Take a look back at this year’s most-read stories on My Business and the topics that mattered most to business leaders across Australia.
Number 10: Facebook plans to ‘remove’ business posts
Rounding out the top 10 on the most-read list was the January announcement that Facebook would overhaul its processes, placing more emphasis on original content by individual users and reducing the visibility of business posts — unless they paid for them.
The changes were rolled over the subsequent months.
No one likes paying tax at the best of times, let alone paying more than is actually needed or required. So it’s no surprise that the ATO’s revelation of an error in its tax withheld calculator led some employers to withhold a higher rate of tax.
The ATO went on to say that the problem “affected a small number of employees with a higher education loan debt” between 1 and 11 July 2018.
Another day, another rule it seems for the nation’s employers, making it easy to overlook one here and there.
It turns out that sick leave is, under its legal definition, not meant to include pre-scheduled medical appointments.
Readers were somewhat divided about the implications, though, as to whether employers should be, or would be criticised for, enforcing it with their own teams.
Number 7: ATO opens up on what triggers an audit
Tax matters were a common theme among the most-read articles. This one was noteworthy for getting some insight into the red flags the ATO looks at when determining which businesses and individuals it wants to take a closer look at.
It was triggered by the news that some 5,000 accountants themselves owe money to the tax office — and yes, this can have implications for their clients, the ATO confirmed.
Number 6: How long does it take to become an Australian citizen, and what rights and responsibilities come with it?
Seems like plenty of people are wanting the right to call themselves an Aussie, with this article on becoming an Australian citizen making it to number six on the most-read list.
The process has become a lot less certain in the past two years, with the government winding up the popular 457 working holiday visa and more recently pledging to cut the country’s migration intake.
Another one relating to tax, this time with the ATO setting its sights on a commonly used loophole in the rules for business on Fringe Benefits Tax.
Months later, the tax office clarified its position in a bid to provide businesses with some much-needed clarity.
Making it back-to-back on the list was the ATO issuing guidance on what attracts its attention, just in time for the transition to a new financial year.
Hint: Most of it comes down to a lack of basic common sense or documented proof.
It was lauded on its introduction several years ago as a major initiative to support the growth ambitions of small businesses. But what it is and how it can be claimed has been quite a mystery to many of its intended recipients.
Adding to the confusion is that the “temporary measure” has been repeatedly extended for another year, and was then let to expire from 1 July this year before Federal Parliament finally got around to approving the most recent extension into the 2018–19 financial year in September.
This article attempted to sort the facts from the political puffery, and while originally published in 2017, was still sought-after enough by confused business leaders to be one of the most-read of 2018.
Many businesses utilise casual employees — particularly SMEs.
So when a court ruled in a particular case that a casual employee working regular hours could in fact be entitled to the same leave provisions as permanent workers, there was considerable fear that employers of all size could be left with hefty backpay bills, as well as anger at the seeming “double-dipping” it would allow over leave/casual loading payments.
Only this month did the government unveil plans to change the law, to stipulate that any casual loading previously paid to an employee will be offset against any potential claim for permanent entitlements, should similar claims proceed to court in the future.
Technically, this wasn’t a single article, but it was far and away the most-read on My Business this year.
The final two weeks in May were dominated by the Royal Commission into Misconduct in the Banking, Superannuation and Financial Services Industry, which held a round of public hearings to specifically delve into lending to SMEs.
My Business ran a live round-up of proceedings as they happened, as shocking revelations of impropriety, misconduct and even potentially illegal behaviour by some of Australia’s banks and lenders came to light and a number of businesses revealed how their lender in effect sent them to the wall.
The final report from the commission is due for release in early 2019.
This list was accurate as at 20 December 2018.
Adam Zuchetti is the editor of My Business, and has steered the publication’s editorial direction since early 2016.