William Buck Australia
As a fully integrated firm of Chartered Accountants and advisors, William Buck provides a complete solution. Putting you at the core of the business, our advisors work together to ensure that careful consideration is given to your business and personal wealth affairs.
Working closely with you and your team, our Business Advisors can help you plan and implement contemporary business strategies and practices to meet your business’s full potential.
Our commercially minded tax specialists offer clear, responsive advice to manage your tax risk, address local and international issues, and develop strategies to optimise your tax position.
Our audit team has extensive experience in a range of engagements, giving stakeholders independent and objective assurance on financial information, transactions and processes.
Our Corporate Advisory team provides objective, strategic and commercial advice across a broad range of business issues. Our work spans the breadth each engagement from the origination of ideas to managing the transaction process, valuation and structuring.
Our highly experienced team of liquidators and trustees use their extensive expertise to assist in times of financial distress, achieving the best outcome for all stakeholders.
By understanding not only what you want to achieve but why it’s important, our wealth advisors can create strategies attuned to your key priorities. The end result is a plan focused on your life goals.
The William Buck Hour could be the most profitable hour you spend this year.
Sweeping changes to financial reporting may impact your financial position and business operations.
Our experts are here to help you understand what you need to know about Safe Harbour legislation.
Check our Private Business Tax Reform resource centre to see how the most significant changes may affect you and your business.
William Buck has a team of professionals with specialist experience and know-how on a range of industry sectors.
Our advisors understand the risks and opportunities unique to the agribusiness sector. Taking a strategic view of your operations they provide relevant guidance and advice.
Assisting public and private schools, vocational colleges, universities and private training providers, our education specialists provide timely and valuable assurance services together with strategic, financial and management advice.
Our Government and public sector team has substantial experience in assisting all levels of government to review their structures and develop strategies, in line with relevant legislative requirements and accounting and audit standards.
Working with over 1,600 clients in the health sector, our advisors help practitioners and health care corporates achieve their business and personal goals
Our hospitality and tourism team has a working knowledge of the industry which, when combined with our technical knowledge, can assist you in reaching your commercial goals.
By staying on top of changes in the manufacturing sector, our industry experts provide relevant and timely guidance to a broad range of manufacturing business.
Our mining and energy team has the experience and resources to help start-ups, developing businesses and well-established companies to meet their commercial goals.
Integrity and transparency are at the heart of the best Not for Profit organisations. These values re shared by our dedicated Not for Profit team, which helps entities to establish to improve performance and develop strategies for long-term growth.
Our advisors understand the challenges and opportunities facing the professional services sector first hand. This experience together with our expertise helps to determine your strategic objectives and provide concise, relevant advice to help you achieve your goals.
Our property and construction team assist on a wide range of assignments from property development to construction and large infrastructure projects. Their diverse experience, technical expertise and commercial know-how to help you tackle the important issues.
Our retail and wholesale team works with a variety of businesses from family owned operations to franchises and larger chains, to provide advice and guidance on the issues that count.
Our transport and distribution team works with businesses to review their operations, improve efficiency and productivity and ensure compliance with the latest regulatory developments.
The William Buck Health Hour could be the most profitable hour you spend this year.
We work with individuals, businesses and community organisations with a particular focus on the mid-market. Drawing on our extensive experience, our advisors will challenge your thinking and re-frame problems to understand their root-cause.
We’re more than just accountants and advisors, we aspire to create positive change in the lives of our clients and our people.
Life as a CFO can be complex, exciting and demanding. Combining technical excellence with decades of working closely with and listening to the needs of CFOs, our advisors understand the competing demands of your role.
Whatever your needs, we have the expert resources to create the best outcome for you and your business. As our client, you’ll benefit from our integrated services model that puts you at the core of its business.
We create and implement personal wealth plans and tax strategies that give our clients greater certainty that their financial and personal goals will be met.
Send us a quick message to see how we can change your life.
Full of practical advice, news, opinion pieces and tips designed specifically for CFOs. Join the conversation today.
Our professionals are experts in their fields and are skilled at providing jargon-free, practical and comprehensive advice, allowing you to get to the heart of your matter.
Interested in joining our team? We have positions across Australia and New Zealand for forward thinking, enthusiastic, intelligent individuals.
