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ATO set to visit almost 500 businesses in cash crackdown

The ATO will visit almost 500 businesses in the NSW mid-north coast as part of its ongoing crackdown on the black economy, with a number of businesses in the region falling behind with income tax returns.

Tax&Compliance Miranda Brownlee 24 July 2019
— 1 minute read

In a public update, the ATO said it is planning to visit close to 500 businesses in or around Port Macquarie and Wauchope in late July and early August as part of ongoing efforts to combat the black economy.


ATO assistant commissioner Peter Holt said there are a number of businesses in this region who are not registered for GST or pay as you go withholding which can be a sign of the black economy.

“Another reason we’re planning the visits is because there are a number of businesses in this region with overdue income tax returns,” Mr Holt said.

Mr Holt said the ATO will be talking to business owners to help them get things right where they need a helping hand.

“We may discuss record keeping and payment facilities, outstanding lodgements, tax debts, and managing employee entitlements such as superannuation,” he said.

As part of the visits, ATO officers will be providing information about recent changes, such as Single Touch Payroll and the extension of the taxable payments reporting system to certain industries.

Prior to the visits, local businesses and tax professionals have been invited to attend a one-hour information session at Rydges Port Macquarie on Monday, 29 July, that will explain the purpose of the visits, what to expect if visited and how to avoid common mistakes.

The ATO said the visits are part of its overall strategy for dealing with the black economy. In the 2018–19 financial year, the Tax Office visited nearly 9,000 businesses in all states and territories across a variety of industries.

“The Black Economy Taskforce estimates that the black economy is costing the community as much as $50 billion, which is approximately 3 per cent of gross domestic product (GDP). This is money that the community is missing out on for vital public services like schools, welfare, roads, healthcare and infrastructure,” Mr Holt said.

“Most businesses do the right thing. However, businesses who deliberately do the wrong thing — for example, pay cash in hand, or fail to lodge income tax returns or business activity statements — get an unfair advantage and make it harder for businesses who are doing the right thing. By detecting and addressing this behaviour, we’re helping to ensure a level playing field for honest small businesses.”

ATO set to visit almost 500 businesses in cash crackdown
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Miranda Brownlee

Miranda Brownlee

Miranda Brownlee is the deputy editor of SMSF Adviser, which is the leading source of news, strategy and educational content for professionals working in the SMSF sector.

Since joining the team in 2014, Miranda has been responsible for breaking some of the biggest superannuation stories in Australia, and has reported extensively on technical strategy and legislative updates.
Miranda also has broad business and financial services reporting experience, having written for titles including Investor Daily, ifa and Accountants Daily.