The Tax Office will begin visiting around 300 businesses in Bega, Bemboka, Bermagui, Brogo, Candelo, Cobargo, Eden, Merimbula, Pambula, and Tura Beach in November.
The black economy visits come as the ATO’s intelligence shows some concerning figures with businesses on the South Coast.
“We’ve crunched the numbers and there are a higher than average proportion of businesses in this part of New South Wales with overdue income tax returns and business activity statements,” said ATO commissioner Peter Holt.
“We also suspect a higher than average use of cash by businesses on the South Coast. These are black economy warning signs.
“We’ve been tipped off that some businesses on the South Coast are dabbling in the black economy by doing things like demanding cash from customers, refusing to provide tax invoices for sales, and under-reporting income to us.”
Cafes and restaurants, hair and beauty salons, carpenters, and hotels and motels are most likely to be visited by ATO officers.
These officers will carry identification in the form of 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.
“Visits should only take about 30 minutes and we may discuss recordkeeping and payment facilities, outstanding lodgments, tax debts, and managing employee entitlements such as superannuation,” Mr Holt said.
“As part of our business visits, we attempt to notify businesses about our visits before we arrive, for example, by phone, SMS, email or letter. This includes an invitation to come to an information session to find out more.”
Tax practitioners in the region will also be visited as the ATO seeks to understand drivers behind agent behaviour.
ATO officers will also run a “Tax essentials” information session tailored to support small businesses, and provide information about recent changes, such as Single Touch Payroll and the extension of the taxable payments reporting system to certain industries.
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.