ATO Approach to Business – Their Strategy

Written by: The Institute of Certified Bookkeepers

Help for small business

The ATO are committed to making it as easy as possible for all small businesses to understand and meet their tax obligations.

The ATO have an extensive and dedicated focus on:

  • education, prevention and support
  • delivering new tools to make things easier
  • providing personalised information
  • providing customised support for small business when they need it.

The ATO are transforming their culture to focus on client service and early intervention, to improve the experience of small businesses when dealing with them.

Using technology to enhance interactions

Sole traders can access ATO online services through their myGov account or voice authentication on any device to:

  • manage activity statements and PAYG instalments
  • manage accounts
  • make payment arrangements and more.

Sole traders can also use myGov to lodge their tax return. Businesses with an AUSkey or a linked myGov account that use Manage ABN Connections, can access the Business Portal to:

  • prepare and lodge activity statements and annual reports
  • manage accounts
  • update registration details.

The ATO app

Small business owners with simple tax affairs can use the ATO app to:

  • manage tax obligations
  • set reminders for key dates
  • keep track of business income and expenses using the myDeductions tool
  • compare performance against similar businesses with the Business Performance Check.

The app – already downloaded over 1.8 million times – includes a range of easy-to-use online tools, such as the tax withheld calculator and ABN Lookup.

Support when and how you need it

The ATO are there to help. They offer free and tailored support services to keep small businesses on track or help them get back on track. The ATO have also rolled out training for their frontline staff to assist them to better understand clients who are struggling with mental health issues or unexpected life circumstances.

As well as the information, services and tools the ATO provide to assist running a small business, they also focus on early engagement and support for those who need extra help to understand their obligations, increase their confidence and build judgment to be a successful and viable small business.

The ATO take an evidence-based approach and work with small businesses and their intermediaries. The ATO deliver face-to-face workshops and webinars to small business. They show small businesses how to engage with the ATO digitally and use their digital offer to help build their cash flow, business management, tax and super understanding. Workshop topics include tax essentials, record keeping, planning your regular financial commitments and employer essentials, while webinar topics may be narrower in focus.

The ATO strategy indicates that they are deeply committed to improving tax administration for practitioners and this is genuinely pleasing for the BAS agent and Bookkeeping community.

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