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Low GST and PAYG withholding registrations trigger ATO visits nationwide

Low GST and PAYG withholding registrations trigger ATO visits nationwide

The ATO will be visiting small businesses in Victoria, the Sunshine Coast and the Northern Territory in late May and early June as part of a nationwide crackdown on the black economy.

  • Maja Garaca Djurdjevic
  • May 24, 2019
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Up to 700 small businesses in Victoria's Dandenong and up to 500 businesses in Richmond can expect a knock on the door from the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) in May and June, the Tax Office announced on Thursday. 

The ATO will also deploy agents to up to 400 small businesses in Maroochydore from early to mid-June, and up to 200 small businesses in NT's Katherine, Batchelor, Bees Creek, Adelaide River and Pine Creek in late May and June.

Assistant commissioner Peter Holt said that the ATO is visiting businesses in Victoria and NT because they have identified indicators of risk. 

"We’re particularly concerned about businesses in these locations who are not registered for pay as you go (PAYG) withholding or GST. Local visits provide us an opportunity to talk to business owners and help them get things right," said Mr Holt. 

Mr Holt explained that small businesses in the Sunshine Coast Region can expect a knock on the door from the ATO as part of these visits too.

"Businesses who are hiding sales and not declaring income, paying cash in hand, or underpaying workers are contributing to the black economy," he noted.

"We are particularly concerned about businesses in Maroochydore who are not registered for pay as you go (PAYG) withholding or GST."

He explained that by detecting and addressing this behaviour, the ATO is helping to ensure a level playing field for honest small businesses in all regions of Australia. 

The Black Economy Taskforce estimates that the black economy is costing the community as much as $50 billion, which is approximately 3 per cent of gross domestic product.

"This is money that the community is missing out on for vital public services like schools, welfare, roads, healthcare and infrastructure," Mr Holt said.

The ATO's crackdown will continue in the 2019-20 financial year, with the Tax Office expecting to visit around 10,000 small businesses across the country. 

As part of the visits, the ATO will also be visiting tax practitioners of small businesses in these areas as part of our early intervention strategy. These visits are expected to help it 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.

Prior to the visits, local businesses and tax professionals are invited 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. A single touch payroll information session will also be held on the same day. 

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