Tax

Who, when and where: The ATO will visit 1,800 small businesses before tax time in a black economy blitz

Matthew Elmas /

ATO

ATO Commissioner Chris Jordan has said the IGT's review made it "crystal clear" that there was no cash grab. AAP/Mick Tsikas.

The tax office is planning a pre-end of financial year (EOFY) compliance blitz targeting small businesses in Victoria, Queensland and the Northern Territory.

Up to 1,800 businesses can expect knocks on the door over the next month as the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) looks for evidence of black economy activity.

Businesses not registered for pay as you go (PAYG) withholding or GST are of particular focus for ATO enforcers, who have identified specific geographical risk areas in each state.

The activity is part of broader efforts to reduce the $50 billion black economy tax gap shortchanging government coffers each year, with more than 10,000 small businesses expected to receive visits in the 2019-20 financial year.

Assistant commissioner Peter Holt said local visits provide an “opportunity to talk to business owners and help them get things right”.

“We also take community referrals about businesses who are suspected of doing the wrong thing into account when selecting where to visit,” Holt said in a statement shared with SmartCompany on Thursday morning.

“Misrepresenting sales, not reporting income from online transactions and poor record keeping are some of the common concerns the community has raised with us.”

Agents will also be visiting tax practitioners of small businesses in its focus areas as part of what it says is an “early intervention strategy”.

It said the visits will help them “better understand the drivers behind agent behaviour and provide education and support to encourage willing participation of their clients in our tax and super systems”.

Visited by the ATO? Let us know how it went confidentially at [email protected]

The ATO is holding information sessions in the lead up to the compliance activity over the next month and has provided additional detail about what it is looking for in each area.

Dandenong, Victoria

Up to 700 businesses in Dandenong can expect visits from “late-May to early-June”.

Industries of focus include:

  • Building, pest control and gardening services businesses;
  • Transport support services businesses;
  • Automotive repair and maintenance businesses;
  • Personal services businesses; and
  • Architectural, engineering and technical services businesses.

Information sessions will be held on Thursday, June 6, at the Punthill Apartment Hotel in Dandenong.

Times include 9.30-10.30am, 2.30-3.30pm and 5.30-6.30pm — a single touch payroll introduction session will also be held from 10.30am-12.20pm.

Richmond, Victoria

Up to 500 businesses in Richmond can expect ATO visits in “late-May to early-June”.

Industries of focus include:

  • Cafe, restaurants and takeaway food services businesses;
  • Computer system design and related services businesses;
  • Personals services businesses; and
  • Architectural, engineering and technical services businesses.

Information sessions will be held on Monday, May 27, at the Amora Hotel Riverwalk Melbourne in Richmond.

Times include 10-11am and 7-8pm. A Single Touch Payroll Session will be held on Monday at 11am-12.50pm.

Maroochydore, Queensland

Up to 400 businesses in Maroochydore can expect ATO visits from “early to mid-June”.

Industries of focus include:

  • Cafe, restaurants and takeaway food services businesses;
  • Building, pest control and gardening services businesses;
  • Personals services businesses; and
  • Legal and accounting service businesses.

An information session will be held on Monday, May 27, at Maroochy RSL.

Times include 10-11am and 6-7pm – a Single Touch Payroll session will be held from 11.30am-1.20pm.

Northern Territory

Up to 200 businesses across Katherine, Batchelor, Bees Creek, Adelaide River and Pine Creek should expect visits from the ATO in “late-May and early-June”.

Information sessions will be held on Tuesday, May 28, at Coomalie Community Government Council and on Wednesday, May 29, at Katherine Town Council.

Katherine Town Council times are 9.30-10.30am and 5.30-6.30pm — an additional single touch payroll session will run from 10.45am-12.35pm.

Businesses in Batchelor can expect a session at Coomalie from 3.45-4.45pm, though further tax and super questions can be asked between 1-3.30pm, while a Single Touch Payroll session will be held from 5pm-6.50pm

Correction: A previous version of this article claimed Batchelor’s Single Touch Payroll session ended at 6pm. It actually ends at 6.50pm.

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Matthew Elmas

Matthew is the news editor at SmartCompany. You can contact him at [email protected].

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