RENTAL property owners are being warned to ensure their claims are correct this tax time, as the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) announces it will double the number of audits scrutinising rental deductions.

In the 2017–18 financial year, more than 2.2 million Australians claimed over $47 billon in deductions. Assistant Commissioner Gavin Siebert said that this year, the ATO has made rental deductions a top priority.

“A random sample of returns with rental deductions found that nine out of 10 contained an error. We are concerned about the extent of non-compliance in this area and will be looking very closely at claims this year,” he said.

When it comes to dodgy claims, the ATO’s detection methods are becoming more advanced.

“We use a range of third party information including data from financial institutions, property transactions and rental bonds from all states and territories, and online accommodation booking platforms, in combination with sophisticated analytics to scrutinise every tax return,” Mr Siebert said.

“Where we identify claims of concern, ATO staff will investigate and prompt taxpayers to amend unjustifiable claims. If necessary, we will commence audits,” he said.

“Over-claiming robs the whole community of essential services and will not be tolerated by the Australian community. The Government recently allocated additional funds to the ATO to extend its program of audits and reviews of rental properties.

“We expect to more than double the number of in-depth audits we conduct this year to 4,500, with a specific focus on over-claimed interest, capital works claimed as repairs, incorrect apportionment of expenses for holiday homes let out to others, and omitted income from accommodation sharing,” Mr Siebert said.

“Once our auditors begin, they may search through even more data including utilities, tolls, social media and other online content to determine whether the taxpayer was entitled to claims they’ve made,” he said.

While no penalties will apply for taxpayers who amend their returns due to genuine mistakes, deliberate attempts to over-claim can attract penalties of up to 75 percent of the claim. In 2017–18, the ATO audited over 1,500 taxpayers with rental claims, and applied penalties totalling $1.3 million.

In one case, a taxpayer was penalised over $12,000 for over-claiming deductions for their holiday home when it was not made genuinely available for rent, including being blocked out over seasonal holiday periods. Another taxpayer had to pay back $5,500 because they had not apportioned their rental interest deduction to account for redraws on their investment loan to pay for living expenses.

“This tax time, our message to taxpayers is clear. If you are renting out a room or a property, any money you earn must be declared as income and any deductions you claim may need to be apportioned for private use,” Mr Siebert said.

Key issues the ATO is checking and asking about this tax time:

Is loan interest being claimed correctly?

If you took out a loan to purchase a rental property, you can claim interest (or a portion of the interest) as a deduction. However, if you use some of the loan money for personal use such as paying for living expenses, buying a boat or going on a holiday, you can’t claim the interest on that part of the loan. You can only claim the part of the interest that relates to the rental property.

Do you know the difference between capital works and repairs?

Repairs or maintenance to restore something that’s broken, damaged or deteriorating are deductible immediately. Improvements or renovations are categorised as capital works and are deductible over a number of years.

Initial repairs for damage that existed when the property was purchased, such as replacing broken light fittings or repairing damaged floor boards, can’t be claimed as an immediate deduction but may be claimed over a number of years as a capital works deduction.

Do you have a holiday home?

A holiday home is different to a rental investment property. A holiday home is generally a private asset you use for family holidays, for which you cannot claim expense deductions.

However if you let your property out at ‘mates rates’ (ie below market rates to family and friends) you can claim expenses up to the amount of income you receive. If your property is genuinely available for rent – which means making it available during key holiday periods, keeping it in a condition that people would want to rent it, and not unreasonably refusing tenants – it becomes more like a rental investment property and you can claim deductions for the days it is either rented or is genuinely available.

Have you kept records?

The number one cause of the ATO disallowing a claim is taxpayers being unable to produce receipts or other documents to support a claim. Furnishing fraudulent or doctored records will attract higher penalties and may also result in prosecution.

Dealing with disasters – damaged or destroyed property

For taxpayers whose income-generating investment properties are damaged during a natural disaster, the ATO has a range of support, advice and guidance available.

If your personal assets – such as your home or household goods – are damaged or destroyed in a disaster, there will generally be no tax consequences if you receive an insurance payout.

However, if an income-producing asset, such as an investment property, is damaged or destroyed, you’ll need to work out the correct tax treatment of insurance payouts you receive and your costs in rebuilding, repairing or replacing the assets.

