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  • Up to 500 Tasmanian small businesses can expect a knock on the door from the ATO in March

    Assistant Commissioner Peter Holt said businesses that advertise as 'cash only' and businesses that are operating outside of our performance benchmarks for their industry will be especially targeted for a visit from the ATO.

    “Businesses that pay cash in hand, or fail to lodge income tax 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 ensure a level playing field for honest small businesses.”

    Tasmanian businesses in the following industries are most likely to get a visit from the ATO in March:

    • Restaurants and cafes
    • Vehicle repairers
    • Personal care businesses including hairdressers and nail salons
    • Pharmacies
    • Construction businesses
    • Clothing stores
    • Grocery stores / small supermarkets
    • Butchers

    “In the 2019-20 financial year, we’ll be visiting a further 10,000 small businesses across the country, including in Tasmania”, Mr Holt said.

    Tasmanian businesses who are not declaring income or underpaying workers are contributing to the black economy.

    “The black economy is estimated to be 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, roads, healthcare, and infrastructure”, Mr Holt said.

    Whilst on the road in Tasmania, ATO officers will also be available to help those businesses that are trying to do the right thing.

    Prior to the visits, all local businesses and tax professionals will have the opportunity 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.

    There will also be a one-hour ‘Introduction to business records’ session for businesses in Launceston and Smithton that need a helping hand getting their records up to scratch.

    “Good record keeping is essential in business, and that’s one of the problems we’ve helped people fix through our visits. We’ll be happy to give you a hand to get things right,” Mr Holt said.

    “We obviously want businesses to succeed, so we put a lot of effort in to support, education, and assistance services. We offer seminars, videos, a dedicated small business newsroom, an after-hour call back service, even an app that businesses can use to check the performance of their business on the go”. Mr Holt said.

    “We understand that people are busy and most businesses are trying to meet their obligations – but there is a difference between needing help, making mistakes and deliberate cover-ups.”

    Mr Holt said the ATO will not hesitate to take strong enforcement action against those deliberately avoiding their tax and super obligations and the visits may uncover this deliberate non-compliance.

    “If businesses know they have made mistakes we encourage them to let us know and work with us or their tax professional.” Mr Holt said.

    Registration for an information session is essential. To register, visit ato.gov.au/protectinghonestbusiness

    The ATO also has a hotline to allow small business operators to report competitors 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 ato.gov.au/ReportAConcern

    Information sessions:

    Launceston: Monday 18 March

    Peppers Silo Hotel (89-91 Lindsay Street, Invermay) from 7pm-8pm.

    There will also be an ‘Introduction to business records’ session at the same venue from 8pm-9pm for interested businesses.

    Smithton: Monday 25 March

    Circular Head Community and Recreation Centre (72 Nelson Street) from 7pm-8pm.

    There will also be an ‘Introduction to business records’ session at the same venue from 8pm-9pm for interested businesses.

    Last modified: 12 Mar 2019QC 58200