The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) has announced a tax penalty amnesty for small businesses that have fallen behind on their tax returns. The amnesty will waive failure to lodge (FTL) penalties for certain overdue payments held by small businesses.

The amnesty applies to income tax returns, fringe benefit tax returns, and business activity statements (BAS) originally due between December 1, 2019, and February 28, 2022. To qualify for the amnesty, businesses must lodge their outstanding returns and pay any outstanding taxes by December 31, 2023.

The ATO estimates that the amnesty could save small businesses up to $1,100 in fines per overdue payment. The amnesty is a one-off opportunity, and businesses that do not take advantage of it will still be liable for the FTL penalties.

The ATO is encouraging small businesses to take advantage of the amnesty. The ATO’s Deputy Commissioner, Karen Payne, said that the amnesty is “a chance for small businesses to get their affairs in order and avoid costly penalties.”

Here are some things to keep in mind about the ATO tax penalty amnesty:

  • The amnesty only applies to FTL penalties. Other penalties, such as interest and late payment penalties, will still be payable.
  • The amnesty does not apply to businesses that have been issued with a tax debt notice.
  • Businesses that have already lodged their outstanding returns and paid any outstanding taxes will not be eligible for the amnesty.


If you are a small business that has fallen behind on your tax returns, you should contact the ATO to discuss your options. The ATO may be able to offer you a payment arrangement or waive the FTL penalties altogether.


The ATO tax penalty amnesty is a valuable opportunity for small businesses to get their affairs in order and avoid costly penalties. If you are eligible for the amnesty, you should take advantage of it as soon as possible.

About the author

Greg Quin is a Partner at HLB Mann Judd Insolvency WA and has been with the team for 14 years. Greg oversees the daily operations of the many insolvency appointments managed by the HLB Insolvency team and looks after the operations of the practice.

If you have any queries about insolvency matters, please feel free to contact Greg on 08 9215 7900, 0402 943 091 or via email to

Share to:


Get in touch

Whatever your question, our team in Perth will aim to find the best solution for you

Start the conversation

Share to:

Copy link:

Copied to clipboard Copy