ATO flags most common SMSF return mistakes

26 February 2020

Credit: Accountants Daily

The Australian Taxation Office has revealed the top five most frequent errors made in the submission of SMSF annual returns as well as how advisers can avoid them when lodging this year.

ATO tipped to adopt ‘benign approach’ to PAYG instalment variations

25 February 2020

Credit: Accountants Daily

The ATO is expected to adopt a “benign approach” to PAYG instalment variations in the wake of recent disasters, says one professional accounting body.

ATO to auto-describe new trustees to SMSF news service

24 February 2020

Credit: SMSF Adviser

The ATO has said it will begin auto-subscribing new trustees on to its SMSF news service after the regulator revealed it only had 35,000 subscribers against its 1.1 million trustee population.

SG amnesty bill passes Parliament

24 February 2020

Credit: Accountants Daily

The long-awaited superannuation guarantee amnesty bill has now passed both houses, with employers set to get six months to disclose historical non-compliance before tougher penalties apply.

Payment transparency laws set to hit big business

24 February 2020

Credit: Accountants Daily

Over 2,000 businesses could be made to report their payment times to small businesses under new laws proposed by the government.

No more free passes from SMSF breaches: ATO

20 February 2020

Credit: Professional Planner

The tax regulator’s SMSF lead said it will play hard ball with non-compliant SMSF trustees in the future after a three-year review found that three quarters of its breaches went unpunished, and the trustees that were punished failed to learn their lesson.

‘Many hundreds’ of Australians feared to be caught in tax evasion arrangements: ATO

20 February 2020

Credit: Accountants Daily

The ATO fears “many hundreds of Australians” are caught up in international tax evasion activities as it commences action with 14 Australians it believes are embroiled in an international tax evasion arrangement.

‘Significant increase’: TPB floats drastic CPE changes

20 February 2020

Credit: Accountants Daily

Practitioners could face up to an eight-fold jump in minimum continuing professional education hours under a new proposal floated by the Tax Practitioners Board.

ATO eyes foreign tax credits in compliance crackdown

17 February 2020

Credit: Accountants Daily

The ATO has put taxpayers with foreign capital gains on notice in the wake of the High Court’s special leave decision.

Court confirms ATO position on foreign income tax offsets

14 February 2020

Credit: Mirage News

The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) welcomes the decision of the High Court to not grant an application for special leave to appeal a decision of the Full Federal Court.

ATO investigating errors in SMSF alert service

14 February 2020

Credit: Accountants Daily

The ATO is investigating system errors in its newly launched text message alert service for SMSF trustees which were mistakenly triggering alerts for trustees upon lodgement of their 2019 annual return.

ATO has a new weapon to counter unauthorised tax debts, SME funder warns business owners

12 February 2020

Credit: PR Wire

Using the ATO ‘as a bank’ by not paying tax commitments on time comes with new risks for SMEs, national business funder Scottish Pacific has warned.

SME insolvencies tipped to rise in 2020

10 February 2020

Credit: Accountants Daily

SME insolvencies are forecast to increase in 2020, reversing a positive trend witnessed over the last couple of years, new research has shown.

Don’t be too clever: Clients warned on CGT MRE changes

10 February 2020

Credit: Accountants Daily

Clients affected by changes to the main residence exemption have been urged to be “very careful” when attempting to navigate the transitional provisions, with anti-avoidance rules potentially applying.

Too good to be true: ATO warns on parking perks

6 February 2020

Credit: Financial Review

The ATO revealed planned changes to fringe benefit tax rules for car parks provided for workers in November, issuing a new ruling for suburban employers who provide facilities for their staff.

Small Business Tax Concessions: Tips & Traps on Sale of Business Entities

4 February 2020

Credit: Accountants Daily

There are significant tax savings to be made when selling a business, or selling your ownership interest in an entity carrying on a business, where the small business capital gains tax (CGT) concessions in Division 152 of the tax legislation can be applied.

ATO to commence ‘field visits’ to assist with myGovID transition

4 February 2020

Credit: My Business

The Tax Office is commencing field visits to tax professionals needing assistance to transition from AUSkey to myGovID on 10 February, particularly focusing on medium-sized businesses, it told My Business on Tuesday.

ATO urges businesses to consider tax implications of crowdfunding

3 February 2020

Credit: My Business

The ATO has warned businesses using internet platforms, mail-order subscriptions, benefit events and other methods to raise funds for a project or venture, to beware of tax consequences.

Property deduction errors down to ‘lack of understanding’: ATO

31 January 2020

Credit: Accountants Daily

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.

