ATO to knock on door of 500 Tasmanian businesses
Up to 500 Tasmanian small businesses can expect a knock on the door from the ATO in March, the tax office said.
Assistant commissioner Peter Holt said businesses that advertise as 'cash only' and businesses that are operating outside of the ATO's performance benchmarks will be especially targeted for a visit.
"Businesses that pay cash in hand, or fail to lodge income tax or business activity statements get an unfair advantage and make it harder for other businesses who are doing the right thing. By detecting and addressing this behaviour, we’re helping ensure a level playing field for honest small businesses," Mr Holt explained.
Tasmanian businesses in the following industries are most likely to get a visit from the ATO in March:
- Restaurants and cafes
- Vehicle repairers
- Personal care businesses including hairdressers and nail salons
- Construction businesses
- Clothing stores
- Grocery stores / small supermarkets
"In the 2019-20 financial year, we’ll be visiting a further 10,000 small businesses across the country, including in Tasmania", Mr Holt said.
Tasmanian businesses who are not declaring income or underpaying workers are contributing to the black economy, he judged.
"The black economy is estimated to be costing the community as much as $50 billion, which is approximately three percent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP). This is money that the community is missing out on for vital public services, like schools, roads, healthcare, and infrastructure," Mr Holt noted.
Whilst on the road in Tasmania, ATO officers will also be available to help those businesses that are trying to do the right thing.
Prior to the visits, all local businesses and tax professionals will have the opportunity to attend a one-hour information session that will explain the purpose of the visits, what to expect if visited, and how to avoid common mistakes.
There will also be a one-hour ‘Introduction to business records’ session for businesses in Launceston and Smithton that need a helping hand getting their records up to scratch.
"Good record keeping is essential in business, and that’s one of the problems we’ve helped people fix through our visits. We’ll be happy to give you a hand to get things right," Mr Holt said.
"We obviously want businesses to succeed, so we put a lot of effort in to support, education, and assistance services. We offer seminars, videos, a dedicated small business newsroom, an after-hour call back service, even an app that businesses can use to check the performance of their business on the go," he stated.
Mr Holt added that the ATO will not hesitate to take strong enforcement action against those deliberately avoiding their tax and super obligations.
"If businesses know they have made mistakes we encourage them to let us know and work with us or their tax professional".