ATO aims at businesses

Australian businesses should stay alert in 2017 and be prepared for intensified tax audit activity by the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) as it "aggressively looks for opportunities to raise revenue", according to Pilot Partners.

The firm said that the move was a result of the Turnbull Government's New Tax Avoidance Taskforce that was being funded by the 2016 Federal Budget and received a 55 per cent increase in audit funding over four years.

It is also expected to bring in nearly $1 billion in new revenue from increased tax audit revenue.

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According to Pilot Partners' tax partner, Murray Howlett, businesses should "get their affairs in order", stay alert to a possible tax audit and know "where their bodies were buried".

"With any audit, the onus will always be on the individual taxpayer to substantiate their tax position," he said.

"Most laws require the complaining party to prove their case, however the onus of proof is reversed in taxation matters.

"This means that the ATO can raise assessments that require the individual taxpayer to prove them wrong so it's always preferable to avoid adverse assessments being issued in the first place."

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