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ATO strike force has 10k SMEs in its sights

Jotham Lian
Jotham Lian
05 November 2018 1 minute readShare
Taxman, audit, scrutiny

The tax office will visit 10,000 businesses over the next 12 months as it looks to educate and send “a strong message” to businesses operating in the black economy.

As part of the $318.5 million federal budget funding boost to the ATO to implement new strategies to combat the black economy, the Tax Office will be authorising mobile strike visits to 10,000 businesses in 30 locations across the country.

The locations will include 10 metro, 10 regional and 10 remote areas.

Already this year, we've contacted over 3,000 businesses in six locations from Cairns to Canberra, also Darlinghurst, Surry Hills, Bunbury and Busselton,” said ATO deputy commissioner, Deborah Jenkins at the IPA’s National Congress.

“Currently, we're visiting businesses in Box Hill, Adelaide CBD, and Broadbeach, and soon we will visit Alice Spring, Darwin, Katherine, Launceston, Geelong and Wollongong.

“Our mobile strike team visits provide real visibility of the ATO within the community and it positively impacts on small business and community perceptions,” she added.

“It supports our commitment to protecting honest businesses that are being undermined by their competitors who get an unfair advantage when they don't report all of their income and it sends a strong message to those who are deliberately doing the wrong thing that there is a high risk of being detected.”

The increased number of mobile visits comes off the back of other successful visits, including July’s focus on the inner city suburbs of Sydney.

Further, Ms Jenkins said the tax office would soon be publishing its tax gap report for small businesses, following in line with its first individuals not in business tax gap report earlier this year.

“For our small business income tax gap, we've been undertaking a random enquiry program and we're currently analysing the results to estimate the gap. It will give me and my team insights into what to focus on in terms of improving compliance for small business. We are working to finalise the gap and we're going to publish it once we have a reliable, credible, and meaningful estimate of that gap,” said Ms Jenkins.

“Already from the random enquiry program we can see there is a great opportunity to work with the profession, the industry, and small businesses to avoid really unnecessary errors and get the client's tax right up front.

“What we can see is that businesses that do really well keep good records, seek advice when needed and do use technology to help run their business, whether that is a point of sale software system, a cloud-based accounting system, or a mobile app.”

ATO strike force has 10k SMEs in its sights
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Jotham Lian
Jotham Lian

Adam Zuchetti is the former editor of MyBusiness and a senior freelance media professional, specialising in the fields of business, personal finance and property. In 2020, he also embarked on his own business journey – inspired in part by the entrepreneurs and founders he had met through his journalistic work – with the launch of customised pet gifting and subscription service Paws N’ All.

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