Show download pdf controls
  • How we protect honest business

    We know most business owners are honest and that running a business can be difficult. By finding industry-wide patterns, we can see who may need help.

    Unfortunately, there are businesses that operate in the cash and hidden economy. These businesses get an unfair advantage over businesses that declare their income and do the right thing. We aim to protect honest businesses from this unfair competition.

    We work with industry associations, tax practitioners and businesses to understand any issues they may have. We use up-to-date third-party data and risk-analysis to find who may not be doing the right thing or who may need more help.

    The community doesn't tolerate unfair practices. If you see something that doesn't look right, let us know so we can follow it up.

    Register for an information session

    We are running information sessions and visiting businesses across the country to help protect honest businesses.

    To register for an information session:

    Visiting businesses

    After the information sessions, we will be visiting businesses in the area. We are focussing on businesses advertising 'cash-only' or dealing mainly in cash.

    We'll be talking to businesses about:

    • why we are focusing on businesses that operate and advertise as 'cash only'
    • the benefits of electronic payment and record keeping facilities
    • community expectations of paying by card
    • our tools and demonstrating how to use them, including online lodgment
    • making sure they're registered correctly
    • ensuring all businesses pay the correct amount of tax and super, by declaring all their income and knowing what expenses they can claim
    • lodging their tax returns and activity statements
    • helping them meet their tax obligations if they are struggling. We can look at their specific circumstances and help them get back on track
    • any other help they may need.

    If we see a business deliberately doing the wrong thing, we have an obligation to do something about it. This could result in an audit or even prosecution.

    If you're in business and you're doing the right thing, you don’t need to worry.

    Why we are visiting 'cash-only' businesses

    We will focus on businesses that:

    • operate and advertise as 'cash only'
    • our data matching suggests they don’t take electronic payments
    • are part of an industry where cash payments are common
    • indicate unrealistic income relative to the assets and lifestyle of the business and owner
    • fail to register for GST or lodge activity statements or tax returns
    • under-report transactions and income according to third-party data
    • fail to meet super or employer obligations
    • operate outside the normal small business benchmarks for their industry
    • are reported to us by the community. The number of reports we receive shows us that people don't tolerate unfair practices in these industries.

    If you've made a mistake

    If you realise you've made a mistake, or left something out, it's better to come to us first. Any penalties may be reduced, for example if you:

    • haven't told us about income you have earned, including cash payments
    • claimed deductions you weren't entitled to
    • made any other statement to us that was false or misleading.

    If you need help to fix a mistake, you can either:

    • contact your registered tax or BAS agent
    • phone our free translating and interpreting service on 13 14 50.

    What businesses need to do

    All business need to:

    • declare all income, including cash, online, EFTPOS and credit and debit card sales
    • lodge tax returns
    • meet the GST obligations that apply to you, such as registering for GST and lodging businesses activity statements
    • meet your employer obligations if you have employees, such as paying them at least award rates and their super
    • practice good record keeping. Records need to explain all business transactions, be in writing and in English, and kept for at least five years.

    Report a concern

    If there is someone you think may be deliberately evading tax, you can report it to us confidentially.

    Try to provide as much detail as you can so we can fully assess the information. You can report your concern by phoning our translating and interpreting service on 13 14 50.

      Last modified: 21 Jun 2017QC 52610