While there may be some light at the end of the tunnel for a turnaround (or at least a positive change) in business conditions, SMEs are still struggling with their tax obligations.
According to the ATO, its latest Business Perceptions Survey (conducted in May 2009) showed that 49% of businesses believe the current financial conditions will make it more difficult to meet tax obligations over the next 12 months.
While this contrasts strongly, at least on the face of it, with the business confidence survey conducted by the Sensis Business Index (in late August/early September 2009), the ATO considers that the main issues reported by respondents continued in line with the previous quarter’s Index, that is, a lack of work or sales, followed by cashflow and the economic climate.
In these tough and changeable times, the ATO has for some time been running its Small Business Assistance Program, conducting seminars and workshops, and visiting SMEs to help them understand their tax obligations. The old saying, “I’m from the Government, and I’m here to help you”, does have some validity.
Get daily business news.
The latest stories, funding information, and expert advice. Free to sign up.
The ATO has recently assessed the effectiveness of the Program and found that small businesses that received assistance from the Tax Office improved their tax compliance obligations significantly. For example, the ATO found that: