• Financial difficulties: frequently asked questions - business

    Are you having difficulty lodging your activity statement on time?

    If you are having difficulty lodging your activity statement, phone us on 13 28 66 before the due date to work out what alternative arrangements are available based on your specific circumstances.

    Further Information

    For more information:

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    What concessions are available to you as a small business operator?

    If you are a small business operator with an annual turnover of less than $2 million, you may be eligible for a range of tax concessions. These concessions are designed to make it easier for you and include concessions for:

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

    If your business is eligible, you can choose to use the concessions that suit your business. You may have to satisfy additional conditions and check each tax year if you still qualify for the concessions.

    Further Information

    For more information see Concessions for small business entities (NAT 71874).

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    Is your 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.
    Further Information

    For more information see GST for small business (NAT 3014).

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    Are you having trouble paying your tax and other business liabilities?

    We understand that businesses can face cash flow difficulties, especially in the current economic environment. If you are having difficulties, we have a number of tools and services that can help.

    If you are having trouble meeting all of your cash obligations, you could consider restructuring the timing of payments and receipts. The best way to make sure you have enough cash available to meet your tax and other liabilities is to do a cash flow budget.

    Further Information

    To find out how to create a cash flow budget, refer to Managing your cash flow. You can also arrange for help with managing your business and tax matters. For more information, refer to Free tax support.

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    If cash flow continues to be an issue, you may want to contact your tax adviser or financial adviser.

    If you are still having difficulty meeting your tax payments, phone us on 13 11 42 to discuss your circumstances. Taking your situation into account, we can help you understand what options are available. In some circumstances, we may be able to offer assistance by arranging the following:

    • more time to pay tax debts without interest charges
    • tax debts to be paid by instalments
    • remission of general interest charges.
    Further Information

    For more information see Difficulty in paying your tax debt (business clients).

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    Do you want to claim the tax break for businesses?

    The government's small business and general business tax break has received royal assent and is now law.

    Small businesses with an annual turnover of less than $2 million can now claim an additional tax deduction of 50% of the cost of new tangible depreciating assets of $1,000 or more, acquired between 13 December 2008 and 31 December 2009, and installed by 31 December 2010.

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

    The tax break can be claimed as a tax deduction in the income tax return for the income year in which the asset is first used or installed ready for use. The new tax return label is called 'Small business and general business tax reak'. It will be available in return forms relating to 2009 and later relevant years.

    Further Information

    For more information see Small business and general business tax break.

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    Does the ATO offer help to small businesses experiencing financial difficulties?

    We offer help to viable businesses with an annual turnover of less than $2 million that are having trouble meeting their tax payment obligations due to challenging business conditions or unexpected events such as natural disasters.

    For more information, refer to Help for small businesses experiencing short-term financial difficulties.

    Is a garnishee imposed by us causing your business hardship?

    If your situation has changed since a garnishee notice was issued, and the action taken is causing you financial distress, phone us on 13 11 42 to discuss your circumstances.

    We will work with you to develop a suitable alternative arrangement for payment of the debt.

    Are you expecting a refund?

    Are you expecting an income tax refund and experiencing financial hardship? Complete and submit the Financial hardship income tax refund request.

    Has your business income reduced?

    If you make pay as you go (PAYG) instalments on your activity statement and your business income is reduced substantially part way through the tax year, you may be able to vary your instalment amount or rate.

    Further Information

    For more information:

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    Are you having difficulty making super payments for your employees on time?

    You need to pay super for all eligible employees at least once every financial quarter, by the 28th day of the month following the end of the quarter. This is the last day that you can pay a super contribution to an employee's super fund before you are liable for the super guarantee charge. If you do not pay at least the minimum amount of super to the correct super fund, you'll need to lodge a Superannuation guarantee charge statement - quarterly.

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

    Further Information

    For more information see How to complete the Superannuation guarantee charge statement - quarterly (NAT 9600).

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    Is your business at risk of becoming insolvent?

    An insolvent business is one that is unable to pay all its debts when they are due. 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.

    The action taken against an insolvent business will differ depending on the nature of the insolvency administration. An insolvency practitioner can conduct a solvency review of your business and outline available options.

    Further Information

    To find an insolvency professional, visit the Insolvency Practitioners Association's website at ipaa.com.au

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    If you are operating a business as an individual and you become bankrupt, this will impact your business.0

    Further Information End of further information

    Have you decided to close or sell your business?

    There are a number of tax matters you may need to attend to if you decide to either:

    • 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.
    Further Information

    For more information:

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    Are you unable to access your funds because they have been frozen?

    If you are unable to meet your tax payments due to the freezing of income or non-bank funds, phone us on 13 11 42.

    If you do not have access to some funds, we may be able to arrange for you to pay by instalments. Otherwise, you may be eligible for a payment deferral.

    Further Information

    ASIC has provisions in place for taxpayers who have frozen funds and are experiencing hardship. Contact ASIC or refer to ASIC facilitates withdrawals from frozen funds for more information.

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    Further Information

    For more information see Are you having trouble paying your tax and other business liabilities?

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    Do you need more practical help to manage your business?

    If you need assistance to manage your business, talk to us and we can help you better understand your tax obligations. Our range of business support services gives you access to experienced tax officers who can answer your questions and help you get on top of your tax issues.

    We offer:

    • on-site visits
    • local seminars
    • a range of workshops.

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

    Do you need financial advice about 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 one of the following:

    • 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, visit the public register at asic.gov.au

    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.

    Further Information
    • Visit ASIC's website at moneysmart.gov.au or phone 1300 300 630 for financial tips and safety checks.
    • To help you manage when you are experiencing financial hardship, speak to a financial counselling service. They are available in every state and territory and provide a free, independent and confidential service. Visit the Australian Financial Counselling and Credit Reform Association's website at afccra.org
    • For more information refer to Do you need more practical help to manage your business?
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      Last modified: 02 Sep 2015QC 20057