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ATO to visit 400 business in Queensland following community tip-offs

The ATO plans to visit 400 businesses in several inner-north Brisbane suburbs in October as part of their work to tackle the black economy and protect honest businesses from unfair competition.

ATO to visit 400 business in Queensland following community tip-offs
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  • Maja Garaca Djurdjevic
  • September 27, 2019
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The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) is paying a visit to 400 businesses in Teneriffe, New Farm, Newstead and Fortitude Valley in October, following a number of tip-offs from the community about businesses engaging in black economy activities.

Assistant commissioner Peter Holt said: “Teneriffe has a long history of dealing with wool fleeces. It’s been a few decades since wool was traded here, but we’re aware that some dishonest businesses are still in the business of fleecing money from the community.

“We’ve received tip-offs about businesses in these suburbs demanding cash from customers, unpaid or underpaid employee entitlements, under-reporting of sales, and businesses paying their workers cash in hand.”

The ATO revealed own data and intelligence has suggested that Teneriffe, New Farm, Newstead and Fortitude Valley are “at-risk” suburbs for suspected black economy behaviour.

“We don’t just rely on referrals from the community. Our intelligence suggests that some businesses in these suburbs have outstanding tax returns or BAS statements, appear to be operating in cash or may not be complying with their employer obligations,” Mr Holt explained.

“These dishonest businesses may think they can pull the wool over our eyes, but this couldn’t be further from the truth. We’re aware there is an issue and we want to protect the honest businesses in these suburbs.”

During the visits, the ATO will also be running some information sessions tailored to support small businesses. ATO officers, carrying official identification, will be on site to help businesses trying to do the right thing.

The ATO will also be visiting tax practitioners of small businesses in these areas as part of its early intervention strategy. These visits will enable the Tax Office to better understand the drivers behind agent behaviour, and provide education and support to encourage willing participation of their clients in the tax and super systems.

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