Cracking down on the black economy

The Coalition Government has today delivered on the first of its commitments to tackle the black economy and further protect the integrity of our tax system, with the passage of tough new laws that ban software allowing businesses to understate their sales and income.

Electronic sales suppression tools allow businesses to falsify electronic record keeping systems for the deliberate purpose of reducing their tax liability and dodging their tax obligations.

The new laws introduce penalties for the production, supply, possession or use of this software which understates sales and income. The penalty for the production of the software is in excess of $1 million.

The Treasury Laws Amendment (Black Economy Taskforce No.1) Bill 2018 also extends the Taxable Payments Reporting System to the courier and cleaning industries, delivering on the Coalition Government’s response to the finding by the Black Economy Taskforce that contractors in these industries are at high risk of not disclosing income. This means from 1 July 2018, businesses that operate in the cleaning and courier industries will need to annually report to the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) payments they make to contractors for cleaning and courier services.

The Taxable Payments Reporting System will be further expanded to three new industries next year. From 1 July 2019, businesses will also be required to report payments made to contractors providing services in the road freight, information technology and security industries.

The Government is taking a number of decisive actions to tackle the black economy, including:

  • boosting the ATO’s capabilities to combat the black economy;
  • creating a new multi-agency Black Economy Standing Taskforce;
  • new measures to tackle illicit tobacco;
  • stronger integrity for Commonwealth procurement processes; and
  • the introduction of a $10,000 economy-wide cash payment limit.

By further protecting the integrity of our tax system, we are further strengthening the Australian economy and a fair go for all Australians.

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