ATO annual report flags collectable debt struggle

The value of collectable debt at the end of June 2014 was almost $19.5 billion, an increase of 10 per cent compared to the end of June 2013, according to the ATO’s 2013/2014 annual report.

This increase comes despite collections attributable to ATO debt collection actions increasing by 4.8 per cent in 2013/2014 compared to 2012/2013 the ATO stated in its annual report, which was tabled in parliament last week.

In 2013/2014, the inflow of new debt continued to outpace improvements in the ATO’s debt management performance, the ATO said.

“Challenges in the economy are continuing to affect some taxpayers’ ability to pay,” the ATO stated.

The ATO also stated it is working with accounting software providers and the banking sector to improve the digital options available for businesses, particularly with software developers for the electronic lodgement service to SBR transition.

“These initiatives are contributing to the government’s ‘open for business’ agenda, encouraging the adoption of new practices to reduce operating costs and the burden of complying with government regulation,” the ATO stated.

“We will ensure our relationship with software developers continues to be beneficial to both parties; the steps taken this year have created the necessary foundations from which we can build.”

The annual report also indicates 37,000 SMSF compliance activities were undertaken in the 2013/2014 financial year.

Many of these activities resulted in enforceable undertakings to rectify breaches, and where serious breaches occurred, compliance actions included making 129 funds non-complying and disqualifying 585 trustees.

In 2013/2014, the ATO also issued approximately 66,000 assessments, raising over $256.4 million in liabilities where SMSF members exceeded the contributions caps. However, the ATO noted this represents only 0.6 per cent of those who made contributions to their superannuation fund.

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