Release: Stop The ATO From Taking Back Tax Refunds

The Australian Taxpayers’ Alliance, a 75,000+ member grassroots advocacy group representing the nation’s taxpayers, today called for reform to the Australian Tax Office after a number of complaints about unfair clawing back of R&D Tax Incentives

“Technology businesses are being forced to pay back millions in tax refunds after the ATO attempted to claw back validly granted incentives for research and development.” said ATA Communications Manager, Emilie Dye. “These businesses genuinely believed that they qualified for the breaks, and indeed, many of them did. Yet this hasn’t stopped the ATO from targeting them with crippling litigation years after the fact.

“The ATO has decided to play a cruel joke on small businesses by penalising them for its own lack of clarity about who or what is eligible. Small businesses already face enough uncertainty and the ATO does not need to make their lives harder by making compliance so complicated.”

“Businesses can appeal, but that process in itself is enough to force some small businesses out of business. Ordinary people should never have to go to court simply to learn what a law means, especially when their livelihoods are on the line. Businesses deserve clarity when it comes to taxes so they can make the best possible decisions.

“The ATA calls for more clarity around these incentives so businesses understand eligibility before they spend money on R&D thinking that they will receive a tax refund. There is no point in providing tax incentives to encourage innovation when businesses who make the honest mistake of seeking them could be crippled by litigation years into the future for no fault of their own.”

Brian Marlow