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Tax debt loans – Keep your business ATO-compliant
As a business owner, receiving a large tax bill is never good news, especially if you had other plans for your working capital. Usually, there’s not much wiggle room when it comes to tax demands, and penalties often come into play when you turn up on the ATO’s non-payment radar.
Fortunately, there are tax debt loans available in Australia to get your business off the hook. BestFind examines your options and their workings so you can close the right finance deal.
How can tax debt loans help business owners?
Your business could be rolling smoothly until tax season brings an unwelcome surprise: A bulky bill from the ATO that threatens to put a spanner in the works.
This is a reality for many Australian SMEs, and tax debt loans are designed to solve such short-term scenarios. The external funding arrangement chops your tax bill into affordable pieces since you make repayments over an agreed period.
The lump sum you receive can help you cover the following types of taxes:
- Income tax. Any income from your business, including capital gains from asset sales, is considered taxable income.
- Goods and services tax. GST is a flat 10% tax on goods and services sold in Australia, except for basic foods, healthcare, education, and other items.
- Capital gains tax. CGT applies to the sale of CGT assets such as real estate, company shares, and foreign currency.
- Fringe benefits tax. FBT is imposed on any non-salary payments made to employees, such as those for work cars and gym memberships.
- Payroll tax. This type of tax is calculated on the total salary or wages your business pays per month.
- Land tax. States or territory governments may impose a charge on land you own.
- Stamp duty. A tax on certain transactions such as the sale of a business or transfer of real estate.
Your tax obligations depend on the type of business you run, so some or more of these taxes may apply. Besides ATO tax debt relief, taking out a business tax loan may leave you with a surplus that can also cover wages, purchases, and other overdue bills.
Therefore, tax debt loans not only help businesses save face when the taxman comes knocking, but they can also ease the financial pressure of everyday operational expenses.
How does unpaid tax debt affect a business?
Since October 2019, the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) has turned up the heat on small businesses that don’t do the right thing.
Under the following conditions, a neglected tax bill is all the reason the ATO needs to disclose any defaults to credit reporting bureaus (CRBs):
- The business owes more than $100,000 that’s overdue by more than 90 days
- There’s been no effort to negotiate or stick to a payment plan with the ATO
- The business has an Australian business number (ABN) and is not an excluded entity
The good news is the tax office gives you ample notice to get your affairs in order. But once the default shows up on your credit file, it may spell trouble for future finance applications.
That’s because lenders generally shy from high-risk borrowers and bad credit ratings. You may end up closed off from finance offers or paying higher rates and fees if the lender approves you.
Some lenders also impose shorter loan terms, limited borrowing power, and collateral requirements since this lowers their risk. Additionally, unpaid business tax debt may bring interest charges, collectors, and legal action from the ATO.
However, your business may be exempt from its tax debt if you’re under financial distress that leaves you unable to feed your family, for instance. Disaster situations such as floods or bush fires may also qualify you for a payment extension.
Which loan types can business owners use to settle tax debt?
If you’re a business looking to avoid getting on the ATO’s wrong side, you may consider the following options:
- Business loans. Many Australian lenders offer business loans with flexible terms that enable you to refinance your tax bill. These can be unsecured, in which case you’ll pay a higher interest rate. Low-rate business loans require security, such as real estate, and they also give you more borrowing power. If you have a bad credit rating, secured loans offer the best chance at approval.
- Specialist tax debt loans. Specialist lenders sometimes offer finance when banks are unwilling to help. They’re usually familiar with small business operations and may even provide low doc loans or help you negotiate a payment plan with the tax office.
- Invoice finance. This allows businesses to borrow against their unpaid invoices. That means you can free up to 95% of funds due from clients ahead of time to solve cash flow problems.
- Lines of credit. You can access financing on demand for as long as you need to and only pay interest on what you owe. However, keep in mind that credit limits apply.
Your business can also take advantage of these financial products after using company coffers to pay the tax bill directly. In such cases, a tax loan ensures you have enough financial cushioning to fall back on.
Managing your tax debt with ATO payment plans
As long as the ATO agrees, you can stave off the financial hardship of your tax bill by making smaller repayments to the tax office.
However, you must first lodge any outstanding tax returns or activity statements. Even if you’re unable to meet the due date, this allows the tax office to know the exact amount you owe, and it also shows you’re not trying to evade your obligations.
Setting up a payment plan depends on the structure of your business and what you can afford.
- Individual and sole traders owing $100,000 or less can set up a payment plan via the ATO’s online or call services. If you owe more than $100,000, you’ll have to call, but the ATO recommends you use their payment plan estimator first.
- Businesses owing $100,000 or less can phone the automated phone services, go through a registered tax or BAS agent, or use secure mail on The Business Portal. For debts greater than $100,000, you’ll have to arrange a suitable instalment plan through the payment plan estimator or by calling.
- Some small businesses qualify for interest-free payment plans for overdue activity statement debt.
ATO payment plans typically require an upfront payment and interest also applies on the amount you owe. Generally, if you’re struggling to pay your tax bill, it’s best to contact the tax office as soon as possible to avoid being reported to CRBs and denting your credit rating.
How to compare your loan options for tax debt
A tax debt loan only becomes a practical solution when you take the time to select a financial product that suits your business requirements. Here are a few features that deserve your scrutiny when comparing tax debt loans:
- Interest rates. Find out what it takes to get the lowest rate available. Usually, this requires you to opt for a secured loan or spruce up your credit rating by correcting errors in your credit file.
- Fees and charges. In your search for low-cost tax relief, ensure the fees attached to the loan are affordable. The cheapest offer generally ties low fees together with a competitive rate.
- Flexible terms. Check for extra repayment and early exit features since these allow you to save on interest if business cash flow picks up in the future. Also review the fees associated with these features to ensure the deal remains cost-effective.
- Other convenient features. Some tax debt loans come with additional benefits such as minimal paperwork, discounts, and quick turnaround times.
How to apply for a tax debt loan online
Applying for your tax debt online helps you tap into extra cash flow as soon as possible. If you’ve made your loan comparison with BestFind, all you’ve to do to take the next step is click your preferred “Go to Site” button.
However, we encourage you to use our tax debt loan repayment calculator before you do. That way, you have a reasonable estimate of how you’ll settle your debt with the creditor before applying.
Once the lender’s application page pops up, you may be required to fill in the following details:
- Personal identification – for instance, a valid driver’s licence
- Details of your business’s income and financial situation
Other requirements may apply.
Tax debt loans in Australia FAQ
Do tax loans offer any tax benefits?
Yes, if you’re a sole trader or business, your interest payments may be tax-deductible. However, it’s best to talk to an accountant to better understand the tax benefits available to your business.
What are the pros and cons of tax debt loans?
Generally, tax debt loans can be a lifesaver if you can’t arrange an ATO payment plan. Squaring your debt means the tax office won’t report you to CRBs, thereby damaging your credit score. On the other hand, tax debt loans can further push your business into debt if you apply with a lender that charges steep fees.
Can I use the funds for other purposes?
Yes, tax debt loans are also suitable for covering many business expenses, including wages.
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