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SMEs Drag Heels on A$1.9B in Unpaid Super Guarantee Payments - ATO

SMEs Drag Heels on A$1.9B in Unpaid Super Guarantee Payments - ATO

(5 April 2024 – Australia) According to the Australian Tax Office (ATO), while almost 90 percent of all tax liabilities are settled on time, only 68 percent of small business tax is paid on time.

65 percent of all collectable debt owed, equating to A$32.5 billion, relates to small business, and 74 per cent of that figure, A$24 billion, relates to Business Activity Statements (BAS). More aggressive debt collection by the ATO could send thousands of firms into bankruptcy experts warn.

The ATO reports at the end of January 2024, debts reported through small business BAS included

  • A$1.9 billion of unpaid Superannuation Guarantee (which is reported separately)
  • A$8.5 billion of unpaid GST
  • A$8.1 billion of unpaid Pay As You Go Withholding (PAYGW)
  • A$5.5 billion of unpaid Pay As You Go instalments (PAYGI)

"We are seeing an increasing number of businesses fall behind on these types of payments, from which point it is very difficult for businesses to get back on top of their obligations and remain viable” commented new ATO Commissioner Rob Heferen.

"Businesses have collected billions of dollars in GST from customers and income tax out of employee wages, but not yet passed the money on to the ATO. It's critical that all employers, big and small, keep on top of their obligations to their employees first and foremost, as well as their obligations to government in respect to GST, income tax, and other taxes."

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