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

When might the ATO re-raise a ‘non-pursued’ debt?

What is a non-pursued debt?

The ATO may decide that it is uneconomical to pursue a debt owed to it. This means the ATO has placed the pursuit of that debt on an indefinite hold rather than try to recover it at that time.


Circumstances where this might occur include:

  • the taxpayer owes a debt to the ATO but does not have enough income or assets from which the ATO could seek to recover the debt; and/or

  • the recovery costs would outweigh the amount of the debt.

When might the ATO re-raise a ‘non-pursued’ debt?

Information may later become available to the ATO that suggests recovery of the debt is now possible. This can be received directly or through data sharing programs with other government agencies.


For example, where the taxpayer:


⛵️🏘 buys or sells assets;


💰🗂 lodges a tax return or BAS which results in a refund or credit.


When might the ATO may re-raise a tax debt that was previously placed on hold?

  • If the circumstances of the taxpayer change and the ATO considers they are now able to pay the debt;

  • If the taxpayer agrees to pay their debt; and

  • If the ATO offset a credit against all or part of the debt.


What transaction descriptions usually appear on the tax account?

If a debt has been placed on hold:


🔹 ‘non-pursuit’


If a debt (or part of the debt) has been later re-raised:


🔸 ‘re-raise of non-pursuit'


🔸 ‘partial re-raise of non-pursuit'


🔸 ‘cancellation of non-pursuit'


Is payment required for re-raised debts?

The outstanding amount that is re-raised will need to be paid in full by the due date advised.


Where it is not possible to pay in full or the debt is disputed: then tax advice should be obtained immediately to determine suitable options available. This may include entering into a payment plan or negotiating the debt with the ATO, as the case may be.

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