Dealing With Australian Corporate Regulators And Company Tax- Things You Need To Know

If you have a company incorporated in Australia, you’ll be interested to learn that you’ve actually got the regulators on your side. General regulatory policy for ASIC and the ATO is actually to be as supportive as possible in the framework of their legislation.

If someone’s issued with a director penalty notice for outstanding company taxes, the ATO will advise regarding options available. If you’re having an issue with ASIC regulations, you can ask ASIC to explain the situation and for assistance in dealing with their requirements.

The real role of the corporate regulators

Perhaps one of the most bizarre of all corporate sector images is of a faceless regulatory bureaucracy, determined to do companies out of every cent and micro manage every facet of business. Nothing could possibly be further from the truth or for that matter less practical from a regulatory perspective. The fact is that the regulators need to be supportive and work with the corporate sector, not against it.

The company laws and taxation laws are basically the rule books for companies to carry out business. The idea is to create a working framework for transparency and accountability in doing business in Australia.

For example:

If you’re doing business with someone in Australia, the public record contains enough basic information to establish their bona fides. If a company owes taxes, that may affect its ability to trade legitimately, if the tax debt makes the company insolvent.

Company business and directors legal obligations can be complex and quite difficult to understand. ASIC provides a support system to ask questions and get answers about these often tricky issues.

A company paying GST may actually cost itself money by not claiming properly on its own GST payments. The ATO provides advice and support for GST and many other tax issues, including basic accounting practices related to tax.

The regulators also keep an eye on the quality of their own services. If you’re not satisfied with the information you receive from a regulator, or the conduct of their staff, you can complain directly to the regulator’s management, or to a Commonwealth ombudsman.

Any individual or corporation has the right to appeal a statutory action against them. This can be done either within the regulatory framework or by legal action if necessary.

Some things regulators can’t do

  • Corporate insolvency- If a company is insolvent, the regulator can only advise regarding statutory procedures. In cases like this, you’ll need the services of insolvency practitioners to deal with the specifics.
  • Legal opinions and advice- Australian regulators cannot give legal advice.
  • Scope of services and advisory roles- The regulators can only advise within the frame of reference of their portfolios.
  • Debt recovery- Regulators can’t be parties to disputes regarding debt. You’ll need the services of a debt collection agency.
  • Civil claims against other companies- The regulators can’t be directly involved in these claims unless there is a definite statutory link to issues related to the dispute.

If you’ve got a problem, just call the regulators. If they can’t help, they’ll have a good idea who can.

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