CAFES, shops and salons in the Sunnybank area of Brisbane can expect a visit from the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) in September as part of efforts to tackle the cash economy.
Assistant Commissioner Tom Wheeler said that while most small businesses now take electronic payments, accepting cash is still common.
“When businesses advertise as ‘cash-only’, it raises a red flag about whether those businesses are accurately reporting all their income, and meeting their obligations as an employer,” Mr Wheeler said.
“Over the next 12 months, ATO staff will be visiting businesses across the country. We are focusing on businesses that typically have high cash transactions or only take cash, such as restaurants, cafes, pubs, hairdressers, beauty salons and home-based businesses, along with other local retailers.”
Mr Wheeler said that after the visits the ATO will assess if some businesses need assistance in understanding and meeting their obligations.
“These visits are an extension of our ongoing focus on protecting honest businesses and supporting those that need extra help to get their tax right,” Mr Wheeler said.
“If a business is behind in their lodgments or their record keeping isn’t quite up to scratch, we will give them some support to get back on track. Other businesses may be investigated because we’re concerned they’re deliberately doing the wrong thing.”
Mr Wheeler said the ATO is reminding taxpayers that running a cash-only business doesn’t mean they’re invisible to the ATO.
“We receive data on businesses that take electronic payments, so we can identify those that don’t. This means we can investigate further to make sure they are meeting their tax and super obligations,” Mr Wheeler said.
“In 2015–2016 the ATO raised over $208 million in tax and penalties from its cash and hidden economy compliance activities.”
“We urge all businesses to report all their income and meet all their obligations as an employer. Our increased use of data and analytics mean that sooner or later, we will catch up with those businesses seeking to avoid their obligations. The cash economy just doesn’t pay.”
For more information, visit ato.gov.au/protectinghonestbusiness