Whistle-blowers have made shocking accusations of revenue-raising tactics within the Australian Taxation Office (ATO). Small businesses and contract workers have been among the victims of the ATO’s alleged exploitative practices.
Several concerns from business owners were raised about the extent of the ATO’s powers.
For example, ATO agents are free to search your home without a warrant.
And there are few mechanisms in place to ensure that power is exercised fairly or even appropriately.
Now Australians are fighting back.
One particular business owner has spent years, and thousands of dollars, fighting back against the ATO.
Mark Freeman spoke to The Age about his experiences.
After receiving a government grant for his small business, which manages waste water, the tax office hit back with a whopping $250,000 tax bill. They felt he was not eligible for the grants and tax offsets it entailed.
‘…We hadn’t generated that type of income to even be owing that type of audit debt,’ he told the newspaper. He stated that he then found that the auditor had left out critical paperwork.
Four years later, the ATO finally admitted they had made a mistake. According to The Age, Freeman was offered a small amount in financial compensation. First $1500. Then $11,500.
But still not enough to cover his $750,000 legal bills.
Seven years after receiving the bill, he’s still battling the ATO over the compensation amount in appeals.
And he’s just one of the Aussies coming forward.
Other stories have included a contract worker having her ABN cancelled without notice, and a woman who lost everything when they falsely accused her of owing hundreds of thousands from her small business.
After lengthy battles, some have received apologies and limited compensation. But others are still waiting for the lengthy audit process to run its course.
And it isn’t just the victims calling out the ATO.
Ex-employees of the tax office have come out swinging.
According to ABC News, one former employee accused the Adelaide office where he had worked of blatant revenue-raising behaviour.
He alleged that management started encouraging workers to issue as many garnishees as possible. Meaning that potentially innocent Aussies would have their savings and/or incomes sucked straight out of their bank account, without permission.
Deborah Jenkins, the Deputy Commissioner for Small Business, did not comment on Mr Boyle’s allegations. She did however state that the Tax Office only uses garnishee notices in extreme cases.
According to ABC News, the Australian government have raised concerns about the ATO’s power several times. But in the 18 years since the senate committee first raised concerns about a lack of oversight, little has changed.
Hopefully, the bravery and persistence of these regular Aussies will be the needed push to make these desperately needed changes.
PS: It may not only be the ATO that could be impacting your financial security, the global elites are waging a stealth war on cash even as you read this. This free report reveals their real motivations. And three actions you can take today to help safeguard your financial privacy.