Budget 2018 update – Black Economy – increase in ATO funding

The Government will provide $318.5 million over 4 years to implement additional strategies to combat the black economy.

As part of this, the Tax Office will:

  • implement new “mobile strike teams”;
  • increase its audit presence;
  • start a Black Economy Hotline (that will allow for the community to report black economy and phoenix activities);
  • improve government data analytics and data matching;
  • increase information sharing between government enforcement agencies; and
  • enhance educational activities.

By way of background, the Tax Office currently receives funding through a terminating program called the “Black Economy Taskforce: one year extension of funding for ATO audit and compliance activities” – which ceases on 30 June 2018.

The Budget papers state that feedback from industry, business and community stakeholders “supported additional resourcing to the ATO in recognition of the enforcement challenges due to the size and clandestine nature of the black economy”.

There are no details in the Budget papers and media release as to the increased audit presence. The media release does indicate, however, a desire for a more visible and targeted enforcement.

The revenue expectations linked with this expenditure are certainly impressive, namely $3 billion over the forward estimates period (ie the next 4 years).

Date of effect

The funding will commence on 1 July 2018.

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