ATO Amnesty Initiative

Posted 27 Jul '23

Small businesses given 'unique opportunity' to get back on track with tax

The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) has rolled out an amnesty initiative aimed at supporting small businesses with overdue tax returns, fringe benefits tax returns, or business activity statements. This move offers these entities a golden opportunity to streamline their tax lodgments and eliminate any associated penalties.

This proactive step was unveiled as part of the 2023-24 Budget and specifically targets tax obligations initially due between December 1, 2019, and February 28, 2022. Running from June 1, 2023, to December 31, 2023, the amnesty offers a  chance for eligible small businesses to correct any discrepancies in their tax obligations without facing the failure to lodge (FTL) penalties.

To be deemed eligible, businesses must have an aggregated turnover of less than $10 million at the time the original lodgment was due. Once the overdue forms are lodged during this period, the ATO will take it upon itself to remit any associated FTL penalties.

ATO Assistant Commissioner, Emma Tobias, emphasises the importance of this amnesty initiative, particularly for small businesses grappling with the aftermath of the pandemic and natural disasters. It's critical for businesses to be up-to-date with their tax obligations, and this initiative aims to simplify that process.

Once businesses lodge their overdue forms under the amnesty, there's no need for additional requests for FTL penalties remission. The ATO handles it all, easing the process for businesses or their tax professionals.

Non-compliance with tax lodgments could signal a disengagement with the tax system, a potential red flag for businesses. Businesses are encouraged to lodge any overdue forms, with the understanding that the ATO is open to discussing remissions on a case-by-case basis outside the amnesty eligibility period.

The ATO also recognises the potential difficulty in making full debt payments for some businesses. Therefore, payment plans and support options are available, and businesses can establish their own online payment plans.

The amnesty initiative does
not extend to superannuation obligations or other administrative penalties like those tied to the Taxable Payments Reporting System. It's worth noting that businesses that have ceased trading must inform their registered tax professional or the ATO directly. 

For more information, visit the Australian Taxation Office website.

At Trinity Advisory, we understand how challenging managing finances can be, especially for small businesses dealing with unforeseen situations. We're here to offer expert advice and guide you through this process. Your financial health is our top priority. 

If you're a small business owner needing assistance with your finances or navigating through this amnesty period, please contact us. Our team of expert Business Accountants, Advisors and Coaches are here to help!

Ref: ATO Media release, 7 June 2023


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