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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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Treasury Law Amendment for super measures moves forward

October 9, 2019

The Treasury Laws Amendment (2018 Superannuation Measures No.1) Bill 2019 has passed both Houses of Parliament and reached royal assent on 2 October 2019. First announced in the 2018-19 Budget, the Bill allows eligible individuals, whose income exceeds $263,157 and have multiple employers, to nominate wages from certain employers to not be subject to the superannuation guarantee (SG).

Individuals with more than one employer, who expect that their compulsory super contributions will exceed the annual concessional contributions cap for a financial year, will be able to apply for an exemption certificate to release some of their employers from their SG obligations. Individuals will still need to receive SG payments from at least one employer.

From 16 October 2019, eligible individuals will be able to download an application form from the ATO. The application will need to be submitted at least 60 days before the start of the quarter in which you wish to receive the exemption. The lodgment period for the quarter commencing 1 January 2020 has been extended. Applications lodged on or before 18 November 2019 will be accepted.

The application form provides the Commissioner of Taxation with the information required to make an assessment. This includes which employers the exemption certificate will apply to and the quarter in the financial year for which the exemption is sought. Exemption certificates may be issued for multiple quarters within a financial year but cannot cover more than one financial year. Employees will need to talk to their employers before making an application as this arrangement and any changes to payments will need to be negotiated.