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ATO Windups Cause Largest Insolvency Numbers in Years!

September 4th, 2015 : by Cliff Sanderson

Corporate insolvency statistics for June 2015 have shown a large increase over the previous month, and the same time last year. The biggest contributor is windups initiated through the Court which are almost twice the level they were at the same time last year. It was also the highest month ever recorded for Western Australia with 87 corporate windups.

There were 1,022 insolvency appointments Australia wide in June 2015 which is the highest monthly number since February 2012. It was a 16% increase over May 2015 (878), a 26% increase over June 2014 (811) and a 17% increase over the average of the previous 5 Junes (877).

Windups initiated through the Court were very high for June with 383, a 95% increase over the previous June (196) and the highest number of court windups since February 2013. This was most likely due to increased wind-up activity by the ATO.

State by state, June 2015 was the highest month on record for insolvencies in WA with 87. This was a 13% increase over June 2014 for WA (77). It was also the 2nd highest month on record for Queensland with 236. In both WA and Queensland the hardest hit industry sector was Construction with 15% and 20% of the appointments respectively.

ATO Action Causes Increase in Insolvencies in May 2015

August 12th, 2015 : by Cliff Sanderson

ASIC have published the corporate insolvency statistics for May 2015. There were 878 insolvency appointments in May 2015 which is the highest monthly number since October 2013. It was an 8% increase over May 2014 (811) but a 0.2% decrease from the average of the previous 5 Mays (880).

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ATO flags “get tough approach” as outstanding debts soar

April 24th, 2015 : by Cliff Sanderson

Yes, I know it is a bit weird but I actually read speeches by Tax Office officials.  Sad but true.  Late last month there was a speech by Tax Commissioner Chris Jordan that contained a few gems of information and flagged a tougher approach by the ATO to collection of tax arrears.   Surprisingly for some, I have often banged the drum that the ATO is very understanding of tax payers that fall into arrears – that is, significantly more understanding than I would be if I were owed the money!  Well some of that generosity is being wound back apparently. Continue reading

Director Disputes – can a Liquidation or a Voluntary Administration help?

April 17th, 2015 : by Cliff Sanderson

Ahh yes.  Directors’ disputes.  I’ve had a few of those in my time.  And at Dissolve, we would receive at least a phone call a week asking whether a Liquidation or a Voluntary Administration can be used to resolve a director or shareholder dispute.  The answer is “yes, sort of” but of course there are two things we always point out to the callers:

  1. an appointment of a Liquidator or Voluntary Administrator usually requires the agreement of the disputing parties (there is an exception); and
  2. it’ll be expensive, so you will be a lot better off if you can resolve it without using lawyers and insolvency practitioners.

So let me run through some of the practicalities.

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Stuart Ariff to be released today on parole – oh no – start the fire for roasting the same old chestnuts!

March 25th, 2015 : by Cliff Sanderson

So the news is that Stuart Ariff was released from prison on parole in late March 2015, having served four years on 19 counts of criminal fraud.  You will recall that he was a liquidator who admitted in a 2009 Supreme Court case to 83 counts of misconduct including inappropriate drawing of fees, using liquidation funds for family expenses and failing to account to the creditors and shareholders.  Subsequently, ASIC pursued him in a criminal case that resulted in a six year jail sentence, a life ban from being a liquidator and then his bankruptcy.  You might recall I blogged here that my view was that, given the outcome, the law seemed to have worked slowly but effectively.

Well right on cue, using Mr Ariff as the reason reform is needed, the the media is calling for widespread changes to the Laws governing liquidation and liquidators. Continue reading

Distressed Property Listings Down

March 20th, 2015 : by Cliff Sanderson

You’ll be aware that all numbers for corporate insolvency have been heading down since the peak of 2013.  In a further good sign for corporate Australia, calendar year 2014 saw a drop in the number of mortgagee property sales.   Landmark White (LMW) tracks an interesting statistic, being advertisements run by mortgagees and receivers in metropolitan newspapers for the sale of commercial property. Continue reading

A Platform for Recovery 2014 – ARITA’s Law Reform discussion paper is damn good

February 27th, 2015 : by Cliff Sanderson

Somewhat belatedly, I thought I would make some comments on a paper issued by ARITA  (the peak professional body for Insolvency Practitioners) called A Platform for Recovery 2014: Dealing with Corporate Financial Distress in Australia: A Discussion paper.  It’s very good.  You’d be aware that there is constant talk of further regulation needed in the world of insolvency.  I am regularly dismayed that most of the discussion in the mainstream media focuses on regulating Liquidators (the piano players in my view) rather than on the actual issues of insolvency laws and how they might be improved.  Well, ARITA has raised seven real world problems and proposed seven real world solutions.  Most refreshingly, it considers the perspectives of not only the big end of town (about 1% of actual insolvencies) but also the SME sector, which is the other 99% of insolvencies.    Continue reading

The Phoenix Taskforce – 14 Government Agencies to get confidential Tax information

February 23rd, 2015 : by Cliff Sanderson

Slipping through quietly at the end of last year (2014) were some new Tax Regulations that allows for the sharing of tax information amongst the 14 members of The Phoenix Taskforce.  Now, I watch this stuff pretty closely and I knew there was a Phoenix Task Force but I certainly didn’t know that there were 14 Government Agencies as members of the club.   If you follow this blog, you’d be aware that I have some strong views on Phoenix companies.  In brief, I agree with the concept (Phoenix = Bad) but it frustrates me that there is no actual legal definition of a Phoenix company.  Yes, that’s right….in no legislation is a Phoenix Company actually defined.  It’s in the preamble to a number of new Laws of recent years but not in the actual Laws.  And yet, Legislators and Government Agencies talk about it a great deal and regularly seek new funding and new powers to attack the problem.  They do so whilst rarely using the existing, strong, legal powers to combat the problem (i.e. ban more directors if they have multiple strikes!!).  So here is another rant! Continue reading

You think Liquidator’s Fees are high in Australia? Nah – check out the Madoff fees

February 6th, 2015 : by Cliff Sanderson

In case you haven’t noticed, Liquidators cop a fair bit of flack in Australia regarding their fees. Well strap yourself in and observe the fee frenzy surrounding the liquidation of Bernie Madoff’s Funds in the USA – fees have just topped $1 billion. Continue reading

Corporate insolvencies – Lowest November in ten years

January 30th, 2015 : by Cliff Sanderson

ASIC have published the corporate insolvency statistics for November 2014. There were 631 insolvency appointments in November 2014 which is the lowest November number since 2004. It was a 22% decrease from November 2013 (830) and a 27% decrease from the average of the previous 5 Novembers (859).

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