The Australian Tax Office is standing by its actions undertaken that were presented on a recent current affairs program.
The ATO says where taxpayers fail to lodge tax returns and BAS returns over a number of years despite repeated requests, the ATO will raise a default assessment based on evidence that can be obtained, i.e., cash deposits in their bank account and bank statements.
In circumstances where a taxpayer refuses to cooperate with the ATO such as refusing to provide basic information, the ATO can only work off their bank account.
Firmer action is undertaken where taxpayers fail to respond to a position paper put to them based on this evidence and where there are attempts to engage with such taxpayers for an extended period, i.e., giving them a chance to rectify their tax situation.
One such penalty is a mandatory 75% penalty where a taxpayer has failed to send the ATO GST or tax they have withheld from their employees’ pay.
The next step is to issue a garnishee notice for taxpayers who repeatedly fail to engage with the ATO, despite the Tax Office’s attempts to contact them and collect tax owed. If there is no response from them, the ATO will then issue a garnishee notice.
The Tax Office generally will not proceed with garnishee action if there is a current dispute.