14k employers, $230m in super: Financial Services Minister defends proposed SG amnesty

30 January 2020

Credit: Accountants Daily

Over 14,000 employers are set to come forward under the proposed SG amnesty, paying out a total of $230 million in unpaid superannuation to employees, according to the Financial Services Minister.

ATO issues call-out tax dobbers

29 January 2020

Credit: Accountants Daily

The ATO is calling on practitioners and their clients to continue dobbing in businesses suspected of taking part in phoenix, tax evasion or black economy activities as its tip-off hotline continues to ring hot.

These are the top 10 global business risks for 2020

28 January 2020

Credit: Insurance Business

Cyber incidents have been ranked as the top business risk in the Allianz Global Risk Barometer 2020, knocking business interruption from a top spot it had held for seven consecutive years.

ATO investigates hundreds of Australians after global money laundering raids

24 January 2020

Credit: ABC News

Hundreds of Australian tax avoiders using a dodgy bank in Central America could face civil or criminal charges after a global investigation into money laundering and tax evasion.

ATO warns councils over property reporting

22 January 2020

Credit: Government News

The ATO says under GST at Settlement requirements introduced in 2018 big and small government bodies are required by law to report GST in their business activity statements when they supply new residential property or potential residential land.

ATO sounds warning on FBT calculation method

22 January 2020

Credit: Accountants Daily

The ATO has announced that from February, the agency may contact clients who have engaged an arm’s-length valuer as required under the market value method.

SG loophole measure now in force

20 January 2020

Credit: Accountants Daily

Employers have been reminded that a new law that ensures an individual’s salary sacrifice contributions cannot be used to reduce an employer’s minimum SG contributions is now in force.

Division 7A advice for clients ‘currently next to impossible’

17 January 2020

Credit: Accountants Daily

The Australian government has been called to clarify its position on the proposed changes to Division 7A ahead of the looming 1 July 2020 start date.

1 in 3 Victorian workers affected by unpaid super

13 January 2020

Credit: Accountants Daily

New analysis of ATO data by Industry Super Australia (ISA) has unveiled the scope of unpaid super in Victoria, calling it a “scandal”.

On average, it said the state’s workers are ripped off about $1,750 per year.

“This money, which workers are legally entitled to, can be the difference between a dignified retirement and one just scraping by,” ISA outlined.

Dodgy tax claims ‘cost nation billions’

12 January 2020

Credit: The Australian

Dodgy tax deductions for workplace-related expenses and claims for investment properties cost national tax coffers $5.5bn per year.

Government releases draft legislation on APRA-ASIC cooperation

9 January 2020

Credit: Accountants Daily

The draft legislation obliges the two financial regulators to share information to the maximum extent practicable and notify the other whenever it forms the belief that a breach of the law for which the other regulator has enforcement responsibility has occurred.

“These new provisions will enable the regulators to support each other in discharging their regulatory functions effectively, and ensure that there are no unnecessary barriers to their sharing information,” Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said.

Incoming tax changes for SMEs in 2020

8 January 2020

Credit: My Business

According to Susan Franks (pictured), senior tax advocate at Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand (CA ANZ), some of the core changes taking effect this year could be lost on busy business owners.

The first of these changes, Ms Franks said, is the expansion of the taxable payment reporting systems (TPRS).

“Small businesses in certain industries are required to report information to the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) about payments they make to contractors,” she said.

Accountants cautioned on advisory jump

6 January 2020

Credit: Accountants Daily

Mark Holton, the director of Smithink, explained that while a number of accounting firms have already made the natural transition to base-level advisory, many have overly optimistic expectations.

“I think one of the mistakes they’re making with advisory is trying to get existing accountants who are comfortable doing compliance-based activity to be something different overnight. It does take time,” Mr Holton explained.

Strategically, he said, accountants have to be very sensible with how they package and sell their services going forward.

High-wealth clients targeted in ATO insurance data grab

18 December 2019

Credit: Accountants Daily

The ATO has today revealed its request to receive a further five years’ worth of policy information from over 30 insurance companies about taxpayers who own marine vessels, thoroughbred horses, fine art, high-value motor vehicles and aircraft.

The request will see the Tax Office’s lifestyle assets data-matching program extended up to 2019–20, with the agency already holding insurance policy information for the 2013–14 and 2014–15 financial years.

ATO issue SMSF scam warning

10 December 2019

Credit: Financial Standard

The Australian Tax Office has issued a warning against promoters of illegal self-managed superannuation schemes.

The ATO is reminding consumers that SMSF schemes promising to allow you to withdraw super early can be illegal.

“You can only access your super early under circumstances that mainly relate to specific medical conditions or severe financial hardship,” the ATO said.