The impacts of a natural disaster may affect the types of expenses you can claim and the income you need to declare for your rental property.
See: ato.gov.au/individuals/dealing-with-disasters/damaged-or-destroyed-property/rental-properties-and-business-premises/

For more information on holiday homes, visit ato.gov.au/holidayhomes

For more information on renting out all or part of your home, visit ato.gov.au/sharingeconomy

For general information on rental properties, including a suite of educational videos, visit ato.gov.au/rental

ends

LORd MAYOR Clover Moore today announced Sydney will launch a new mentoring scheme to support the next generation of women climate leaders.

Sydney, which will also host the annual Women4Climate Conference in 2020, will become the latest city globally to host the C40 Women4Climate Mentorship Program. The program will pair 20 inspiring emerging women leaders from diverse fields with established women leaders from across the city, business, government and civil society.

“Climate action is the City of Sydney’s top priority. Working together, women leaders from government, business and the community are transforming our cities,” Cr Moore said.

“We’re reducing the impact our urban centres have on the environment, while designing, building and governing places where people want to live. We know women are disproportionately impacted by climate change, and we know women leaders are both determined and effective.

“That’s why we are excited to host the 2020 Women4Climate conference and the mentoring program, to support current and emerging women leaders to become more effective in driving accelerated action on climate change.”

Sydney’s Women4Climate Mentorship Program will support emerging women leaders to become more expert influencers so they can accelerate action on climate change. The program will provide participants with the support they need to become even more effective leaders in their chosen field, including politics, business, public service, NGOs and the media.

The Sydney program will commence in May and run until the Women4Climate Conference in March 2020, where mentors and mentees will present on their projects and development.

“This mentoring program is another example of the City of Sydney’s work empowering women across both our workforce and our city,” the Lord Mayor said.

“We are proud to be the first local government organisation in Australia to monitor and publicly report on gender pay equity. Our latest review in 2018 revealed an overall pay gap of 7.5 percent in favour of women, compared to the national average of 14.6 per cent (in favour of men).

“Last year, we also introduced a new scheme to pay superannuation to employees on parental leave for up to one year, in an effort to bridge the superannuation gap.”

The Women4Climate initiative brings together mayors of the world’s leading cities, CEOs, climate experts and powerful women leaders from around the world to demonstrate and accelerate the power of women who are committed to creating a healthier, greener and more economically prosperous future.

Today, there are active Women4Climate Mentorship Programs in Paris, Tel Aviv-Yafo, London, Quito, Montreal and Vancouver, with upcoming programs in Auckland, Barcelona and New Orleans.

L’Oréal and Elle Magazine are the founding partners of the Women4Climate Initiative, with many of their own top managers participating in the scheme.

https://w4c.org/mentorship

ends

QUEENSLAND Resources Council (QRC) sees a brighter future than ever for resources as the world moves towards a low-carbon economy. In fact, QRC is calling the 200 electric vehicle (EV) convoy of former Greens leader Bob Brown as proof that resources such as coal, bauxite and iron ore are underpinning the switch to electric vehicles.

“As Queensland moves towards a low emission economy demand for resources will grow," QRC chief executive Ian Macfarlane said.

"Renewable energy and batteries used to store electricity need several mined metals and materials including bauxite, copper and nickel. Each of Bob Brown’s electric vehicles have four times more copper than a conventional car," he said.

“At any given time in Queensland close to 80 percent of the state’s electricity is powered by fossil fuels with the majority sourced from coal. It’s this electricity that is used to charge EVs and people’s smart phones.

“Once again, it’s a case of do as we say, not do as we do for anti-mining activists. But you can’t avoid the facts for long. And the facts are this convoy of cars are not only powered by coal but they are built with coal," Mr Macfarlane said.

“If it wasn’t for coal, this anti-jobs campaign would need to cross the Bass Strait in a wooden boat then walk to the Galilee Basin.

“If these activists truly wanted a coal free future they would have no choice but to end the journey immediately. If they continue, then their anti-jobs, anti-regional growth claims will have a very hollow ring to them.”

