The Australian Tax Office (ATO) has warned businesses not staying up to date with their obligations. It may impact their eligibility for future stimulus measures. Also, ATO readies to recommence its work to address key risks to the Tax and Superannuation system.

The ATO has indicated that it will continue to focus on implementing government stimulus measures. Then including those announced weeks ago in the Federal Budget, it will shortly recommence its work to address the key risk to the Taxation and Supersystem.

Businesses doing well will need to resume their obligations. Those facing ongoing hardship are encouraged to get in contact with their Registered Tax Agent so they can notify the ATO accordingly. It is tough for the ATO to identify exactly who is still impacted on ongoing communication will be critical to ensure compliance is met and any future stimulus measures are received.

The ATO stopped providing blanket extensions to small business audit cases in early September. They have recommended activity where the business is either not adversely affected by COVID-19 or are now able to progress.

Scammer Alert

It is important for clients to remain vigilant of any callers pretending they are from the ATO, demanding money to be paid in full immediately. There has been an increase in reported cases of these scammers taking advantage of those most vulnerable during these times.

The Australian Tax Office will generally not call the taxpayer demanding immediate payment of any tax debts or liabilities nor would accept payment in the form of gift cards.

Scammers often try to ‘phish’ for information by impersonating government agencies such as the ATO.

If you hand over your information, scammers might use it to:

  • drain your bank account
  • establish fake businesses in your name
  • gain access to your online government services
  • scam your clients and employees.

Scammers have many opportunities to trick you into giving away your valuable information.

There are some things your business can do to help stay safe:

  • use complex passwords and change them regularly
  • remove system access for people who no longer work for you
  • log out of systems and lock computers when you are not using them
  • maintain up-to-date security and anti-virus software on computers and other devices.

There are also some things you can do to stay safe when you are dealing with government services online:

  • do not access services via a hyperlink in an email or SMS
  • access services through an independent online search
  • if you are ever in doubt, look up the service’s phone number separately and call them to check.

Unless you have heard anything different from your Registered Tax Agent, you should not engage with any of these scam calls.

If you have been in contact with any of these callers, it is important that you get in touch with the Police and cancel any card information you may have given to the given.