Tradespeople, cleaners, taxi drivers, farmers, doctors and lawyers could be inadvertently caught up by a proposed law that would allow the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) to report alleged debts to credit reporting agencies, according to submissions to a federal inquiry.

Key points

  • The Federal Government has proposed a law that allows the ATO to disclose small business tax debts to credit reporting agencies
  • A number of watchdogs and lobby groups told a Senate inquiry there were not enough safeguards to protect taxpayers
  • An adverse credit rating, which can last up to five years, may stop a person running a business from being able to borrow money

The Federal Government wants to allow the ATO to disclose small business tax debts to credit reporting agencies, but its proposal has faced criticism from the tax ombudsman, small business ombudsman, and a number of lobby groups, who fear the legislation is being rushed through and that there are not enough safeguards to protect taxpayers.

The proposed law, which comes as tax debts to the ATO hit almost $24 billion, would apply to businesses with Australian Business Numbers and tax debts of more than $100,000 that are at least 90 days overdue.

 

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