The ABN Treaty Has Just Been Signed

cards006I have just returned from consulting with the Australian Taxation Office and I have in my hand a document signed by them. It is the reactivation of the ABN treaty. This means Peace In Our Time. Give me a moment to put down my umbrella.

For North American and British readers, the ABN treaty is an agreement between myself and the Taxation Office that they can only beat me with a stick smaller than a man’s thumb. I am permitted to cry out and bleed while they do this. It is one of the kindest statutes they have.

Actually, the ABN is merely the Australian Business Number; an identifier for anyone running anything that lets both customers and suppliers eventually snitch on each other to the ATO. It does not entitle you to much in the way of cheaper prices, but if you do not have one your cleverer clients pretend it is a moral duty to withhold money from you and send it to the ATO.

Of course they send it to the ATO. Now pull this one, it has bells…

You are not excused accurate reporting of your affairs, and if you do more than $ 75,000 worth of business you are punished by having to complete a monstrously complex set of forms every three months. Everything is punishable by law. There are wine quotas and deeming regulations and offsets for your Babbage Difference Engine but not in a year that ends in “squid”. My accountant has warned me of the dangers of prosperity and I shall be careful never to achieve it.

I am pleased that the bulk of my business forms are on a fluid register in my computer  – I can add the ABN easily to the other contact lines and requests for clean linen. The only problem will be the two boxes of business cards that I had printed professionally. They have an out-of-date email address and no ABN. I am going to see if the inkjet printer can correct this with sone supplementary stickers from Officeworks or if I can just get out the old hand-set rubber stamp and make up the necessary extra information. I might as well include a Pokemon while I’m at it…

Postscript: the rubber stamp was a bust – the cards do not accept additional ink. The sticky label material through the inkjet worked perfectly. For the labour of an evening’s cut and stick I now have recovered the value of the business cards. I have no dount the curious will unpeel the sticker but there will be no secret Tootsie Roll code underneath it.



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