New Gift Card Laws from 1st November 2019
Amendments have been made to the Australian Consumer Law (ACL) to provide protections for gift card consumers across Australia. These national changes apply to gift cards supplied to consumers on or after 1 November 2019.
Cards and vouchers sold before 1 November 2019 continue to have the same expiry period and applicable fees as at the time of purchase.
Fundamentals of gift card legislation
With some exclusions, the fundamental changes relating to gift cards sold on or after 1 November 2019 are:
- a minimum three year expiry period for gift cards;
- gift cards must display expiry dates; and
- most post purchase fees on gift cards are banned.
Three-year minimum expiry period
The new legislation requires most gift cards or vouchers be sold with a mandatory minimum expiry period of three years.
The three year requirement does not apply to gift cards that are:
- able to be reloaded or topped up
- for a good or service available for a limited time where the card or voucher expires at the end of that period (eg. entry to a concert or museum exhibition)
- supplied to a purchaser of goods or services as part of a temporary marketing promotion (eg. a wine voucher valid for one month that is mailed to a consumer as a free bonus with a purchased item and was not part of the purchase offer)
- donated free of charge for promotional purposes (eg. a local shopping centre has a one-day marketing promotion where each visitor to the centre on that day is handed a $20 gift card that is valid for use at any store in the centre for that day only)
- sold for a particular good or service at a genuine discount (e.g. $50 card for salon service valued at $100)
- supplied as part of an employee rewards program
- given as a bonus in connection with a purchase of a good or service for use in the same business (customer loyalty programs)
- second-hand gift cards.
- part of a temporary marketing promotion (e.g. customers buy a certain product from Business A, which provides a $50 voucher to use at Business B)
The period begins from the date a gift card is sold to a consumer. Businesses can choose to apply an expiry period longer than three years, and no maximum expiry period applies.
Expiry details must displayed on cards
Gift cards must prominently display the expiry date as either the full date or as a period of time. For example:
- Supply date: March 2020. This card will expire in 3 years
- This card expires 5 years after supply. Supply date 15/8/20
- Valid for 3 years from 11/19
If the expiry date is shown as a period of time, it must also include the date it was supplied or purchased so the expiry date can be determined.
A gift card must also state if there is no expiry date.
Ban on post-purchase fees
Once a gift card has been issued, there is a ban on charging any post-purchase fee, including:
- activation fees
- account keeping fees
- balance enquiry fees
The ban does not cover fees that a business can charge as part of a sale to cover the cost of processing a payment. Post purchase fees do not include:
- overseas transaction fees
- booking fees
- payment surcharge fees
- fees charged for the reissue of a lost, stolen or damaged card
Businesses are able to charge an upfront fee when a consumer purchases a gift card.
Preparing for the changes
In readiness for the changes, businesses should:
- update gift card terms and conditions on their website and other promotional material, including on physical gift cards
- update internal systems, training and compliance manuals
- place signage on gift card displays and at the point of sale
- make note of the changes on any receipt issued when a gift card is purchased.
After 1 November 2019, if terms and conditions of a gift card do not comply with the new legislation, they will be void and the new requirements will be applied regardless of what is written on the gift card.
Penalties for non-compliance
A breach of the laws could attract a $30,000 fine in the case of a body corporate, or $6,000 for individuals.
In addition, the ACCC has the ability to impose infringement notices. Each infringement notice is 55 penalty units (currently $11,500) for a body corporate and 11 units (currently $2,420) for persons other than a body corporate.
Further information can be found in the Explanatory Memorandum to the Treasury Laws Amendment (Gift Cards) Act 2018 and the Explanatory Statement to the Treasury Laws Amendment (Gift Card) Regulations 2018. The regulations set out exemptions to the arrangements and a small list of allowable post-purchase fees.
Small Business Digital Grants Program 2018
SMALL BUSINESS DIGITAL GRANTS PROGRAM 2018
Round 5 Applications Close 8 October 2018
Do you have plans / ideas for utilising digital technology to help you grow your market share / sales / gross profit / employee numbers?
Are you considering digital improvements in your business to take it to the next level?
Are you a small business with Queensland based headquarters?
What funding is available?
- Matched funding of up to $10,000 (excl GST) – minimum funding of $1,000 (i.e. project spend from $2,000 and up, but business must self-fund any project spend over $20,000).