‘Game over for expats’: CGT main residence exemption bill passes both houses

5 December 2019

Credit: Accountants Daily

Treasury Laws Amendment (Reducing Pressure on Housing Affordability Measures) Bill 2019 has been passed by the Senate today and now awaits royal assent.

First announced in the 2017–18 budget, the bill will now deny non-residents the CGT main residence exemption for CGT events that happen on or after 9 May 2017, subject to an extended 30 June 2020 transitional date.

ATO to roll out myGovID to SMSF auditors

2 December 2019

Credit: Accountants Daily

In a recent interview with SMSF Adviser, ATO assistant commissioner Dana Fleming said SMSF auditors would be included in the myGovID system as part of the proposed rollout of online services to businesses (OSB) in 2020.

“I’m advocating for SMSF auditors to be brought in as early as possible because they currently have a really old legacy system to lodge their audit contravention reports which is not integrated into other ATO systems,” Ms Fleming said.

A third of high-balance SMSFs in ATO’s sights

27 November 2019

Credit: SMSF Adviser

Addressing SMSF Adviser’s SMSF Summit 2019 in Perth last week, ATO assistant commissioner Dana Fleming said the top 100 SMSFs in the sector had over $8.3 billion in assets between them and had seen $500 million worth of growth in the 2019 financial year.

“In our stats, we have provided more granular information around our larger funds and the numbers and ranges within, so there are 22 funds with greater than $100 million in our population,” Ms Fleming said.

ATO delivers warning against 8 types of super scheme

22 November 2019

Credit: Nestegg

The Tax Office has earmarked a number of superannuation and SMSF schemes it says are under additional scrutiny for their ability to enable taxpayers to evade laws around superannuation and tax rules.

As nestegg has previously reported, there are a number of warning signs associated with illegal super schemes that Australians interested in SMSFs must be aware of.

What is the ATO’s stance on discounts for cash?

18 November 2019

Credit: Accountants Daily

The question was put to ATO assistant commissioner Peter Holt during a recent episode of the My Business Podcast, hosted by Accountants Daily’s sister brand, My Business.

In short, Mr Holt replied: “We don’t have a stance.”

But the longer answer to this often-asked question is that there is nothing wrong with using cash, or offering discounts for payments in cash, provided that such transactions are properly declared and recorded.

Victoria building developer in hot water over ‘calculated’ GST fraud

18 November 2019

Credit: Accountants Daily

Appearing in the County Court of Victoria last week, Simon Petzierides was sentenced to three years in jail for tax fraud.

The matter comes as a result of an ATO investigation that found since 2012, the 48-year-old building developer has been involved in claiming more than half a million dollars in fraudulent goods and services tax (GST) refund claims he made in business activity statements (BAS) lodged for two separate companies.

Holiday season contractor spike triggers TPAR concern

13 November 2019

Credit: Accountants Daily

The ATO has warned that in the lead-up to the holiday season, it often sees businesses that provide mixed services making increased contractor payments to cleaning and courier services.

This increase might result in businesses needing to lodge a taxable payments annual report (TPAR) in August 2020.

Risks abound in small business CGT exemption

11 November 2019

Credit: Accountants Daily

In a recent email to clients, the SMSF administrator’s principal, David Busoli, said the rules were extremely strict and in some cases difficult to prove for businesses looking to use the 15-year CGT exemption to make an additional lump sum contribution to super over and above their total super balance.

“Apart from the obvious qualification requirements — over 55 and either small business and relevant assets of less than $6 million or turnover of less than $2 million — there is also the need to prove that ownership requirements have been satisfied for at least the last 15 years,” Mr Busoli said.

Frankston, Croydon businesses set for ATO black economy strike force visists

7 November 2019

Credit: Accountants Daily

Over the next few weeks, the ATO will visit small businesses in and around Frankston — the gateway to the Mornington Peninsula — targeting food businesses like cafés, takeaway establishments and restaurants in addition to professional services businesses like real estate firms, management consultants and accountants.

In Croydon and nearby eastern suburbs, ATO officers will be more likely to visit hairdressers and beauty services, cleaning businesses, management consultants and financial advisers, and takeaway food businesses.

Short-term rentals exposed as driver of $9b tax shortfall

4 November 2019

Credit: Financial Review

Rorts and errors by short-term rental property owners are a “key driver” of a $9 billion income tax shortfall under investigation by the Australian Taxation Office.

Some landlords are failing to disclose annual income of more than $70,000 from rental platforms used by an estimated 190,000 individuals renting out homes or apartments, according to ATO analysis.

