26 September 2023

ATO takes the ‘con’ out of economy

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Members of the community across the country are being encouraged to tip-off the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) about dishonest and criminal activities that take place outside the tax and regulatory systems, known as the ‘shadow economy’.

Encouraging people to contact its Tax Integrity Centre with tip-offs, the ATO said it received around 43,000 from community members last financial year, more than half of them related to the shadow economy.

“Although most people do the right thing, some people and businesses deliberately avoid paying the right amount of tax,” the ATO said.

“We estimate that around $11 billion is lost to the shadow economy each year.

“That estimated $11 billion could have been used for essential services such as health, aged care and disaster response.”

The ATO said the shadow economy wasn’t limited to tax issues, but was a complex, multi-faceted phenomenon operating across Australia’s workplace relations, financial, welfare, procurement and migration systems.

It said shadow economy activities were not victimless crimes and had harmful consequences including workers missing out on their entitlements, honest businesses being undercut by dishonest businesses, and criminals operating business models outside regulatory systems.

“You may even personally know a business operator who doesn’t declare all their income, demands cash from customers, pays workers ‘cash in hand’ or doesn’t report all sales,” the ATO said.

“Making a tip-off only takes a few minutes and can be done through our website or over the phone,” it said.

“You can remain anonymous, but if you provide your contact details we can follow up with you if we need further information.”

The ATO said that even if people didn’t know all the details, any information they could provide was important.

“If you think someone’s doing something wrong, let us know and help us keep things fair,” it said.

Further information on making a tip-off to the ATO can be accessed at this PS News link.

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