The Australian Tax Office (ATO) is currently making visits to Australia Businesses as part of a blitz against businesses who they suspect may not be meeting all their tax and superannuation obligations.
The ATO are making use of a variety of third party data sources and sophisticated risk-analysis software to identify those business owners who may not be meeting the required tax obligations to protect honest businesses from this unfair competition.
Mobile business visits
The ATO have said:
“Our mobile business visits are part of our strike team approach to protect honest businesses from unfair competition by addressing black economy activities.”
They are working with business associations, industry associations, chambers of commerce and local councils, along with other local authorities and have so far visited the areas of Surry Hills, Darlinghurst, Cairns, Bunbury, Canberra and Busselton. Businesses in Broadbeach, Adelaide and Box Hill areas are currently being visited by the ATO teams, with more areas planned.
High risk activities
The Tax Office have said the kind of activities they are looking for in these targeted visits are:
- Unreported or misrepresented sales.
- Omitting income, including missing payments and online transactions.
- Discrepancies between activity statements and tax returns.
- Businesses operating outside the tax system.
- Lifestyle and asset mismatches with business income.
- Businesses reporting outside of the business benchmarks.
The types of businesses that the Australian Tax Office have said they are focusing on are those who operate mainly in cash and their data matching suggests do not make electronic payments. They are also becoming increasingly aware of businesses who under-report transactions and income thanks to third-party data matching advances. The ATO are investigating tips from the public – calling for Australia to report those businesses who are potentially avoiding tax obligations.
What to do if you think you’ve made a mistake
If you realise you’ve made a tax mistake for your business, or left something out, it is better to come to them first as “reduced penalties may be applied”. Examples they have given SME’s are:
- Undisclosed business income – including cash payments.
- Deductions claim that the business was not entitled to.
- Any false or misleading statements made to the ATO.
The Australian Tax Office are also hosting information sessions before they visit each area that will address how the black economy affects businesses, as well as detailing how to avoid common tax mistakes Australian businesses make.
For more information in this ATO strike force initiative visit their website: here.