Keep your books in order, or you might be the next Paul Hogan!

As you’ve no doubt already seen, Paul Hogan is in the spotlight at present because the Australian Taxation Office believe he owes them a little bit of money, and so they’ve been granted a ‘Departure Prohibition Order’ – in simple terms, the Immigrations department won’t let him leave.

Many people weren’t really aware that the ATO has this type of power. But, in fact, the ATO has extraordinary powers in this regard, and likewise the Child Support Agency.

Keeping your tax affairs in order is critical. Obviously, there is a legal imperative, and various ATO enforcement proceedings have been in the spotlight in recent years as the Government has stepped up their activities to ensure compliance. But it’s easy when snowed under with the day-to-day business of dealing with your clients and trying to secure the next contract, to feel like you’re not in the same league as those who the Government is pursuing. Unfortunately, sincere and genuine business owners sometimes find that this kind of debacle just creeps up on them progressively as they slip further and further behind on their paperwork.

If you’ve got behind with your bookkeeping, sometimes a small issue can have a snowball affect and impede your current and future record keepings. You may then fall behind with your BAS and IAS lodgements, fail to pay your taxes and Superannuation on time, and feel like “I’ll catch it up soon – as soon as I can get a breather”. But without a clear picture of your obligations, it’s easy for the magnitude of the issue to grow without you being fully aware of the seriousness of it.

For the business owner who wants to run their business proactively, profitably, and without the stress of being non-compliant with taxation requirements, the best place to start is by instituting disciplined record keeping and bookkeeping practices. The relatively low cost of having a dedicated bookkeeper, even if it’s just a part-time role for a day per week, will circumvent a plethora of potential issues, keep your liabilities crystal clear and paid up, and give your powerful insights into your business that empower and improve your decision-making.

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Dionne Nancarrow

Dionne Nancarrow

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