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ATO crackdown pushes north with 750 businesses targeted

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ATO crackdown pushes north with 750 businesses targeted

The ATO has earmarked close to 800 small businesses in Darwin and far north Queensland for a visit as it follows up on intelligence suggesting failure to comply with tax and super obligations.

Business Jotham Lian 19 August 2019
— 1 minute read

The Tax Office will visit around 350 small businesses in Darwin, as well as 400 small businesses in Cooktown and Port Douglas in far north Queensland during August and September as it looks to continue its work in the black economy.

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The visits are part of the ATO’s plan to visit 10,000 small businesses across the country, with tax practitioners of small businesses in the areas set to be visited as well, as part of the ATO’s early intervention strategy.

ATO assistant commissioner Peter Holt said businesses in Darwin had come to the ATO’s attention after a number of tip-offs from the community.

“Our intelligence suggests that some businesses are not declaring all of their income to the ATO and avoiding their obligations by not paying their entitlements like super and tax contributions,” said Mr Holt.

“We have also received reports of some businesses operating without proper GST, PAYG withholding or ABN registrations.

“These businesses who are purposely not paying their fair share of tax and contributions make it harder for other businesses who are doing the right thing. By detecting and addressing this behaviour, we’re helping to ensure a level playing field for honest small businesses in the top end.”

Similarly, businesses in Cooktown and Port Douglas have been singled out for potentially not declaring all of their income to the Tax Office or paying their staff cash in hand.

“We understand that some businesses may be operating in cash and not have merchant payment facilities due to individual circumstances. The issue is when businesses are deliberately ‘cash only’ to avoid reporting all their income. By detecting and addressing this behaviour, we’re helping to keep things fair for honest small businesses in far north Queensland,” added Mr Holt.

As part of the visits, ATO officers will be providing information about recent changes, such as single touch payroll and the extension of the Taxable Payments Reporting System to certain industries.

Industries to be targeted by the ATO in Darwin:

  • Building cleaning, pest control and gardening services;
  • Automotive repair and maintenance;
  • Building installation/completion services;
  • Cafes, restaurants and takeaway food services; and
  • Residential building construction.

Industries to be targeted by the ATO in far north Queensland:

  • Cafes, restaurants and takeaway food services;
  • Pharmaceutical and other store-based retailing;
  • Personal care services;
  • Accommodation;
  • Building cleaning, pest control and gardening services;
  • Building completion services;
  • Building installation services; and
  • Other construction services.
ATO crackdown pushes north with 750 businesses targeted
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Jotham Lian

Jotham Lian

Jotham Lian is the news editor of Accountants Daily, the leading source of breaking news, analysis and insight for Australian accounting professionals.

Before joining the team in 2017, Jotham wrote for a range of national mastheads including the Sydney Morning Herald, and Channel NewsAsia.

You can email Jotham at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

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