- The business must show how the digital technology or service purchased and adopted will enhance the digital capabilities of their business, becoming more competitive and able to employ more staff.
What can funds be used for?
- Purchase of hardware, software and services (eg digital coaching)
- The digital technology or service must fall under one of four identified priority areas:
- content development (web pages, mobile apps, visual and audio media etc.);
- receiving payments or selling online;
- specialised digital technology or software (business specific);
- digital planning, marketing strategy development, and training.
What does the grant application need to include?
Due to the competitive nature of this grant (in addition to the usual requirements - such as detailed quotes, information on your financial contributions etc.), successful grant applications will need to clearly demonstrate:
- the impact the digital technology or service will have on the business including revenue growth, increase in gross profit, time savings, employment outcomes;
- the extent to which the digital technology or service will enhance the digital capabilities of the business to make the business more competitive;
- how the proposed digital activity is likely to achieve jobs growth.
Eligibility criteria to apply:
- Cannot have received funding under any previous Round of the Small Business Digital Grants
- Small businesses with Queensland headquarters and less than 20 employees;
- Turnover of $2m or less in last financial year;
- Have an ABN, registered for GST and not be insolvent.
For more information and to get your application started, please contact our Grants team at Power Tynan at email@example.com. We will be able to assist with the application for a fee of $500 (+GST).
Taxation of Cryptocurrencies - What You Need to Know
Initial ATO coverage of cryptocurrencies centred on Bitcoin, however their stance applies to the entire cryptocurrency universe. The ATO deems cryptocurrencies as CGT assets, which are defined as:
(a) any kind of property; or
(b) a legal or equitable right that is not property.
Therefore, the disposal of any cryptocurrency would give rise to a CGT event. A capital gain will be made where the proceeds of any sale exceed the cost to acquire the cryptocurrency. Similarly, like most CGT assets, if you have held the cryptocurrency for greater than 12 months, you will be eligible for a 50% discount on the gain.
If the currency is used or kept only for your personal use and enjoyment, the capital gain can be disregarded if the purchase cost is $10,000 or less. Cryptocurrency kept or used primarily to acquire items for personal use or consumption will satisfy the exemption. An example of where cryptocurrency would be considered to be a personal use asset is where an individual purchases cryptocurrency from a cryptocurrency exchange and uses the cryptocurrency to make purchases for their personal needs, such as food or clothing.
Cryptocurrency kept or used mainly for the purpose of profit-making or investment, or to facilitate purchases or sales in the course of carrying on business,
will not satisfy the exemption. An example of where cryptocurrency would not be a personal use asset is where an individual taxpayer mines Cryptocurrency and keeps those Cryptocurrency for a number of years with the intention of selling them at opportune times based on favourable rates of exchange.
The ATO's proposed tax treatment of cryptocurrencies is as follows:
- Investment - if you are holding cryptocurrency as an investment, you will pay capital gains tax on any profits when you dispose of them
- Trading - if you are trading cryptocurrency for profit, the profits will form part of your assessable income
- Carrying on a business - if you are using or accepting cryptocurrency as payment for goods or services, the goods or services will still be subject to GST
- Mining cryptocurrency - if you are mining cryptocurrency, any profits you make will be included in your assessable income
- Conducting an exchange - if you are buying and selling cryptocurrency as an exchange service, you will pay income tax on the profits
- GST - sales and purchases of digital currency are not subject to GST from 1 July 2017. This means that you do not charge GST on your sales of digital currency and similarly, you are not entitled to GST credits for purchases of digital currency.
SMSF Compliance Issues
If the cryptocurrency is held in your SMSF, there are additional aspects you need to consider:
- Trust deed – trustees should check that their SMSF trust deed does not prohibit investments in cryptocurrency
- Investment strategy – cryptocurrency is a relatively new investment class. SMSF trustees should ensure that if wanting to invest in cryptocurrency, the investment strategy is up to date and specifically permits investment in that class.
- Sole purpose test – SMSF trustees need to be prepared and able to demonstrate that the sole purpose test of investing for retirement has not been breached by cryptocurrency investment (some parties may be concerned that it is a purely speculative investment, or gambling).