Mr Macfarlane called the 200 EV convoy of Bob Brown a case of "Bob the Gilder". He said 200 EVs represented:

  • 18 tonnes of copper
  • 75 tonnes of aluminium
  • 94 tonnes of coking coal to make the steel
  • 122 tonnes of steel
  • 300 tonnes of bauxite to make the aluminium
  • 342 tonnes of thermal coal 

"That’s a small mountain of about 950 tonnes of Queensland resources that is being used to protest against Queensland resources," Mr Macfarlance said.

"If you plug an electric car into the Queensland grid at the stroke of noon today, 17.3 percent of the electrons come from renewable sources like solar and hydro, but 12 percent come from gas and 70.7 percent from coal.

"So 82 kilometres in every 100 km driven are powered by fossil fuels. If the convoy drove only on renewable energy from Hobart to Alpha, they’d get about 455 km along the 2,628 km drive before they went flat.

"Adding an electric car on the grid is the equivalent in some cases to adding three houses. Electric cars often need an entire night to recharge at home and they can increase a house’s power consumption by 50 percent or more."

www.qrc.org.au

ends

QUEENSLAND Resources Council (QRC) has welcomed Brisbane-based Senex Energy signing its first domestic gas contract from the company’s Project Atlas in the Surat Basin.

QRC chief executive Ian Macfarlane said the agreement was an Australian first and showcased Queensland’s leading regulatory framework designed to increase supply in the domestic market. 

“Senex Energy developed gas at Project Atlas after the Palaszczuk Government released the land specifically for the domestic market," Mr Macfarlane said. "QRC has always been a strong supporter of this domestic gas policy and it’s another example of how Queensland continues to do all the heavy lifting to provide extra gas for the eastern Australian market.

Senex has agreed to supply building products group CSR with 3.25 petajoules (PJ) of natural gas which has the potential to fuel more than 200 Queensland manufacturing jobs. 

Mr Macfarlane said people wanted industry and government to work together with communities and wider society to promote effective, constructive, and mutually beneficial relationships.

"Queensland’s resources industry has a proven track record of attracting new investment and creating new jobs because of the clear and stable regulatory environment in which it operates," Mr Macfarlane said. "It is essential that we have stable and reliable regulation for our resources sector to continue to attract the investment that builds our State and delivers for every Queenslander.”

The Queensland resources sector now provides one in every five dollars in the Queensland economy, sustains one in eight Queensland jobs, and supports more than 14,200 businesses across the State all from 0.1 percent of Queensland’s land mass.

www.qrc.org.au

ends

LENGTHY processing times and archaic visa applicatio systems are hampering Australia’s competitive edge with India and China -- two important markets suffering significant delays affecting our desirability as a holiday destination.

The Australian Tourism Export Council (ATEC) has today called for both parties to commit to taking policy action on visa issues which are affecting our reputation as an accessible destination and the ongoing increases in visa costs, which in last week’s budget hit both tourism and working holiday maker visas.

“ATEC is baffled by the recent budget announcement, increasing the cost of the Working Holiday Maker (WHM) visa, which went up by more than 5.4 percent in last week’s budget, while at the same time funding marketing campaigns to ‘reinvigorate’ this market,” ATEC managing director, Peter Shelley said.

“Working holiday makers are one of our highest yielding visitors who travel extensively in regional Australia both spending and working in these communities.

“This is a price sensitive market and with these visas increasing by around $35, it seems we are encouraging on one hand and discouraging on the other."

Mr Shelley said the situation in India has become dire, with numerous international wholesalers now refusing to actively sell Australia due to the length of time it takes to process a visa to Australia.

“There is a failure to recognise the massive commercial knock-on effects of visa delays and it’s quite common for large groups planning a trip to Australia to collectively change their destination plans if just one traveller’s visa is held up," he said.

“ATEC has been briefed on a recent case where a group of 700 professionals from India cancelled their trip and went to Canada because Australia’s visa issues were too challenging.

“Previously, our Home Affairs department had a policy of liaising with key travel distribution partners to create visa processing efficiencies but this is no longer the case and we are now seeing bottlenecks of up to 40 days in processing.

