by Ceclia Do

The Franchising Industry has been highly important in the Australian economy, making up to 9 per cent of the country’s GDP, according to the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Corporations and Financial Services (“the Committee”).

The recent string of scandals involving major franchisors such as Domino’s Pizza, 7-Eleven, Caltex and Retail Food Group which owns Michel Pastisserie, Brumby's, Gloria Jeans, Donut King and the Crust Pizza brand, and the financial difficulties faced mostly by Franchisees as a result of the failure of the business they heavily invested in, have triggered the Committee to conduct an inquiry into the franchise industry.

On 14 March 2019, the Committee released a report on Fairness in Franchising inquiry, looking in-depth into the current practices and workings of the industry, particularly into the relationship between Franchisors and their Franchisees.

by Peter Chakty

Anyone who has been fortunate (or cursed) enough to have worked as an accountant, are likely to have been greeted at one time or another by the same response when explaining their profession to their family and friends. It goes something like this, “Oh you’re an accountant?” “How boring” “Don’t you just add up numbers all day?” This couldn’t be further from the truth and is a common and frustrating misconception of what it means to be a ‘modern accountant.’

by Allison Menzies

Following an expose presented by Four Corners, the ATO has been forced to defend itself against allegations of bullying towards small and medium enterprises, which some business owners claim has placed them not only in emotional, but financial distress. The ATO has vehemently denied these claims, insisting that the stories uncovered in the Four Corners investigation are representative of none but a small minority of SME disputes.

Allegations of the ATO’s inappropriate conduct to meet revenue targets include a whistle-blower’s recount of how instructions were given to Tax Office staff to issue garnishee notices over taxpayers who had been assessed as owing the ATO money, without prior assessment of their personal circumstances. These garnishee notices often result in recurring payments from a taxpayer’s bank account, whenever money available. Often these transactions leave businesses without sufficient funds to pay wages or meet other financial obligations.

Fund Options (Australia) Pty Limited
ACN 603 782 903
(In Liquidation) ("the Company")

On 15 May 2015, David Iannuzzi was appointed Liquidator of the Company.

As a result of the investigations undertaken by the Liquidator, it has been discovered that the Company was apparently trading binary options online using a platform called “BancDe Options” from a Hong Kong based website and a platform called “Options Rider” from a New Zealand based website.

These websites served as a global marketplace / platform for “investors” who wished to trade binary options over stocks or currencies.  The business of the Company is suspected to have been a Ponzi scheme.

by Paul Fury

In August 2018, the Federal Government released for public comment draft legislation aimed at combating illegal phoenixing activity. However, even if enacted, it is questionable if the proposed legislation will have a great deal of effect.

A longstanding difficulty with illegal phoenixing is that the term is not defined either in the Corporations Act or by case law. However, it is broadly understood to mean the transfer of the assets of an insolvent company to a new entity with the company being left as just an indebted shell.

The draft legislation does not address this definition issue. Instead, it introduces in proposed section 588FDB of the Corporations Act the new concept of a “creditor-defeating disposition”. This term is central to the proposed legislation.

by Roslyn Cossins

According to figures recently reported by ATO staff at a forum for insolvency practitioners, the Deputy Commissioner of Taxation (“DCT”) has over 52,600 insolvency accounts with a combined debt of over $7.2 billion. It is no surprise, therefore, and especially to those who work within the insolvency industry, that the DCT is arguably Australia’s largest unsecured creditor.

So how does the DCT approach insolvency, and how can insolvency practitioners work with the ATO to achieve the best outcome for all stakeholders?

HootersLogoThe Group’s Administrators advise that Expressions of Interest (EOI) to purchase Hooters has now closed. There are a handful of genuine parties that the Administrators are currently liaising with.

“The EOI process allows for a fair process to consider a potential rescue plan for the Group i.e. a Deed of Company Arrangement proposal from the Director versus engaging with new owners or management in order to continue the Hooters brand in Australia.” said the Group’s Administrator David Iannuzzi of Veritas Advisory.

The Administrators are continuing to work closely with Hooters of America, LLC and are using their best endeavours to ensure that the Hooters brand continues down under.

A meeting of creditors has been scheduled for 29 August 2018 where the future of the brand will be discussed further with creditors in attendance. It is expected this meeting will be adjourned to allow creditors more time to fully consider their options.

by Roer Jimenez

Debt is a four-letter word we tend to easily avoid personally or for business. From a business perspective avoiding it may not always be the best way to achieve consistent cash flow.

So, are all debts equal?

Some debt can actually help grow your business. Rather than labelling all debt as “bad,” there are a few simple ways to recognise which debts are good, bad, or ugly.

by Cameron Lee

CPA Australia recently conducted its eighth annual Asia-Pacific Small Business Survey where it found that 50.7% of Australia’s small business experienced growth during 2017, which was the highest rate of growth in the past three years. CPA Australia also established that more businesses expected further growth and business activity within the next year than previously.

With these results, it is a timely reminder to assess your business and consider some factors and precautions to best prepare your business for growth.

hooters-australia-logoAustralia’s branch of the well-known American food chain Hooters has been placed into voluntary administration in order to give the company some “breathing space” and help the owner re-assess the business and his involvement moving forward.

The Group’s Administrators stress that it is business as usual for Hooters with its three Sydney restaurants and one Gold Coast restaurant continuing to trade over the administration period, which is expected to take up to two months.

by Emily Naumoska

Retail experts and insolvency practitioners alike have announced that even large, well-known local Australian retailers are not above the risk of insolvency.

Recently a number of high profile Australian retailers entered into administration including one of Australia’s most exclusive brands Oroton, in late 2017. Other recent collapses include Dick Smith, Toys R Us, Metalicus, Kangaroo Tent City & BBQs, along with Australia’s plus-size clothing fashion retailer Maggie T in 2018.

by Chris Kindis

In this matter [2018] NSWSC 707, Brereton J has upheld the s588FG(2) ‘Good Faith’ defence run by Bildavoid Concrete Voidforming Systems (“Bildavoid”).

Background on the Matter

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