The Tax Office is on the move and are deploying what the Deputy Commissioner for Small Business, Deborah Jenkins describes as ‘mobile strike teams’ to uncover business owners who are not complying and avoiding tax. There is a clear focus on the cash economy and the initiative is designed to “protect honest businesses” from being undermined by “competitors who get an unfair advantage when they don’t report all of their income”.
The Tax Office plans to visit 10,000 small businesses in the 2019 financial year in a nationwide compliance push and already this year the strike teams have visited 3,000 businesses in six areas including Box Hill in Victoria, the Adelaide CBD and Broadbeach on the Gold Coast. All up 30 locations will be targeted and next on the hit list are Alice Springs, Darwin and Katherine in the Northern Territory, Geelong in Victoria, Wollongong in NSW and Launceston in Tasmania. Town Hall information sessions are being included as part of the campaign and presentations are being delivered in both English and Mandarin.
Jenkins said the ATO wants to work with businesses that have unintentionally made tax errors to fix issues while using its powers to hold those intentionally dodging tax to account. She explained the Tax Office is paying particular attention to the claiming of private expenses for business purposes including motor vehicles, home office expenses and claims for overseas travel. The split of claims between business and personal use was on the radar as was the omission of income and a lack of understanding over how tax applies to different business structures.
The Deputy Commissioner for Small Business Deborah Jenkins advice for business owners includes:
If you have any concerns or queries regarding the allocation of expenses or your compliance obligations, please don’t hesitate to contact our office today.