ATO’s cash economy crackdown nets $127 million

The Australian Taxation Office raised $127 million during the second half of 2009 thanks to its attack on the cash economy, commissioner Michael D’Ascenzo has revealed.

After announcing the crackdown in June of last year, D’Ascenzo said the tax office has used data from credit cards, auction houses and even car purchases to compare with tax records.

“Soon we will have the information that highlights the income and expenditure of the majority of business that could participate in the cash economy,” he told the Association of Tax and Management Accountants in a speech yesterday.

The ATO has also contacted small businesses suspected of participating in the cash economy directly, comparing unusual results with industry benchmarks and requesting explanations.

D’Ascenzo also said the business reporting system set to start in July this year will cut bureaucracy for small businesses by automatically filling out government forms, and eliminating duplication.

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