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Debt collection stumbles in mixed bag report for GST


The ATO’s annual GST administration performance report shows a decline in dispute numbers last year, but notable faltering on debt collection and on-time payment.

By Katarina Taurian 10 minute read

The 2016-17 report shows the ATO raised $59.8 billion in GST cash, up 4.3 per cent from the previous reporting period. An additional $2.9 billion in GST liabilities was also raised through direct compliance activities.

Despite this spike, the last financial year saw an overall reduction in litigation and objection cases, which the ATO puts down to early engagement with taxpayers.

Objections lodged to the tax office dropped by 291 compared to 2015-16, and the ATO had 69 litigation cases open as at 30 June 2017, which is a 10 per cent drop compared to the previous year.


However, on-time payment performance declined by 1.3 per cent, and collectable debt is up by 13.5 per cent.

Deputy commissioner for indirect tax, Tim Dyce, said debt collection activities faced “a number of challenges” this year, including natural disasters and a challenging economic environment for small business.

These figures are consistent with the collectable debt increase across the board, which the ATO said in its annual report stood at $20.9 billion which is up from $19.2 billion in 2015-16.

Similarly, the ATO put this down to unforeseen factors, including liabilities flowing from the Tax Avoidance Taskforce, the Serious Financial Crime Taskforce and Operation Elbrus, which involved the alleged wrongdoing of ATO officers.

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Katarina Taurian


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