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400 Brisbane businesses face ATO visits

Adam Zuchetti
Adam Zuchetti
26 September 2019 1 minute readShare

The ATO has announced plans to visit 400 businesses in Brisbane, as part of its ongoing efforts to increase visibility and direct engagement with SMEs as well as target black economy activities.

Businesses operating in the city’s inner north, including the suburbs of Fortitude Valley, New Farm, Newstead and Teneriffe, will be visited by ATO officials in October.

Of particular interest to the Tax Office are businesses operating in the following fields:

  • Cafes, restaurants and takeaway food services
  • Computer system design and related services
  • Pharmaceutical and other store-based retailing
  • Creative and performing arts activities
  • Residential building construction
  • Postal and courier pick-up and delivery services/other transport support services
  • Building cleaning, pest control and gardening services
  • Personal care services

“We’ve received tip-offs about businesses in these suburbs demanding cash from customers, unpaid or underpaid employee entitlements, under-reporting of sales and businesses paying their workers cash in hand,” said ATO assistant commissioner Peter Holt.

In a pun about the suburb’s history, Mr Holt said that “Teneriffe has a long history of dealing with wool fleeces. It’s been a few decades since wool was traded here, but we’re aware that some dishonest businesses are still in the business of fleecing money from the community.”

As well as alerts from the community, the ATO has also identified these Brisbane suburbs as “at-risk” areas for black economy activities based on its own data and intelligence gathering.

“We don’t just rely on referrals from the community. Our intelligence suggests that some businesses in these suburbs have outstanding tax returns or BAS statements, appear to be operating in cash, or may not be complying with their employer obligations,” Mr Holt said.

“These dishonest businesses may think they can pull the wool over our eyes, but this couldn’t be further from the truth. We’re aware there is an issue and we want to protect the honest businesses in these suburbs.”

The assistant commissioner added: “During the visits, we may discuss record keeping and payment facilities, outstanding lodgements, tax debts and managing employee entitlements such as superannuation.”

The ATO will also be holding an information session for SMEs at 10am on Tuesday, 8 October, at New Farm Bowls Club.

These are the latest in a series of business visits that will take place throughout the year, with the ATO planning to visit close to 10,000 businesses across the country over the current year.

Previous areas to be visited by the ATO in recent months include Darwin; Port Douglas and Cooktown in far north Queensland; WA’s north including Broome; and the NSW mid-north coast towns of Port Macquarie and Wauchope.

400 Brisbane businesses face ATO visits
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Adam Zuchetti
Adam Zuchetti

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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