Looking to join a team that offers more than just co-workers? We’re proud to have built a firm which engenders loyalty and provides an environment in which life-long professional connections and friendships can flourish.
Are you ready to achieve your career goals?
We offer a workplace where striving for excellence and being supported to achieve your professional and personal best, are par for the course.
Are you a proactive and innovative accounting professional interested in joining our team?
We foster a dynamic and respectful work culture, where growth and development are encouraged, and initiative is rewarded.
We’re committed to recruiting outstanding people. Our culture is built on respect and team work, making William Buck a great place to develop a rewarding career. From day one, you will be given every opportunity to realise your full potential.
We boast a culture that values each individual employee as an essential part of the team and places a high priority on helping you reach your full potential, personally and professionally.
Hello. Kia Ora. Talofa. Ni Ho. However, you say it, there’s always a warm welcome at William Buck. Creating an enjoyable environment to spend our days is part of our master plan to create an exceptional place to work.
Applying for a graduate position at William Buck is the first step in a rewarding career.
Our people are the reason for our success. In recognition of this we have comprehensive learning and development programs to ensure our employees are given the right opportunities to grow both as professionals and as people.
Interested in joining our team? Take a look at the answers to some of our most frequently asked questions.
Applying for a role at William Buck is the first step in a rewarding new career.
Here you’ll find the latest business news, thought leadership articles, technical updates and tools to help drive your business performance.
Check out our latest research reports, looking at the key trends and issues faced by the mid-market.
A dedicated area for our Wealth Advisory clients to provide information about their portfolio services.
Our dedicated client portal enables you to share files with your advisor, manage your portfolio and make payments.
The William Buck Tax Rates and Tools App is available for download today.
Check out some of our latest insights and news appearances on our dedicated video channel – William Buck TV
In just one hour our experienced business advisors can prepare an independent assessment of your business through analysis of the key fundamentals of successful growth; your business, your finance and your people.
Check out our latest news articles, looking at the key trends and issues faced by the mid-market.
Sign up to receive the latest insights relevant for your business.
Take a look at our latest research reports.
Packed full of useful features, our free App can help you.
Established in 1895, we’re more than just advisors; offering a full range of services and 360 degree support, we aspire to create a positive change in the lives of our clients and our people.
As a member of Praxity, the world’s largest international accounting alliance, our local team is supported by our extensive network, representing an unrivalled global resource and knowledge pool.
From Western Australia, to New Zealand; and everything in-between; check out our offices, and local team, representing an unrivalled global resource and knowledge pool.
By GREG TRAVERS
DIRECTOR, TAX SERVICES
The ATO have increased data-matching capabilities and it’s expected that they will be using these powers when assessing tax returns for the 2018-9 financial year. If you’re an at-risk taxpayer, you may be reviewed and may face a costly audit.
Below are 10 common ways that private businesses trigger an ATO audit.
What these triggers show is that tax compliance – in particular annual income tax returns –are much more than a routine compliance process. It’s the key way they interact with the ATO and manage their risk of being selected for audit.
Those businesses who demonstrate best practice, will have an active tax risk management process in place involving both senior management of the business and their key external advisors. You can add significant value by being proactive in looking for (and addressing) likely audit triggers, such as those discussed below.
1. Have financial performance that is out of kilter with your industry
As a matter of course the ATO will statistically analyse tax returns. For business clients one of the aspects analysed is their performance compared to industry peers (based on the industry disclosed on the front page of the return). If your inconsistent with the industry, this can be an indicator of tax issues such as unreported (cash) income, transfer pricing and other issues.
Whether you consider they are accurate or not, statistics such as the small business benchmarks published by the ATO can provide a guide as to how (in the ATO’s eyes) your performing compared to industry peers. When preparing a small business client’s tax return, take five minutes to see whether the ATO publish a benchmark for their industry. If they do, see how you compare. If you are underperforming relative to the industry, it will increase the risk of an ATO audit, especially if you operate in a ‘cash industry’.
2. Don’t pay the right amount of superannuation to your employees
If employees complain to the ATO that their employer has not paid them the right amount of superannuation, or not paid it on time, this is a sure-fire way to get a review or audit from the ATO. Often these types of audits can begin as a review of superannuation guarantee obligations, but quickly escalate to include income tax, GST and fringe benefits tax audits if the process isn’t appropriately managed.
