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  • ATO Assistance for drought affected communities

    The Australian Taxation Office is reminding taxpayers struggling in drought-affected communities to contact the ATO if they need assistance.

    “The ATO understands the pressure this drought has put on communities and we are committed to providing support and assistance where possible. This is why we strongly encourage you to contact us to discuss your individual circumstances,” acting Deputy Commissioner Andrew Watson said.

    “We will ensure that taxpayers suffering hardship due to drought receive priority processing, so that any tax refund is paid as quickly as possible,”

    The ATO acknowledges the impact of drought extend beyond farmers, affecting entire communities across Australia.

    “We understand it’s not just farmers, but everyone in rural and regional Australia that suffers during drought. So the best way to get help from the ATO is to engage with us as early as you can, particularly if you are struggling to meet your obligations,” Mr Watson said.

    “By engaging with the ATO early, we can remove some unnecessary stress. Once we understand your individual situation, we may give you more time to pay, set up a payment plan with an interest free period or waive penalties.”

    We granted over 37,000 payment plans to taxpayers in the 36 local government areas impacted the most during the 2018–2019 financial year.

    The ATO also has specific tax incentives for primary producers. In addition to farm management deposits, primary producers can access immediate tax deductions for capital expenses on fencing infrastructure, on-farm water storage facilities and fodder storage assets.

    “We know people are struggling so we are doing what we can to ease the burden. If you have any worries about your tax situation, call our hotline,” Mr Watson said.

    The ATO has a drought hotline 1800 806 218 for anyone requiring support due to drought.

    More details are available here ato.gov.au/drought

    Last modified: 08 Nov 2019QC 60551