ATO eyes 300 businesses on NSW South Coast

4 November 2019

Credit: Accountants Daily

The Tax Office will begin visiting around 300 businesses in Bega, Bemboka, Bermagui, Brogo, Candelo, Cobargo, Eden, Merimbula, Pambula, and Tura Beach in November.

The black economy visits come as the ATO’s intelligence shows some concerning figures with businesses on the South Coast.

ATO issues warning over text message scam

1 November 2019


The ATO is warning people to watch out for another scam.

Scammers are sending text messages to people asking them to click on a link to update their details in myGov.

If people click on the link in this scam, it will take them to a fake myGov impersonation website.

‘No benefit’: Calls for micros to be excluded from STP continue

29 October 2019

Credit: Accountants Daily

Tax & Super Australia (TSA) believes the ATO should strongly consider exempting micro employers from the STP regime, citing research that showed that such entities were struggling to implement the new system.

The survey of 275 TSA members found that close to two-thirds believed STP would not improve the way employers report tax and super information to the ATO or were undecided on it, while 92 per cent of them indicated that their clients needed help implementing STP.

Australian Tax Office to send warning letters to Airbnb users over unreported income

25 October 2019


If you’re one of the hundreds of thousands of Aussies who rent out a property on Airbnb or other platforms, watch out.

Because the Australian Taxation Office might have you in its sights.

In the coming months, the ATO will carefully double check the details of Australians who earn an income from short-term rental platforms against the income declared on their tax returns.

ATO knuckles down on cash-only businesses

22 October 2019

Credit: Accountants Daily

ATO assistant commissioner Peter Holt reiterated previous commentary from the ATO that cash is increasingly giving way to digital payment methods due to their convenience, and as such, businesses that operate solely in cash can actually be limiting their sales capacity.

ATO targets ‘unfair advantage’ in Tasmanian businesses

14 October 2019

Credit: Accountants Daily

As part of its ongoing efforts to tackle the black economy, the ATO will visit around 300 small businesses on the eastern shores of Hobart during October and November.

Earlier this year, 500 businesses in and around Launceston and Smithton were subjected to ATO visits, with the agency hailing the visits as “highly successful”.

ATO to stamp out ‘black economy’ in Bathurst

9 October 2019

Credit: Accountants Daily

In a statement to the media, the ATO confirmed it will visit approximately 300 SMEs in Bathurst over the next two months. The move comes after the ATO received a number of tip-offs from residents in relation to black economy activities, such as paying employees “cash in hand” or not reporting all of their sales.

“Our intelligence also suggests that some businesses are not declaring all of their income to the ATO, and avoiding their employer obligations by not paying staff entitlements like super and tax contribution,” assistant commissioner Peter Holt said.

Tax experts warn ATO’s ‘nice guy’ approach to payroll won’t last forever

1 October 2019

Credit: SMH

Only half of Australian small businesses have started using digital payroll systems despite it now being a legal requirement, with tax experts warning it’s only a matter of time before stronger action is taken against those not on board.

The Australian Taxation Office said while it will not be issuing penalties for incorrect use of single-touch payroll processes during the first year of the program, it does know exactly which employers are engaging with the system and is now starting to make direct contact.

Audit warning sounded as ATO clamps down on dodgy claims

27 September 2019

Credit: Accountants Daily

ATO assistant commissioner Karen Foat said the Tax Office contacts around 2 million taxpayers each year to clarify information on their tax return, but said there was nothing to fear if they had claimed what they were entitled to.

“If we do decide to look a little closer through an audit, you can expect that we will contact you or your tax agent to make further inquiries,” Ms Foat said.

ATO black economy strike force heads to Brisbane

26 September 2019

Credit: Accountants Daily

The ATO’s own data and intelligence has suggested that Teneriffe, New Farm, Newstead and Fortitude Valley are “at-risk” suburbs for suspected black economy behaviour.

According to ATO assistant commissioner Peter Holt, businesses who are not declaring income, not complying with their tax and super obligations or underpaying workers are contributing to the black economy.

ATO confirms lodgement rules won’t apply to deferred returns

25 September 2019

Credit: SMSF Adviser

In an update posted to its website on Wednesday, the ATO said SMSF trustees would not have their fund details removed from the Super Fund Look Up (SFLU) system if their annual return was late and their accountant or administrator had applied for a deferral to lodge the return ahead of time.

“Your clients can avoid their SMSF status changing to ‘regulation details removed’”, the ATO said.

Late lodging SMSFs to have contributions suspended

18 September 2019

Credit: SMSF Adviser

An update posted to the ATO website on Wednesday stated that from 1 October, funds whose annual returns were overdue by over two weeks would have their status on the Super Fund Look Up (SFLU) system changed to ‘regulation details removed’.