3. Variances between tax returns and business activity statements
Reconciling the information reported on your business activity statements and tax returns is a crucial part of tax risk management. Large variances between the information reported in a tax return compared to the activity statements for the corresponding period is likely to trigger an ATO review or audit.
In one case1 , an accountant’s client was selected for an ATO audit primarily because the disclosures of capital and non-capital items at G10 and G11 on the BAS were different to the expenses and depreciable assets reported in the income tax return for that year (even though the correct amounts of GST and income tax had been paid to the ATO).
4. Have a poor record of lodging returns on time
It’s not just lodging annual income tax returns by the due date, but all compliance obligations (including activity statements, employee related reporting, fringe benefits tax etc.) and the on-time payment of any tax liabilities. A good compliance history can be invaluable due to the way it improves the ATO’s perception of a business.
5. Consistently show operating losses
The ATO regards three loss years out of five as indicative of problems. There may be genuine reasons, but the ATO is likely to want to investigate these.
6. Own motor vehicles, but don’t lodge an FBT return
The ATO receive data from the state and territory motor vehicle registries (in NSW this is the Roads and Maritime Services) regarding individuals or businesses that have purchased vehicles (generally those with a value of $10,000 or more). For businesses, the ATO then match these purchases with information reported in tax returns, activity statements and fringe benefits tax returns, with an expectation that there will be at least some private use. If the company or trust fails to lodge an FBT return showing private usage or doesn’t include a ‘fringe benefit employee contribution’ in the income section of the tax return, an ATO review or audit is likely to be just around the corner.
If an audit is triggered because of the business owning a motor vehicle, the audit will generally cover income tax, GST and fringe benefits tax.
7. Get the disclosure items wrong in your tax return
The tax return is the main way that ATO gathers information on your business. Making mistakes in the disclosure items can inadvertently cause that client to be flagged for a review. There are internal checks in the returns (superannuation, cost of goods and withholding tax are examples) and disclosures which are easily verifiable against publicly available or other information collated by the ATO (such as the existence of international transactions). Get these disclosures wrong and the ATO is likely to call.
8. Show big fluctuations between years
The ATO will compare your tax returns year on year. Big fluctuations in financial position or particular line items in the tax return can trigger an inquiry from the ATO.
9. Have international transactions
International transactions are a key area of focus for the ATO. Transactions with international related parties, transactions with tax havens, material funds transfers in and out of Australia are all examples of things that can raise a red flag at the ATO. Defensive strategies, such as transfer pricing documentation, can often be the best way to manage this risk.
It is not just large businesses which are the focus in this area. Small and medium sized businesses with any international transactions should seek appropriate advice given the recent legislative changes which increase the personal risk Directors bear when their company conducts international transactions.
10. Be in the papers
The old adage may be that all publicity is good publicity but when it comes to tax risk, being in the papers for the wrong things can easily bring your client to the attention of the ATO. A major transaction or dispute that is reported in the media will undoubtedly be seen by the ATO. Many business owners are selected for an ATO review after the sale of a high value asset (often the family home) is reported in the paper.
Conclusion on audit triggers
You can proactively reduce the risk triggering an audit. There are simple, but invaluable ways of reducing audit risk such as reconciliation of a BAS and tax return, or benchmarking outcomes to those of industry peers.
As an accountant, if you’re selected for an ATO audit, having audit insurance in place can take the pressure off by not having to worry not only about the ATO questions, but also the professional fees which will be incurred in dealing with the ATO. The cost of many audit insurance policies is minor relative to the likely professional fees incurred in handling an ATO audit.
William Buck assists many private clients and accountants in dealing with ATO, OSR or other tax related audits that their clients may have. As a result of the many years of experience we have in handling these matters, we have developed numerous systems and processes to ensure the best outcomes are achieved with a minimum of time, fuss and costs.
Should you require assistance in dealing with a tax audit or review, or would like further information about audit triggers, please contact your William Buck advisor.
1 Thalia Corporation Pty Ltd v Bentleys (SA) Pty Ltd  SASC 172