The ATO Supporting Your Wellbeing

australian taxation government


At the Australian Taxation Office (ATO), we understand that small business owners have a lot on their plate. With everyday pressures, unexpected life circumstances, and blurring boundaries between work and family, your wellbeing may be affected.

There is a range of support available for small businesses, including tools and services to help you stay on track, or get back on track if you are behind or having trouble with your tax and super obligations.

Even with the right tools in place, sometimes running a business is stressful, and you need some further assistance. Contact us, or speak to your tax advisor as early as possible so we can work with you to find a solution based on your circumstances.

We can provide you with the following support:



Deferring your lodgment and payment deadlines

If you feel you are getting behind you may be able to apply for a deferral of lodgment payment of your BAS, reports and returns. You can call us on 13 11 42 to discuss your circumstances.

Your tax advisor can also apply for a deferral online via the ATO’s online services for agents.

Accepting a payment plan

Finding out you have a tax debt can be overwhelming, especially if you’re not sure how you will be able to pay. If you can’t pay a tax debt by the due date, you may be able to set up a payment plan to pay your tax bill using instalments.

You can access help with paying online, including our automated phone service. While online and automated phone payment services are convenient, you may prefer to speak with us, especially if you have a complex situation. If this is the case you can call us on 13 11 42.

Fast-tracking your tax refund

If you think your circumstances put you under financial difficulties or serious hardship, you can ask us to process your return as a priority.

You can apply for priority processing which will allow your return to be fast tracked and received earlier; however this does not guarantee that you will receive a refund.

We will need documents from you that demonstrate you are experiencing financial difficulties or serious hardship. The ATO website has further details about requesting priority processing.

Accessing your superannuation early

Compassionate release of superannuation allows people in certain circumstances to access their super early. These circumstances are very limited and mainly related to specific medical conditions or severe financial hardship to help you pay for:

  • Medical treatment for yourself or a dependant.
  • Loan repayments to prevent you from losing your home.
  • Modifying your home or vehicle for the special needs of yourself or a dependant because of a severe disability.
  • Expenses associated with a dependant’s death, funeral or burial.
  • Palliative care expenses because of your, or your dependant’s, terminal illness.

Speak with us

You can always call and speak with us about your situation on one of our phone services or you can:

Nominate someone to speak to us on your behalf by nominating them as a representative, or confirming they can speak on your behalf when you verify your identity when you call.

Book an after-hours call back service, at a time that suits you, which you can access by completing our online form.

Seeking further help

The Department of Health’s Head to Health website connects Australians with vital online and phone mental health services, information and resources. The site links users to a range of government-funded services and information that is either low cost or free. It contains hundreds of useful websites, apps, online programs and community forums, as well as phone, chat and email services.



Andrew Watson is an Assistant Commissioner in the Small Business line, and is currently responsible for understanding how small businesses engage with the tax and super systems, collaborating with small businesses, industry groups and government agencies to shape the client experience and drive improved digital services, helping small businesses manage cash-flow so sustainable and viable businesses can thrive, and advocating for small businesses within the ATO.