ATO issues fresh warning to these Aussies

The ATO is warning businesses to do the right thing this tax time.

ATO logo and Australian people.
The ATO is cracking down on tax avoidance and businesses doing 'cashies'. (Source: ATO/Getty)

The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) is cracking down on Aussie businesses trying to avoid paying taxes by doing ‘cashies’.

The ‘shadow economy’ - people and businesses who deliberately avoid paying the right amount of tax - is estimated to cost the Australian economy $12.4 billion every year in unpaid taxes.

ATO assistant commissioner Tony Goding said it was getting harder for businesses to hide from the ATO, with taxable payments annual report (TPAR) data helping the ATO catch out dodgy behaviour.

“We know there are some who deliberately don’t report, or under-report, their income, making it unfair for honest businesses,” Goding said.

“Dodgy businesses doing 'cashies' are being put on notice as the ATO continues to crack down on shadow economy behaviour.

“If you are asking for cash and not declaring it to the ATO, you will receive a 'please explain' from the ATO and you will be penalised. It’s not a matter of if, it’s a matter of when.”

Businesses who make payments to contractors may be required to lodge a TPAR by August 28, 2023.

Goding said failure to meet the deadline could be seen as a “red flag and prompt closer scrutiny”.

“The Taxable payments reporting system is just one tool in the ATO’s toolbelt helping expose missing income and keeping things fair for businesses doing the right thing,” Goding said.

“We use a range of information in the TPAR to check for red flags, like not including income, not lodging tax returns or activity statements, overclaiming GST credits or misusing Australian business numbers.”

The ATO recently issued more than 16,000 penalties for businesses who didn’t lodge their TPARs for previous years, despite receiving reminders. The average penalty was $1,110.

Around $400 billion payments made to almost 1.1 million contracts were reported in the taxable payments reporting system in the past financial year.

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