The ATO’s own data and intelligence has suggested that Teneriffe, New Farm, Newstead and Fortitude Valley are “at-risk” suburbs for suspected black economy behaviour.
According to ATO assistant commissioner Peter Holt, businesses who are not declaring income, not complying with their tax and super obligations or underpaying workers are contributing to the black economy.
“Teneriffe has a long history of dealing with wool fleeces. It’s been a few decades since wool was traded here, but we’re aware that some dishonest businesses are still in the business of fleecing money from the community,” Mr Holt said.
“These dishonest businesses may think they can pull the wool over our eyes, but this couldn’t be further from the truth. We’re aware there is an issue and we want to protect the honest businesses in these suburbs.
“We’ve received tip-offs about businesses in these suburbs demanding cash from customers, unpaid or underpaid employee entitlements, underreporting of sales, and businesses paying their workers cash in hand.
“We don’t just rely on referrals from the community. Our intelligence suggests that some businesses in these suburbs have outstanding tax returns or BAS statements, appear to be operating in cash, or may not be complying with their employer obligations.”
Ahead of the visits, the Tax Office will notify businesses of a potential visit through phone, SMS, email or letter.
ATO officers will carry identification such as a hard plastic card with the coat of arms, the name of the officer and their photograph, and an expiry date. There is also an Australian government watermark on the card itself.
The ATO will also be visiting tax practitioners of small businesses in these areas as part of its early intervention strategy.
These visits will enable the ATO to better understand the drivers behind agent behaviour, and provide education and support to encourage willing participation of their clients in our tax and super systems.
Industries marked out as more likely to be visited include:
- Cafes, restaurants and takeaway food services
- Computer system design and related services
- Pharmaceutical and other store-based retailing
- Creative and performing arts activities
- Residential building construction
- Postal and courier pick-up and delivery services/other transport support services
- Building cleaning, pest control and gardening services
- Personal care services
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.