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The Sleeping Giant is awake!

By Tina Zawila


After lying low during COVID-19, the ATO, aka the Sleeping Giant, is awake and back on the debt collection trail. Acting Commissioner Jeremy Hirschhorn is urging businesses and taxpayers to engage with the ATO regarding any overdue tax debts and warns that simply ignoring the debt and/or the ATO will raise a red flag. He understands that some businesses are still doing it tough, and he notes that the ATO can assist with payment plans and will take into account taxpayer’s individual circumstances, however, they cannot do that if the taxpayer does not engage with the ATO.


As a taxpayer, and particularly as a business owner, it is very important that you understand your taxation obligations and ensure that you have sufficient cash reserves to meet your tax debts as and when they fall due. However, there are times when this can be difficult, therefore it’s important to ask for assistance and advice as soon as you find yourself in this position. There are options available to you in respect to payment plans and even potential tax minimisation strategies but it’s important to action these sooner rather than later.

Unfortunately sticking your head in the sand rarely works for anything, let alone tax debt.


Your tax agent is also the best person to assist you in arranging a payment plan on your behalf with the ATO. We know what they will expect and accept, and can lobby on your behalf for the best outcome. We can also advise you on how the payment plan will proceed and assist you to be prepared for future tax debts which must be paid on time when an existing payment plan is in place.


Business owners can be personally liable for business tax debts and the ATO has the ability to garnish taxpayer’s bank accounts, therefore it is vital that you fully understand your tax position and the different options that are available to the ATO to recover the debt.


At UHY Haines Norton, we successfully negotiate favourable ATO payment arrangements for our clients, and assist with taxation minimisation strategies and advice. If you need help managing your taxation obligations, please contact our professional team today on 07 4972 1300.


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