Tax Office targeting work expenses
The ATO will be looking hard at work expense claims this year. Personal finance editor John Collett and ATO assistant commissioner Karen Anstis explain.PT5M18S http://www.canberratimes.com.au/action/externalEmbeddedPlayer?id=d-3a7we 620 349 June 16, 2014
The Australian Taxation Office will crack down this financial year on work-related deductions, particularly those such as computer, phone and other electronic devices.
Electronic devices are a growing share of total work-related expenses.
Tax office assistant commissioner Karen Anstis said the tax office is well aware that people are using electronic devices for work purposes more often.
The ATO says it will be carefully watching claims for deductions made in relation to electronic devices. Photo: Reuters
However, she said a common mistake was to claim home office, mobile phone and computer expenses without showing how the claims are divided between work and private use.
As with previous year, Ms Anstis said the tax office "continued to be concerned about rental property expenses".
It is often first-time landlords who get claims for rental property deductions wrong, she said.
Ms Anstis said common mistakes include claiming rental deductions for properties that are not genuinely available for rent. Another mistake is overstating the deductions, such as the interest on the mortgage.
She said the tax office had increasingly sophisticated technology and processes for checking deductions and identifying excessive claims.
This year, there is a new, short-form online tax return for taxpayers who prepare their own returns and have simple tax affairs.
Called MyTax, it is no longer than about 10 screens compared to e-tax, which is up to 200 screens and has to be downloaded.
MyTax is also available on tablets and smartphones.
Both e-tax and MyTax have to be accessed this year through www.my.gov.au, the government portal for services such as the tax office and Centrelink.
Taxpayers must first register at My Gov and link to the tax office. By filing online, the tax return can be filled with your previous tax return and with information provided by your bank, employer, government agencies and others. It takes until early August for the tax office to gather the information.
Ms Anstis said self preparers are best off waiting until then before completing their returns. The lodgement deadline for tax returns is October 31 this year for those filing their returns themselves. Those who use a registered tax agent are usually eligible for a later deadline of up to May, 2015. The tax office can apply penalties of up to $170 a month for late lodgement.