Our new tax Commissioner has just released a document outlining her department’s key compliance programmes for 2012/13.
The 32 page document discusses many risks tax investigators have identified for special attention.
In the GST area the focus is very much on the hidden (“black” or “cash”) economy where some recent wins have already been chalked up by the Commissioner. They’re looking for the traders who take cash and keep it outside of their business records so that it is not declared in tax returns.
Property transactions continue to be a big GST focus, although, as they point out in the document, many concerns have largely been resolved by the new requirement to “zero rate” most land transactions between GST registered entities.
There’s a strong message for central and local government entities that they can expect close scrutiny of their GST systems and processes. The document points to the restructuring and reorganisation in government bodies throughout the country and concludes there are added risks for GST compliance where implementation is lacking.
If taxpayers believe they may be one of those targeted by these programmes the suggestion from the Department is that they review their own systems now and make sure they are compliant. If there are errors it’s better to deal with these up front with the Department before they come knocking on the door.
With the back drop of continuing pressure on the Government’s tax take and a few recent wins in the courts there’s little doubt in my mind tax collectors have a mandate for ongoing focus in these areas.