Ombudsman calls for small businesses in trouble with ATO to ‘contact us’

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Small-business owners are advised to contact the Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman (ASBFEO) as a matter of urgency should they experience “heavy-handed tactics” from the Australian Taxation Office (ATO).

“Minister for Revenue and Financial Services Kelly O’Dwyer has requested an inquiry into the allegations raised in the joint Fairfax/Four Corners investigation,” ASBFEO Kate Carnell said.

“Under the direction of Treasury, my office and the Inspector-General of Taxation, Ali Noroozi, will examine cases of unfair conduct by the ATO.

“Our timeframes on this inquiry are extremely tight, so it’s important small-business owners tell us their story as a matter of urgency – within the next week or two.

“My office is interested in examples where the ATO has targeted small businesses unfairly and the business owner has been affected financially.

“According to the ATO’s latest annual report, there are 3.8 million small-business taxpayers, including sole traders, in the tax system. The Inspector-General says in roughly five per cent of cases, the ATO gets it wrong … which on the face of it is way too many.

“We want to gain a better understanding of how the ATO is adversely interacting with small businesses, so we can provide government with constructive and realistic advice.”

With complete anonymity assured, small-business owners can explain their situation by emailing [email protected].

If you have raised your concerns with the ATO and the Inspector-General, but your matter has not been resolved, the ASBFEO may be able to assist (email [email protected]).