ATO announces new measures for small biz

By: Graham Gardiner

The Tax Office has announced new measures to help businesses with an annual turnover of less than $2 million that

The Tax Office has announced new measures to help businesses with an annual turnover of less than $2 million that are struggling to manage their tax debts in the current economic climate.

In a speech to the Council of Small Business of Australia, Tax Commissioner Michael D’Ascenzo confirmed his commitment to helping small businesses by offering 12-month general interest charge (GIC) free payment arrangements and deferring the payment date for activity statements.

"While most small businesses are meeting their tax obligations, global conditions are having an impact, with over a quarter of small businesses carrying a tax debt," he says.

"We’ve introduced the GIC-free payment arrangements and deferred activity statement payment due dates to help those small businesses that are struggling to meet their tax obligations.

"These new measures will not disadvantage the majority of businesses that are meeting their tax obligations. We will continue to balance support for struggling businesses with our ongoing efforts to ensure a level playing field.

"We don’t want the GIC or temporary cashflow problems to be the deciding factors between a business surviving and being able to meet its tax and superannuation obligations or becoming insolvent.

"Businesses need to contact us as early as possible on 13 11 42 to discuss their circumstances so we can negotiate a sustainable interest-free payment arrangement.

"The Tax Office is offering small businesses with temporary cashflow problems the opportunity to defer the payment date for their activity statement liabilities.

"Again businesses need to contact us as soon as possible to request an extension of up to two months in some cases.

"We would expect businesses to reciprocate the goodwill shown by working with us to meet their civic responsibilities."

GIC-free payment arrangements
Businesses with an annual turnover of less than $2 million with an activity statement debt can apply for a GIC-free payment arrangement from now until June 30, 2010.

They will have the GIC remitted for a maximum period of 12 months, provided the payment arrangement is maintained.

Deferred activity statement payment due dates
Small businesses can also request a deferral of payment on their next activity statement.

Businesses with short-term cashflow problems that pay quarterly and annually may be granted a deferral of up to two months, with those that pay monthly eligible for up to one month.

Activity statements still have to be lodged on time, however, no interest applies for the period of the deferral.

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