sittings of 2014, and that the carbon tax repeal and the suspension of superannuation levy rises be at the top of that list, because they would give the economy and its high cost structure desperately needed breathing space."

Anderson also drew attention to the looming introduction of positive credit reporting, due to come into play in March this year.

"In a country that is already a high cost and highly regulated place to employ and do business, the New Year has opened with another round of unhelpful compliance obligations on employers and small business."

Meanwhile assistant treasurer Arthur Sinodinos has pledged to “make life easier for small business” by handing over control of the Small Business Superannuation Clearing House to the ATO.

“The ATO is best placed to increase the take up rate of the clearing house as they have access to data on who is eligible for this free service,” said Sinodinos.

“This is a positive first step in progressing the Government’s election commitment to provide a better way to pay superannuation for workers by remitting compulsory superannuation payments directly to the ATO, with the tax office distributing contributions to individual accounts.”

The move will be followed by an extensive stakeholder consultation process so the Government can better understand superannuation compliance cost concerns and develop further options to reduce these costs.