With several key areas under the spotlight, some small businesses should consider taking advantage of the current amnesty to get their reporting in order.
Here are some of the latest developments in the world of tax.
Reminder on late lodgment amnesty
The amnesty allows small businesses to lodge any outstanding income tax and FBT returns or business activity statements (BAS) due between 1 December 2019 and 28 February 2022 without lodgment penalties being applied (general interest charges still apply).
Businesses with an annual turnover under $10 million when the original lodgment was due are eligible for the amnesty.
Warning on ATO’s ‘back to business’ focus
With collectable debt rising dramatically over the past four years, the ATO is returning to its normal debt collection stance and is taking firmer action with taxpayers.
Five areas the ATO is particularly focussing on are unpaid Super Guarantee Charge; debt arising from ATO audit adjustments; refund fraud; aged, high-value debts; and employers with new self-assessed debt.
Employer Super Guarantee compliance under the microscope
Employers are required to make SG payments quarterly and the ATO is now using STP and Member Account Transaction Service information to check whether an employer has paid on time.
The new checks will help the ATO follow up non-compliant employers and prepare for the introduction of the new rules requiring employers to make SG payments at the same time as wages, which commence on 1 July 2026.
Sharing economy reporting expands
Platforms providing taxi services (including ride-sourcing) and short-term accommodation were required to start collecting seller transaction information from 1 July 2023.
From 1 July 2024, all other sharing economy platforms will be required to start collecting and reporting personal and contact details, business information and financial identifiers related to transactions twice a year to the ATO.
Tax residency test updates
Taxation Ruling TR 2023/1 replaces older tax rulings with more contemporary guidance reflecting modern global work practices and recent court decisions. It also contains information on the 183-day residency test for people arriving on short-term work and holiday visas.
The tax office uses different rules than the Department of Home Affairs, meaning it is possible to be an Australian resident for tax purposes without being a citizen or permanent resident.
SMSF promoter scheme warning
Warning signs of an illegal scheme can include claims you can access your super and put it towards anything you want, charging high fees and commissions, and requesting your identity documents.
Anyone approached about these types of schemes should not sign any documents or provide any personal details, and should immediately report the interaction to the ATO.
Keep your ABN details updated
Without it, you could also miss out on valuable financial assistance or government information.
Emergency services and government agencies also use ABN details to identify businesses in areas affected by emergencies, so it’s important to keep your physical business and postal address current.