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Reporting Business Tax Debts to Credit Bureaus: What You Need to Know


If you're running a business, it's important to understand what happens if your tax debts get reported to credit bureaus. 

This can really affect your financial health and your reputation. The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) has the power to report certain tax debts to credit bureaus, and this can seriously impact your business’s credit rating and your ability to secure financing.

Let’s talk about the ATO’s reporting process, the criteria they use to report business tax debts, what it means if you’re reported, how to prevent it, and what steps to take if your debt does get reported. 

ATO’s Reporting Process

The ATO’s reporting of business tax debts to credit bureaus is part of a broader effort to encourage compliance and transparency. 

The process begins when a business fails to pay its tax debts within the specified time frame and does not engage with the ATO to arrange a payment plan. 

The ATO may notify the business in writing of its intention to report the debt. If the business does not respond or take action within the given period, the ATO will proceed to report the debt to credit reporting agencies such as Equifax, Illion, or Experian.


Before reporting the debt, the ATO must notify the business of its intent and provide an opportunity to address the debt. 

This notification period typically lasts 28 days, during which the business can contact the ATO to resolve the issue or arrange a payment plan.


If no action is taken within the notification period, the ATO will report the debt to the credit bureaus. 

The reported information includes the amount of the debt and the fact that it is overdue. This information will then appear on the business's credit report.

Criteria for Reporting Business Tax Debts

Not all tax debts are reported to credit bureaus. The ATO has specific criteria that must be met before a debt is reported:

  1. Debt Amount: The total debt must be at least $100,000.
  2. Debt Age: The debt must be overdue by more than 90 days.
  3. Business Type: The debt pertains to active Australian business numbers (ABNs).
  4. Engagement: The business has not effectively engaged with the ATO to manage the debt, such as failing to enter into or adhere to a payment plan.

Impact of Being Reported to Credit Bureaus

Being reported to credit bureaus can have severe consequences for a business, including:

Credit Rating

The most immediate impact is on the business’s credit rating. A reported tax debt can significantly lower the credit score, making it more challenging to secure loans or credit lines.


Lenders and financial institutions are less likely to approve loans or extend credit to businesses with poor credit ratings. This can hinder the business's ability to invest in growth opportunities or manage cash flow effectively.

Supplier Relations

Suppliers often check credit ratings before extending payment terms. A negative credit report can lead to stricter payment terms or refusal of credit from suppliers, affecting the business’s operations.

Preventing Reporting and Managing Tax Debts

Preventing your tax debt from being reported involves proactive engagement with the ATO:

Timely Payments

Ensure that all tax obligations are met on time. Regularly review your financial position to avoid missing any payments.


If you are unable to pay on time, contact the ATO as soon as possible to discuss your situation. The ATO is often willing to work with businesses to arrange payment plans that suit their financial circumstances.

Payment Plans

Entering into a payment plan with the ATO can prevent your debt from being reported. These plans allow you to pay off your debt in manageable installments over a set period.

Professional Advice

Engage with a tax professional or financial advisor to manage your tax obligations effectively. They can provide valuable advice on financial management and tax planning.

Steps to Take if Your Debt is Reported

If your tax debt has been reported to credit bureaus, there are steps you can take to mitigate the damage:

Contact the ATO

Immediately contact the ATO to discuss your options. You may still be able to negotiate a payment plan and potentially have the report removed once the debt is managed.

Credit Repair

Work with credit repair agencies or professionals who can help you improve your credit score over time by addressing and resolving outstanding debts.

Regular Monitoring

Regularly monitor your credit report to ensure that all information is accurate. Dispute any discrepancies with the credit bureaus to maintain the integrity of your credit rating.

Having your business tax debts reported to credit bureaus can have significant negative consequences. 

By understanding the ATO’s reporting process, criteria, and the impact of being reported, you can take proactive steps to manage your tax debts effectively.

Preventing reporting through timely payments, effective communication, and engaging with the ATO can safeguard your business’s financial health. 

If your debt has already been reported, taking immediate action to resolve the debt and repair your credit is crucial. 

For personalised assistance, contact us at 02 9411 5422 to help navigate your options and manage your financial situation effectively.

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