Targeted Tax Office audits of the computer industry have raised an extra $20 million in taxation revenue over the last two years, according to a report from the Cash Economy Task Force.
And the project has allowed the Tax Office to refuse many claims for refunds and seen a large number of fines imposed by the courts, the task force says. Meanwhile, legislation has now been passed aimed at catching the tax cheats.
The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) began its compliance project in the computer industry following complaints by a number of retailers about serious and widespread evasion of sales tax on personal computers and printers at the wholesale and retail level.
Honest personal computer industry dealers have been concerned for some time about the difficulties of competing with dishonest competitors who were avoiding their tax obligations. Retailers had told ATO that fraudulent operators had a competitive advantage over legitimate operators and were driving the legitimate operators out of business.
Budget estimates suggested legislative change could allow the ATO to recoup $55 million in the first financial year and $80 million in each of the following three years.