Welcome to 2019! Here are some of the legal changes taking effect as we tick over into the new year that will impact businesses large and small, both negatively and positively.
Stricter controls on credit cards
One of the biggest changes to come into effect from New Year’s Day is tighter controls on the issuing of new credit cards.
Banks and card providers are now required to assess a credit card applicant’s ability to repay the full limit within three years. The same applies for anyone requesting an increase to the limit on their existing credit card.
According to ASIC, the measures are aimed at preventing consumers being trapped by unsuitable credit card contracts while still being able to access credit through these cards.
In good news for card holders, providers are now expressly banned from charging retrospective interest on balances benefiting from an interest-free period.
More information on the credit card changes is available on ASIC’s MoneySmart website.
Payroll tax burden eases
As previously reported by My Business, South Australia has lifted the payroll tax threshold.
From 1 January 2019, all businesses based in the state with total taxable payrolls nationwide of up to $1.5 million are now be exempt from paying payroll tax.
The state government, which announced the measures in its last budget, said the move would save an estimated 3,200 businesses as much as $44,550 annually.
Reporting of operating leases
Back in August, a Brisbane-based accounting firm warned of changes to requirements about reporting operating leases could catch businesses off-guard.
Chris King of Pilot Chartered Accountants said the new rule would require operating leases to be listed on a company’s balance sheet, and not as a rental or lease payment expense, which would impact a range of financial metrics including EBITDA and gearing ratios.
Copyright protections extended
The duration of copyright provisions has been amended, affording creators 70 years from the year of production exclusive copyright over their works.
The full breakdown of copyright protections can be found on through the Department of Communications and the Arts.
‘Tampon tax’, luxury car tax scrapped
The new year will see the GST officially removed from feminine hygiene products, following a lengthy campaign by women’s groups as well as the federal opposition and Greens parties.
That will have accounting implications for all companies that manufacture, distribute or sell such products.
Similarly, the luxury car tax on re-imported vehicles that have been refurbished overseas will also be removed.
Adam Zuchetti is the editor of My Business, and has steered the publication’s editorial direction since early 2016.