10 October 2023

'Time to re-establish the culture of paying tax on time': ATO assistant commissioner issues warning to businesses

| Travis Radford
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Jillian Kitto.

ATO assistant commissioner Jillian Kitto said it was time to draw a line in the sand and re-establish the culture of paying tax on time following the pandemic. Photo: ATO.

More than 9000 Australian businesses are expected to have their debts disclosed this month to credit reporting agencies unless they engage with their tax and super obligations.

The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) warning came as the organisation announced its intention to shift back to business-as-usual debt collection following the COVID-19 pandemic.

As of July 2023, the ATO had issued Notices of intent to disclose business tax debts to more than 22000 businesses with a tax debt of at least $100,000 that is overdue by more than 90 days.

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More than $5 billion is owed by businesses which currently meet the criteria for disclosure, with the ATO expecting more than 50000 notices of intent to be issued in the 2023-24 financial year.

“Through the pandemic we shifted our focus from debt collection to stimulus payments and assistance with tax, but it is now time to re-establish the culture of paying tax on time,” ATO assistant commissioner Jillian Kitto said.

“We must draw a line in the sand to protect the Australian community and other creditors and to ensure a level playing field for businesses who do the right thing.

“If you have an outstanding tax debt, we strongly urge you to pay it or reach out to us or your tax professional so we can provide the right support.”

Businesses need to pay their debt or enter into an appropriate payment arrangement within 28 days of when the intent to disclose notice was issued to prevent disclosure.

A disclosed debt can impact a business’ ability to receive finance and they may lose suppliers.

“We want to work with businesses to help them get on top of their debts. Anyone with a debt is encouraged to reach out to us as soon as possible,” Ms Kitto said.

“We give businesses ample opportunity to re-engage with us. However, those who show continued and ongoing disregard for their tax and super obligations will have their debts disclosed.

“While we do not take disclosures lightly, consequences will apply to businesses who refuse to pay or engage with us.”

The ATO’s website contains more information about disclosure of business tax debts and what taxpayers can do if they are unable to pay on time.

Original Article published by Travis Radford on PS News.

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