In response to the recommendations of the Black Economy Taskforce’s Final Report, the Government has announced a series of measures in the 2018-19 Budget for tackling the black economy that the Government will develop and consult on.
Key changes include:
- reforms to the Australian Business Number (ABN) system. Consultation will be undertaken on a new ABN framework, including the potential introduction of an ABN renewal scheme. The Government has agreed it should integrate the Companies Register, Australian Business Register (ABR) and Business Names Register into a single register maintained by a single agency. The Government is also developing a Director Identification Number (DIN) as part of the Modernising Business Registers program.
- introduction of a cash payment limit from 1 July 2019 that removes the ability of any individual or business to make a single transaction in cash in excess of $10,000. The limit will apply to all payments made to businesses for goods and services. Transactions in excess of this amount would need to be made through an electronic payment system or by cheque. The limit will not apply to transactions with financial institutions or consumer-to-consumer non-business transactions.
- the Government has agreed in principle that the payment of salary and wages into bank accounts is preferable to the payment of cash. Consultation will be held with industry on options to encourage the electronic payment of salary and wages, noting the particular impact on small business.
- strengthening anti-money laundering laws. The Government is progressing extending money laundering laws to the trust accounts of real estate agencies, accountants and solicitors and imposing Know-Your-Customer obligations on these professionals.
- reforms to the corporations and tax laws to deter and disrupt illegal phoenix activity. The package includes reforms to:
- introduce new phoenix offences to target those who conduct or facilitate illegal phoenixing;
- prevent directors improperly backdating resignations to avoid liability or prosecution;
- limit the ability of directors to resign when this would leave the company with no directors.