- Ownership – crucial to compliance with superannuation legislation is evidence that all investments are appropriately registered in the name of the fund trustees, as trustee for the superannuation fund. This is to ensure that the SMSF has a legal enforceable right to all of its assets (including cryptocurrency). There may be difficulties in achieving this, depending on the cryptocurrency type. Taking Bitcoin as an example, storage of Bitcoin is in a digital wallet. The SMSF name must be noted on the wallet, but fund members should also avoid linking their personal credit cards to Bitcoin wallets. Linked personal credit cards create compliance nightmares, as it is a breach of the rules that require SMSF assets to be kept separate from personal ones. A separately documented declaration of trust may help with attesting ownership. Cryptocurrency must be purchased using existing cash from the SMSF bank account to avoid related party issues (see point below).
- Transactions with related parties – cryptocurrency cannot be used as an in-specie contribution to the SMSF, nor can a SMSF purchase cryptocurrency from members or related parties (related party acquisitions are limited to listed securities and business real property).
- Valuation – trustees need to ensure appropriate records are available to confirm holding quantities and cryptocurrency prices on 30 June each year, since the SMSF financial statements are by law required to show all investments at their market value.
If you need further guidance on any of the above, please contact your Power Tynan adviser.
Power Tynan wins prestigious industry awards
Power Tynan has taken out two of Australia’s most coveted SMSF awards.
The firm won both Community Engagement Program of the Year and Small Business Adviser of the Year, while team members Gilda Brisotto and Kymberlee Naumann were named as finalists in the SMSF Professional of the Year (Regional) category.
The SMSF and Accounting Awards is a new initiative which has been launched in partnership with Super Concepts to recognise individuals and businesses that are making their mark in SMSF and accounting advice by championing professionalism, quality advice and innovation.
Power Tynan Executive Director Brad Hancock said the firm were humbled by the wins.
“These awards would not have been possible without our incredible team” said Brad.
“Being recognised for our contribution to the industry also reinforces the strength of our brand in connecting with our clients and our community,” he added.
The winners were announced at a gala dinner at Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre on Thursday 26th October.
“Congratulations also to all the finalists, who came up against incredibly tough competition to secure a spot amongst the best in their locale,” said Terry Braithwaite, head of partnerships for SMSF Adviser.
“You are setting benchmarks for professionalism and quality which are helping your clients prepare for retirement, and protect and manage their hard-earned savings.”
Power Tynan receives national recognition for scholarship program
Power Tynan has been recognised at the 2017 AccountantsDaily Australian Accounting Awards.
Power Tynan was awarded Graduate Program of the Yearfor the second year in a row, acknowledging the firm’s scholarship program run in conjunction with the University of Southern Queensland (USQ). Based on graduate development initiatives, this award considers how the firm develops and retains quality staff through a structured development program.
“The Power Tynan Scholarship Program offers final year high school graduates the opportunity to study a business or commerce degree part-time at USQ while working for our company on a full time basis. We offer between one and four scholarships each year, and have done so for the last ten years,” said CEO Paul Hilton.
“We are extremely proud of this program. In regional areas such as Toowoomba and Stanthorpe, it can be difficult to entice the younger generation to stay in town after graduating from high school; however we have retained all scholarship recipients upon graduating and, due to this program, are a significant employer within our district.”
Zac Bichel is currently completing his final year of study via the University of Southern Queensland while working full time with Power Tynan, after being named as a scholarship recipient in 2013.
“Working in the industry has obviously helped in my studies but has also shown me the importance of practical knowledge”, said Zac. “I have gained a wide range of experience from my time at Power Tynan, moving from tax to superannuation and now to financial planning.”
Power Tynan were named as a finalist in three categories at the Australian Accounting Awards, being Graduate Program of the Year, Community Engagement Program of the Year and Young Accountant of the Year (Peter Rowe).
Members of the Power Tynan team attended the five-star gala dinner at The Sofitel Sydney Wentworth, where the winners of the fourth annual Australian Accounting Awards were announced to a crowd of 500 people.
Young accountants and the future of our profession
Are we equipping the next generation of accountants to thrive over the next 20 to 30 years? I fear not.
The future of our profession depends on the young people coming into accounting and developing their skills and capabilities both to be able to operate in our current work environment and to be able to adapt to change.
Some of the young people starting work in your firm over the next 12 months will be taking your place around the boardroom table in 10 or 15 years. What are you doing to equip them for that leadership responsibility?
Our universities have developed courses to train young people as accountants, yet are they simply turning out number crunchers because that is what gets a person employed in an accounting firm?
Do universities teach leadership skills in their accounting courses? Of course not. But that is not their fault. They are training young people for what they understand the profession requires.
