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ATO boss slams tax dodgers with $33.5 billion missing

·2-min read
The Australian Taxation Office letter head and a person holding $100 notes
The ATO boss has slammed tax dodgers after its annual report revealed a tax gap of $33.5 billion (Source: Getty)

The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) has flagged billions of dollars are missing in its 2020/21 annual report due to Aussies not being honest about their incomes.

ATO tax chief Chris Jordan said it is unacceptable for Australians to avoid their tax obligations at the annual Tax Institute event.

“There is no licence to not pay tax. Everyone who makes profit, makes taxable income, needs to pay tax,” he said.

“It does impact businesses that do pay tax. So it’s unacceptable.”

The ATO annual report, which shows the most recent taxation data from 2018/19, found that the tax gap was around $33.5 billion.

The tax gap is an estimate of the amount the ATO collected in tax and the amount it believes it would have collected if everyone were honest about their income.

“Tax gaps are, in effect, about measuring what is not visible – what people have not told us,” the ATO said.

The ATO said taxpayers may not have reported their true tax position for a number of reasons, including due to a misunderstanding, by choice or by taking a tax position that differs from its view of the law.

“Rapid changes in the economy, society and technology mean the issues driving tax gaps continue to evolve,” the ATO said.

“No tax system can fully eliminate tax gaps, as the cost of doing so would be excessive. Instead, we aim to sustainably reduce tax gaps over time.”

The ATO boss said the tax office aims to work with Australians to help them make the correct decision when it comes to their tax.

Small businesses have probably been the most impacted by recent events, with some not surviving,” Jordan said.

“As you will have heard me say before, when it comes to small business, our focus is on improving tax performance by helping people get things right up-front.”

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