ATO to visit 400 Brisbane businesses in another black economy crackdown

assistant commissioner peter holt

ATO assistant commissioner Peter Holt. Source: supplied.

The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) will next month visit 400 businesses in inner-north Brisbane, which it said is “at risk” of becoming a black economy hotspot.

Businesses in Teneriffe, New Farm, Newstead and Fortitude Valley will be inspected by the ATO following tip-offs from the community about alleged dodgy dealings.

Over the month of October, ATO officers will blitz the area “as part of our early intervention strategy”, assistant commissioner Peter Holt said in a statement.

“We’ve received tip-offs about businesses in these suburbs demanding cash from customers, unpaid or underpaid employee entitlements, under-reporting of sales, and businesses paying their workers cash-in-hand,” he said.

Holt also said the four suburbs were already on the ATO’s radar from its intelligence sources.

“We don’t just rely on referrals from the community. Our intelligence suggests that some businesses in these suburbs have outstanding tax returns or BAS statements, appear to be operating in cash, or may not be complying with their employer obligations.”

Several industries will be under the microscope, including food services, computer system services, pharmaceutical, creative arts, residential building construction, postal and delivery services, cleaning and gardening services, and personal care services.

The ATO will be on the lookout for businesses improperly or failing to report income, underpaying workers or withholding entitlements, and not complying with tax and super obligations.

The effort is part of a wider strategy to visit almost 10,000 across Australia within this financial year. Black economy activity currently costs the government an estimated $50 billion.

The raid follows similar crackdowns across Western Australia and other regional areas.

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