“In China, the ADS visa has been long-lauded as a system which guaranteed speedy processing in return for compliance with a number of criteria but we now hear what was once a 48 hour ADS processing time has ballooned to more than a week.

“Even more concerning is the tourist visa (sub-class 600) for Chinese visitors is taking upwards of 4 weeks to be processed.

“Once upon a time, Australia was a global leader in visa policy and now we are seeing competing destinations not only out-performing us, but stealing market share -  this is just not good enough for an industry worth more than $44 billion in export revenue."

A recent survey undertaken by ATEC showed the annual cost to business directly attributable to visa challenges can be as high a $250,000 per Australian inbound tourism agency who arranges all travel requirements for international visitors.  This doesn’t account for knock on effects to tourism products like accommodation providers, tour operators, experiences, and the business which supply goods and services to those operators.

“The opportunity cost to Australia thanks to poor visa policy is without doubt in the millions, and there appears to be a genuine government apathy in considering reforms that could deliver short term gains," Mr Shelley said.

“ATEC is committed to working with government to activate real solutions that drive growth, minimise risk and re-establish Australia as a welcoming international destination."

All we request is that Australia’s tourism visa policy and resourcing is competitive – at the moment it’s not and this is damaging Australia’s global reputation.

“We want to see visa processing systems that are intuitive, language-enabled and interfaced with other data sources to enable a fast, seamless and user-friendly visa application experience.”

 

 

TRADERS who flout restricted retail trading hours during the Easter period risk hefty fines, the executive director of the Australian Retailers’ Association, Russell Zimmerman, said today.

Citing the example of a shopping centre seeking to compel its tenants to open on Easter Sunday, Mr Zimmerman urged landlords and retailers to check state regulations to determine whether they were permitted to trade.

“The ARA is concerned that retail businesses that open during prohibited times over Easter – whether inadvertently or deliberately – will find themselves slapped with hefty fines for their trouble,” Mr Zimmerman said.

“As legislation and regulation governing Easter trading varies from state to state, the ARA strongly urges both retail businesses and their landlords to check the law as it applies where they are based,” Mr Zimmerman added.

Mr Zimmerman said that while some exceptions to prohibited trading times during Easter were allowed, these were extremely limited, and that it was best for business owners to double-check before they risked a fine.

“We know from retailers seeking clarification, for example, of a shopping centre in Sydney that wanted to tell its customers it’d be open on Easter Sunday, and sought to compel its tenants to trade,” Mr Zimmerman said.

“Easter Sunday trading is illegal under NSW law, unless an exemption is granted. Traders who complied with this directive from centre management would be liable for a fine of $11,000 per business,” he said.

Mr Zimmerman said the ARA had taken steps to inform the shopping centre involved.

“The ARA understands that Easter is a popular holiday, and that people like to go shopping," he said. "Even so, the law is the law, and where opening at certain times is illegal, we wish to ensure our members’ interests are protected.

“Most states publish details of Easter trading hours on their websites. The five minutes it takes to check could quite literally save many retail businesses thousands of dollars,” Mr Zimmerman said.

 

About the Australian Retailers Association

Founded in 1903, the Australian Retailers Association (ARA) is Australia’s largest retail association, representing the country’s $320 billion-dollar sector, which employs more than 1.3 million people. As Australia’s leading retail peak industry body, the ARA is a strong pro-active advocate for Australian retail and works to ensure retail success by informing, protecting, advocating, educating and saving money for its 7,800 independent and national retail members throughout Australia. For more information, visit www.retail.org.au or call 1300 368 041.

ends

BY DECLARING tax deductions for accounting fees as a rort, Labor has not only attacked the accounting profession, it has attacked millions of hard working taxpayers who are doing the right thing in paying their fair share of taxation, said the Institute of Public Accountants (IPA).

“When the Opposition proposed to cap deductibility of tax agents’ fees to $3,000 (May 2017), it assumed a one-size-fits-all approach works, which is simply not the case,” IPA chief executive officer Andrew Conway said.

“The Prime Minister and Treasurer have issued a letter to accountants expressing concerns over this measure, which we will disseminate to our members.  If the Opposition provides a response to these concerns we will also distribute the correspondence to members.

