What to Expect from ATO Audits and Risk Reviews

Posted 25 Feb '21

What to Expect from ATO Audits and Risk Reviews

ATO audits and risk reviews are on the rise, with JobKeeper and COVID-19 payments now on the ATO’s radar. Getting help to professionally manage the audit will save you time, money, and can make the process easier.

ATO audits can occur at any time, and following the COVID-19 stimulus measures, we predict an increase of audit activity from the ATO. Entities who accessed JobKeeper, early release of super and COVID-19 cashflow boost payments will be at higher risk of receiving an ATO audit.

The ATO will initially conduct a risk review, to determine if there are compliance issues that warrant the full audit process. Often the risk review process allows issues to be resolved quickly and simply without the need for a full audit.

If an audit is instigated, there are several stages involved. These may include an initial meeting, research, and investigation by ATO agents and discussions with the business owner, before the ATO issues a final audit report and outcomes. Often the ATO will issue an interim report, allowing the business owner to review their position and make comment or provide further information. The audit process can last from 3 to 18 months.

There are several types of audits for small to medium businesses including record keeping, income tax, data comparison, superannuation guarantee audits and the hidden economy.

What to Expect

  • If your business is linked with a registered tax or BAS agent, the ATO will generally liaise with them first. The business will be assigned an ATO case officer.
  • The process will involve an initial interview, at which they will explain why the business was selected for an audit. The ATO representative should give an indication of the period to be audited, the business owner’s obligations, what to expect from the ATO during the process and an opportunity for voluntary disclosure. They will also provide the means for raising concerns during the audit or for disputing the result of the audit.
  • The ATO will investigate business records such as bank statements, contracts, agreements, payroll, finance arrangements, and records of asset purchases and disposals. Having access to complete business records will assist in the conduction of the audit.
  • Personal records may also be needed if the ATO suspects significant undeclared cash income.
  • For JobKeeper and COVID-19 audits, you will need to show calculations of turnover tests and employee nomination forms.

We can help proactively manage your records and get your systems and accounts into excellent shape to minimise the impact of an audit on your business.

WDF now offer Audit Shield Insurance to our clients, which will help cover the costs associated with defending your position in the event of an audit.

If you have any questions regarding ATO audits or would like more information on our Audit Shield service – do not hesitate to get in touch with your WDF Professional contact or phone 02 6921 5444.

Kimberley Butler

Cadet Accountant

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