The ATO is concerned that some businesses who have received the $20,000 to $100,000 cash-flow boost have made either an honest mistake or undertaken a fraudulent arrangement to increase the amount they receive.
“We recently wrote to some cash-flow boost recipients where we have seen an unusual or unexpected change in the amount of salary and wages and/or withholding amounts they have reported in recent activity statements,” said an ATO spokesperson.
“We are asking these clients to check the amounts reported. We are concerned that a mistake could have been made and they might have received an incorrect cash-flow boost amount.
“If this is the case, we will not impose penalties and will remit interest if the client revises their activity statement to correct it.
“We also have a range of options available to assist businesses to repay any overpaid amounts, and we will support businesses having trouble paying.”
The ATO’s stance on cash-flow boost schemes has not changed since the stimulus measure was first introduced in late March.
The Tax Office had earlier warned that it would take a dim view of schemes to artificially create or inflate entitlements, including reporting withholding amounts on behalf of fictitious employees or overstating PAYG withholding amounts.
Tax practitioners have also been cautioned against manufacturing entitlements, with the ATO warning that promoter penalty laws may apply to people who peddle such schemes.
By mid-August, 777,000 businesses had received the initial cash-flow boost up to the June quarter, with 460,5000 receiving the additional cash-flow boost.
According to the ATO, $16.3 billion was paid out in the initial period, with $4.2 billion disbursed for the additional cash-flow boost.
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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.