On 16 August the ATO announced that it will be visiting about 350 businesses in Darwin and 400 small businesses in Cooktown and Port Douglass to investigate ‘black economy’ activity and educate businesses about how to comply.

See below for more detail, including the types of businesses they will visit and the timing of the visits.

FJM 16.8.19

[Tax Month – August 2019]



The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) is also planning to visit around 350 small businesses in Darwin in August for the same purposes. Industries more likely to be visited by the ATO, are:

  • Building cleaning, pest control and Gardening Services
  • Automotive Repair and Maintenance
  • Building Installation/Completion Services
  • Cafes, Restaurants and Takeaway Food Services
  • Residential Building Construction

The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) is planning to visit around 400 small businesses in Cooktown and Port Douglas, Far North Queensland during August and September as part of the agency’s work to tackle the black economy and protect honest businesses from unfair competition. Industries more likely to be visited by the ATO, are:

  • Cafes, restaurants and takeaway food services
  • Pharmaceutical and other store-based retailing
  • Personal care services
  • Accommodation
  • Building cleaning, pest control and gardening services
  • Building completion services
  • Building installation services
  • Other construction services


Assistant Commissioner Peter Holt said “Our intelligence suggests that some businesses are not declaring all of their income to the ATO and avoiding their obligations by not paying their entitlements like super and tax contributions. We have also received reports of some businesses operating without proper GST, PAYG withholding or ABN registrations.”

“These businesses who are purposely not paying their fair share of tax and contributions, make it harder for other businesses who are doing the right thing. By detecting and addressing this behaviour, we’re helping to ensure a level playing field for honest small businesses in the top end”, Mr Holt said.

During the visits, the ATO will also be running some information sessions tailored to support small businesses. A Single Touch Payroll information session will also be held on the same day. Whilst in Darwin, ATO officers will be available to help those that are trying to do the right thing. Businesses with more tax and super questions can also have a chat to one of our staff outside of these sessions.

“During the visits, we may discuss record-keeping and payment facilities, outstanding lodgments, tax debts, and managing employee entitlements such as superannuation,” Mr Holt said.

The visits are part of the ATO’s strategy to deal with the black economy. The ATO plans to visit almost 10,000 businesses this financial year in all states and territories, across a variety of industries. As part of the visits, ATO officers will be providing information about recent changes, such as Single Touch Payroll and the extension of the Taxable Payments Reporting System to certain industries.

As part of the visits, the ATO will also be visiting tax practitioners of small businesses in these areas as part of our early intervention strategy. These visits will enable us to better understand the drivers behind agent behaviour and provide education and support to encourage willing participation of their clients in our tax and super systems.

[ATO website: Darwin visits, Port Douglass & Cooktown; LTN 157, 16.8.19; Tax Month – August 2019]



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