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Budget outlines plans to get tough on tax dodgers

David Burt outlined plans to recover money owed in unpaid taxes

The Government is to crack down on tax dodgers who owe millions of dollars in unpaid fees.

During Friday’s Budget presentation, David Burt said that more than $7 million could be recovered this year from businesses that had failed to keep up-to-date with their “tax obligations”.

The Premier and finance minister told MPs that the Office of the Tax Commissioner’s receivable balance at the end of the 2022 financial year stood at $314 million. He added that payroll taxes of more than $130 million were paid a month later, bringing the balance down to $184 million.

But Mr Burt added: “There is still a significant amount of funds owed to the Government and we intend to take further action with legislation that will place further restrictions on businesses, individuals and landowners who are not current with their tax obligations or current on their tax payment plans.

“These restrictions can include denial of contracts, grants, permits, licences, passports or other government authorisations.

“The Office of the Tax Commissioner will also work more closely with the Department of Public Prosecutions and the courts to create a pathway for efficient adjudication of claims, including designated days each month for the court to consider cases for recovery of outstanding taxes.

“This option will be reserved only for taxpayers who have the means to pay but refuse to communicate and/or work with the Office of the Tax Commissioner.”

Mr Burt said that additional cash will be given to the Office of the Tax Commissioner “to better equip its staff in their debt collection efforts” — but added that the commissioner would be willing to work with defaulters who co-operated.

He said: “The Office of the Tax Commissioner is committed to working with taxpayers to establish payment plans and decrease penalties for those willing to adhere to payment arrangements as agreed.

“Penalties and interests often form a sizeable amount of outstanding tax debt and can discourage taxpayers from attempting to pay off amounts earned.

“The Office of the Tax Commissioner has begun implementing a new debt management system that aims to improve its processes and procedures, ensure consistent collection activities and train its staff on best debt collection practices.

“Their system will also be used to enable data-driven decisions and practices that will result in more efficient and effective collection of tax arrears.”

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Published February 21, 2023 at 7:38 am (Updated February 21, 2023 at 8:23 am)

Budget outlines plans to get tough on tax dodgers

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