Wednesday 8 Apr 2020
*

Latest Accounting News
Hot Issues
Covid-19 resources
COVID-19: Early Childhood Education and Care Relief Package
What Covid-19 relief packages mean to you.
Now I’m working from home, what can I claim?
Global statistics plus Covid-19 updates
ATO clarifies COVID-19 rent relief concerns
Banks to defer small-business loan repayments for 6 months
Historic $130bn wage subsidy to cover 6 million workers
Stage 2 – Covid-19 stimulus package.
Covid-19 Update - Small Business
PM launches $17.6 billion virus stimulus plan
SG amnesty bill passes Parliament
ATO flags most common SMSF return mistakes
Expected GDP by country 2010 to 2100
ATO expands small business review pilot
A resource hub for our clients.
Risks when dating documents in 2020
Australian Taxation Office (ATO) debts may affect your credit rating
Statistical picture of Australia - Update
Absentee Property Owner – Tax Whack - Victoria
Debate heats up around $10k cash ban bill
There’s still time to move to Single Touch Payroll (STP)
Real Time World Population Growth - Wow!!
ATO audits continue to target Lifestyle assets
Property deduction errors down to ‘lack of understanding’: ATO
Data can be great stuff! - Australia
GST refunds for returned imported goods
14k employers, $230m in super: Financial Services Minister defends proposed SG amnesty
Bushfires 2019–20 (ATO)
Accounting profession responds to bushfire crisis
Helping your business survive a natural disaster - ATO
Single Touch Payroll (STP) – now ensure super is paid on time.
Beware of Australian Taxation Office (ATO) impersonation scams
Australia by the Numbers
‘Visible, valued and owned’: ATO outlines super priorities for new year
Introductory Rates & Interest Free Periods
Articles archive
Quarter 1 January - March 2020
Quarter 4 October - December 2019
Quarter 3 July - September 2019
Quarter 2 April - June 2019
Quarter 1 January - March 2019
Quarter 4 October - December 2018
Quarter 3 July - September 2018
Quarter 2 April - June 2018
Quarter 1 January - March 2018
Quarter 4 October - December 2017
Quarter 3 July - September 2017
Quarter 2 April - June 2017
Quarter 1 January - March 2017
Quarter 4 October - December 2016
Quarter 3 July - September 2016
Quarter 2 April - June 2016
Quarter 1 January - March 2016
Quarter 4 October - December 2015
Quarter 3 July - September 2015
Quarter 2 April - June 2015
Quarter 1 January - March 2015
Quarter 4 October - December 2014
Quarter 3 July - September 2014
Quarter 2 April - June 2014
Quarter 1 January - March 2014
Quarter 4 October - December 2013
Quarter 3 July - September 2013
Quarter 2 April - June 2013
Quarter 1 January - March 2013
Quarter 4 October - December 2012
Quarter 3 July - September 2012
Quarter 2 April - June 2012
Quarter 1 January - March 2012
Quarter 4 October - December 2011
Quarter 3 July - September 2011
Quarter 2 April - June 2011
Quarter 1 January - March 2011
Quarter 4 October - December 2010
Quarter 3 July - September 2010
Quarter 2 April - June 2010
Quarter 1 January - March 2010
Quarter 4 October - December 2009
Quarter 3 July - September 2009
Quarter 2 April - June 2009
Quarter 1 January - March 2009
Quarter 4 October - December 2008
Quarter 3 July - September 2008
Quarter 2 April - June 2008
Quarter 1 January - March 2008
Quarter 4 October - December 2007
Quarter 2 April - June 2007
Quarter 1 January - March 2007
Quarter 4 October - December 2006
Quarter 2 April - June 2006
Quarter 4 October - December 2005
Quarter 3 July - September 2005
Quarter 2 April - June 2005
Quarter 2 April - June 2004
Quarter 1 January - March 2004
Quarter 4 October - December 2003
Quarter 3 July - September 2003
Quarter 4 October - December 2001
Property deduction errors down to ‘lack of understanding’: ATO

A fundamental knowledge gap is continuing to trip property investors up, leading to simple mistakes and heaping pressure on tax agents, the ATO has revealed.



       


 


Last year, the ATO singled out rental property deductions as a “top priority” for the agency, with Commissioner of Taxation Chris Jordan claiming that errors were found in almost 90 per cent of returns.


For tax time 2019, the ATO doubled its number of in-depth audits for rental deductions to 4,500, with a specific focus on overclaimed interest, capital works claimed as repairs, incorrect apportionment of expenses for holiday homes let out to others, and omitted income from accommodation sharing.


Speaking on sister title Smart Property Investment’s podcast, ATO acting assistant commissioner of individuals and intermediaries, Adam O’Grady said a vast majority of these errors were down to “simple mistakes” from investors and failing to disclose information to their accountants at tax time.


“What we find when we do review returns and audit people is more often than not, it's a simple mistake or it's a lack of understanding of what they're allowed to do, what they're not allowed to do,” said Mr O’Grady.


“The vast majority of people don't deliberately go out to claim things they shouldn't or obtain refunds. Those that do, finish up in front of the courts and prison and those sorts of things.


“It's really that lack of education, that lack of understanding. So, what we hear stories of when we sort of audit, they walked up to their accountant and said, ‘Oh, here's my income from the real estate agent. Here are my line statements; I don't know about the rest of the expenses," and just sort of scribble it down on a notepad and paper and say, ‘Oh, look, that's about what I think it is.’”


Mr O’Grady acknowledged that accountants are often at the mercy of their investor clients, noting that they are only as good as the information provided to them by their clients.


“Accountants out there are highly skilled, they understand the tax law, they can really help you, make sure you're structured in the right way and help you set up the proper recording requirements and all those sorts of things. But, they can only do that if you're open and honest with them,” said Mr O’Grady.


“You need to talk to your accountant, explain what you've done, why you've done it, how you've set it up, and then they can give you that right advice. But [if] you don't tell the accountant, they're not giving you the advice you need.”


Sharing economy focus


Mr O’Grady said investors receiving income from short-term rentals through sharing economy platforms such as Airbnb should be aware of the ATO’s new data-matching program that will identify taxpayers who have left out rental income and over-claimed deductions.


“Last calendar year for the first time, we actually collected data off a lot of these platforms, so we can see who rented their property out, for how long, what sort of income they earned from it, and we're working through that data and comparing that to tax returns to understand people that haven't reported that income or haven't reported the full amount, all those sort of things,” said Mr O’Grady.


“What we've been doing with the data we've acquired recently, is actually writing to people and giving them really an opportunity to self-correct their own return.


“It's more in that trying to educate people, that we can see you've got this income, you need to go and fix up your own affairs, and from this point forward, make sure you're reporting correctly,” he added.


“On top of that, we will use the data to audit people. So those, we do have some examples where people are on these platforms renting out 10, 20, 30 properties or rooms across various properties and not reporting on their tax obligations. So for those people, again, we'll take a pretty firm stance.”


 


 


Jotham Lian
31 January 2020
smsfadviser.com


 




19th-February-2020
        
89 Boronia Road Boronia Vic 3155 Phone: (03) 9762 5400 Fax: (03) 9761 1327