Small business lodgement penalty amnesty due to end soon

Announced in the 2023–24 Federal budget, small businesses with an aggregate turnover of less than $10 million were given an amnesty which remits failure-to-lodge penalties for outstanding tax statements lodged in the period from 1 June 2023 to 31 December 2023 that were originally due between 1 December 2019 and 29 February 2022.

Late lodgment penalties will be remitted under the amnesty for small business income tax returns, fringe benefits tax (FBT) returns and business activity statements (BAS).

The ATO has urged small businesses to lodge their overdue tax obligations (in approved form) and take advantage of this amnesty, which is due to expire by the end this month.

The amnesty program does not apply to privately owned groups and individuals controlling over $5 million of net wealth.

Approved forms

The requirements for a return, notice, statement, application or other document under a taxation law to be an approved form are set out in TAA 1953 sch 1 s 388-50. For example, the BAS is the approved form for lodging a GST return and notifying PAYG withholding amounts, PAYG instalments and other tax instalments.

Failure to lodge a BAS on time or in the approved form could result in multiple applications of the administrative penalty, depending on the number of tax obligations that were reportable. Each kind of payment imposes a separate notification obligation for penalty purposes.

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Any tax debts arising after the overdue forms are lodged will be required to be paid in full or a payment plan must be set up with ATO. General interest charges will continue to apply.

If your business falls under the relevant periods that are eligible to receive amnesty for failure-to-lodge penalties, please feel free to contact our office and we will walk you through the process of application.