“To be clear, we support the fact that all Australians should pay their due share of tax but they should also be able to access the appropriate tax deductions available to them to ensure they are not overpaying.

“Labor’s views on this matter shows a lack of understanding about, and respect for, what it takes for an accountant to appropriately manage an individual’s tax affairs.  It is not always a matter of a simple tax return; there may be many other factors associated with our highly complex tax system," Mr Conway said.

“For some, there can be considerable time spent in areas of tax audit, litigation, disputes and other interactions with the Australian Tax Office.

“Further complexities exist with the formation of partnerships, trusts, property acquisitions and disposals. 

“These are all factors of a change in someone’s life circumstances which may also include ordinary taxpayers involved in situations like restructuring, divorce and sale of a business, to name a few.

“To bundle all of this under the heading of ‘managing tax affairs’ does not reflect a genuine picture of a person’s life circumstances and undermines the value of the work performed by accountants.

“Simply put, genuine taxpayers are not rorters.  They should be seeking the right tax advice from their trusted adviser, the accountant, to make sure they continue to claim their rights and pay the correct amount of tax. 

“Labor’s proposed measure is genuinely and obviously a revenue grab. If you cap it at $3,000 the likelihood of a person engaging appropriate tax advice is reduced.  This could have disastrous impacts on the community.

“If you look at the people who are generally deserving of a tax deduction, based on this proposal, they would be unable to access it. This is not affecting the top end of town, it’s really affecting individuals including small business owners,” Mr Conway said.

www.publicaccountants.org.au

ends

WITH EASTER only a week away, the Australian Retailers Association (ARA) believes retailers across the nation will be packing their shelves with an assortment of Easter treats and delights.

ARA executive director Russell Zimmerman said that while many retailers stock their shelves with Easter products just after New Year, the majority of Easter sales do not occur until the week before Good Friday.

"Although the Easter trading period is shorter than the Christmas period, this holiday is still recognised as a busy trading event for retailers,” Mr Zimmerman said.

“We predict that sales of traditional Easter items including hot cross, buns, seafood, fresh produce, liquor and of course chocolate to increase during throughout this time, which is a welcome fillip for specialist retailers who sell these products.”

Sydney Fish Market general manager Bryan Skepper said he expected 50,000 people would visit the iconic market on Good Friday and estimates over 650 tonnes of seafood would be sold during the day.

“As Easter is celebrated widely, many Australians will be heading to retail outlets to buy fresh produce to cater for Easter lunches and feed their friends and families,” Mr Zimmerman said.

Fresh food markets won’t be the only ones to experience big crowds of shoppers over the coming week, as several bakeries and chocolatiers will also be crafting tantalising indulgences for the Easter holiday.

With hot cross buns recognised as an Easter staple, the CEO of Ferguson Plarre Bakehouses, Steve Plarre, said that while 60 percent of hot cross bun sales were generated from traditional fruit buns, sales of new flavours and Easter Chocolate Waffles continue to grow each year.

“Hot cross buns are still a top seller by volume. However, over the last few years, we have noticed a rise in the sale of our raspberry and white chocolate and our apple and cinnamon varieties,” Mr Plarre said.

With Easter arriving later in 2019 than last year, Mr Zimmerman said he expects retailers to experience higher sales during this time, as customers will be visiting retail stores to purchase new and innovative Easter creations.

“Each year we see many of our retailers taking traditional Easter products and transforming them into exciting new products that tantalise their customer’s tastebuds,” Mr Zimmerman said.

“Just like Christmas, Easter is a key trading period for retailers. With the colder season upon us, many retailers will be busy preparing their stores with new season fashion for winter.”

 


About the Australian Retailers Association

Founded in 1903, the Australian Retailers Association (ARA) is Australia’s largest retail association, representing the country’s $320 billion sector, which employs more than 1.3 million people. As Australia’s leading retail peak body industry, the ARA is a strong pro-active advocate for Australian retail and works to ensure retail success by informing, protecting, advocating, educating and saving money for its 7,500 independent and national retail members throughout Australia. For more information, visit www.retail.org.au or call 1300 368 041.

ends

ALL CANDIDATES vying for the marginal Federal electorate of Flynn should make their commitment to the resources sector clear before the May 18 election, Queensland Resources Council chief executive Ian Macfarlane said.

