ABNs – Important News

This is an article I shared with my own VA network members and was asked to share it here too. This relates to all VAs in Australia.

A year or so ago I asked for stories of those who were struggling to obtain, or keep their ABN for their business. The reason why I asked this is because an organisation, of which I am on the Board, is looking into these matters and dealings with the ATO and building a picture. We are now aware of over 30 cases and are looking for more. Self Employed Australia (formerly Independent Contractors Australia) is a group that was formed some years ago to assist and aid those who are self-employed here in Australia. You would do well to subscribe to their newsletter. Their article ‘Can an Incoming Tide be Stopped?‘ is just one example. But you might also like to read ‘Lies and blatant misrepresentation really get up our nose!‘ I’m sure you’ll find them interesting reading.  In fact, all of their articles are worth reading. You’ll see a list of others on the right of the screen when you view either of them.

The two articles above are very recent and the ATO are aware we’re watching them. That’s where you come in. If you’ve contacted me before, or even of you haven’t, and have a story you want to share, please do get in touch with me direct so that I can let this group know about the challenges you, or someone you know, has been experiencing. The more numbers we can get, the better.  Just today someone on their Facebook group (more members welcome) shared she knew of several people who had problems with obtaining ABNs or keeping them with no explanation, no notice, nothing. It is important to make sure that each and every one of you do have a separate bank account for your business and that you’re not using a personal account only. This is one of the things that is a trigger for the ATO with respect to withdrawing ABNs.  We have even had Robert Gottliebsen write articles in The Australian on things that the Self Employed Australia group have been working on. And it is good having someone with such a high profile on our side.

Now, it’s possible your Accountant might have told you that you don’t need to have a separate bank account as a sole proprietor – that has certainly been discussed recently on a VA forum at Facebook. However, other Accountants advise that you should (mine did). While the ATO website indicates you don’t need to, what ATO staff say can be quite different – depending on who you get on the phone.  Why risk your business for the sake of one bank account? Besides it makes it easier for tax and accounting purposes if all, or most transactions, in that one account are business related rather than mixed with personal stuff.

If you have had challenges with accessing or keeping an ABN, the Self Employed Australia group would really like to know about it. And their membership is worth exploring. If ever you did end up with a case against the ATO, knowing this group is on your side is going to be worth it. Feel free to contact me (Kathie) direct if you wish to discuss. You can find me online or ask the AVAA committee to put you in contact with me.

Kathie M. Thomas,
AVAA Past President