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500 businesses set for surprise ATO visits


Up to 500 businesses in Tasmania can expect unannounced door knocks from the Tax Office this month, as the regulator ramps up its focus on the cash economy.

by Jotham Lian2 minute read
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As part of a nationwide crackdown on the black economy, the ATO will visit businesses in and around Launceston and Smithton in the coming weeks, with ATO officers set to arrive unannounced.

ATO Assistant Commissioner Peter Holt said businesses that advertise as ‘cash only’ and businesses that are operating outside of performance benchmarks for their industry will be especially targeted for a visit from the agency.

Tasmanian businesses such as restaurants and cafés, vehicle repairers, personal care businesses, pharmacies, construction businesses, clothing stores, grocery stores, and butchers, will be the most likely industries set for a visit.

“Businesses that pay cash in hand, or fail to lodge income tax or business activity statements get an unfair advantage and make it harder for other businesses who are doing the right thing,” said Mr Holt.

“By detecting and addressing this behaviour, we’re helping ensure a level playing field for honest small businesses.”

Prior to the visits, all local businesses and tax professionals will have the opportunity to attend a one-hour information session that will explain the purpose of the visits, what to expect if visited, and how to avoid common mistakes.

There will also be a one-hour ‘Introduction to business records’ session for businesses in Launceston and Smithton that need a helping hand getting their records up to scratch.

“Good record-keeping is essential in business, and that’s one of the problems we’ve helped people fix through our visits. We’ll be happy to give you a hand to get things right,” Mr Holt said.

“If businesses know they have made mistakes we encourage them to let us know and work with us or their tax professional.”

The mobile strike visits come as part of the $318.5 million federal budget funding boost to the ATO to implement new strategies to combat the black economy, which has been estimated to cost $50 billion.

The Tax Office said last year it would be visiting 10,000 businesses in 30 locations across the country over the next 12 months.

500 businesses set for surprise ATO visits
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