A number of small businesses could be contacted by the Australian Business Register this month as it looks to confirm their entitlement to an Australian Business Number ahead of some key proposed changes.
The ABR is set to contact a random sample of the close to 8 million active ABN holders across all entity types this month.
If contacted, small businesses and their accountants can expect the ABR to confirm their business information, discuss their usage of the ABN, survey their registration experience and confirm their entitlement to the ABN.
According to the Tax Office, the ABR will not cancel ABNs unless a request is made by the accountant or client.
“The ABR is trying [to] understand and improve the experience for clients applying for, maintaining and cancelling an ABN, and will use the information to measure ABR data quality,” said the ATO in an online update.
With the ABN system marking its 20th year of existence this year, the government is set to implement recommendations from the Black Economy Taskforce to strengthen the integrity of the system.
As announced in the federal budget this year, from 1 July 2021, ABN holders with an income tax return obligation will be required to lodge an income tax return.
Additionally, from 1 July 2022, ABN holders will need to confirm the accuracy of their details on the ABR annually.
Currently, ABN holders are able to retain their ABN regardless whether they are meeting their income tax return lodgement obligation or the obligation to update their ABN details.
The new conditions have been touted to make ABN holders more accountable for meeting their obligations, while minimising the regulatory impact on businesses doing the right thing.