Our profession continues a discussion about the enviroment in which we work. Understanding and being able to interpret the ever-changing tax laws is a key part of an accountant's capability, yet I do not believe it is anywhere near enough. We no longer simply provide our clients with advice about how best to manage their tax obligations. We are more involved in their business and financial decisions, and those conversations require a new set of skills.
A recent report by Deloitte Access Economics entitled "Soft skills for business success" forecast that soft skill-intensive occupations will account for two-thirds of all jobs by 2030, compared to half of all jobs in 2000. The good news for those of us who want our profession to grow is that accounting falls into that category. The number of jobs in soft-skill intensive occupations is expected to grow at 2.5 times faster than jobs in other occupations.
So what are soft skills? Simply, they are vital intangibles. To quote Deloitte Access Economics Report: "Soft skills are also referred to as employability skills, enterprise skills and they are transferable between industries and occupations. They include things like communication, teamwork, and problem solving, as well as emotional judgement, professional ethics and global citizenship."
Accounting is a rapidly increasingly "soft skill" profession. And that is not tax law.
So how much responsibility are firms taking in recruiting and training young people for our fast-changing profession? How much are we communicating with the universities about change? Not enough, from my observation.
But we cannot rely on universities alone. As accountants and leaders in our profession, we must take responsibility for the next generations.
But do we understand the skills that will be necessary for this new generation to be successful?
We will always need formal qualifications and technical skills, but they are only part of the skill mix needed for the future. Soft skills and personal attributes are just as important.
The World Economic Forum has identified 10 of the 16 "crucial proficiencies in the 21st century" as non-technical.
According to a report by the Commonwealth Department of Employment in 2016, a quarter of employers report having difficulty filling entry-level vacancies because applicants lack "employability" skills.
The Deloitte Access Economics Report found that the difference between demand and supply is "as large as 45 percentage points for communication skills alone" and, "despite the value that businesses place on soft skills, data from LinkedIn profiles reveals that less that one per cent of Australians report having any soft skills on their profiles."
The report suggests that, far from not having these skills, people under-report soft skills perhaps because we are uncomfortable with claiming skills without formal credentials or because we underestimate the relative importance of soft skills.
Young accountants need to embrace their profession, to learn and become the leaders of the future.
But simply throwing dollars at the issue won't create great leaders in the profession. That will come from the way that we as current owners and leaders interact with team members and clients so that younger members can see us leading by example.
It is the responsibility of the current leadership in the accounting profession to prepare the next generation and also to educate our clients about our changing role and capabilities.
Charitable Trust supports Stanthorpe Hospital Initiative
Many terminally ill patients wish to spend their final stages of life in the company of family and friends, making the most of the time they have left. Being confined to a hospital bed can make this difficult, whereas a relaxed, more private environment allows quality time together.
To make this a possibility, the Stanthorpe Hospital Palliative Care Unit is working with the community to bring palliative care to people in their own homes.
To assist with this community initiative, the Power Tynan Charitable Trust recently presented Dr Dan Halliday and Jan Faulconbridge with a $1,500 cheque.
“For a small town like Stanthorpe, we are really lucky to have such fantastic facilities and staff available at the hospital” said Dr Halliday. “We are continuously working with the community to make it even bigger and brighter.”
The Power Tynan Charitable Trust has donated over $130,000 to regional charities since its inception in 2010, and is open to the firm's staff, clients and all members of the public to contribute funds.
Executive Director Gilda Brisotto said staff at the firm vote to determine which charities the Trust will support each quarter.
"Many of our staff have known someone who has been cared for in the Palliative Care Unit, and were very passionate about supporting this cause,” she said.
Power Tynan Recognised at Australian Accounting Awards
Power Tynan has been nationally recognised at the 2015 Australian Accounting Awards, held in Sydney at the end of October.
Amanda Kenafake was awarded Executive of the Year as well as the AccountantsDaily Excellence Award, while Lauren Guymer was named Office Administrator of the Year.
Power Tynan were named as a finalist in five categories, being Graduate Program of the Year, Accounting Student of the Year (Ben Tansky), Executive of the Year (Amanda Kenafake), Office Administrator of the Year (Lauren Guymer) and Thought Leader of the Year (Paul Hilton).
