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  • ATO hits the road in Northern Territory as part of black economy blitz

    Australian Taxation Office (ATO) officers are hitting the road to visit small businesses in the Northern Territory (NT) in late May and early June as part of a nationwide crackdown on the black economy.

    Up to 200 small businesses in Katherine, Batchelor, Bees Creek, Adelaide River and Pine Creek can expect a visit from the ATO.

    Assistant Commissioner Peter Holt said that the ATO is visiting businesses in these areas because they have identified indicators of risk. “We’re particularly concerned about businesses in these locations who are not registered for pay as you go (PAYG) withholding or GST. Local visits provide us an opportunity to talk to business owners and help them get things right.”

    “Businesses who pay cash in hand, or fail to lodge income tax returns or business activity statements get an unfair advantage and make it harder for other businesses who are doing the right thing. By detecting and addressing this behaviour, we’re helping to ensure a level playing field for honest small businesses in the NT.”

    The crackdown will continue in the 2019–20 financial year, with the ATO expecting to visit around 10,000 small businesses across the country.

    As part of the visits, the ATO will also be visiting tax practitioners of small businesses in these areas as part of our early intervention strategy. These visits will enable us 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.

    “NT businesses who are not declaring income or underpaying workers are contributing to the black economy. 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). This is money that the community is missing out on for vital public services like schools, welfare, roads, healthcare, and infrastructure”, Mr Holt said.

    Prior to the visits, local businesses and tax professionals are invited to attend a one-hour information session that will explain the purpose of the visits, what to expect if visited, and how to avoid common mistakes. A Single Touch Payroll information session will also be held on the same day. Whilst on the road in the NT, ATO officers will be available to help those that are trying to do the right thing. Businesses with more tax and super questions can also have a chat to one of our staff outside of these sessions.

    To register for an information session, visit

    The ATO also has a hotline to allow small business operators to report others that may be doing the wrong thing. Reports can be made anonymously. The hotline number is 1800 060 062. Reports can also be made online at

    Information sessions:

    Katherine: Wednesday 29 May, 9.30am–10.30am or 5.30pm–6.30pm

    Council Chambers, Katherine Town Council, 24 Stuart Highway

    We will also be running a ‘Single Touch Payroll: Introduction’ session from 10.45am–12.35pm

    Businesses with more tax and super questions can come and have a chat with one of our staff any time between 9.00am–12.00pm on Monday 3 June at the same venue.

    Batchelor: Tuesday 28 May, 3.45pm–4.45pm

    Council Chambers, Coomalie Community Government Council, 141 Cameron Road

    Businesses with more tax and super questions can come and have a chat with one of our staff any time between 1.00pm–3.30pm.

    We will also be running a ‘Single Touch Payroll: Introduction’ session from 5.00pm–6.50pm

    Last modified: 24 May 2019QC 59048