In response to the Black Economy Taskforce's final report the Government announced a range of initiatives aimed at addressing the black economy. Key components of the package include a focus on investing in new technology and analytics that will complement investment in compliance activities that are more tailored, mobile and data driven whilst being much more visible in the community.
The ATO has established mobile strike teams to increase the visibility of ATO enforcement activities and to give business direct access to ATO staff for help and education. The activities of the mobile strike teams will differ depending on the level of perceived risk.
The ATO plans to complete approximately 40,000 walk-ins of small businesses over the next four years. Individual entities are not selected to receive a walk-in, rather a location or community as a whole. Locations are selected utilising existing ATO data specific to common black economy risks, as well as third party data.
Each walk-in involves a discussion about business practices with the owner or operator, and provides them with feedback regarding how those practices may affect the reporting of their tax and superannuation obligations. Visiting businesses allows ATO officers to physically observe the business set up, such as the physical size and scale of the business, estimate staffing needs and review record keeping practices.
These activities provide real opportunities to show the community that the ATO is serious about protecting the interests of small business owners who are complying with their tax obligations from those that are not.
The mobile strike teams will be complimented with town hall information sessions where business owners and operators can interact directly with ATO officers. Preparations are under way to conduct town hall sessions in WA and ACT.
Tax practitioners are encouraged to check the Tax Professionals Newsletter and promote the town hall information sessions to their clients that are located those areas.
Updated: 18th September, 2018