The ATO has shifted its focus from providing assistance with tax through the pandemic to now re-establishing the culture of businesses paying their tax debts on time.
Beginning from July 2023, The ATO has issued notices of intent to disclose business tax debts of more than 22,000 businesses with a tax debt of at least $100,000 that is overdue by more than 90 days, to credit rating agencies (CRAs).
Disclosure of business tax debts
The ATO may report your business tax debt if it meets the following criteria:
- you have an ABN and your business in not an excluded entity
- you have one or more tax debts and at least $100,000 is overdue by more than 90 days
- you are not engaging with the ATO to manage your tax debt
- you don’t have an active complaint with the Inspector-General of Taxation Ombudsman (IGTO) about our intent to report your tax debt information.
The Commissioner has urged taxpayers, with outstanding debts, to engage with the ATO to not risk their business’s tax debts becoming visible in credit rating checks.
Intent to disclose notice – next steps
Section 255-15 of the Tax Administration Act 1953 empowers the Commissioner to enter into an arrangement with an entity which has, or which is expected to have, a tax-related liability, whereby the entity may pay the liability by instalments.
Businesses need to pay their debt or enter into an appropriate payment arrangement within 28 days of when the intent to disclose notice was issued to prevent disclosure.
In October 2023, more than 9,000 businesses are expected to have their debts disclosed and the ATO expects to issue 50,000 notices of intent to disclose by the end of 2023–24 financial year. A disclosed debt can impact your business’s ability to receive finance and your business may also lose suppliers.
If you have received a notice of intent or have a tax debt of $100,000 or more that is overdue by more than 90 days, we can assist you in engaging/re-engaging with the ATO and help create an arrangement or payment plan that best suits your current and future financial position.
Should you have any other queries, please feel free to contact our office.
The Victorian Government’s recent Housing Statement announced Australia’s first short-stay property tax. The additional tax, which is scheduled to come into effect from 1 January 2025, is expected to generate $70 million plus annually. The Short Stay Levy will be set at 7.5% of the short stay accommodation platforms’ revenue – so, a few days in Melbourne at $850 will cost an extra $63.75 taking the stay to $913.75.
According to the statement there are more than 36,000 short stay accommodation places – with almost half of these in regional Victoria. More than 29,000 of those places are entire homes.
Airbnb’s ANZ Country Manager Susan Wheeldon however says that “short-term rentals in Victoria make up less than one percent of total housing stock. Acute housing issues existed long before the founding of Airbnb, and targeting these properties is not a long term solution.”
Property investors are now braced for an onslaught of similar taxes at either the local Government or State level. For Victorian investment property owners this comes after a temporary land tax surcharge from the 2024 land tax year and for those keeping a property vacant, an increase to the absentee owner surcharge rate from 2% to 4% including a reduction in the tax-free threshold from $300,000 to $50,000 (for non-trust absentee owners).
Some local Government taxes on Airbnb style accommodation will be removed once the new tax comes into effect.
Some Councils already impose a surcharge on short stay accommodation. Brisbane City Council for example imposed a 50% rate surcharge on properties listed for short-term rental for more than 60 days a year in their 2022-23 Budget, only to increase it to 65% in 2023-24.
What happens overseas?
Bed taxes in some form are not uncommon internationally but it is unusual to isolate one form of tourist accommodation from another as the Victorian Government have chosen to do. Also unusual is the 7.5% rate – many local taxes on short stay accommodation are in the 5% range (despite California’s Transient Occupancy Tax of up to 15% depending on the region you are staying).
Globally, the idea of taxing vacant and short-term accommodation is also not new.
In British Columbia, the Underused Housing Tax – a 1% tax on the ownership of vacant or underused housing introduced from 1 January 2022 – has been credited with increasing the rental stock by up to 20,000 properties.
