Not all attention is good attention, and who wants to be under the attention of the Australian Taxation Office (ATO)? Even if you haven’t done anything wrong the time involved is often inconvenient. Keep up-to-date. Keep your tax returns, activity statements and tax office payments up to date. If you are not up to date, the ATO takes this as a warning sign and they start to look closer.
In the digital age where information is easily collected, the ATO has a huge database of information available to it. The ATO uses small business benchmarks to compare the financial performance between businesses. They use key statistics from all the tax returns submitted for your industry, to compare your results to other businesses.
If your results vary greatly from the norm, the result can be greater scrutiny by the tax office. The ATO also make wide use of data matching. Bought a luxury car? Sold a property? Sold shares? Selling on ebay? The ATO have access to a wide range of government and private agency databases. The data obtained from these databases is used to cross-match taxpayers reported information.
Live a champagne lifestyle on a beer budget, expect an audit. Another way to ask for an audit is to not pay your employee obligations. Keep up to date with your superannuation payments, the ATO can now easily track superannuation paid via Superstream. All it takes is one disgruntled employee to complain.
If you do get an audit make sure your accountant supports you through it, it could make a huge difference.
By Samantha Bennett