Mr Macfarlane said the resources sector contributed $6.3 billion to the gross regional product in the Flynn electorate, which includes the energy powerhouse of Gladstone.

“The resource sector’s contribution to the economy of Flynn equates to $17.2 million every day,” he said. “In Flynn, the resources sector supports 34,773 full-time equivalent jobs with a wage bill of $3.4 billion. That's an average salary of $100,000."

Mr Macfarlane said it was critical for the people of Flynn that there is support for the resources sector – coal, metals and gas - from all candidates.

He said it was also essential the Palaszczuk Labor Government restated its support for the resources sector.

“There is growing concern among employers and employees of the resources sector that instead of encouraging the resources sector the Palaszczuk Government is starting to target it.  Undermining mining is undermining the Queensland economy and local communities like those in the Flynn Federal electorate,” he said.
 
QRC report on the economic contribution from the resources sector to the Flynn electorate: https://www.qrc.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/2018_Flynn_FedElectorate.pdf 

ends

THE Queensland Resources Council has welcomed the announcement of a May 18 Federal election by releasing the mining and petroleum industries’ $60 billion annual economic contribution across the state’s 30 Federal electorates.

QRC chief executive Ian Macfarlane said the resources sector employed Queenslanders and supported local businesses in every electorate from Leichhardt in the north to McPherson in the south, Maranoa and Kennedy in the west.

Mr Macfarlane said winning Queensland electorates would be critical to who wins the election, and the most marginal seats – Capricornia, Herbert, Flynn and Dawson – were among the biggest beneficiaries of the resources sector.

“Every vote counts in every Federal electorate and resources contribute to each electorate and that contribution can be counted in jobs created, local businesses supported and economic growth for all Queenslanders,” he said.

Mr Macfarlane said the electorate of Brisbane, in the heart of South East Queensland, was the biggest beneficiary with 64,807 full-time equivalent (FTEs) jobs and an economic contribution of $13.8 billion.

“I am one of 316,000 Queenslanders who are employed thanks to the resources industry. We work and we vote,” he said.

“On behalf of those Queenslanders, the QRC urges every candidate to commit to working with resources for the benefit of all Queenslanders and particularly the electorates, communities, businesses and families they aspire to represent.

“By the time polling booths close at 6pm on May 18 in 36 days’ time, the resources sector will have created 934 jobs, exported more than $6 billion in commodities and generated more than $500 million in royalty taxes for the Palaszczuk Government in Queensland.”

Find links to the economic contribution for each of the 30 Federal electorates here: https://www.qrc.org.au/contributiontoqueensland/federal-electorates/ and a table of all electorates.

www.qrc.org.au

ends

A LEADING risk management and auditing organisation says the majority of disability service providers seeking registration with the NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission have been under-prepared, and lack knowledge of their regulatory obligations.

It is providing guidelines to Victorian, Queensland, NT, Tasmanian and ACT providers to help them expedite their registration before July 1.

SAI Global has audited more than 200 providers looking to meet their NDIS obligations since July 1 last year, with many more conducted to other State and Federal standards over the past 16 years. Since the new audit requirements commenced July 2018 in South Australia and NSW, more than 100 providers have been unaware of their requirements for NDIS compliance.

Nathan Temple, national human services programme manager at SAI Global, said, “Providers looking for registration this July need to prepare now, as many have already had to make improvements to their internal systems and documentation to obtain NDIS approval. Many are also looking to ‘purchase systems’ but don’t realise they need to have suitable implemented systems that suit the scale and size of their organisation.”

Mr Temple said the lack of clarity on what is required for registration has been challenging for many, and that greater transparency around the process is needed.

"Plenty of information is available – but the challenge for providers has been keeping up with the regulatory changes alongside running their operations," he said. "Partnering with a quality audit provider who can work closely with your team is the first step to understanding your obligations.

"Certification and verification has improved processes and procedures for numerous providers, which are improving outcomes for participants. We’re hoping our guidelines may clarify the steps involved for all providers seeking registration before 1 July.”

