The ATO plans to visit to 10,000 small businesses across Australia this year to “send a message” about tax evasion.
An Australian Taxation Office (ATO) “strike force” will visit small businesses in Wollongong and Caloundra this month to raise awareness about tax evasion and investigate illegal activity.
The visits are part of a national campaign that is expected to reach 40,000 small businesses over the next four years.
Other locations that should also expect a visit soon from the ATO include Alice Springs, Darwin, Katherine and Launceston, ATO Deputy Commissioner Deborah Jenkins said earlier this month.
So far this year, the ATO's teams have visited more than 3,000 businesses in Geelong, Box Hill, the Adelaide CBD, Broadbeach, Cairns, Canberra, Darlinghurst, Surry Hills, Bunbury and Busselton.
You can look out for announcements about where the tax teams will visit next, by visiting this web page.
The aim of the visits is to help small businesses owners with their tax obligations and look for businesses that aren’t reporting income, Jenkins said.
“It supports the ATO’s commitment to protecting honest businesses that are being undermined by their competitors who get an unfair advantage when they do not report all of their income,” she said.
“It also sends a strong message to those who are deliberately doing the wrong thing that there is a high risk of being detected.”
The visits will involve a discussion about business practices, tax and superannuation obligations, and a “town hall” information session. Businesses can ask the teams for help getting on top of their tax obligations.
The ATO’s teams will also observe the physical size and scale of the businesses they visit, estimate staffing needs and review record-keeping practices. If a business is deliberately doing the wrong thing, the ATO can investigate and take action.
Earlier this year the Federal Government announced new funding aimed at reducing tax evasion. That included funding to expand the ATO’s use of analytics and a public hotline for reporting illegal activity.