THERE is significant pressure on the Australian Tax Office to put up or shut up with regard to Bathurst businesses illegally operating in the black economy - and rightly so.
The ATO took the unusual step this week of issuing a press release saying it would be sending officers to Bathurst later this month to investigate up to 300 businesses to ensure they were meeting their tax obligations.
It was unusual, first, because we cannot recall seeing the ATO issue that type of release before and, second, because there seems to be no good reason to provide such a warning to any business that might actually be doing the wrong thing.
And it was also "somewhat inflammatory", as Bathurst Business Chamber president Angus Edwards put it, because it had the effect of tarring every local business owner with the same brush in way we can't recall happening in any other town or city.
Which is not to say the ATO won't find evidence of wrongdoing when it comes here; it likely will (despite pre-empting the visit), but the same could be said of every location.
But it will take more than just a handful of breach notices for the ATO to justify its handling of this matter.
It has talked a big game in this week's press release and we would expect to see plenty of fines handed out to warrant the damage done to the reputation of all Bathurst businesses.
It's no laughing matter, but at least Mr Edwards has tried to maintain a sense of humour through it all.
Noting the timing of the ATO press release - issued, as it was, during Race Week - Mr Edwards offered his own possible explanation for Bathurst being targeted.
"The timing of this press release around race weekend says to me that someone at the ATO is a Holden or Ford fan," he said.
"But if they wanted to come to the race I would have gladly spotted them a ticket."
Let's hope we're laughing when it's over.