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ATO will dob in 9k businesses to credit agencies this month

Tax

With more than $5 billion owed by companies meeting the criteria for referral, the Tax Office is drawing a line in the sand.

By Philip King 9 minute read

The ATO expects to disclose 9,000 businesses to credit reporting agencies this month over debts of $100,000 or more and issued a stern warning that it was back to business as usual.

The Tax Office said there were no more second chances and businesses should pay up, “engage”, or face the consequences with more than $5 billion at stake.

ATO assistant commissioner Jillian Kitto said settling the debt or engaging with the office were the only ways to prevent a business’s tax debt from becoming visible in credit rating checks.

“We give businesses ample opportunity to re-engage with us,” she said. “However, those who show continued and ongoing disregard for their tax and super obligations will have their debts disclosed.”

“While we do not take disclosures lightly, consequences will apply to businesses who refuse to pay or engage with us.”

She encouraged businesses to reach out to the ATO and said it wanted “to work with businesses to help them get on top of their debts”.

The Tax Office revealed that as of July, it had already issued notices of intent to disclose to more than 22,000 businesses with debts of at least $100,000 overdue by more than 90 days.

It expected to issue more than 50,000 notices of intent this financial year with more than $5 billion owed by businesses that currently meet the criteria for disclosure.

“Businesses need to pay their debt or enter into an appropriate payment arrangement within 28 days of when the intent to disclose notice was issued to prevent disclosure,” it said.

“A disclosed debt can impact a business’s ability to receive finance and they may lose suppliers.”

Ms Kitto said the office had drawn a line in the sand.

“Through the pandemic we shifted our focus from debt collection to stimulus payments and assistance with tax, but it is now time to re-establish the culture of paying tax on time,” she said.

“We must draw a line in the sand to protect the Australian community and other creditors, and to ensure a level playing field for businesses who do the right thing.”

“If you have an outstanding tax debt, we strongly urge you to pay it or reach out to us or your tax professional so we can provide the right support.”

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Philip King

Philip King

AUTHOR

Philip King is editor of Accountants Daily and SMSF Adviser, the leading sources of news, insight, and educational content for professionals in the accounting and SMSF sectors.

Philip joined the titles in March 2022 and brings extensive experience from a variety of roles at The Australian national broadsheet daily, most recently as motoring editor. His background also takes in spells on diverse consumer and trade magazines.

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