The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) is reassuring communities that support is available for those affected by the New South Wales (NSW) and South-East Queensland (SEQ) floods in March. The ATO recognizes the challenging conditions faced by those in affected areas, especially small businesses, and while their tax affairs may not be top of mind, support is available.
Assistant Commissioner Andrew Watson said that people affected by the disaster should contact the ATO if they are struggling to meet their tax and super obligations. “Whilst the immediate danger has passed, we understand that there are lasting impacts for these communities, on top of challenges likely already being faced for businesses impacted by COVID-19. We are committed to assisting people to get back on track. We have a range of practical options available to support those who have been affected by the floods, whether you’re an individual, business owner, or primary producer we want to work with you to help sort out your tax affairs.” Mr. Watson said. “We know your tax affairs may be the last thing on your mind, but we’re here to help when the time is right. If you’re struggling with your tax and super obligations as a result of the floods, give us a call on 1800 806 218 to discuss how we can support you. You can also discuss your options with your registered tax professional if you have one.”
If people are having trouble meeting their tax and super obligations, the ATO can help. Depending on individual circumstances, the ATO may:
- give people extra time to pay their debt or lodge tax forms such as activity statements
- help re-construct tax records that are lost or damaged
- fast track refunds
- set up a payment plan tailored to individual circumstances, including interest-free periods
- remit penalties or interest charged during the time people have been affected.
If your records have been damaged or destroyed during a disaster or incident, the ATO can re-issue copies of income tax returns, activity statements, and notice of assessment. If you have lost your tax file number, we can use another method to verify who you are and help you access your tax information.
The ATO is also reminding business owners that it is important to keep their Australian business number (ABN) information up to date, as it is:
- used by Emergency Services and other government agencies during times of natural disaster
- used by the Government to identify where financial disaster relief is needed to help businesses recover in disaster-affected areas
- likely to be checked if they are applying for a grant or loan for their business.
Business owners can access, change or cancel their ABN details online at abr.gov.au. All changes made to their ABN online will take effect immediately.
For more information about support available, visit ato.gov.au/disasters or phone 1800 806 218.