How to Negotiate With the ATO During Financial Hardship

If you are suffering financial hardship you can appeal to the ATO to help you out. Of course, you must be able to demonstrate that you are genuinely suffering from financial hardship. Here are some ways the ATO can help you and how you can go about asking for that help.


How the ATO might help

  •    Priority Processing of Refunds
  •    Payment arrangements for outstanding debts
  •    Release from ATO debt (if it can be proved that paying the debt will cause you serious hardship ie paying the debt leaves you unable to provide food, accommodation, clothing, medical treatment or other necessities).


Steps to dealing with the ATO

  •    Contact the ATO as soon as you are aware of any problem or ask your accountant to contact them on your behalf
  •    Be honest about your situation
  •    Be realistic with any payment plans you negotiate. Defaulting on a payment plan can make it difficult to enter another down the track don’t agree to unrealistic payment arrangement.
  •    Be able to demonstrate that you are having financial difficulties. The ATO may ask for proof of hardship by way of bank statements, eviction notices, outstanding bill notices, impending legal action. Providing as much information as possible will allow the ATO to assess your situation quickly and in a suitable manner.
  •    Keep the ATO up to date of your progress or any additional problems that may arise.



by Todd Hearne

Todd is a chartered accountant with a B.A in commerce and 14 years experience. He has a range of experience in tax & accounting work, particularly services for small to medium businesses.


The information in this document reflects our understanding of existing legislation, proposed legislation, rulings etc as at the date of issue. In some cases the information has been provided to us by third parties. While it is believed the information is accurate and reliable, this is not guaranteed in any way. Any advice in this publication is of a general nature only and has not been tailored to your personal circumstances. Please seek personal advice prior to acting on this information.