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  • Businesses with financial difficulties

    If your business is having financial difficulties, you may qualify for:

    • priority processing of your tax return
    • concessions or tax breaks.

    Financial difficulties include hardship associated with:

    • business closure
    • disconnection of an essential service
    • repossession of a vehicle that is used for business purposes
    • imminent legal action pending for non-payment of debts
    • period of review limitations
    • court orders
    • settlements
    • other necessities for the business or people you are responsible for.

    Evidence of financial difficulty

    We may ask for evidence that your business is in financial difficulty. This will support your claim. Evidence may include:

    • a current bank notice
    • other bank notices (for example, an overdraft call)
    • an eviction notice
    • a disconnection notice
    • a repossession notice
    • a notice of impending legal action
    • staff pay records
    • contract payment schedules
    • legal documents.

    We take many factors into account when assessing your claim.

    In some cases, our requirements may change. This will depend on your circumstances.

    Your situation

    Select the topics below that apply to you:

    Difficulty lodging on time

    It's important to lodge your activity statements and tax returns on time, even if you can't pay by the due date. This will show us that you're aware of your obligations and doing your best to meet them.

    If you use a registered tax or BAS agent to lodge on your behalf, you may have a different due date.

    We encourage you to contact us, or speak with a tax practitioner, as early as possible.

    Depending on your circumstances, we may be able to defer your lodgment.

    Phone us on 13 11 42 between 8.00am and 6.00pm, Monday to Friday, to discuss your situation.

    See also:

    Priority processing

    If your circumstances are putting you under financial difficulties or serious hardship, you may be eligible for priority processing of your return.

    You can apply for priority processing to us by fax or through a tax professional.

    Next step:

    See also:

    Concessions for small businesses

    If you're a small business, you may be eligible for a range of tax concessions. These depend on your annual turnover.

    Concessions are available for:

    • goods and services tax (GST)
    • capital gains tax (CGT)
    • fringe benefit tax (FBT)
    • pay as you go (PAYG) instalments.

    You can use one or more of these concessions if your business is eligible.

    You may have to satisfy additional conditions. Check each tax year to see if you qualify for a concession.

    See also:

    GST turnover significantly reduced

    If your GST turnover is less than $75,000 (or $150,000 for non-profit organisations), you may be able to either:

    • cancel your GST registration – your fuel tax credit, luxury car tax and wine equalisation tax registrations will also be cancelled
    • remain registered, but report and pay your GST annually
    • continue with your current registration and reporting option.

    See also:

    Trouble paying tax and other business liabilities

    If you’re having trouble, it’s important to contact us early so we can help you. It’s never too late to speak with us.

    If you are struggling to manage your tax obligations or pay your tax, we can work with you to find a solution tailored to your situation and help you get back on track.

    Depending on your circumstances, we may be able to:

    • set up an affordable payment plan
    • fast track any tax refund owing to you
    • prevent any tax refund you may be due to receive from being used to pay debts with other government organisations
    • in special circumstances, we can release you from paying some taxes if paying the taxes would cause serious hardship.

    Phone us on 13 11 42 between 8.00am and 6.00pm, Monday to Friday, to discuss your situation.

    See also:

    Claiming the tax break for businesses

    Businesses with an annual turnover of $2 million or more can claim a tax deduction for investing in new tangible depreciating assets of $10,000 or more. The deduction is either 30% or 10%. It depends on when the investments took place and when the assets were installed.

    You can claim the tax break in the 2008–09 to 2011–12 income years as a tax deduction. Use the income tax return label Small business and general business tax break. Claim for the income year in which the asset is first used or installed ready for use.

    Reduced business income

    You may be able to vary your instalment rate if:

    • you make pay as you go (PAYG) instalments on your activity statement
    • your business income is reduced substantially part way through the tax year.

    Phone us on 13 28 61 to find out about varying your PAYG instalments.

    See also:

    Difficulty making employee super payments on time

    You need to pay superannuation for all eligible employees. You must pay super at least once every financial quarter. Pay by the 28th day of the month following the end of the quarter. This is the last day you can pay a super contribution to an employee's super fund. After this you are liable for the super guarantee charge.

    If you don't pay the minimum amount of super to the correct super fund on time, you need to:

    • lodge a Superannuation guarantee charge statement
    • pay the super guarantee charge to us.

    There is a super guarantee late payment offset. This allows you to offset late super contributions against the super guarantee charge for a period.

    See also:

    At risk of insolvency

    If you suspect your business is in financial difficulty, get proper accounting and legal advice as early as possible.

    There are different types of insolvency administrations, including:

    • administrator appointed (voluntary administration)
    • receivership
    • liquidation
    • mortgagee in possession.

    Action taken against insolvent businesses depends on the nature of the insolvency administration. An insolvency practitioner can conduct a solvency review of your business. They will outline the options available to you. To find an insolvency professional, visit the Australian Restructuring Insolvency & Turnaround Association websiteExternal Link.

    If you're operating a business as an individual and become bankrupt, this will impact your business.

    See also:

    Closing or selling your business

    You may need to deal with a number of tax matters if you decide to:

    • cease operating your business
    • sell your business
    • register a business, but not actually start operating the business.

    These tax matters may include:

    • cancelling your ABN and other registrations
    • lodging and paying any outstanding activity statements or notices
    • making GST adjustments on your final activity statement
    • lodging your final tax returns.

    Phone us on 13 28 66 and we can work through what you need to do.

    See also:

    Unable to access your frozen funds

    Phone us on 13 11 42 if you can't meet your tax payments due to freezing of income or non-bank funds.

    If you can't get access to some funds, you may be able to pay by instalments. Otherwise, you may be eligible for a payment deferral.

    The Australian Securities & Investment Commission (ASIC) can help taxpayers who have frozen funds and are in financial difficulty. Contact ASIC to facilitate frozen funds and hardship withdrawalsExternal Link.

    Practical help to manage your business

    If you need assistance to manage your business, we can help you understand your tax obligations.

    Our business support service gives you access to experienced tax officers. They will answer your questions and help you get on top of your tax issues.

    We offer:

    • pop-up events at local shopping centres during tax time
    • a range of webinars
    • call-back phone services.

    Our business support is free, practical and aimed at keeping your business on track.

    See also:

    Financial advice on managing your business

    We are committed to providing you with advice and information you can rely on about your tax obligations and rights as a business operator. However, we cannot offer financial advice.

    For financial advice, you can contact:

    • a tax agent
    • a financial adviser
    • an accountant
    • a professional association.

    Make sure any advice you receive comes from a licensed financial adviser.

    To check if someone holds the necessary licences, check the ASIC public register at asic.gov.auExternal Link

    If you would like to talk to a tax officer about your tax obligations and entitlements as a business operator, phone us on 13 28 66.

    For financial tips and safety checks, visit the ASIC's Money Smart websiteExternal Link or phone 1300 300 630.

    Financial counselling advice

    Financial counsellors provide information, support and advocacy to assist people in financial difficulty. Their services are free, independent and confidential.

    The National Debt Helpline (NDH)External Link is an online and phone financial counselling service available across Australia. NDH counsellors talk to people with debts. They explain what options are available. This may include referral to your local financial counselling service. You can phone the NDH on 1800 007 007.

    If you are a small business owner or sole trader whose business has been affected by the bushfires, call the Small Business Bushfire Financial Counselling Support Line on 1800 413 828 to speak to a financial counsellor.

    See also:

    Last modified: 12 Nov 2020QC 51702