Don’t Be Liable for Your
Subcontractors Tax Liabilities

Avoid Potential ATO Liability When Your Subcontractor Doesn't Pay Their Appropriate Taxation (2022)

Subcontractor Agreements are designed to combat changes in legislation made by the ATO, which now requires certain Industries that use Subcontractors to have formal agreements in place to avoid the potential liability, and of course the 10’s if not 100’s of thousands of dollars that go along with that liability.

So today we are going to discuss,

  • What are the Australian Tax Office changes in legislation,
  • What are the Potential costs of not having Subcontractor Agreements?
  • What Steps Can I Take To avoid $100 000 + Losses?

ATO Legislation Changes

We Are All Bound By Rules

Taxable Payments Annual Report

TPAR or Taxable Payment Annual Report is the ATO Reporting Requirement in which businesses in certain industries are required to notify the ATO of all payments made to their Subcontractors within a 12 month period. TPAR’s are generally due around the 28th of August each year.  

TPAR Affected Industries + Plus

Industries Affected include,

  • Building and Construction industry,
  • Commercial Cleaning Industry,
  • Courier and Transport industry,
  • IT Services,
  • and the Security Industry

The Use Of TPAR As A Weapon

However, businesses in other industries should also use Subcontractor Agreements or Independent Contractor Agreements to avoid potential liability as they may still be held liable.

Formalising an agreement between a business and its Subcontractors or Independent Contractors is always best practice.

Businesses not in the above Industries should keep reading as the same legislation also affects your businesses.

Results From Legislation Changes

ATO Announces $172 000 000 000 Of Undeclared Income

In a recent report by the Australian Taxation Office (alongside), you will notice that they have identified $172 Billion in undeclared income by Subcontractors. You will also notice that they are using the data collected from TPAR to proactively contact contractors regarding forgotten income.

The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) has revealed it is using data from its Taxable Payments Reporting System (TPRS) to ensure that more than $172 billion of payments to contractors have been properly declared.

Contractor Reaction

It doesn’t take a very big leap to realise that a number of the businesses being contacted will start questioning their obligations and association with their head contractor. The idea is to shift the liability from themselves into their Head Contractor.

“More than 158,000 businesses have now reported all payments made to contractors in the 2019–20 year to us. This data, combined with our sophisticated data and analytics capability, means our field of vision to detect unreported income is better than ever.”

The ATO is using the data to proactively contact contractors to make sure they haven’t forgotten to declare the income reported through the TPRS.

Suspected Tax Evasion

And don’t think just because you’re not in the declared industries that you don’t have to worry about having an Independent Contractors Agreement.

The article also goes along to say “The ATO encourages the community to Report Suspected Tax Evasion” giving the details for the ATO Tip Off Hotline and a link to their Online Form.

Formalising an agreement between a business and its Subcontractors and Independent  Contractors has never been more important.

Potential Costs

Steps to Avoid Potential Losses

Get Paid on Time

Multiple Subcontractors

A Great Option to avoid potential liability is to broaden your options when it comes to engaging external Subcontractors. Businesses need to look at increasing the overall number of Subcontractors engaged by their business. This minimises the total number of hours allocated to any one contractor during any given period. 

Formal Agreements

Formalising an agreement between a business and its Subcontractors is always best practice no matter the industry and is the linchpin in avoiding potential liability. It defines the relationship between any business and its Subcontractors.

Agreement Frequency

Limiting any Independent Agreement to 12 month period is another way to help avoid the Subcontractor vs Employee argument which can come up from time to time.

Foreseeable Conclusion

What do you think happens when one of your Subcontractors, who haven’t paid their tax on 172 Billion, is contacted by the ATO (ATO doing exactly what you just read) and asked for a please explain?

I don’t think it will take long before you hear the words, Oh I thought I was an employee, or well I have been thinking about it, and I would probably class myself as an employee rather than a Subcontractor.

Who do you think is going to be the next business on their call list?


If you like to know more about "How You Can Protect Your Business From Potential Subcontor Tax Liabilities" please feel free to request our FREE Facts Sheet here.

Until Next Time, Have a Great Day

Paul Tweedie



With over 35 years’ experience Collection Consultancy Australia prides itself in offering Products and Services designed to Protect Business Assets and Cashflow. Quite often the process can start from simply making business owners aware that there is option available, through to business specific solutions and education. We are here to let business owners know that there can be a better way to secure their financial future.


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East Brisbane QLD 4169.

Phone: 1300 565 988.


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