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Overdue BAS, tax returns send ATO knocking

Carp Street in Bega, NSW

A higher than average rate of late BAS and tax returns are causing the Tax Office to visit businesses on the NSW South Coast, in addition to tip-offs about possible black economy activity.

The ATO revealed on Monday (4 November) that it would visit around 300 businesses across Bega and the far South Coast of Australia’s most populous state during November.

Other towns in the region that will be visited by ATO inspectors include:

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  • Bemboka
  • Bermagui
  • Brogo
  • Candelo
  • Cobargo
  • Eden
  • Merimbula
  • Pambula
  • Tura Beach

“We’ve crunched the numbers and there are a higher than average proportion of businesses in this part of New South Wales with overdue income tax returns and business activity statements,” said assistant commissioner Peter Holt.

He said that some businesses in the region also look to have a higher than average reliance on cash transactions, which can be an indication of undeclared income.

This has been supported by tip-offs received from the public.

“We’ve been tipped off that some businesses on the South Coast are dabbling in the black economy by doing things like demanding cash from customers, refusing to provide tax invoices for sales, and under-reporting income to us,” said Mr Holt.

Of particular interest to ATO inspectors will be the following types of businesses:

  • cafes and restaurants
  • hair and beauty salons
  • carpenters
  • hotels and motels

Mr Holt repeated warnings that the black economy is estimated to cost Australia up to $50 billion, or 3 per cent of gross domestic product (GDP).

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“This is money that the community is missing out on for vital public services like hospitals, roads, welfare, and schools,” he said.

During the visits, ATO inspectors will be discussing a range of matters with businesses, including their recordkeeping and payment facilities, any outstanding tax liabilities, advice on fixing any mistakes and ATO tools offered specifically for businesses.

As part of the visits, information sessions will also be held on Tuesday, 12 November at Club Sapphire Merimbula, in a bid to help business owners stay up to date.

“There have been a few changes for small businesses recently in terms of tax so our [Tax] essentials session may be a helpful way to brush up on some basics and ensure you’re keeping on top of your tax obligations,” Mr Holt said.

Registrations for the information sessions can be made through the ATO website.

Other areas that have been the target of business visits by ATO in recent months include the Sydney suburb of Bankstown, parts of Hobart, the Bathurst region in the NSW Central West and select inner suburbs of Brisbane.

Adam Zuchetti

Adam Zuchetti

Adam Zuchetti is the editor of My Business, and has steered the publication’s editorial direction since early 2016. 

The two-time Publish Awards finalist has an extensive journalistic career across business, property and finance, including a four-year stint in the UK. Email Adam at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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Overdue BAS, tax returns send ATO knocking
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