Sole traders with an ABN who use the ATO’s online services for individuals now have access to improved functionality, making it easier for them to interact with the ATO online.
Useful new features now available include:
- requesting a refund or fund transfers between accounts;
- lodging super guarantee charge statements;
- sending secure messages;
- submitting STP (Single Touch Payroll) deferrals and exemptions; and
- lodging private ruling, objection and further information forms.
If you are managing other entity ABNs as well as your sole trader ABN, you should continue to use online services for business when interacting with the ATO.
The black economy
The black economy is a complex, multi-faceted phenomenon operating across Australia’s workplace relations, financial, welfare, procurement and migration systems.
Black economy behaviours include:
- demanding or paying for work cash-in-hand to avoid obligations;
- not reporting or under-reporting income;
- underpayment of wages;
- identity fraud;
- visa fraud and bypassing visa restrictions;
- ABN, GST, and duty fraud;
- dealing in illegal drugs and tobacco;
- sham contracting – presenting an employment relationship as a contracting arrangement;
- illegal phoenixing – liquidating and re-forming a business to avoid obligations (the ATO now has the discretion to retain tax refunds in relation to taxpayers engaging in phoenixing);
- money laundering; and
- dealing in counterfeit goods.
The ATO uses a range of education, engagement and enhanced enforcement activities to address the tax and superannuation aspects of the black economy.
The ATO’s data and analytic systems, strategies and targeted approaches help it to:
- combat black economy behaviours – including under-reporting income and overclaiming expenses;
- ensure businesses meet their employer obligations when paying employees or contractors;
- address employers paying cash-in-hand, underpaying wages, failing to withhold tax or not contributing to super;
- address illegal phoenix activity – businesses liquidating and re-forming to avoid obligations;
- prevent tax fraud;
- deal with illicit tobacco, duty and excise evasion;
- target intermediaries and agents who enable behaviour; and
- prosecute the worst offenders.
myGov email scam
The ATO and Services Australia are warning the community about a new email impersonation scam that is doing the rounds. The fake emails claim to be from "myGov" and include screen shots of the myGovID app.
The email asks people to click a link to verify their identity using a “secure form” which takes them to a fake myGov page requesting personal identifying information and banking details.
ATO Assistant Commissioner Ben Foster said this new phishing scam contains classic warning signs that it is not legitimate, for example, asking people to click a link to confirm their details and spelling errors.
Affected by a natural disaster?
The ATO has reminded businesses and individuals affected by the NSW and South-East Queensland floods in March, and by bushfires in Western Australia and Cyclone Seroja, that it can help if they are having trouble meeting tax and super obligations. Depending on the particular circumstances, the ATO may:
- give extra time to pay a debt or lodge tax forms such as activity statements;
- help re-construct tax records that are lost or damaged;
- fast track refunds;
- set up a payment plan tailored to individual circumstances, including interest free periods;
- remit penalties or interest.
For more information about support available, visit ato.gov.au/disasters or phone 1800 806 218.
Note! Disaster recovery grant payments in relation to the storms and floods that occurred in February and March 2021 will be exempt from tax once the enabling legislation (presently in Parliament) becomes law.
Tip! If you have been affected by floods, bushfires or other natural disasters, you can discuss your options with your tax adviser.