Small businesses may be noting with concern that the Australian Tax Office has started to chase unpaid tax debts again in Victoria, NSW and the ACT as the three jurisdictions emerge from COVID-19 lockdowns.

However, the ATO has publicly encouraged taxpayers to be proactive in negotiating payment plans if they are struggling to repay their tax debts for example if they are able to demonstrate ongoing impacts of COVID-19 or other legitimate hardship, such as a natural disaster.

If a small business is denied relief and believes it is being treated improperly by the ATO under the taxation laws, or inconsistently with the ATO Charter, they may consider pursuing relief from external bodies such as the Inspector General of Taxation, Commonwealth Ombudsman, the Administrative Appeals Tribunal or the Courts.