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brisbane • sydney • melbourne


A collection of updates, articles and papers written by The Little CFO & The Little CFO Legal

What happens if the ATO decides that a debt is ‘not economical to pursue’?

The ATO may describe certain debt transactions in tax accounts as ‘non-pursuit’. These amounts are referred to as ‘non-pursued debts’.

What is a non-pursued debt?

Where the ATO determines not to pursue a debt on the basis that it is ‘uneconomical’ to do so, this means it is a debt the ATO have placed on an indefinite hold. This is referred to as a non-pursued debt (debt).

A debt may considered to be uneconomical to pursue if, for example, it would cost the Commonwealth more than the amount of the debt to recover it.

Does that ATO debt ever need to be paid?

It is important to note that the debt (including any applicable interest) can still be pursued at a future time.

The debt may not be visible on the account balance but remains payable.

The ATO may offset any credits or refunds against the debt, including from another account. A notice will be given if a debt is re-raised to offset a credit.

How will these appear in the online services account?

The following transactions may appear on the tax account statement —

  • If a debt has been placed on hold:

🔹 ‘non-pursuit’

  • If a debt has been later re-raised:

🔹 ‘re-raise of non-pursuit'

🔹 ‘partial re-raise of non-pursuit'

🔹 ‘cancellation of non-pursuit'

For more information, check out our related discussions where we review when the ATO might decide to re-raise a non-pursued debt and seek to recover it.


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Should you require advice please connect with us so that we may provide advice tailored to suit your specific circumstances.

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