Speaking exclusively on the MyBusiness webcast, ATO assistant commissioner for small business Andrew Watson explained that the Tax Office is very understanding of the difficult situation the lockdowns have inflicted on businesses in Victoria.
“Get in contact with us. We understand it’s going to be a difficult situation over the next sort of five weeks and then with how Victoria may reopen,” Mr Watson said.
He explained that some of those businesses that may have not been eligible for the government’s JobKeeper wage subsidy initially, may now be.
“Some of those businesses, they may have not been eligible for JobKeeper before because their turnover may not have dropped by the requisite 30 per cent, but they might be eligible now,” Mr Watson said.
“So, keep in mind, you can still come into the JobKeeper scheme if you’re now becoming eligible.”
He revealed that the ATO is also questioning the appropriateness of mailouts around tax time as the situation in Victoria intensifies.
“The situation is evolving rapidly, so we are mindful around how we progress, with what’s appropriate for us to be doing with the community in Melbourne,” he said.
“We’ll keep working through that, but as I said, it’s more a case-by-case basis. We haven’t made any blanket decisions, but all of the other general assistance is there.”
Speaking from personal experience, Mr Watson said that the ATO itself has had several thousand of its Melbourne-based employees affected.
He said: “It brings it home to us. But for those small-business owners in Melbourne, the main message is, we get that it’s going to be different for you than it’s going to be for the rest of the country where they’re looking at thing opening up, restrictions easing.
“In Melbourne, it is how it was before. So, things are going to take a little bit more time for them.
“We’ll be looking to deal with different small-business communities based on their circumstances, rather than just taking a blanket approach, and unfortunately, it is probably something that will continue for a while.”
He urged businesses to get in touch, explaining that in his 25 years in tax, a tax problem has never gone away because it was ignored.
“If you’ve got an issue, talk to us.”
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