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  • How we help small business do the right thing

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    15 September 2022

     Organised tax crime can be shocking and it has a huge impact on the revenue available for the Australian community.

    No one knows that more than ATO Deputy Commissioner Will Day. He recently moved from our crime-busting Integrated Compliance area to head our Small Business program. He recently spoke to Small Business Newsroom about his approach to this new role.

    Will, what are your main priorities in this new role?

    In Integrated Compliance, I led a team protecting all taxpayers by countering deliberate, systemic, or complex criminal activities, which threatened the integrity of the tax and superannuation systems.

    As Deputy Commissioner of Small Business, I’m still responsible for protecting the integrity of the tax and superannuation systems. However, now I’m focused on helping small business owners get things right from the start by making it easier to comply with their obligations and hard not to.

    The great news is that the majority of small businesses do the right thing. My job is to help them continue doing so.

    What do you want to bring to the small business area?

    I want to ensure we keep helping and supporting small businesses, not only to lodge and report accurately, but to increase their overall business literacy and skills. We’re doing lots of work to improve our digital self-help learning resources, helping small business regardless of their industry, structure or maturity.

    Because of my background, I’ve also got a powerful interest in making sure that there’s a level playing field for all of those small businesses that do pay their fair share. That means I’ll be looking closely at activities in the shadow economy.

    The community plays an important role in helping us deal with these activities. Tip-offs give the ATO intelligence that can really help with investigations.

    There has been discussion in recent weeks about the ATO normalising the level of debt collection. This comes after a pause due to the impacts of COVID-19. I think most people in the community would understand that the ATO has an obligation to collect what it is owed. I really want to point out though that we’re still committed to engaging with small businesses about unpaid debts, and are offering tailored support and assistance to people with overdue payments. We’re here to assist.

    Any final words you’d like to offer our many small business clients?

    Small businesses are an important engine of the Australian economy. For example, they provide employment and collect payroll tax and GST.

    It’s only right that we make it as easy as possible for them to comply and get their obligations right. In recent years, more than ever, small businesses have done it tough through the pandemic and many natural disasters.

    I’m excited to work with the sector to help thriving businesses improve their tax performance and support those struggling in the current environment.

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