People with rental properties will be a prime target for the ATO come tax time

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If you own a rental property or intend to claim work-related expenses such as travel, mobile phone, car or broadband usage, you’ll be in the ATO’s crosshairs come tax time.

The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) has declared that it will focus on rental-property owners at tax time this year. According to The Age, the ATO has contacted more than 100,000 rental property and holiday home-owners over the past year, to inform them about their entitlements and ask them to clarify any previously made claims.

Last financial year, the ATO reclaimed $950 million after auditing deductions and claims made by Aussie taxpayers, and it intends to do the same this year.

“We’re trying to help people get it right,” said the ATO’s Assistant Commissioner Graham Whyte. “We want people to claim what they are entitled to – no more no less.”

More than 2 million Australians own rental properties.

One of the biggest mistakes made by landlords is claiming rental property deductions on repairs and maintenance that they were not entitled to claim.

The ATO also has its eye on the 8.5 million Australians who claim around $19.7 billion in work-related expenses each year – around $8 billion of which is claimed as work-related car costs.

And if you’re one of the many Australians who drive for car-share organisations such as Uber, you’ll also be under scrutiny.

The ATO receives information from associations and organisations including banks, employers, health insurers, state and federal agencies and overseas treaty partners.

Taxpayers hoping to lodge returns online will be happy to hear that the ATO has invested in its online system to prevent it from collapsing this year.

Many of you may recall the many frustrated users unable to lodge their tax returns last year due to the system collapsing under the weight of traffic.

Do you own a rental property or claim work-related expenses? Would this influence the way you lodge your tax return? Do you agree with the ATO’s priorities? Or should they be chasing bigger fish?

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Written by Leon Della Bosca

Leon Della Bosca is a voracious reader who loves words. You'll often find him spending time in galleries, writing, designing, painting, drawing, or photographing and documenting street art. He has a publishing and graphic design background and loves movies and music, but then, who doesn’t?



Total Comments: 18
  1. 0

    Will they be as keen target all the politicians that have investment properties and claim spurious expenses? I doubt it very much.

  2. 0

    ATO will always chase the small fish, because they have less resources to protest. The big end of town just calls in their team of lawyers and accountants!

  3. 0

    Pity the poor fool who misinterprets a Bunnings receipt. Still I guess they can always go and hide in an Apple Store – the men in Black won’t think to look in there.

  4. 0

    Been tellin’ yez it’s coming…. soon there won’t be a cent you move that isn’t traced. Cash is King…

    Historical note:- Now you understand two things – why Bob Hawke was so determined on a ‘cashless economy’ with all transactions by barcode on your forehead I presume – and behind that – the true nature of government in your country, i.e. bent on as near total control as possible.

    On a politico-philosophical note:- Can anyone explain to me how that is different from the NAZIs or the rabid Communists? (now you understand my thesis on the Perpetual Civil War Between Government and People)…

    • 0

      George Orwell’s 1984 has come home to roost. Anyone who still believes that we live in a democracy is delusional. The final curtain on civil liberties is about to be brought down.

    • 0

      You will note that both ‘sides’ of government hold precisely the same attitudes – the only ones who will be getting a ‘little fat’ in their daily lives will be … THEM AND THEIR MATES (whoever they happen to be).

      Everyone else will be held to rigid standards and will be as controlled as possible, while the privileged, entitled to rule as they see fit and reap the benefits therefrom, will frolic in the sunshine of riches and luxury.

      Always nice to see someone on the same page.

    • 0

      Do we really live in a democracy? Voting is compulsory ! and if you don’t, you will be fined,– how democratic can you get !!!! And we’re supposed to have the Westminster system, that is Bull…t. Nothing like it. I lived under it for a number of years, and it is more fair than this stupid bloody Hare Clark “preferences” system we have to put up with.

    • 0

      FrankC, it is compulsory to have your name crossed off on voting day. It is not compulsory to vote.
      I agree we should stop with the preferential voting system and adopt a proportional voting system. I think if you don’t vote then you have no right to complain about the Government you wind up with.

  5. 0


  6. 0

    I did voluntary work for Tax Help assisting people to compete tax returns. I did it for 11 years, and it was very rewarding. Lovely, honest people who only wanted to claim their entitlements. However, now and then someone would come in insisting on claiming ridiculously high work related expenses they could not substantiate. Yes, crack down on these abuses. After all, they are stealing from all of us.

    • 0

      Sundays, I tend to agree that most people want to get it right. I have seen a few high earners that begrudge paying significant taxes, and thus get a bit creative.
      I have never had an issue with the ATO. I do my own, thus sometimes consult with the ATO to ensure I get it right, they are very helpful (though short staffed, the wait before the call is answered is usually a bit excessive). Last audit I had 2 errors, one + and one -. They ended up owing me, as I say, very helpful (if you are honest)

    • 0

      How times change. Back in the 80s, I could claim for repairs
      ( plumbing )on a rental property in my tax return. Now you can’t !!

  7. 0

    All quiet on the Comment Front…..



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