Million-dollar plus penalties introduced for cash economy cheats

Million-dollar plus penalties introduced for cash economy cheats

Million-dollar, penalty cash

The government’s ongoing crackdown on the black economy has gone up a notch, with penalties of over $1 million on the cards where there is evidence of intentional manipulation in problem industries.

Responding to recommendations in the Black Economy Taskforce’s interim report, Minister for Revenue and Financial Services, Kelly O’Dwyer, has introduced a bill aimed at banning electronic sales suppression tools, and extending the current Taxable Payments Reporting System (TPRS) to the courier and cleaning industries.

According to the ATO, sales suppression technology and software allows businesses to understate their incomes by untraceably deleting selected transactions from electronic records in POS equipment.

The new legislation aims to deter the production, distribution and use of electronic sales suppression tools through hefty penalties.

The proposed new law will impose a penalty of 5,000 penalty units for producing or supplying an electronic sales suppression tool, while entities are also liable to an administrative penalty of 60 penalty units.

Entities that are required to keep or make records under an Australian taxation law that possess an electronic sales suppression tool will be fined 500 penalty units.

One penalty unit is currently $210.

The bill will come into effect the day after the Act receives the royal assent.

The bill also introduces amendments to require entities that provide courier or cleaning services to report to the ATO details of transactions that involve engaging other entities to undertake those courier or cleaning services for them.

The measure is estimated to result in a gain in tax receipts of $132 million over the forward estimates period, which includes an estimated increase in goods and services tax receipts of $56 million over the forward estimates period.

According to the taskforce, the TPRS measure applied to the building and construction industry has improved contractor tax compliance, leading to its recommendation to extend it to the other “high-risk” sectors of the cleaning and courier industry. The amendments will apply from 1 July 2018.

"This new law will restrict the avenues for people participating in the black economy, whether by engaging in tax evasion or by deliberately underreporting their income,” said Ms O’Dwyer.

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Million-dollar plus penalties introduced for cash economy cheats
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