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  • Commissioner of Taxation provides additional tax assistance for North Queensland flood victims

    The Commissioner of Taxation Chris Jordan today announced that he has extended tax assistance for people impacted by the recent devastating floods in North Queensland, as part of the whole-of-government response.

    Taxpayers in impacted local government areas who would normally be required to lodge and pay activity statements, income tax returns and fringe benefits tax returns in February, March, April and early in May 2019 will now have up to 31 May 2019.

    The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) will continue to remit any interest and penalties that have been applied to accounts since the floods for taxpayers in impacted regions.

    Refunds that are due to taxpayers will continue to be fast-tracked by the ATO.

    Commissioner Chris Jordan said taxpayers do not need to apply for a deferral or a faster refund.

    “We have been closely monitoring the situation in North Queensland and we recognise the devastating impact it has had on people and businesses – in particular primary producers – so I have decided to provide a further extension of time for lodgment and payment”, Mr Jordan said.

    “I hope the extension of time will provide some temporary relief”.

    “If your business normally lodges a BAS monthly and you are expecting refunds as a result of your lodgment, I encourage you to lodge regardless of the extension of time as this may provide some temporary cash flow relief”, Mr Jordan said.

    Affected taxpayers are also able to vary their income tax instalments to nil for the December 2018 quarter without penalties. This also applies if taxpayers end up in a tax payable situation for that quarter once they have lodged their tax return.

    The ATO will work with people to help them sort out their tax affairs when they’re ready, for example giving more time to pay or reissuing lost or destroyed documents.

    For those taxpayers with a tax debt or outstanding obligation, the ATO is also suspending compliance and debt recovery action until 31 May 2019.

    Taxpayers can also request payment arrangements for outstanding debts.

    This tax assistance currently applies to multiple shires in the region. A complete list is available on our website ato.gov.au/NaturalDisasters

    Employers are reminded that they still need to meet their ongoing super guarantee obligations for their employees. Automatic deferrals do not apply to large pay as you go withholders however large withholders can contact us for assistance with their tax obligations if required.

    “I want to emphasise that we recognise that everyone’s situation is different and there may be situations where additional support or extensions may be required. My officers are ready to work with impacted taxpayers on a case-by-case basis and I have asked my staff to be flexible, reasonable and pragmatic when considering each request on its merits”, said Mr Jordan.

    Any member of the community impacted by disaster or suffering financial hardship is encouraged to talk to their tax or BAS agent or contact the ATO on 1800 806 218 to discuss their situation.

    The ATO will also consider releasing individuals from income tax or FBT debt if they are experiencing serious hardship.

    More information about assistance available is at ato.gov.au/NaturalDisasters

    Last modified: 01 Mar 2019QC 57997