Following the enactment of legislation in late 2019, the ATO can disclose certain business tax debt information to external credit reporting bureaus.
This information will primarily be used when issuing external creditworthiness reports in relation to relevant businesses, effectively treating tax debts in a similar manner to other business debts. For example, debt-recovery groups like moorcroft group are sought in business debts in case of failure of repayment; same methodology can be used for tax debts.
More recently, the Government issued a Declaration to determine exactly what class of entities may be subject to such disclosures, including entities that:
– tax debts where the entity has an arrangement to pay the ATO by instalments (i.e., via a payment plan);
– tax debts subject to an application for release on grounds of hardship; and/or
– tax debts subject to dispute via an objection, AAT or Federal Court review that has not been finalised.
Additionally, the Declaration does not allow debt disclosure for taxpayers who have an active complaint concerning the disclosure of tax debt information that is, or could be, the subject of an Inspector-General of Taxation (‘IGOT’) investigation.
Importantly, if there is such a complaint, the ATO can only proceed with a disclosure of the debt where it is not aware of it after taking reasonable steps to confirm whether the IGOT has such a complaint.
Ref: Taxation Administration (Tax Debt Information Disclosure) Declaration 2019