The ATO has said that it is committed to helping to address the issue of mental health for small businesses.
Deputy Commissioner Deborah Jenkins has attended the Small Business Mental Health roundtable chaired by Senator Michaelia Cash, Minister for Small and Family Business, Skills and Vocational Education at Parliament House.
Ms Jenkins said that the ATO is committed to working with government and community organisations to address the issue.
“More and more small businesses are telling us that they are under stress. We understand that long hours, cash flow pressures, endless paperwork, staff issues and the blurring boundaries between work and family life can take a toll on mental health,” Ms Jenkins said.
“That’s why we are working together with organisations such as Beyond Blue, ASBFEO, small businesses and their associations as well as tax practitioners to develop initiatives to better support small business owners with their tax and super obligations when they are experiencing mental health issues.
“We have rolled out training for all of our frontline staff to assist them to better understand mental health issues and show empathy for taxpayers who are struggling. Nearly 6,000 staff have already undertaken the training.
“We also offer a range of services aimed at helping businesses stay on track.
“Because we know that managing debt can be a big contributor of stress for small businesses, we have been making it easier for small businesses to negotiate and enter into payment plans if they need them.
“In 2017–18, we negotiated 790,000 payment plans with small businesses.
“Payment plans allow small businesses to manage their tax debts and take the pressure off when other bills are due. But our primary focus in 2019 will be on early engagement and support before debts are due,” Ms Jenkins said.
The ATO has a small business live chat service and an after-hours call back service available from Monday to Thursday.
Small business owners can also subscribe to the Small Business Newsroom to get all the latest information and alerts.
The ATO website has more information for people running small business experiencing mental health issues.
Source: The Fence magazine.