The ATO no longer an option as short-term creditor

Updated: May 8, 2019

Australian businesses owe the ATO $23.7 billion, with small business accounting for well over half that amount ($15.1 billion). Single Touch Payroll will give the ATO instant visibility over outstanding debts, and when they identify a problem they will seek to address it promptly. Dealing with the ATO is a serious and unavoidable part of doing business, so it’s important every business owner takes the ATO’s questions seriously and deals with them promptly. The STP crackdown will see businesses with lumpy cash flow pressured to clear their debts to the ATO sooner.

Possibility of payment plans

In a positive move, small business owners who are struggling with outstanding ATO debts may be able to arrange a payment plan. The ATO put in place some 790,000 payment plans throughout 2017–18. The ATO also recently lifted the ceiling for arranging a payment plan through an automated phone call from $25,000 to $100,000. But if you have a debt greater than $100,000, you will need to call the ATO and discuss your situation personally. It’s important to remember that payment plans are suitable for some businesses – but not all. If your small business has cash flow problems, a business loan from an alternative lender may be able to help you clear your ATO debt before the 30 September deadline.