Personal Property Securities Register - Most Australian businesses are either at major risk or missing a huge opportunity and don’t even know it
Tom Betts, PPSR Asset Protection
You think your business, its assets and loan accounts are as safe as they can be? Think again.
More than 85 percent of small businesses have not used the federal government’s PPSR (Personal Property Security Register) since it was introduced in 2012 and many businesses have never even heard of the PPSR yet it affects the majority of businesses in some way.
What is it? The PPSR is an Australian government website where businesses can register their interests to minimise or eliminate the effect when a customer, a supplier or their own business goes into liquidation. Prior to 2012 a patchwork of federal and state registers helped liquidators determine who owns what and who owes who. But now, by law, liquidators use the PPSR to determine who gets paid first before the money runs out.
“Doesn’t my contract retention of title provisions protect me if my customer doesn’t pay?” ANSWER: no! Most contracts are now virtually worthless without the necessary PPSR registration and provisions to support it. Often ownership means nothing without a PPSR. The liquidator will simply say “mine!” sell it, and there is nothing you can do about it.
To make things more urgent, the earlier you lodge your PPSR registration the higher up the “food chain” you will be when paid out by a liquidator. The longer you delay in using the PPSR the more other creditors will take their place above you reducing your chances of recovering your debt.
News stories are becoming more frequent about business owners who thought they were protected who have ended up losing equipment they owned, goods they were never paid for, and their homes and family funds invested in the business just because of the failure to become PPSR compliant. It is not just the small guy, some of the losses have been for large amounts, the latest was for $60 million!
Don’t be a news story. Register your assets. It is inexpensive and once done you are covered! Don’t delay while others move up the list ahead of you. Take action this week!
Would you like to attend a small group session with other Trak clients to find out more about PPSR training - where your business may be exposed and how the PPSR will protect you?
For more advice on the PPSR call us, or visit this site: www.ppsrassetprotection.com.au
Q’s and A’s about the PPSR
Which businesses should use the PPSR?
Nearly every one! The PPSR applies to all businesses which:
- Sell goods or provide services on credit (i.e. have customers that owe them money)
- Hire or rent out goods, vehicles or equipment
- Sell or lease software, licenses, patents or other intellectual property to others
- Owe money to the business owners. This will include most businesses operating through a trust
- Pay part or are in advance for goods from suppliers prior to delivery
- Involved in industries which have a high history of payment default, e.g. the construction, marine, automotive and agricultural industries
- Operate as wholesalers
- Sell on consignment
Why is it important to my business?
A PPSR registration lifts you from the bottom of the order of people who get paid in liquidation in some cases to the absolute top, even before the banks and gives you a strong bargaining position with debtors prior to any insolvency. Unless you have PPSR safeguarded your business consequences include losing assets you legitimately own to a customer’s liquidator (this is happening!), losing the money you have invested in your business and loss of the protection from a structure where you have equipment or vehicles separated from your operating entity.
Is it expensive to use the PPSR?
No. A seven year registration costs as little as $6.80 and lifetime cover $119.00.
Do I need to register every transaction?
Generally only a once-off registration over your customer is all that is needed. Once you register against a customer all transactions with that customer are covered for the period you select when registering – a set and forget approach.
Who can I register against?
Most registrations are over customers you supply your services or goods to. This includes, for example, a head contractor if you are a building subcontractor or supplier. In addition, where you are ordering goods, say a major piece of equipment or specially built materials for a customer order, and you pay a deposit for those goods pending completion, you can register against your supplier. If they go broke before completing your order, you will be entitled to recover the partly completed goods or recover your deposit subject to priority of payment rules.
Can I register on the PPSR myself?
Yes, you can. However, keep in mind that over 80% of PPSR registrations to date have failed when tested by liquidators. The PPSR website is difficult to navigate, uses terminology that most business owners find difficult to decipher and is very specific in how the registration must be completed to be effective. A simple mistake may render the registration worthless and you won’t know it until it is too late. We recommend you use a PPSR specialist as they have the necessary expertise - we can refer you to suitable professionals if required.
One of my customers just went into liquidation – can I register them on the PPSR?
No, you are too late. You will be treated as an unsecured creditor way down the list of people to be paid by the liquidator. In most cases you need to register within 15 days of delivering your goods or entering into a contract.
Is there anything else I will need to do?
Yes. You will need to revisit the terms and conditions of your credit or supply agreements to ensure you have the necessary clauses that cover the PPSR legislation, and for some situations a specific agreement is required .
I am busy, is it urgent?
You never know when a customer will not pay you so if you wait it will be too late as the liquidator has already moved in. Plus most importantly, the earliest business to register is the one that gets paid first so you need to get into the queue before everyone else does.
Don’t my business structure and insurances already give me adequate protection?
Business structure and insurance are still the foundations of a robust asset protection strategy. However the PPSR changed the landscape for how we do business. It is an essential link in the chain. It goes beyond legal ownership and the horror stories that are starting to emerge around failure to properly use the PPSR register simply means it is essential for all businesses to thoroughly research the application of this relatively new law to their business operations and take all necessary steps to ensure they are covered where required.