Bathurst 1000: ATO crackdown on cash-in-hand employers
Australian Taxation Office agents will be flooring it to Bathurst to put the squeeze on local businesses after their massive windfall at this weekend's V8 Supercars event.
Australian Taxation Office investigators will show up at 300 small businesses in Bathurst after "a number of tip-offs" that local traders had been paying workers cash-in-hand and not declaring income.
ATO assistant commissioner Peter Holt "dishonest" businesses were in his sights.
"These dishonest businesses in Bathurst are unfairly overtaking their honest competitors when it comes to their tax so we're going to take a look under a few bonnets to ensure everything is in order,"
"By detecting and addressing this behaviour, we're helping to ensure honest small businesses can get a fair run around the track.
"Our intelligence also suggests that some businesses are not declaring all of their income to the ATO, and avoiding their employer obligations by not paying staff entitlements like super and tax contributions."
He denied the timing of the visits - beginning late October - was designed to coincide with the aftermath of this weekend's V8 Supercars which injects $25 million into the town each year.
"If someone's intentionally doing the wrong thing the community expects us to do something about that," Mr Holt said.
"If (businesses) operate as a cash only business it tends to be a bit of a red flag."
Bathurst Business Chamber president Angus Edwards said he was confused as to why the ATO was focusing on Bathurst.
"It sounds to me like we've got a Ford or Holden fan at the ATO, if they want to come up here we'll spot them a ticket," Mr Edwards joked.
"My suspicion is they'll put a lot of resources into it and get very little to show.
"The vast majority of businesses here do the right thing. Most people aren't using cash anyway."
Atop the list of businesses being targeted are cafe, restaurants and takeaway food outlets, followed by "personal care" providers like hairdressers and nail bars, retail outlets and even lawyers, accountants and builders.
Before the blitz ATO officers will visit Bathurst for two information sessions to remind small businesses about their obligations to workers and the tax office.
The ATO estimates the black economy costs the country $50 billion a year.