ATO Penalties Are Back. What does this mean?

At the height of the Covid-19 Pandemic, the ATO paused almost all debt, audit and lodgement work. This ultimately contributed to a $1.3 billion shortfall against its compliance revenue target .   

In the wake of JobKeeper ending, compliance activities will be resuming and taxpayers falling behind on tax debts and lodgement obligations will soon be receiving contact from the Australian Tax Office

“From the end of March 2021, where appropriate, the imposition of penalties will resume,” an ATO spokesperson told Accountants Daily. 

“And on a case-by-case basis, we will start taking debt and lodgement compliance actions.”

The tax office has assured practitioners and their clients that, provided they reach out for help, swift action on their accounts won’t be taken.

“The ATO will always provide help and assistance to anyone who engages with us,” the ATO spokesperson said.

“If you or your clients have overdue obligations or are worried about compliance action, give us a call and we will work with you to find a solution.”

Tony Greco from the Institute of Public Accountants has advice for clients concerned with ATO’s return to original compliance.

“What is required is that people get on the front foot, and when they get those debt letters, communicate their circumstances, and then look at the available options that the ATO provides,” Greco explained. 

“The ATO also needs to understand the circumstances that the client finds themselves in, and we have been reassured that they will find a tailored approach.”

To keep it simple: do not ignore notices or calls from the ATO. Whether you communicate your circumstances to your accountants or directly to the tax office, communicate! The ATO, like your accountant, has the tools available to cater to your situation with timing and payments that suit you. 

Do you have questions about what the end of JobKeeper means for you? Or do you need assistance with establishing payment plans and options available to you in light of ATO debt recovery? Contact Walker Hill today.