Just days ago, the ATO revealed that its inspectors would visit the NSW South Coast, driven in part by an unusually high number of businesses being late with their lodgements.
Then late on Wednesday (6 November), it revealed that the same reason — along with suspected underreporting of sales and other intelligence it had received — would see it visit up to 800 businesses in and around Frankston and Croydon.
In Frankston, “the gateway to the Mornington Peninsula”, the ATO plans to focus its efforts during November on food businesses (cafés, takeaway outlets and restaurants) as well as professional services businesses, singling out real estate firms, management consultants and accountants as among those who can expect a visit.
Tax information sessions for business owners will be held in Frankston this Tuesday, 12 November, at Functions by the Bay.
Meanwhile, in Croydon and surrounding suburbs in Melbourne’s east, it will be different types of businesses that have been singled out as being likely to be visited, including:
- hairdressers and beauty services
- cleaning businesses
- management consultants and financial advisers
- takeaway food businesses
The Croydon visits will begin this month and finish up in early December, the ATO said.
Separate information sessions will be held here the following day, next Wednesday on 13 November, at Dorset Gardens Hotel in Croydon.
“In both locations, there are significant numbers of businesses with overdue income tax returns and business activity statements,” said ATO assistant commissioner Peter Holt.
“We’re also aware that some employers in these parts of Melbourne may not be complying with their obligations like withholding tax or paying their superannuation entitlements. These are all black economy warning signs for us.”
Mr Holt noted that intelligence received from other regulators, including the Fair Work Ombudsman, and tip-offs from the public have also attracted it to scrutinise business operations in both areas.
“We owe it to the honest businesses and workers in these suburbs to investigate and keep things fair. It’s simply not on that some businesses are getting a free kick and an unfair advantage over their honest competitors,” he said.
The ATO aims to visit up to 10,000 businesses across Australia each year, as part of a co-ordinated approach to crack down on the black economy and provide greater opportunities for business owners to discuss their tax liabilities and any questions they may have.