The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) is reviewing several Australian Business Number (ABN) registrations of Independent Salespeople within the direct selling /MLM industry. The ATO is becoming increasingly concerned that many people who believe they are conducting a commercial enterprise are in fact only engaging in a hobby or part time recreational activity.
The Australian business landscape is complicated and it is not enough to simply register for an ABN and then rely on that ABN as proof of your commercial enterprise. The ATO’s view is that a business consists of many characteristics including: repeated transactions, a thought-out business plan, a separate office space and an intention to generate a profit, etc.
Our firm sees difficulties for both the Direct Selling / MLM firms and their Independent Salespeople where no ABN is provided by the Independent Salesperson. Particularly as the ATO requires that 49% of the commissions be withheld from the Independent Salesperson and reported and paid by the Direct Selling / MLM firm to the ATO.
However, our firm has been successful in getting exemptions from the requirement to withholding 49% of the commissions where no ABN is provided, up to $10,000 a year in commission. This has proved very helpful for our clients and their sales teams.