SMALL BUSINESS ASSISTANCE PROGRAM BUSINESS TOURISM AND HOSPITALITY PARTNERSHIP NOVEMBER 2007 SEGMENT AUDIENCE DATE Presented by: Gary Holland Australian Taxation Office www.ato.gov.au Background
SMALL BUSINESS ASSISTANCE PROGRAM
TOURISM AND HOSPITALITY PARTNERSHIP
Presented by:Gary Holland
Australian Taxation Office
This program seeks to:
This scenario demonstrates, from the small business owner’s point of view, the way that the Small Business Assistance Program will provide:
In practice a small business operator may choose to access only some of the assistance services offered
The following services are available to small businesses through the Program:
NB: All assistance visits are covered by the Commissioner’s Guarantee. This means they are educational and the information shared with field officers is confidential and will not be used for any other purpose.
Robert has an idea for a landscaping business.
Robert recognises that he needs help. He researches through:
The information available on business.gov.au leads Robert to ato.gov.au.
Robert visits ato.gov.au and gets the checklist for new businesses.
He reads about assistance visits and thinks this would be useful, but as he has been very busy setting up the business he doesn’t book one.
He also registers for an ABN and GST on abr.gov.au.
Because Robert registered for GST for the first time he receives a call from Sherri in the ME&I client contact centre.
Sherri provides advice regarding Robert’s tax obligations and talks to him about the assistance available to him - publications, seminars, online services, and assistance visits.
Robert tells Sherri that he would like an assistance visit. Sherri tells him he will be contacted by the ATO within three days to arrange a visit.
Two days later, Gavin, a GST field officer, calls Robert to discuss his business and the information he needs. Gavin makes a time and date for the assistance visit, which will be at Robert’s house.
At Robert’s house Gavin gives Robert the tailored field kit (which includes Gavin’s business card). They discuss GST, record keeping, Business Activity Statements, budgeting and where to get more tax help and assistance in the future.
Gavin helps Robert to install e-Record and shows Robert how to produce a BAS. Gavin also helps Robert to download the personalised calendar.
Six months later… Robert’s landscaping business booms and he now has to hire staff.
To find out what he needs to know he checks the field kit that Gavin gave him. He then calls the Tax Office helpline on 13 28 66.
Robert speaks to Brett from the ATO client contact centre.
Brett talks to Robert about how many employees he plans to take on, whether he will pay them weekly, fortnightly or monthly and whether he will be lodging electronically or by paper.
Brett tells Robert that he will mail him an employer obligations kit.
Brett also registers Robert for PAYG withholding.
Robert receives an employer obligations kit. It contains:
In the month following registering for PAYG withholding, Loretta from New to Business calls Robert to talk about his employer obligations. Loretta tells Robert that the Tax Office can provide him with further assistance through an employer obligations visit, a workshop, or assistance over the phone.
Loretta registers Robert for an Employer Essentials workshop while he is on the phone.
Three weeks later, Robert attends an Employer Essentials workshop. Robert understands he is now required to:
Robert’s next BAS arrives with additional labels.
Four months later… Robert is having a tough time due to the impact of the drought on his business.
Robert receives an SMS reminder 2 weeks before his BAS is due, but ignores it because he knows that he can’t afford to pay his tax this month.
Not only does Robert have cash flow problems, he has also fallen behind on his record keeping and has lost track of some of the business papers he needs to complete his BAS.
The due date for lodging his BAS comes and goes.
Robert receives a call from Rod in the New to Business team. Rod talks to Robert about why he has not lodged or paid.
Rod finds that Robert is willing to comply, but his records are not up to date and he is having money troubles.
Rod tells Robert about the general interest charge and possible penalties for failure to lodge. Rod advises Robert that in future if he is having difficulty paying his tax he should call the Debt Hotline on 131 142 to discuss how the ATO can assist.
Rod also tells Robert we can help him to reconstruct his records. He tells Robert about the record keeping workshops that will help him keep on track in the future.
Robert says he doesn’t have time to go to a workshop, but would be grateful if we could help him get his records sorted out. Rod says that someone will call him in a few days to set up an appointment.
Three days later Mick, a GST assistance officer, calls Robert to discuss his situation and makes an appointment to visit Robert.
During the visit, Mick and Robert discuss the reasons behind Robert’s failure to lodge and pay. Mick tells Robert how to re-create his business records from bank accounts, invoices etc.
Robert also explains that he is unable to pay the tax he owes, which was another reason he hadn’t lodged his BAS.
Mick explains that Robert should always lodge even if he can’t pay, as the Tax Office will take into account mitigating circumstances and can negotiate a payment arrangement.
He also explains the benefits of Robert initiating action (eg calling the ATO’s Debt Hotline) rather than waiting for late notices. Mick and Robert get the lodgment up to date, which establishes a new debt.
Mick works out a payment arrangement by looking at the business cash flow and talking to Robert about what would work best for him.
They decide on an upfront payment with the balance to be paid in instalments over the next six months.
Robert is now aware of his lodgment obligations and he follows the payment plan he has worked out with Mick.
Twelve months later… Robert’s business is going well and he upgrades his computer
Robert remembers reading something in his field kit about being able to lodge online. He finds the information sheet about the ATO’s online services.
Robert goes on the ato.gov.au business homepage and registers for the Business Portal.
Within two weeks Robert receives a How to work online information kit in the post.
Robert also separately receives:
Two weeks later Robert has not accessed the Business Portal.
Danielle, from GST Field, calls Robert to find out if she can assist him in using the Business Portal.
Robert tells Danielle he hasn’t used the Business Portal because he can’t seem to access it.
Danielle asks Robert if he would like her to visit him to help him set up the Business Portal and go through what services he can access through the Business Portal.
Danielle arranges to visit Robert at his premises next week.
When Danielle arrives she finds that Robert has firewall issues so she calls the technical help desk on 1300 139 051.
Danielle resolves the technical issues and takes Robert through the setup of the Business Portal.
Danielle then shows Robert what he can do in the Business Portal, including:
Robert uses the Business Portal to lodge his BAS, he finds it easier to lodge electronically and continues to interact with the ATO online.