Call to end retrospective R&D audits for business

Original article by Tom McIlroy
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 9 : 12-Dec-19

Small Business & Family Enterprise Ombudsman Kate Carnell has recommended changes to the administration of R&D tax incentives following a review of the scheme. Amongst other things, she has proposed that the federal government cease requiring recipients to undergo retrospective audits, often some years after they received the tax incentive. Carnell notes that the Australian Taxation Office has frequently required small businesses to repay the full amount of the tax incentive after an audit, including harsh financial penalties.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIA. OFFICE OF THE AUSTRALIAN SMALL BUSINESS AND FAMILY ENTERPRISE OMBUDSMAN, AUSTRALIAN TAXATION OFFICE, AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF THE TREASURY, AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF INDUSTRY, INNOVATION AND SCIENCE, AIRTASKER PTY LTD

No senior minister but mega department will work

Original article by Olivia Caisley
The Australian – Page: 4 : 12-Dec-19

The Department of Agriculture, Water & the Environment will be formally established on 1 February, as part of the federal government’s plans to streamline the bureaucracy. The existing ministers for each portfolio – Bridget McKenzie, Sussan Ley and David Littleproud – will remain in these roles, and McKenzie has confirmed that the new department will not have a senior minister. She is confident that the three ministers will work well together and that the new department will deliver "real outcomes" for regional communities.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF AGRICULTURE AND WATER RESOURCES, AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF THE ENVIRONMENT AND ENERGY

Carbon accounting trick a no-go for ALP

Original article by Rosie Lewis
The Australian – Page: 4 : 12-Dec-19

Energy Minister Angus Taylor says the federal government will only use Kyoto carry-over credits to the extent necessary to meet its 2030 carbon emissions reduction targets under the Paris climate agreement. Opposition leader Anthony Albanese has reiterated that Labor will not use the carry-over credits if it wins the next federal election. Meanwhile, a report produced by Climate Analytics on behalf of the Australia Institute has questioned the legality of using carry-over credits.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF THE ENVIRONMENT AND ENERGY, AUSTRALIAN LABOR PARTY, CLIMATE ANALYTICS, THE AUSTRALIA INSTITUTE LIMITED

Time for Adani to deliver on jobs

Original article by Greg Brown
The Australian – Page: 4 : 12-Dec-19

Labor leader Anthony Albanese says Adani’s Carmichael coal mine has been approved, so the company should begin creating the jobs that it has promised. Adani in turn argues that it already employees hundreds of people. Albanese has also used his tour of regional Queensland to call for labour-hire workers in the mining sector to receive the same pay as direct employees, contending that some are paid up to 40 per cent less. He has also criticised the federal government for its lack of action regarding the low wages of labour-hire workers.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIAN LABOR PARTY, ADANI MINING PTY LTD, BHP GROUP LIMITED – ASX BHP, MITSUBISHI CORPORATION

Federal budget could be set for $30b boost: CBA

Original article by Matthew Cranston
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 8 : 12-Dec-19

The Commonwealth Bank has upgraded its federal Budget surplus forecasts. Chief economist Michael Blythe says the surplus for fiscal 2020 is now likely to be $17.1bn rather than $7.1bn, while the surplus for the following year is set to be $19.1bn rather than $11bn. Blythe adds that factors such as strong jobs growth and the low inflation rate will boost the Budget bottom line by about $30bn over the next four years. He notes that government revenue will also be bolstered by a much higher iron ore rice than was forecast in the April 2019 Budget.

CORPORATES
COMMONWEALTH BANK OF AUSTRALIA – ASX CBA, S&P GLOBAL RATINGS

ATO labels 102 companies as systemic non-payers of tax

Original article by Tom McIlroy
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 8 : 12-Dec-19

Data from the Australian Taxation Offices shows that the combined tax take from the nation’s 2,200 largest corporate taxpayers was $52.3bn in 2017-18. The data shows that 710 companies did not pay any tax during the financial year, while deputy commissioner Rebecca Saint says 102 companies across all sectors of the economy are "systemic non-payers". She notes that tax receipts from oil and gas companies will increase in coming years, after many booked losses during the construction phase of their projects.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIAN TAXATION OFFICE

ANZ-Roy Morgan Consumer Confidence up to 109.0 (corrected)

Original article by Roy Morgan
Market Research Update – Page: Online : 12-Dec-19

ANZ-Roy Morgan Australian Consumer Confidence rose 0.8% to 109.0 in the week ended 8 December – a second straight increase during the early weeks of December. In the run-up to Christmas the good news for retailers is that the ‘time to buy a household item’ index gained 1.9%, building on the previous week’s gain of 5.3% following the Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales. In addition consumers became more confident about their current personal financial situation with a 1% increase from a week ago, although there was a 3.9% drop in regards to future financial conditions over the next 12 months. Consumers have also become more confident about the performance of the Australian economy going forward with an increase of 3.9% for current economic conditions and an increase of 2.7% for future economic conditions, although both indicators remain below long-term averages. The four-week moving average of inflation expectations was down 0.1ppt to 3.9%, as the weekly reading softened to 3.9%.

CORPORATES
ROY MORGAN LIMITED, AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND BANKING GROUP LIMITED – ASX ANZ

ANZ-Roy Morgan Consumer Confidence up to 108.1

Original article by Roy Morgan
Market Research Update – Page: Online : 11-Dec-19

ANZ-Roy Morgan Australian Consumer Confidence rose 0.8% to 109.0 in the week ended 8 December, continuing the upward momentum of the previous week. Households’ views towards current financial conditions rose 1%, while views towards future financial conditions fell 3.9%. Consumers’ views toward current economic conditions rebounded from a four-year low, rising 3.9%; views towards future economic conditions gained 2.7%, but both remain well below average. The ‘time to buy a household item’ index gained 1.9%, building on the previous week’s gain of 5.3%, although it remains well below its long-run average. The four-week moving average of inflation expectations was down 0.1ppt to 3.9%, as the weekly reading softened to 3.9%.

CORPORATES
ROY MORGAN LIMITED, AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND BANKING GROUP LIMITED – ASX ANZ

Tourists not warned of risks

Original article by Rachel Baxendale, Mark Schliebs, Tessa Akerman
The Australian – Page: 1 & 4 : 11-Dec-19

New Zealand police have confirmed the death of a sixth person in the White Island volcano eruption, with fears that the death toll will rise. Three Australians are believed to be among the dead, and Prime Minister Scott Morrison has warned that more casualties are expected, with up to eight Australians still missing. Meanwhile, tour operators are under scrutiny for allowing people to explore the volcano’s crater only weeks after GNS Science upgraded the island’s seismic alert classification to level 2.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF THE PRIME MINISTER AND CABINET, GNS SCIENCE, NEW ZEALAND. DEPT OF THE PRIME MINISTER AND CABINET

Slide in wages could risk tax cuts, surplus

Original article by Matthew Cranston
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 9 : 10-Dec-19

The Wage Price Index growth rate for 2019-20 is forecast to be 2.75 per cent, but wages increased by just 2.2 per cent in the September quarter. Westpac economist Bill Evans expects the federal government to downgrade its wage growth forecast in the mid-year budget update; he warns that this in turn may affect the size of the surplus and the Coalition’s ability to bring forward the second stage of its income tax cuts package. Evans notes that the price of iron ore is trading well above the government’s forecasts, which will help offset any revenue shortfall from slowing wages growth.

CORPORATES
WESTPAC BANKING CORPORATION – ASX WBC, DELOITTE ACCESS ECONOMICS PTY LTD, MORGAN STANLEY AUSTRALIA LIMITED, AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF FINANCE