Watch out docs! ATO takes aim

The Australian Taxation Office has sounded a warning shot by revealing a set of benchmarks it has adopted to judge the risk profiles of professional firms operating as a partnership, a trust or a company.

Essentially, an entity that does not meet at least one of three scenarios under the guidelines will be classed as high risk and may be inviting an inspection. Tax experts welcome some aspects of the 2 September ATO announcement.

“It endorses the ability of medical practitioners to practice through a variety of structures and recognises the difference between personal income and business income,” Stephen Guthrie, director of Prosperity Advisers, said.

“I think the ATO has had professional services firms on their radar for years and this is a natural extension of their existing program rather than a crackdown.

“They are seeking to set up some boundaries, so that if you operate with