MEMBER 15 writes:
"When the ATO introduced the failure to lodge on time flat rate penalty back in the 90s, Parliament reduced the maximum penalty to $220 from the ATO requested $550.
With the introduction of GST in 2000, the ATO included the provisions to increase this penalty to $550. After all, who would look at such a minor matter in comparison with the GST legislation.
Now this penalty stands at $850 (if the document is more than five months overdue).
What does this really mean? If someone comes to me today to do 5 years' work so they can catch up. they will be hit with penalties of $13,750. In five years' time, the same client will be hit with $21,250.
This 400% increase in penalties is a big incentive not to catch up with overdue returns.
Some may say it is easy to avoid, just lodge on time; however, if you have not done this, your business could be crippled just with the penalties."