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  • The full picture

    How the ATO works with and for small business

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    Deputy Commissioner

    Monday, 9th April 2018

    In my role as Deputy Commissioner, Small Business, I am proud of the work we have done over the past few years to:

    • improve the experience of small businesses in dealing with the ATO; and
    • transform our culture to focus on client service and early intervention.

    As you may be aware, Four Corners will be airing a program tonight that focuses on the ATO and our relationship with small business, as well as our approach to debt management and our administration of the Australian Business Register. I was interviewed for the program.

    We are concerned this program will focus heavily on a very small number of atypical cases and extrapolate these across the entire system, alleging that the ATO is anti-small business, wields too much power or is solely focused on collecting revenue.

    I’m proud to stand up for the relationship and services the ATO has with, and for, small business. The feedback I consistently receive from credible sources – like small businesses themselves and their key industry associations – is positive about how we listen and respond to their needs.

    While we do sometimes make mistakes, we acknowledge those specific instances and we always welcome external feedback and constructive critique. We all need to make sure that we are working towards the best interests of those incredibly hard-working and innovative four million small businesses around Australia.

    I’m concerned this program will serve only to create tension and worry for small businesses where it did not previously exist - and perhaps even stop people from coming to us to have questions answered or issues resolved. That’s the worst outcome for everyone.

    As you are someone well engaged in the success of Australian small business, I felt it useful to provide you with a broad package of material that gives the ‘full picture’ of our relationship with small business.

    I’m hoping for your support in balancing the conversation to ensure small businesses are not discouraged from talking to us as early as possible about any concerns they may be experiencing. We want to help small businesses meet their obligations as easily as possible - and we are committed to assisting viable small businesses to thrive.

    If you have any questions about any of the content provided in this package, please get in touch.

    Kind regards,

    Deborah Jenkins, Deputy Commissioner, Small Business signature

    Deborah Jenkins
    Deputy Commissioner 
    Small Business

    Last modified: 09 Apr 2018QC 55057