A business forum I belong to online had someone asking about engaging a VA in an Asian country. When they were queried about engaging someone in Australia instead (as that is where they live) they came back with the following comment:
I have been told that legally if you contract a subcontractor in Australia on a regular basis then there is the possibility that the govt will go after you for rorting the system, to try and stop people getting around employing people part-time/casual.
I found this to be an interesting comment and it’s the first time in nearly 20 years that anyone has voiced this very thought. It made me wonder how many others out there are of the same thought?
My response was that perhaps they needed to avail themselves of the questionnaire that the Independent Contractors Authority have on their website for both contractors and those who would engage a contractor. I wrote a post about this on the AVAA website August last year and here is some of the content:
Ken advised that we really should be looking at what he called a Swinging Pendulum Test which has a list of 20 statements independent contractors can look towards as a guideline for ensuring that they are, indeed, independent contractors and not employees. This list covers things such as:
- how you operate as a business (VA),
- if you advertise for business,
- do you own your own equipment,
- are you responsible for you own work and any defects,
- how you manage the process for getting paid
- and even being responsible for your own leave and insurances.
There are quite a few other things too. Cost for joining ICA is only $55.00 and is worth the investment to keep informed on what is relevant to you, as an independent business owner and contractor and how this relates to you within our taxation laws in Australia. The list does stipulate that it can only be used as a guide and is not intended to be treated as professional advice. It is always wise to speak to your own Accountant if in doubt about anything.
The above should help alleviate the concerns of anyone in Australia who is looking to engage the services of a VA (or any other contractor for that matter). As long as the VA has other clients and the client is not their only source of income then there shouldn’t be problems with relation to questions about income and employees, taxes, etc. Of course, it’s always wise to check with your accountant but the above is a good general outline of what to look for.