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ATO clarifies claims made in recent media coverage

The Australian Tax Office is standing by its actions undertaken that were presented on a recent current affairs program.

The ATO says where taxpayers fail to lodge tax returns and BAS returns over a number of years despite repeated requests, the ATO will raise a default assessment based on evidence that can be obtained, i.e., cash deposits in their bank account and bank statements.

In circumstances where a taxpayer refuses to cooperate with the ATO such as refusing to provide basic information, the ATO can only work off their bank account.

Firmer action is undertaken where taxpayers fail to respond to a position paper put to them based on this evidence and where there are attempts to engage with such taxpayers for an extended period, i.e., giving them a chance to rectify their tax situation.

One such penalty is a mandatory 75% penalty where a taxpayer has failed to send the ATO GST or tax they have withheld from their employees’ pay.

The next step is to issue a garnishee notice for taxpayers who repeatedly fail to engage with the ATO, despite the Tax Office’s attempts to contact them and collect tax owed. If there is no response from them, the ATO will then issue a garnishee notice.

The Tax Office generally will not proceed with garnishee action if there is a current dispute.

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Managing risk in your SMSF

October 12, 2018

SMSFs provide the trustee autonomy and an increased opportunity to maximise your retirement savings. However, an investment strategy must be accompanied by a risk management plan should some of your investments come up short.

Consider the following risk management strategies:

Diversification
Diversification reduces risk by investing in many different assets including property, annuities and equities. By spreading your earnings across several investments you minimise the risks to your retirement nest egg that can occur if one investment suffers a loss or a disappointing return. Organise your target returns according to your asset class and establish the accepted variation range from this target. This allows you to track your investment portfolio and whether it is setting you on the right financial path.

Liquidity
If you tie up your money in assets like property, then you may run short on cash. It is important that you have cash to cover the costs of running your SMSF and in the case of a member’s total and permanent disablement. If you’re also forced to sell an asset to get this cash the market conditions may not be ideal, and you could receive a disappointing return because you need cash in a rush.