ATO begins effort to compel businesses to comply with tax obligations

In 2019, the Federal Parliament passed the Treasury Laws Amendment (2019 Tax Integrity and Other Measures No. 1) Act 2019. The Act allows the Australian Tax Office (ATO) to, among other things, disclose a company with more than $100,000 in tax debt to credit reporting agencies such as Experion, Equifax and Illion. The aim is to compel businesses to comply with their tax obligations where they have significant overdue tax debts.

While the Act was passed at the end of 2019, the ATO has never actually used such powers to report businesses due to the ongoing repercussions of the COVID-19 pandemic on Australian businesses.

There are signs however that the ATO is beginning to use such powers. We have been informed by several of our accountant partners that their clients have received a letter from the ATO. These are warning of the ATO’s intention to report the business to credit reporting agencies if no effort is made within 28 days to manage their tax debts. The ATO has confirmed that they have issued such letters to a small number of businesses.

What can you do if you received such a notice?

The best thing you can do is speak to a professional. Businesses which have been reported will be significantly impacted, especially in terms of their ability to access financing. A qualified professional will be able to review the financial affairs of your business and provide you with options to deal with your tax debt, including negotiating a payment arrangement with the ATO.

Contact us for assistance

We at Pearce & Heers have had experience negotiating with the ATO for more than 20 years. Our aim to is to assist businesses in dealing with debts before it is too late. If you have unmanageable debts, contact our Brisbane or Gold Coast Offices for a free no obligation discussion about your circumstances.


We’re happy to answer any questions you may have, so please don’t hesitate to call us and schedule a consultation.



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