Australian Taxation Office – enforcement of debt recovery (2019)

The ASBFEO has researched the issue of debt recovery action taken by the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) against small business while their Application for Review of a disputed matter was before the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT).

Two particular aspects considered were:

  • the scale and extent of the issue for small business
  • the potential impact on them.

The ASBFEO found that ATO debt recovery action happens in a sizable number of cases which are before the AAT (at least 12%) and that such action can severely impact a business’ ability to prosecute its case and carry on its business. In particular, the use of garnishment (specifically enduring garnishee notices) can have a crippling impact on businesses.

ATO practices regarding small business report (2018)

Following the Fairfax/Four Corners investigation in April 2018, the Hon Kelly O’Dwyer MP, Minister for Revenue and Financial Services, requested an inquiry into allegations against the ATO. The investigation was led by the Treasury and supported by the ASBFEO and the Inspector-General of Taxation. The ASBFEO examined over 180 cases and submitted a report on constructive advice and solutions. 

If you are a small business owner who has experienced heavy handed tactics by the ATO, you are still able to contact the ASBFEO (and remain anonymous).

If you need help with an ATO dispute, or your issue falls outside of this inquiry, contact our Assistance Team on 1300 650 460 or