Approximately $50 billion is owed to the Australian Taxation Office, with small businesses accounting for over two-thirds of this sum, totalling about $32.5 billion.

Most outstanding debts, around $24 billion, pertain to activity statements, encompassing unpaid goods and services tax and PAYG tax withheld from employers' pay.

ATO Commissioner Rob Heferen stressed the need for all businesses, regardless of size, to meet their obligations, particularly concerning employee payments and tax responsibilities.

Heferen highlighted concerns voiced by compliant small businesses regarding unfair competition from non-compliant counterparts.

The ATO has resumed a stringent approach to tax collection, including pursuing outstanding debts frozen during the COVID-19 pandemic.