“The AccountantsDaily Excellence Award recognises the top performer out of all of the category winners, so for Amanda to win this award shows we are achieving results in line with firms in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane. This is testament to the way we approach our challenging environment in relation to the services we are providing,” said CEO Paul Hilton.
“To be named as a finalist and win these awards against the likes of KPMG, PWC, Ernst & Young, Grant Thornton, Pitcher Partners and RSM Bird Cameron is a fantastic achievement for a regional firm.”
Members of the Power Tynan team attended the five-star gala dinner held in Sydney, where the winners for each category were announced in front of 350 guests.
The Australian Accounting Awards are in their second year, with Power Tynan winning two awards in 2014. These national awards recognise excellence across the entire accounting industry, promoted by the AccountantsDaily online newsletter and international software company Reckon.
Power Tynan Announces Appointment of New Directors
It is with great excitement that Power Tynan can announce the appointment of Gilda Brisotto, Sharon Baldwin, Brad Hancock and Dan Beck as Directors and equity owners, effective 1st October 2015.
Gilda has been with Power Tynan for over 20 years, starting out as a receptionist while studying accounting part time. After graduating from university, and completing her CPA membership in 2004, she became an equity owner in 2008 and has been managing the Stanthorpe office for the past seven years. Gilda has a diverse client base including agricultural, retail and construction, and has a particular interest in property development and real estate.
Sharon commenced working with Power Tynan as an undergraduate accountant in 2001. From here, she has progressed to managing the Toowoomba accounting division for the past two years. Sharon has a strong client base, some of which she was worked with for up to 14 years, and enjoys watching them grow and prosper.
Brad joined the Power Tynan team in 2005 and has quickly progressed through the ranks to become the youngest director of Power Tynan at 29 years of age. His drive to improve manifests itself in his work and a real passion to see his clients succeed. Brad works with clients across a vast array of industries from retail, hospitality, professional services and agriculture. His ‘no holds barred’ approach is a true asset to Power Tynan.
Dan commenced with Power Tynan in 2014 as Practice Manager and ‘Chief Geek’, overseeing our internal finance, HR, IT and practice management systems. Prior to joining Power Tynan, Dan worked in other professional services firms within the accounting and engineering industries, and brings with him project and general management skills.
Existing Directors Paul Hilton and Amanda Kenafake welcome Gilda, Sharon, Brad and Dan as fellow Directors, and are excited with the continued growth of the business.
Please join with us in congratulating Gilda, Sharon, Brad and Dan on their recent appointment.
Power Tynan would also like to thank all clients and strategic partners for their ongoing support, and we look forward to building our relationships with you.
Local accountants boost Rosie’s Street Outreach
For many of us, the ability and opportunity to socialise with our friends is a given, and can sometimes be taken for granted. Unfortunately, there are people within our community who struggle to interact with others, going unnoticed about their day to day lives.
For these individuals, Rosie’s Toowoomba provides unconditional acceptance and friendship via their Street Outreach programs, which run three times a week throughout the city.
To assist with this invaluable initiative, the Power Tynan Charitable Trust recently presented Jon Martlew from Rosie’s Toowoomba with a $1,500 cheque.
"Our work is mostly funded by donations such as this from the local community, so we really appreciate the support,” said Jon. “Regardless of the weather, our team are there to provide friendship and encouragement, as well as a cuppa and a bite to eat.”
The funds donated by the Trust will be used to not only operate the Street Outreach programs, but also to provide backpack beds to those in need.
Many of the people we see at our Street Outreaches are homeless or at risk of homelessness, so we also have backpack beds available’ said Jon. “Not only are these easy for the individual to pack up and transport when they are moved along, they are also insulated and fire retardant.”
The Power Tynan Charitable Trust has donated over $130,000 to regional charities since its inception in 2010, and is open to the firm's staff, clients and all members of the public to contribute funds.
Executive Director Amanda Kenafake said staff at the firm vote to determine which charities the Trust will support each quarter.
"Many of our staff have seen the Rosie’s Street Outreach team in action within our community, and feel it is a fantastic cause to support,” she said. “We are also looking forward to volunteering at these Street Outreach programs in the future.”
Rosie’s Toowoomba run their Street Outreach programs three times a week – Wednesdays at Harlaxton Park (5pm – 7pm), Fridays at the corner of Ruthven Street and Chalk Drive (5pm – 7pm) and Sundays at Clewley Park on Water Street (10:30am – 12:30pm). For more information, visit www.rosies.org.au.