The ATO has released its 2018 “hit” list of areas it will be targeting in the new year. Armed with funding for the “Black Economy Taskforce”, the ATO’s focus is shifting from large multinational corporations to small businesses and individuals. The ATO estimates that the potential unpaid tax by small businesses and individuals is to be in the tune of $2.5 billion.

The ATO will be focusing on:

Undeclared Income

• In particular any businesses that are cash only or in industries where cash takings are common.

• The ATO has identified that cash-only businesses tend to pay employees in cash (and employees are likely to not be receiving their proper conditions and benefits).

Wealth & Lifestyle 

• Unexplained wealth and lifestyle that do not match the income declared on tax returns.

• The ATO data mines third-party sources (such as Facebook stalking, immigration, and motor vehicle records).

Claiming Private Expenses

• Small businesses incorrectly claim private expenses against their business income.

• Salary and wage earners claiming private expenses that are not related to their work.

Unpaid Superannuation Contributions

• Employers that are not meeting their superannuation contribution payment obligations are a key focus of the ATO.

• The new single touch payroll reporting system that is commencing on 1 July 2018 will provide the ATO with quicker and better information to identify employers who are not meeting their obligations.

Cash Only Businesses

• The ATO will be making site visits to businesses that it believes to be cash-only and are not using electronic payment facilities.

• On occasions, the Fair Work Commission and the Department of Immigration may also accompany the ATO on these visits.


If you would like to learn more, the team at EMspire Advisory can help. Feel free to contact us today!

Please note that this information is not specific and is general in nature and cannot be relied on as advice. Please contact us for advice specific to you and your circumstances.