ATO issues reminder ahead of TPAR deadline

ATO reminds businesses paying contractors to check if they need to lodge Taxable payments annual report.

The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) has reminded businesses that pay contractors for certain services that they may need to lodge a Taxable payments annual report (TPAR) with the ATO by 28 August 2020.

This is the first year businesses that pay contractors to provide road freight, information technology, security, investigation, or surveillance services may need to lodge a TPAR with the ATO.

This is in addition to those businesses providing building and construction, cleaning, or courier services that are already required to report.

“In response to COVID-19 many businesses have had to quickly adapt, and many have needed to contract out more services,” ATO Assistant Commissioner Peter Holt said.

“We also know many contractors are struggling right now. It is not fair if an honest contractor misses out on business because a competitor is under-cutting them by doing things like under-declaring or not declaring income. The TPAR helps us shed light on payments to contractors and keep things fair.’

Businesses should take the time to check if they need to lodge a TPAR and to make sure it is lodged with the ATO by 28 August 2020.

The ATO website has information that businesses or their advisers can use to quickly determine if they need to lodge a TPAR.

“Many restaurants, cafés, grocery stores, pharmacies and retailers have started paying contractors this year to deliver their goods to customers as a result of COVID-19. These businesses may not have previously needed to lodge a TPAR.

“However, if the total payments received for these deliveries or courier services are ten per cent or more of the total annual business income, you’ll need to lodge,” Holt said.

The ATO uses information reported on the TPAR to make sure that businesses are complying with their tax obligations, for example, being registered for GST if required, lodging BAS and income tax returns, and using valid ABNs, reporting the correct amount of income and then paying the right amount of tax.

The ATO has also been working directly with head contractors in the building and construction industry across the country to ensure the success of the taxable payments reporting system (TPRS) which has led to a $56 million reduction in amounts paid to sub-contractors without a valid ABN from 2016-2017 to 2018-2019 financial years.

“We are also actively encouraging the use of the ABN Lookup tool which is a quick and easy way to ensure the contractor you are working with is quoting a valid ABN on their invoices.

“Additionally, some commercial software providers have now integrated automated ABN checking into their accounting software packages, which makes ABN checking more streamlined during the year as well as when it comes time to lodge the TPAR. This sustained effort has led to a $500 million improvement in reporting of payments to valid ABNs across the building and construction industry,” Mr Holt said.

As at late July 2020, more than 16,000 businesses have already lodged a TPAR for 19–20 or told the ATO that they’re not required to lodge. The ATO expects more than 280,000 businesses to complete a TPAR for 19–20.

“If you keep good business records, you’ll be much better off and recording payments to contractors throughout the year will help you get your TPAR right. We’ve designed the TPAR to fit in with the natural business systems to reduce the amount of time you will need to spend getting it done.

“The good news is that the contractor details you need to report on the TPAR are usually on the invoices used to claim GST credits on your BAS, so you may find that once you lodge your BAS, you can tick your TPAR off your list shortly after.”

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