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ATO spruiks cashless society in latest research


Only one in five Australians continue to use cash for purchases, according to new research revealed by the Tax Office as it continues its major investigations into the black economy.

By Jotham Lian 9 minute read

According to research by Colmar Brunton, commissioned for the ATO, the trend towards cashless payment has escalated, with 86 per cent of businesses agreeing that customers expect to pay via electronic means.

“This research indicates that the trend away from cash will only gather pace. This is more than a passing fad. This is the way of the future,” said ATO assistant commissioner Matthew Bambrick.

“Particularly with the decline in minimum transaction amounts, we are likely to see more and more people carrying little or no cash at all. Most businesses already know this and we expect the rest will be there soon.”

The ATO has been handed a $318.5 million funding boost as the government seeks to combat the black economy, with an estimated gain of $3 billion over the forward estimates period.

A limit of $10,000 for cash payments made to business for goods and services has also been proposed, with the measure set to kick off from 1 July 2019.

“It’s clear that there’s been a cultural shift towards cashless payments across the board, even for smaller amounts,” said Mr Bambrick.

“The research shows that cash is only the preferred payment method for transactions under $5, and for anything over $50, the vast majority of people want the ease and security of an electronic payment.

“Where we once saw people walk into car dealerships with cash in hand, cash has now been relegated to the morning coffee.”

According to the research, the trend towards cashless payments is particularly evident among people under 35, who carry the least amount of cash.

Those aged 18 to 24 are also half as likely to request a discount for paying in cash compared with the general population.

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Jotham Lian

Jotham Lian


Jotham Lian is the 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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