ATO to police travel, tech expenses

Be careful what you claim for – the ATO is on the hunt for dodgy work-related expenses on tax returns.
 
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01.Write-offs to be scrutinised

Ledger book with sum circled in red

The ATO is shaking up its tax-return monitoring this year. Instead of focusing on certain professions in their audits of people’s tax affairs, tax officials will be zeroing-in on particular claim types, with tech expenses for computers, phones and other devices, as well as travel expenses under the microscope.

In an announcement made today, the ATO says it will be keeping a close eye on the $19.5 billion in work-related expenses claimed each year as tax deductions. In a somewhat ominous warning to those who might be thinking about doing the dodgy on their taxes, the ATO says it is easier than ever for them to detect incorrect claims.

The ATO’s priorities in checking up on tax returns this year are:

  • overnight travel,
  • transporting bulky tools and equipment,
  • the work-related proportion of use for computers, phones or other electronic devices.

The tax department has said that some of the common mistakes people make on their tax returns relate to making claims for home office, mobile phone and computer expenses without evidence supporting how the claims were apportioned between private expenses and work-related expenses, incorrectly claiming travel between home and work as a work-related expense, and receiving a travel allowance and claiming the full amount without actually having spent that much.

“If taxpayers are claiming work-related expense deductions, they must have spent the money, they must be related to their job and they must have a record to prove it,” says the ATO. 

If you’re unsure about what you can claim, the ATO has several tax calculators for work-related expenses.

 
 

 

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