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  • ATO protecting honest Hobart businesses from the black economy

    The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) is planning to visit around 300 small businesses on the eastern shores of Hobart during October and November as part of its efforts to tackle the black economy and protect honest businesses from unfair competition.

    ATO Assistant Commissioner Peter Holt said the visits – which will take place in Lindisfarne, Geilston Bay, Rose Bay, Bellerive, Howrah, Montagu Bay, Rosny, Rosny Park and Warrane – are all about curbing unfair competition as a result of black economy activities on the eastern shore.

    “Our intelligence suggests that businesses in certain industries on the eastern shore are gaining an unfair competitive advantage over their honest competitors, so businesses in these industries are more likely than others to get a visit from us,” Mr Holt said.

    “We’ve also received a number of tip-offs from people in the area about some businesses getting an unfair advantage by not playing by the rules. Tip-offs have told us about businesses operating and paying wages off the books in cash, not providing invoices and not reporting all of their sales, all of which are signs of black economy activities.”

    “Our intelligence also suggests that some businesses may be over claiming their expenses and may not be complying with their obligations by not paying their employees’ entitlements like super and tax contributions.”

    During the visits, the ATO will also be running a range of information sessions tailored to support small businesses and help them get their tax and super basics right.

    “Sessions will provide businesses with some tips about keeping records, getting on board with Single Touch Payroll, and planning for regular financial commitments, so if you need a hand or feel like you could do with a refresher, make sure to register and come along.”

    Businesses who are operating only in cash, not complying with their tax and super obligations or paying their workers cash in hand are contributing to the black economy.

    “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.”

    “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
    • Hairdressing and beauty services
    • Construction services
    • Building and industrial cleaning services
    • Management advice and related consulting services

    Information sessions

    Clarence on the Bay, 20 Kangaroo Bay Drive, Rosny Park

    ATO business visits information session

    Tuesday 22 October, 9.30am–10.30am AEDT

    'Introduction to business records' session

    Tuesday 29 October, 6.00pm–8.00pm AEDT

    'Single Touch Payroll: Introduction' session

    Wednesday 30 October, 11.00am–12.30pm AEDT

    'Planning your regular financial commitments' session

    Wednesday 30 October, 7.30pm–8.30pm AEDT.

    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 (JPEG 8.3MB) is available for download from our media centre.

    Last modified: 14 Oct 2019QC 60287