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Budget 2017: 10-Minute Guide for SMEs
Regulatory and compliance

Budget 2017: 10-Minute Guide for SMEs

While there were a few clear winners from Budget 2017/18, small business owners may feel somewhat...

Why Your Business Should Invest in OHS
Regulatory and compliance

Why Your Business Should Invest in OHS

Ethics It may come as warm and welcome information that in the current Australian business world...

Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) Management System
Regulatory and compliance

Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) Management System

What is an OHS management system and what should it include? An OHS management system is a...

Transitioning from a sole trader to a micro-business
Regulatory and compliance

Transitioning from a sole trader to a micro-business

Operating as a sole trader may be a viable option for the first year, but once sales pick up and...

Registering a Business Name in NSW
Regulatory and compliance

Registering a Business Name in NSW

Registering a business name in NSW The NSW Department of Fair Trading used to manage business name...

Registering a business name in Victoria
Regulatory and compliance

Registering a business name in Victoria

Registering a business name in Victoria The steps to register a business name are: Apply for an...

Changes to the Fair Work Act 2009 (commencing 1 January 2013)
Regulatory and compliance

Changes to the Fair Work Act 2009 (commencing 1 January 2013)

A number of proposed changes to the Fair Work Act 2009 can now be confirmed, as of 1 January 2013,...

What Should You Include in Your Social Media Policy?
Regulatory and compliance

What Should You Include in Your Social Media Policy?

No matter if your business is on social media or not, your employees and partners most probably...

How Some Small Business Organizations Are Becoming A Perfect Place For Workplace Injuries
Regulatory and compliance

How Some Small Business Organizations Are Becoming A Perfect Place For Workplace Injuries

Just because none of your employees has ever got injured in the workplace does not necessarily mean...

Medicinal Cannabis and the Workplace
Regulatory and compliance

Medicinal Cannabis and the Workplace

Earlier this year, the Australian parliament passed new laws allowing medicinal cannabis to be...

Regulatory and compliance

Regulatory compliance is an organization's adherence to laws, regulations, guidelines and specifications relevant to its business. Depending on your the industry and type of business, the regulations can be relatively undemanding or incredibly complex. Before entering any industry it is important to get a sense of the specific regulations that apply to you in particular. Always consult a lawyer prior to starting any new business to ensure you fully understand your obligations.

There are a number of standards which apply to all businesses regardless of their size, type or industry:

Business registration and reporting

All businesses must be registered in order to pay taxes and meet reporting obligations. There are a number of different business structures which operate in different ways, including sole traders, partnerships, companies and trusts. Each structure requires some form of business registration in order to receive an ABN (Australian Business Number), additionally, companies receive an ACN (Australian Company Number) and operate as separate legal entities to the directors - this limits the director’s personal liability and means that the company must file a separate tax return.

If a business turns over more than $75,000 it must register for and pay GST (Goods and Service Tax), regardless of its business structure, and businesses with employees will have to pay payroll tax if their total wages paid out exceed their state’s payroll threshold.  

All businesses must lodge a Business Activity Statement (BAS) and meet financial reporting and accounting standards. Businesses may be subjected to an audit and are expected to keep records for 7 years.

Employment law

All employers are required to follow the fair work act and be sure to read it prior to hiring staff. It includes ten employment standards that regulate:

  • Hours of work
  • Request for flexible working arrangements
  • Annual leave
  • Personal/carer's leave
  • Compassionate leave
  • Community service leave
  • Public holidays
  • Unpaid parental leave
  • Paid parental leave
  • Notice of termination and redundancy pay

In addition, all employers are required to handle benefits and entitlements, wages, superannuation, long service leave, taxation, varying terms and conditions of employment, occupational health and safety, record keeping, firing an employee, notice for termination, redundancy pay, summary termination and termination payments according to federal and state legislature. Further, all employers are subject to the same legal restrictions on discrimination and unfair dismissal, which apply universally. If you are looking to hire staff, refer to our page on employment law for more information.

Competition, consumer and trade practice law

Consumer protection laws also apply to all businesses and prevent false and misleading representations and provide for mandatory warranties. The first of these regulations prevents businesses from deceiving the public or acting in a way which would be likely to deceive the public, and the second provides for a basic standard in providing refunds, free repairs, replacements or compensation in the event that the goods purchased were faulty or broken.

Similarly, no business is permitted to engage in restrictive trade practices, including anti-competitive arrangements, price fixing, boycotts, misuse of market power, exclusive dealing or resale price maintenance. Read more about these topics on our competition, consumer and trade practices page.

ATO resources

Certain industries and activities are subject to increased oversight and regulation. Follow these links to the ATOs resources on common regulations: