The Australian Tax Office (ATO) is cracking down on small businesses who are “cooking the books” when it comes to the tax man.
And it is now easier than ever to be caught if you’re doing the wrong thing, with the ATO planning to use social media to crack down on offenders.
The ATO is hoping that people who know that their employer is illegally avoiding paying their fair share of tax will report them, using sites such as Facebook to do so.
The ATO is looking at small businesses and while it says it’s not specifically a “crackdown”, there is no doubt that the microscope is on the sector.
Earlier in the year officials from the ATO spoke to the broader business community and business associations to spread the message about the current campaign.
While only a small number of businesses are doing the wrong thing by avoiding tax or not correctly paying employees, the ATO considers it important to stamp out the practice.
If you’re a business owner, it’s important that you ensure your tax obligations are being met and that all relevant payments are being made correctly,
The ATO looks at things such as GST refund fraud, excise fraud, identity crime and those who potentially falsify invoices to claim deductions or GST credits.
Courts view the nature of tax crimes as being very serious. Lengthy sentences are often imposed for the worst offenders; and have been known to include up to 8 years imprisonment.
“These people are the worst kind of tax cheats. They were calculated in their attempts to -deliberately commit fraud and evade their tax obligations, ultimately stealing from the Australian public, and placing an unfair burden on others who are doing the right thing” Deputy Commissioner Michael Cranston said.
In a recent matter Her Honour Judge Mary Sexton of the Melbourne County Court said “Tax fraud is not a victimless crime. Tax revenue funds essential services that the community relies upon including schools and healthcare and it’s important we protect our tax system.”
Business owners should also be aware that tax fraud is not a victimless crime. It can also result in substantial fines or jail time for those found guilty of serious offences.
There is little doubt that through both traditional methods and new initiatives such as social media, the ATO will continue to find those who are flouting the law.
If you’re worried about whether or not your business tax is currently in-line with the Australian Tax Office’s regulations, get in touch with i3 Group today to find out more about business payroll tax.