25 September 2023

New purchasing rules to beat black economy

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A consultation paper on the use of the Australian Government’s procurement processes to crack down on the black economy has been released by Treasury.

The paper, Increasing the Integrity of the Commonwealth Procurement Process, advises on strengthening procurement processes to ensure that contracts are only awarded to businesses that have a good taxation compliance history.

Minister for Revenue and Financial Services, Kelly O’Dwyer said that from 1 July 2019, businesses seeking to tender for Australian Government procurement contracts over $4 million would be required to provide a statement of their tax record from the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) indicating they were generally compliant with their obligations.

Ms O’Dwyer said the move followed the findings of the Black Economy Taskforce which found the supply chain becoming more complex and competitive and possibly disadvantaging honest businesses.

“In some cases, suppliers may be outbid at the procurement point by those who have unfairly cut costs by not complying with their tax obligations,” Ms O’Dwyer said.

“This puts suppliers that do meet their regulatory obligations at a commercial disadvantage.”

She said the opportunity to level the playing field would be taken.

“The new requirements will not only give businesses a fair go, it will instill public confidence that honest businesses are being awarded Government contracts,” Ms O’Dwyer said.

She said she was looking to implement the changes in a way that minimised the burden on potential suppliers and stakeholders.

The Minister said it would be necessary to implement the policy in a way that protected taxpayer privacy and did not require the ATO to provide protected information about taxpayers directly to the procurement officer.

Submissions on the consultation paper will be accepted until 15 June.

The nine-page paper can be accessed at this PS News link.

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