Taking the alternative route to freeing up rental stock, New York introduced new rules in September 2023 that severely restrict Airbnb style accommodation options. Hosts need to register with the city if they offer accommodation for less than 30 consecutive days (unless their building is exempt as a hotel or accommodation establishment). Under the new rules the host must permanently reside in the property – entire properties will no longer be available – and, only two guests are allowed. The platforms are responsible for monitoring and enforcing compliance with the new rules.
New York is not alone in curbing the rise of short-term rentals. Amsterdam, Paris and San Francisco limit the number of days in a year an entire residence can be listed – between 30 and 90 days.
Closer to home in Byron Bay, the Byron Bay Council will limit “non hosted holiday letting to 60 days per year for most of the Shire” from 23 September 2024.
But do restrictions on Airbnb create rental stock?
According to Professor Nicole Gurran, from the University of Sydney’s School of Architecture, Design and Planning, if Australia is serious about controlling short-term rentals to solve Australia’s long-term rental crisis, then more needs to be done.
“In comparison to much of the international regulation of the short-term rental market, Australia is very “light touch”. The overarching aim is to encourage the tourism economy.
While this might have been appropriate five years ago when the rental market was in better shape, and long-term housing demand focused on inner city areas, the current crisis demands a new approach. Regulations must be tailored to the conditions of local housing markets, rather than the one-size-fits-all approach that exists today,” Professor Gurran says.
In a 2017 study, Professor Gurran and Professor Peter Phibbs found that, Airbnb absorbed 7% of stock in one Sydney municipality.
So, where is all this going? Governments are unlikely not to take advantage of the opportunity to share in what has become a lucrative short-term rental market. What that looks like will really depend on the States and Territories. Beyond revenue, further regulation is likely to ensure that private gain from short-term rentals is not at the expense of supply of long-term accommodation.
Economic uncertainty is an ongoing worry for any business owner.
You can control your own financial management, but you don’t have any direct control over the wider macro-economy. And in the first few years of the 2020s, there have certainly been plenty of tricky ups and downs for your business to navigate.
Current economic uncertainty stems from a number of factors, including:
- Fluctuating markets
- Geopolitical tensions
- Pandemic recovery
- The impact of climate change.
This unpredictability poses significant challenges for sustained growth and stability – but there are simple steps you can take to react to these challenges.
Simple strategies for overcoming the challenges of economic uncertainty
Good financial management is the key to riding any period of economic uncertainty. When sales, revenues, supplier prices and operational costs are all highly dynamic, it’s good to know that your business has cash in the bank and a solid financial strategy to stick to.
But how do you get tighter control over your business finances? And what are the main areas to focus on, track and manage as a business owner or financial director (FD)?
Here are five straightforward ways to tackle economic uncertainty:
- Manage your cashflow effectively – cashflow management is the process of tracking your cash inflows and outflows, identifying potential problems and being proactive about taking action. It’s helped by running regular cashflow forecasts and sticking to budgets.
- Carry out spend management – spend management involves tracking your expenses and identifying areas where you can cut costs. You do this by switching to more cost effective suppliers, cutting back unnecessary expenses and having tighter approval processes.
- Negotiate better terms and prices with suppliers – negotiation can help you save money on your raw materials, labour and other important costs. You can also negotiate better payment and credit terms by building trusted relationships with your suppliers.
- Embrace AI automation to cut costs – artificial intelligence (AI) tools are a great way to automate tasks, such as customer service, billing and inventory management. This frees up time for strategic activities and saves you money on labour costs.
- Diversify into new products or markets – diversification helps you reduce your dependence on a single product or market, making your business more resilient to economic downturns. It’s important to choose products or mark
Talk to us about strengthening your financial management
With the world in such an unstable state, it’s always difficult to know exactly what lies around the corner for your business. But it’s safe to say that with a robust and agile financial strategy, you’re in a better position to flex your revenue streams and overcome any cashflow pitfalls.
As your adviser, we’ll help you get tighter control over your cashflow, budgeting and financial forecasting – giving you the numbers you need to navigate uncertain times.