The Australian Taxation Office is about to visit almost 2,000 small businesses in three states as part of a crackdown on the black economy.

The ATO said it would visit up to 1,200 small businesses in Victoria from late May to early June:

  • 700 in Dandenong
  • 500 in Richmond

Industries in focus for Dandenong include:

  • Building, pest control and gardening services
  • Transport support services
  • Automotive repair and maintenance
  • Postal and courier pick-up and delivery services

For Richmond, the main industries are:

  • Cafés, restaurants and takeaway food services
  • Computer system design and related services
  • Other personal services
  • Architectural, engineering and technical services

Also in late May and early June, the ATO will target up to 200 small businesses in the Northern Territory, based in Katherine, Batchelor, Bees Creek, Adelaide River and Pine Creek.

In early to mid-June, the ATO will move on to Queensland, with plans to visit up to 400 small businesses in Maroochydore.

The target industries will be:

  • Cafés, restaurants and takeaway food services
  • Building, pest control, agricultural and gardening services
  • Personal care services
  • Legal and accounting services

ATO assistant commissioner Peter Holt said the tax office was particularly concerned about small businesses that are not registered for PAYG withholding or GST.

“We also take community referrals about businesses who are suspected of doing the wrong thing into account when selecting where to visit,” he said.

“Misrepresenting sales, not reporting income from online transactions and poor record-keeping are some of the common concerns the community has raised with us.

“Businesses who pay cash in hand, don’t pay the proper super or fail to lodge income tax or business activity statements get an unfair advantage and make it harder for other businesses who are doing the right thing.”

The ATO expects to target about 10,000 small businesses throughout Australia in the 2019-20 financial year.