On 19 August 2013, Second Commissioner Geoff Leeper was interviewed on Mornings with Linda Mottram, 702 ABC Sydney, about the number of business wind-ups initiated by the ATO
The attached link contains some interesting comments and clarification on the number of “ATO initiated wind-up actions”. The transcript reiterates the ATO’s preference to work with taxpayers to recover tax due in the first instance, and the importance of taxpayers with financial constraints taking control of their tax liabilities and maintaining contact with the ATO.
I noted that during the election campaign that we all just endured that there was a fair bit of ATO bashing going on around its actions in winding up companies that don’t pay tax. I for one am a big supporter of the ATO in this (not only because as a liquidator I have a vested interest in windups) as these companies are sponging off the rest of the taxpaying business community and squeezing out (viable) competitors by undercutting margins due to them not passing on the tax. I’ve blogged about these Zombie type companies before (see here).
A strong economy needs a redistribution of resources away from those that can’t manage it (ie bad business should relinquish its hold on resources for the benefit of those business people who have great ideas and strong business skills). These ATO windups are a matter of last resort… its not a surprise to these businessess when they receive a windup notice in the mail. They haven’t paid tax for many months, probably failed to pay superannuation to employees, strung out creditors, ignored ATO correspondence, broken repayment agreements with the ATO numerous times or/failed to heed the advice of their accountants or other trusted advisors. They list goes on and on. That ATO is not the bad guy here.