With tax time in full swing, the Australian Taxation Office has announced tough new measures to clamp down on tax evasion – specifically targeting the hospitality and building & construction industries.
The ATO has stated businesses that deliberately use cash transactions to hide income and evade tax obligations will be under the spotlight. Illegal behaviour included companies who paid cash-in-hand wages, skimmed cash takings, ran normal business activities off the books, and underground operations that do not register or lodge returns.
Businesses in industries with ready access to cash will be the main target, with the ATO implementing specific strategies to catch offenders. Those involved in illegal business dealings will be investigated and brought to light through data matching – a highly effective system used to identify those who are not reporting income or lodging returns.
Cafes/coffee shops that purchase more than 15kg of coffee per week, as well as individuals and businesses holding a hardware store trade account with yearly purchases totaling more than $10,000, will attract close scrutiny from the ATO.
More than 1000 individuals and almost 400 companies were prosecuted and convicted for tax offences last year.