We are all familiar with the purpose of a signature however with the constant development of technology observed over the past few years - things have dramatically advanced. 

We have experienced a shift away from hard copy and physical documents sent with 'snail mail', toward electronic documents shared via email, cloud-based software and online sharing services.
But the ease of electronic document usage presented us with a unique problem - how do we get the recipient to sign it? 

Don't fear however, as you may or may not be aware, there is now the ability to use electronic and digital signatures to avoid any issues and keep the document in soft copy form.

In fact, the E-Signature sector is booming - now on track to be worth an excess of $5 billion by the decades end according to DocuSign CMO Dustin Grosse (1)

Despite its growing popularity and use - the concept can be confusing and complex to understand so here is what you need to know.

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The new sponsored Parent Visa Subclass 870 will allow Australian Citizens and some Permanent residents to be able to bring over a parent to live in Australia for up to 5 years and will be far more advantageous over previous subclasses offered.

What do the changes include?
It was announced that from 17 April 2019 applications to sponsor parents for either 3 years or 5 years under the new subclass 870 will be open. Visa applications will be open from 1 July 2019.

  • The Government has announced that 15,000 visas in this category will be granted in each program year.
  • There is no "balance of family" test for this visa as it provides for temporary entry of biological or step-parents.
  • The sponsors must be Australian Citizens or Permanent Residents who are usually resident in Australia for four years.

Analysis & Comment:
This new subclass of visa been highly anticipated and it likely to prove popular with many Australian permanent residents and citizens who wish to bring out a parent for an extended period of time. The huge advantage of this visa over the other parent visa sub-categories is that the "balance of family" test will not apply. That will open the market to many more people who are now able to sponsor their parent to Australia.

Financial capability for the sponsor will be a necessary requirement to demonstrate that the sponsor is able to support the parent or parents in Australia for an extended period of time. This is particularly the case as the visa holders will not be granted work rights and will have to maintain health insurance while they are in Australia.

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Australia is facing one of the worst drought crises on record to hit Aussie farmers over the past few decades. With 98 per cent of NSW, over half of Queensland, accompanied with sections of Victoria, South Australia and Western Australia being drought stricken, the NSW Australian government has recognized the severity and on-going extent Australian Farmers are being affected by. To support farmers devastated by drought and its conditions, the NSW Government released an Emergency Drought Relief Package valued at $500 million on the 30 July 2018 to assist in deficiency management.

Since release, consistent extension and alterations throughout the first quarter of 2019 have been added to this package, now valued at over $1.1 billion with various beneficial Financial and Taxation assistance. If you have direct connection, or have affiliation with drought-affected taxpayers, it’s important in this current ambiguous climate to be aware of any financial assistance made available to taxpayers by the Australian Tax Office (ATO) to aid in the process of drought recovery affecting on-going rural businesses.

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“Tonight, I announce that the Budget is back in the black, and Australia is back on track…paying its own way.”

“Australia is stronger than when we came to Government six years ago. Growth is higher. Unemployment is lower. There are fewer people on welfare. There are a record number of Australians with a job. School and hospital funding are at record levels.”

“So, tonight, I am pleased to announce a Budget surplus of $7.1 billion” (albeit a forecast surplus for 2019-20) …"a $55-billion turnaround on the deficit we inherited six years ago” … and “A total of $45 billion of surpluses over the next four years.”

So said Treasurer Josh Frydenberg, as he handed down his first Federal Budget on 2 April 2019, a Budget he said intended to focus on restoring the nation’s finances, create new jobs with a strong skills and infrastructure agenda, and guarantee schools, hospitals and aged care. And, as he frequently emphasised “all done without increasing taxes”.

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Following our recent article on 29 January 2019 about Single Touch Payroll (STP), Commissioner Chris Jordan has published a statement in regards to transition to Single Touch Payroll for small employers.

STP, also known as ‘pay day reporting’, transmits employee tax and super information to the Australia Taxation Office (ATO) directly or through third party software providers after each pay run. STP reporting commenced on 1 July 2018 for employers with 20 or more employees, and there are around 45,000 businesses currently doing STP reporting under this regime.

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With the emergence of new technology every year it’s important for businesses of every size to adopt it as an integral part of their strategy and budget. Integrations between business processes and technology is no longer a luxury but a requirement to stay ahead of the curve and beat competition to have the most lean and efficient processes to increase that bottom line revenue.

According to a research piece by Gartner, organisations are facing immense competition on a local and global scale. To remain competitive and improve their bottom line, businesses are urged to turn to process improvement through ‘Business Process Management’ Automation (BPM).

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Last Friday the 22nd of February, at 8:45pm, the Israeli spacecraft Beresheet launched atop a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from Cape Canaveral, Florida. At a cost of US$100 million, Beresheet was the first privately financed mission to the moon.

On the 30th of March, 2021, NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope is set to be hurled into space, coming to rest 1,500,000 kilometres from Earth. This US$9.5 billion telescope will replace the Hubble Space telescope. That old timer was launched in 1990 and itself cost about US$4 billion.

Exploring space costs a lot of money; money that many people will say could be better spent. Would it be more beneficial to forget about space, and worry about what’s under our feet? There would certainly be a lot of great ways to spend $10 billion on our own rocky planet. There is a never-ending list of important public issues that require funding, such as healthcare, education, and taking better care of the environment (to name a few).

Smarter people than me are employed to make those choices, however, I would encourage anybody to consider the broader benefits to society that space exploration provides, before being so quick to dismiss the investment.

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We are already half way through the first quarter of 2019, and if you have not already, now is a great time to consider exploring planning oppurtunities for either your business or personal tax affairs. Assessing the shape of your business before year end can offer various benefits and improved financial outcomes year end. Strategic planning of key financial situations ensures there are no surprises come end of year. 

What do we mean by planning?

Essentially it is the process of proactively analysing the financial situation of the current year and developing the strategies ensure you are maximising the claims your business is entitled to.

It is recommended that this review activity is completed either in the middle or towards the end of the financial year, this allows you enough time to develop and implement new strategies. For example, an estimated tax obligation based on the current and projected business performance can then be forecasted and aligned with stakeholders. Knowing your future obligations is critical to managing cash flow planning for the year ahead.

It is important to note that this process is not limited to only complex structures and/or larger corporations. Taxpayers contemplating even the most ordinary transactions should thoroughly consider tax review and the consequences to ensure that they do not suffer adverse tax outcomes, below are a few key reasons as to why you should consider and implement planning tax activity for your business.

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