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  • ATO heads to Bathurst to put the brakes on the black economy

    The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) is planning to visit around 300 small businesses in Bathurst during October and November as part of their work to put the brakes on the black economy and protect honest businesses in the region from unfair competition.

    Assistant Commissioner Peter Holt said ATO officers will be visiting businesses in Bathurst following a number of tip-offs from the community about some businesses engaging in black economy activities, like paying their employees ‘cash in hand’ or not reporting all of their sales, which are warning signs of black economy.

    “Our intelligence also suggests that some businesses are not declaring all of their income to the ATO, and are avoiding their employer obligations by not paying staff entitlements like super and tax contributions.”

    Before the visits, the ATO will also be running some information sessions tailored to support small businesses. There will be a ‘Tax Essentials’ information session to help Bathurst small businesses get a tune up on some tax basics.

    Whilst in Bathurst, ATO officers will be available to help those who are trying to do the right thing. Businesses with tax and super questions can also have a chat to one of our staff members outside of these sessions.

    Bathurst businesses who are not declaring income, not complying with their tax and super obligations or paying their workers cash in hand are contributing to the black economy.

    “These dishonest businesses in Bathurst are unfairly overtaking their honest competitors when it comes to their tax so we’re going to take a look under a few bonnets to ensure everything is in order. By detecting and addressing this behaviour, we’re helping to ensure honest small businesses can get a fair run around the track,” Mr Holt said.

    “The black economy impacts everyone in the community. By working directly with small businesses, we will be able to work through any issues and help them get back on track and ensure a level playing field for all businesses,” Mr Holt said.

    “The Black Economy Taskforce estimates that the black economy is costing the community as much as $50 billion, which is approximately three percent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP),” Mr Holt said.

    “This is money that the community is missing out on for vital public services like healthcare, roads, schools, and welfare.”

    The visits are part of the ATO’s strategy to deal with the black economy. The ATO plans to visit around 10,000 businesses this financial year in all states and territories, across a variety of industries. As part of the visits, ATO officers will be providing information about recent changes, such as Single Touch Payroll and the extension of the Taxable Payments Reporting System to certain industries.

    The ATO will also be visiting tax practitioners of small businesses in these areas as part of an early intervention strategy. These visits will enable the ATO to better understand the drivers behind agent behaviour and provide education and support to encourage willing participation of their clients in our tax and super systems.

    To find out more or to register for an information session, visit ato.gov.au/protectinghonestbusiness.

    Registration for the information sessions is essential.

    Industries more likely to be visited by the ATO

    • Cafes, restaurants and takeaway food services
    • Personal care services
    • Retailers
    • Legal and accounting services
    • Building installation services

    Information session

    Wednesday 16 October, 11am–12pm AEDT

    Panthers Bathurst, 132 Piper Street

    ‘Tax Essentials’ session

    Wednesday 16 October, 12.30pm–1.30pm AEDT

    Panthers Bathurst, 132 Piper Street

    Note to journalists:

    Audio of Assistant Commissioner Peter Holt discussing the business visits is available in our media centre.

    A high resolution headshot of Assistant Commissioner Peter Holt is available for download from our website.

    Last modified: 08 Oct 2019QC 60266