ATO Deferments For Fire Affected Areas

ATO Deferments For Fire Affected Areas

For the regional areas the bush fires have seriously impacted many businesses ’ abilities to operate, this especially applies to the hospitality and tourism industry. It is important that these businesses are aware that the ATO has created special concessions and deferments.

The recovery process from the fires are largely unknown at this time, but these benefits will allow businesses to continue to operate during this very uncertain time.

Eligibly For Automatic Deferment

The ATO has created a list of identified impacted postcodes, if you are on the list the ATO will automatically defer any lodgments or payments you have due. There is no additional paperwork to do. There is no need to apply for a deferment, it will be automatically applied. Income tax, activity statement, SMSF, FBT and excise return lodgments, and their associated payments, will be deferred until 28 May 2020.

For anyone who has been affected by the fires but your postcode is not included on the current postcodes list, there is still time to make a phone call to the Emergency Support Infoline on 1800 806 218 for help.

If you don’t have a tax or BAS agent and are unable to access forms or business records, call on 1800 806 218 and the ATO will help you lodge over the phone.

Examples of Assistance Are As Follows:

  • receive extra time to pay your debt or lodge tax forms such as activity statements
  • find a lost tax file number (TFN) by verifying your identity such as your date of birth, address and bank account details
  • re-issue income tax returns, activity statements, and notices of assessment
  • assistance with re-constructing tax records lost or damaged in the bushfire
  • process refunds you are owed
  • set up a payment plan tailored to your circumstances including an interest-free period
  • suspend penalties or interest charged during the time you have been affected by the bushfires
  • give you more time to meet SMSF lodgments and payment obligations.

Monthly GST credits And PAYG Installments

Businesses making purchases to replace stock and other losses may elect to change their GST reporting and payment to monthly, to get quicker access to net amount refunds. You can only change from the start of a quarter, so a change now will take effect from 1 April 2020.

Changing your GST reporting cycle to monthly doesn’t mean you have to change your PAYG withholding reporting cycle. You can manage this by specifying the roles you are changing.

If you are a quarterly pay as you go (PAYG) installments payer, you can vary your PAYG installments to nil on your activity statement for the December 2019 quarter by lodging a revised activity statement before you lodge your income tax return for the year.

You can also vary your PAYG installments in future periods. The ATO won’t apply penalties or charge interest to varied installments for taxpayers within the impacted postcodes in the 2019–20 financial year.

Next Steps

If you or anyone you know needs this information, please pass it on. We are always available for a quick chat to assist with any questions. Please do not hesitate to get in touch, we know it is important to support small businesses during this sad time.