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    Ausphotography Regular paulheath's Avatar
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    question

    ill try to shorten this down.....
    i have started a workshop for Birding photography,Around Australia and over-seas, now i have all the insurance, business account etc, but to apply for a merchant account for the business the bank has said that i need a AFTA (Australian Federation of travel Agents ) license as part of the service i provide is the accommodation.... ie the package price includes accommodation, the workshop and any park entry visa's ( when over seas) and mini bus hire... its not a cheap license (around $1700 ) ...so the question is.... do i really need one? do any of the forum members have one? cheers in advance.
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    Quote Originally Posted by paulheath View Post
    ill try to shorten this down.....
    i have started a workshop for Birding photography,Around Australia and over-seas, now i have all the insurance, business account etc, but to apply for a merchant account for the business the bank has said that i need a AFTA (Australian Federation of travel Agents ) license as part of the service i provide is the accommodation.... ie the package price includes accommodation, the workshop and any park entry visa's ( when over seas) and mini bus hire... its not a cheap license (around $1700 ) ...so the question is.... do i really need one? do any of the forum members have one? cheers in advance.
    No I don’t [have an Australian Federation of travel Agents License].

    I have conducted classes overseas and I conduct classes in Australia for overseas businesses.

    Importantly, that is all that I supply – i.e. I only supplied my time and skills for the tuition.

    Prima facie, you are supplying (i.e. selling) "overseas accommodation" at the least and it seems, probably “tourist activities” including entry to parks and transport and etc.

    Likely (and this is my opinion only) the manner in which you’ve structured the “Package”, your workshops will also be considered “a tourist activity”.

    I think that applying for the Merchant Facility from the Bank is a Godsend for you – I think that it has alerted you to the fact that your business structure is potentially flawed and probably saved you from business suicide.

    I think that you need to define exactly what business that you are in. especially you need to decide whether that business is providing Photographic Workshops, or is it providing wider Traveller and Tourist experiences.

    ***

    To the nitty-gritty and the direct question - whether you really need an AFTA License or not, seems to me a moot point - you can't get a Merchant Facility with the one Bank that you've tried. Assumed that's one of the big four, so if you intend to proceed with the business as described, I suggest that you swap your Business Banking Account and try the other three, or possibly a smaller Bank.

    For example, for the last several years we banked a cheque from a company in the USA into our St George Bank Account ... until this year when the charges went from $16 for two cheques to $45.00 for one cheque ... so a two minute walk to an ANZ Branch and it took a few minutes to open an new account there - $15 per cheque deposit.

    WW

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    Administrator ricktas's Avatar
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    it should also be remembered (talk to your accountant) that registration to bodies like this are often able to be included in EOFY accounting as a legitimate expense, thus reducing tax owed.

    There are alternatives other than banks to access merchant facilities too. Paypal springs to mind.

    Also what do you get for your $1700 AFTA licence? Are the benefits worth it?
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    paulheath's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by William W View Post



    I think that applying for the Merchant Facility from the Bank is a Godsend for you – I think that it has alerted you to the fact that your business structure is potentially flawed and probably saved you from business suicide.


    WW
    Dont know about suicide, but yes a expense that i dont need to fork out, appreciate the feed back and yes I shall be closing the Account and looking elsewhere for a suitable bank.. I do understand that most workshops only offer their expertese and not a "package" as I do.... but this is all part of the experience..
    Last edited by paulheath; 10-10-2019 at 4:21pm.

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    Quote Originally Posted by paulheath View Post
    . . . I do understand that most workshops only offer their expertese and not a "package" as I do.... but this is all part of the experience..
    Understood. Thank you for replying with that statement.

    If one knows exactly the business that one is in, then that is a very big first step to a successful business.

    Good luck with your venture.

    WW

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