SAI Global has clarified the 10 steps disability service providers need to take to obtain NDIS registration this July:

    1. Know when you can begin offering your services to NDIS participants. In a soon-to-be competitive market, most disability service providers will seek to offer their services to NDIS participants as soon as they can. Provided they are registered with the NDIS Commission, providers in NSW and South Australia could offer their services from 1 July last year; providers in Victoria, Queensland, Tasmania, the ACT and NT can offer their services from 1 July this year; and West Australian providers can service NDIS participants from 1 July 2020.
    2. Important state approval deadline for Queensland providers. Queensland disability service providers seeking to work with NDIS participants under the current Human Services Quality Framework (HSQF) had until 1 April 2019 to register for this process. If their application for HSQF assessment and approval was not submitted by this date, they will need to revisit the process via the NDIS Commission, detailed below.[1]
    3. Important state approval deadline for Victorian providers. Victorian disability service providers seeking to work with NDIS participants under the current Victorian Department of Human Services (DHSS) will not be able to gain State approval, if they didn’t commence the registration process before 1 March. Instead, they will need to begin a new application with the NDIS Commission from 1 July.[2]
    1. Know how to register with the NDIS. Service providers can register with the NDIS Commission by completing and submitting the application form on its website (www.ndiscommission.gov.au/providers/application-form). A provider’s self-assessment forms part of this application process, and will help to advise what kind of audit the provider will need: verification or certification.
    1. Know whether you will need verification only, or certification. All providers seeking registration will need to be audited, to ensure they meet the regulatory obligations set by the NDIS Commission. Sole traders and partnership organisations need a verification audit only, as they provide services that are considered in the lower risk registration groups. A verification audit – required once every three years – is a desktop audit of the provider’s documents and records, including the provider’s police checks, Working With Children checks, processes and procedures. Companies and incorporated associations (and any provider of higher-risk services) will need a certification audit. This includes a Stage 1 audit to ensure systems and processes are in place, a Stage 2 Certification Audit which includes a review of system documentation, a review of records to ensure systems are implemented, site visits (for multi-site organisations), staff records, participant interviews and file reviews. Certified organisations will require annual surveillance audits and a re-certification audit every three years.
    1. Engage an approved quality auditor. The audit will need to be conducted by an NDIS-Approved Quality Auditor. Providers should ensure that the auditing organisation has appropriately qualified auditors in their State to minimise travel expenses and ensure they are confident in their knowledge and audit approach.
    1. Prepare for your audit. The audit will identify any service gaps that might comprise the best interests of NDIS participants, or any lack of understanding of the new regulations. It’s best that providers have conducted a thorough self-assessment of their policies, procedures and processes before their audits, and that they commence their audit at least three months prior to their registration expiry date (if registered). This will give them the time to put the necessary measures in place before going to market. It’s best that Victorian and Queensland providers seeking to offer their services from 1 July organise their audit now.
    1. Allocate resources and time to make improvements after the audits. The majority of audits by SAI Global have required the provider to make improvements to their documents, processes or procedures before they are verified or certified as an NDIS provider. To ensure a smooth process, it is best that the provider allocate the people and the time to make improvements before registration.
    1. Expect 1-2 weeks for the Commission to approve the registration. The auditor will make the certification recommendation to the NDIS Commission, which will then make the decision to approve the provider’s registration. The audit is just one key component of its decision.
    2.  Receive your certificate of registration. Providers will receive their certificate of registration from the NDIS Commission, after which they can begin offering their services, provided it is from the deadline set for providers in their State by the Commission. The certificate of registration will include details such as the range of supports and services the provider is registered to provide, and certain conditions to follow.

     www.saiglobal.com/en-au/ndis 

    [1] NDIS, ‘Apply for NDIS registration under current HSQF process by 1 April,’ (15 March 2019): https://www.nds.org.au/news/apply-for-ndis-registration-under-current-hsqf-process-by-1-april; and NDIS, ‘QLD – Registering as a provider’: https://www.ndis.gov.au/providers/quality-and-safeguards/qld-registering-provider.

    [2] NDIS, ‘VIC – Registering as a provider’: https://www.ndis.gov.au/providers/quality-and-safeguards/vic-registering-provider

 

Contact Us

 

PO Box 2144
MANSFIELD QLD 4122