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Taxpayers urged to contact ATO if struggling through drought

By Rodney Woods

The Australian Taxation Office is reminding taxpayers struggling in drought-affected communities to contact the ATO if they need assistance.

“The ATO understands the pressure this drought has put on communities and we are committed to providing support and assistance where possible,” acting deputy commissioner Andrew Watson said.

“This is why we strongly encourage you to contact us to discuss your individual circumstances.

“We will ensure that taxpayers suffering hardship due to drought receive priority processing, so that any tax refund is paid as quickly as possible.”

The ATO acknowledged the impact of drought extended beyond farmers, affecting entire communities across Australia.

“We understand it’s not just farmers, but everyone in rural and regional Australia that suffers during drought,” Mr Watson said.

“So the best way to get help from the ATO is to engage with us as early as you can, particularly if you are struggling to meet your obligations.

“By engaging with the ATO early, we can remove some unnecessary stress.

“Once we understand your individual situation, we may give you more time to pay, set up a payment plan with an interest-free period or waive penalties.”

The ATO granted more than 37 000 payment plans to taxpayers in the 36 local government areas impacted the most during the 2018–19 financial year.

The ATO also has specific tax incentives for primary producers.

In addition to farm management deposits, primary producers can access immediate tax deductions for capital expenses on fencing infrastructure, on-farm water storage facilities and fodder storage assets.

The ATO has a drought hotline for anyone requiring support due to drought. To call the hotline, phone: 1800 806 218.

Fore more information, visit: ato.gov.au/drought