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Seattle City Council passes bill requiring hazard pay for some gig workers

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Seattle has moved closer to becoming the first city in the country to require food and grocery delivery companies to give gig workers hazard pay amid the coronavirus pandemic, after Instacart threatened to leave the city over the measure.

The nine-member Seattle City Council on Monday unanimously passed the proposal, which would temporarily require a $2.50 payment per delivery that cannot be passed onto customers or offset by lowering workers’ wages. The bill must be signed by Mayor Jenny Durkan, a Democrat, to become law.

To read the full story on Westlaw Practitioner Insights, click here: bit.ly/37yEwm8

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ATO is watching gig economy workers, taxpayers paid in cash

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If you get paid in cash, the ATO is keeping a close eye on you this tax season. (Source: Getty)

If you get paid in cash, the ATO is keeping a close eye on you this tax season. (Source: Getty)

If you earn income through cold, hard cash, be warned: the Australian Taxation Office is keeping a close eye on you, a major accounting association has warned.

Gig economy workers and taxpayers who make money through the ‘cash economy’ must be careful to declare all their income this tax time, said CPA Australia senior manager of tax policy Elinor Kasapidis.

“It’s legal to receive payments in cash rather than electronically but you must report these amounts in your tax return,” she said.

“If you drive people around, do odd jobs or free-lance work, rent out your car or storage space, run social media accounts or sell products, you need to declare this income in your tax return.”

This will also include anyone who makes money from bartering or sharing, Kasapidis added.

“The ATO is aware of these ‘side hustles’ and matches data from platforms like Uber, Airbnb and AirTasker against individuals’ tax returns. This means the jig is up on the gig economy this tax time.”

CPA Australia’s warning comes after a similar warning from tax expert Adrian Raftery last month, who said nine types of taxpayers were on the ATO’s ‘hit list’ this year, including gig economy workers.

“If you advertise on the internet and customers [or] guests are paying electronically then expect the ATO to find out about it,” Raftery said.

Efforts to evade the ATO’s radar will “end in tears”, he added.

“You may think that the income is so little that the ATO won’t bother, but the cash economy is huge and is a perennial favourite on the taxman’s hit list.”

If you receive any income from these platforms, ignorance won’t be a good excuse with the taxman, said Raftery.

However, Kasapidis did note that small items, like selling some pre-loved items on eBay, won’t land you in hot water with the ATO – you just can’t claim a deduction from them.

“Don’t worry, the hundred bucks you earned from selling your designer handbag or off-loading your ‘barely used’ bike on eBay doesn’t need to be reported.”

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Can Do: Where The Gig Economy Meets Venture Capital

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Being your own boss can be rewarding, and it can be hard. Daily unpredictability confronts many of the 60 million Americans employed in the gig economy. When, where, and which job should they work on any given day of the week? How much money are they earning across multiple gigs? Information and data is sparse for workers — and not being about to count on a predictable pay rate makes it nearly impossible to plan out professional life.

It turns out there’s an app for that. Solo is a platform that supports gig workers by answering questions like: what’s the peak pay rate in your town? What jobs do you qualify for? As an independent worker, what do you need to know about taxes, insurance and benefits?

Start-up technology ventures like Solo rely on venture capital to turn their vision into a viable operating company. One such early-stage investment company is Fuse, a Seattle-based VC firm with a team of tech-savvy veterans.

Joining us today on Can Do to discuss their companies, and the meeting points of the operating world and the funding world, are: 

Bryce Bennett, CEO and co-founder of Solo. Bryce is an entrepreneur who previously held senior positions in Convoy, Inc and Uber.

Kellan Carter, founding partner at Fuse. Kellan, a University of Montana business school graduate, has spent the past decade investing in and backing founders in the software industry.

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ABN Amro builds payment service for gig economy workers

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ABN Amro has developed a tool that allows flexible workers to have their earnings paid out themselves, quickly and easily.

As the gig economy grows, there are an increasing number of flexible workers using digital platforms to find jobs on an hourly basis.

But it can take weeks after completing a shift for these gig workers to receive their pay. ABN Amro’s answer is an instant payment service that helps people decide themselves when their invoice is paid once the work is done.

This shortens the time between when the work is delivered and payment from a number of weeks to one second.

AN Amro began piloting the service in the Netherlands with babysitting platform Charly Cares late last year and is now teaming up with Packaly, an on-demand parcel delivery service. A third pilot with temporary workers will start soon.

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