A helping hand for Townsville’s small businesses

James Cook University is set to assist North Queenslanders with their tax issues at the new JCU Tax Clinic.

Eligible small businesses and individuals are able to apply for free taxation advice and assistance in a variety of areas including responding to ATO notices, meeting taxation obligations, negotiating with the ATO, assistance with completing tax returns and advice on taxation matters.

Law lecturer and clinic director Van Le says the aim of the clinic is to help unrepresented taxpayers meet their taxation obligations.

“The tax clinic can be a starting point for small businesses and individuals who need help with their taxation affairs,” she said.

“These could include issues such as understanding their rights and responsibilities around paying tax, negotiating payment plans, or navigating dispute resolution options with the ATO.”

Clinic manager, Crusoe Flynn-Pittar says the clinic acknowledges that professional support can be expensive, which can be a barrier to seeking help.

“We recognised a gap in the services available to small businesses,” he said.

“There’s plenty of assistance for start-ups but not much for established small businesses, and we wanted to help bridge that gap.

“An example at the moment is people who may have lost or damaged documents or have a tax debt due to business disruption during the Townsville floods and need advice.”

The clinic will be run by JCU students, under the supervision of qualified tax professionals.

“Students will get valuable practical experience to better prepare them for the professional workforce” said Ms Le.

There are also plans to establish a mobile clinic to visit people in regional areas, such as Ingham, Charters Towers and Ayr.

Visit the clinic’s website to learn more: jcu.edu.au/taxclinic

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