Speaking at the Tax Institute’s 2019 Tasmanian State Convention, Mr Mills said the Tax Office regularly sees three key attributes in successful small businesses, with tax professionals the standout factor.
“While the ATO does a lot of work to mitigate the complexity of small business tax, we tend to find the single best predictor of success for a small business is whether or not they have a professional adviser,” Mr Mills said.
“We see tax professionals as being vital to the health of the system and the small business market.
“So, what we need from you is to continue to work closely with your clients, and proactively engage with them on a regular basis. You are gatekeepers of the system, and by exercising due diligence, asking the right questions and examining their assumptions, you can position your clients for success.”
Businesses that managed to get a good grip over their cash flow management, as well as be digitally ready, were more likely to be successful than those that weren’t, added Mr Mills.
A better Tax Office experience
Mr Mills also used his speech to reiterate Commissioner Chris Jordan’s pledge to create a better interaction experience for small business clients and their advisers with the ATO.
He noted concerns with the small business dispute resolution process, agreeing that there was more that could be done to support businesses who feel like they haven’t been heard.
“As the second commissioner responsible for review and dispute resolution, this is an issue that is a particular focus for me,” Mr Mills said.
“We think we do a pretty good job for the most part, but we also realise that it’s not good enough for any business to have a bad experience.”
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.