How is Uber income assessed?

Uber is becoming a popular way to top up income for those on the Age Pension. With some careful calculations, you can see a financial benefit, but how is this income assessed by Centrelink?

Q. Ron

How does driving for Uber work for pensioners? Uber drivers have to have an ABN, and would also have costs, such as insurance, petrol, tolls, commissions, etc. So, how would this be reported to Centrelink?

I’m looking at this right now and am keen to try it.

A. Uber is indeed a popular way to top up income for those on the Age Pension and, with some careful calculations, you can see a benefit to your bank account.

The good news is that your net income – i.e. profit earned as a sole trader – is the amount that is assessed by Centrelink. Therefore you should be able to deduct all your outgoings from your earnings before your Age Pension is affected.

In regards to reporting your income to Centrelink, you will need to contact it directly and ask how to do this, as it will assess your individual circumstances and advise the best way to do so.

The initial outgoings before becoming an Uber driver can quickly mount up: you need to register with Uber, make sure your car is fully roadworthy and, of course, ensure you have the correct insurance, which may mean you see a jump in your premium.

You will also have to declare your income to the ATO, although there are several deductions you can claim to offset this income. And you will need to register for GST and pay a proportion of your earning to the ATO to cover this. This is currently being challenged in the courts, but until such time as a resolution is found, you will need to make payments.

Lastly, income from Uber, or any sole trading business, is not eligible to have the Work Bonus applied. Therefore, you cannot claim the additional income exemption of $250 each fortnight.

You may wish to consult a tax accountant before making any decisions, and it would be prudent to confirm your individual circumstances with Centrelink.

Other articles:

Income and asset tests

Work Bonus

Written by Debbie McTaggart

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