The ATO hits the road

The ATO plans to visit almost 10,000 businesses this financial year in all States and Territories, across a variety of industries, as part of their strategy to deal with the black economy (they visited nearly 9,000 businesses in the 2018/19 financial year).

According to Assistant Commissioner Peter Holt, there are a number of businesses in some areas not registered for GST or PAYG withholding, which can be a sign of the black economy, as well as a number of businesses with overdue tax returns.

Other black economy signs that the ATO looks out for are things like lifestyle and assets far exceeding reported business income, sham contracting, a failure to provide pay slips, reports that employers are paying their workers cash in hand and keeping them off the books, or a lack of merchant payment facilities like EFTPOS.

Some businesses are more likely than others to get a visit from the ATO, including:

  •     Residential building construction;
  •     Building completion and installation services, and other construction services;
  •     Building cleaning, pest control, and gardening services;
  •     Accommodation;
  •     Pharmaceutical and other store-based retailing;
  •     Automotive repair and maintenance;
  •     Cafes, restaurants, and takeaway food services;
  •     Personal care services;
  •     Legal and accounting services;
  •     Computer system design and related services; and
  •     Adult, community and other education services

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