Businesses with more than $100,000 in tax debts that have failed to engage with the tax commissioner could soon see their debt information disclosed to credit reporting bureaus.
With the introduction of Treasury Laws Amendment (2019 Tax Integrity and Other Measures No. 1) Bill 2019, a measure seeking to allow the ATO to disclose business tax debts to credit reporting bureaus has been revived.
The measure, which lapsed with the calling of the election earlier this year, has been slightly tweaked from its original proposal.
It is now only applicable to entities that are registered in the Australian Business Register, other than as deductible gift recipients, complying superannuation funds, registered charities or government entities.
The disclosure of tax debts will also only impact those who have one or more tax debts, the total of which is at least $100,000, that have been overdue for more than 90 days. The previous amount was set at $10,000.
If an entity is effectively engaging with the commissioner to manage a tax debt or taking action in accordance with the law to dispute the debt, that tax debt will not be taken into account when working out whether the entity has a total tax debt of at least $100,000 that has been overdue for more than 90 days.
The Inspector-General of Taxation will also be consulted to see if the entity has an active complaint concerning the disclosure of the tax debt information.
The previous explanatory memorandum said that allowing the ATO to disclose such information would support more informed decision-making within the business community by making overdue tax debts more visible, encourage taxpayers to engage with the ATO to manage their tax debts, and reduce the unfair advantage obtained by businesses that do not pay their tax on time.
Treasury is inviting feedback on the draft legislation until 21 August. You can have your say here.
Adam Zuchetti is the editor of My Business, and has steered the publication’s editorial direction since early 2016.