“Lodging your SMSF annual return on time is a fundamental part of your obligations as an SMSF trustee,” the ATO said.

2 weeks to go: ATO sounds warning on STP deadline

17 September 2019

Credit: Accountants Daily

The 30 September deadline for small businesses with 19 or fewer employees to become Single Touch Payroll compliant is now just two weeks away.

According to the ATO, there are 350,000 small businesses now reporting under STP, or just under 50 per cent of the estimated 750,000 small business population.

Could your Instagram profile get you audited by the ATO?

16 September 2019

Credit: My GC

It might sound far-fetched, but your social media accounts could just land you in trouble with the Australian Tax Office.

The ATO are always sharpening their data-gathering tools, and now they’re adding social media to the rich tapestry of information at their fingertips.

Translation: taxpayers could have their social media accounts monitored to see if claims are legitimate.

ATO diversification letters a ‘wake-up call’

13 September 2019

Credit: Accountants Daily

Close to 18,000 funds have now received letters from the Tax Office because records show these SMSFs hold 90 per cent or more of funds in a single asset class.

The Tax Institute’s senior tax counsel, Professor Robert Deutsch, believes the ATO is not trying to dictate the type of investments made, but is instead concerned over funds that have used limited recourse borrowing arrangements (LRBAs) to make a leveraged 90 to 100 per cent investment in one property.

Over 10% rise in dodgy tax agent tip-offs

12 September 2019

Credit: Accountants Daily

Last Friday, the Tax Office revealed that a one-year prison sentence had been given to a tax agent found to have deliberately underreported the earnings of eight clients in order to deliver higher tax refunds, pocketing the difference, in a scheme worth more than $90,000.

Asked to comment on the prevalence of community tip-offs about suspect behaviour on the part of tax agents, a spokesperson for the ATO told sister title My Business that it received 209 “dob-ins” in the 2018–19 financial year.

‘We don’t want businesses to fail’: ATO looks to equip practitioners with more advisory tools

10 September 2019

Credit: Accountants Daily

Speaking at Xerocon 2019, ATO second commissioner Jeremy Hirschhorn said the agency’s greater access to data has given it the opportunity to help practitioners deliver better insights to its business clients.

“If we can get you information into your systems, where you can see that your hairdressing client in this suburb is doing poorly compared to other hairdressing clients — well, that’s very useful information for…

“Nearly impossible”: As nations wade into cyber crime, how can businesses keep up?

6 September 2019

Credit: Smart Company

Entrepreneurs need to be sceptical about their interactions with other companies in a cyber security landscape that’s failed to protect small businesses and consumers.

That’s the view of information security expert Jaya Baloo, who yesterday delivered a stinging rebuke of lawmaker efforts to deal with a surge of cyber crime internationally in recent years.

Accounting network spots shifting behaviour towards work related expenses claims

4 September 2019

Credit: Accountants Daily

Over one out of two taxpayers said they have left out a claim in their tax return because of uncertainty and fears of being audited by the Tax Office, new research by H&R Block has shown.

The study comes after ATO data showed that close to $70 million in revenue was retained in 2017–18 thanks to risk messaging in tax agent pre-fill reports and “nudges” in myTax, warning agents and self-preparers that their work-related expense claims were higher than expected.

“We have to be better”: ATO overhauls culture to bolster business empathy

2 September 2019

Credit: Smart Company

The tax office has formed a dedicated team to oversee complex cases where businesses are intentionally shirking their obligations, a bid to better distinguish between black economy bandits and well-intentioned companies.

Australian Taxation Office (ATO) commissioner Chris Jordan says the tax office needs to be more empathetic to small businesses and will exercise more discretion in cases where firms have made mistakes or fallen behind, versus intentional lawbreaking.

Audit activity set to intensify in the wake of small biz tax gap revelation

28 August 2019

Credit: Accountants Daily

The small business tax gap is 12.5 per cent, or $11.1 billion, making it significantly larger than the corporate tax gap at $1.8 billion, or 4.4 per cent, and the individuals not in business tax gap at $8.7 billion, or 6.4 per cent.

However, of the $11.1 billion tax gap, 64 per cent, or $7.7 billion, is estimated to be due to the black economy, where businesses deliberately hide or under-report their income, and deliberately overclaim business expenses.

What to do if you get this letter from the ATO

14 August 2019


Australian taxpayers unlucky enough to receive one of the ATO’s ominous “data matching” letters this year are being urged to act quickly or face being thousands of dollars worse off.

The tax man uses sophisticated technology to sift through mountains of data from third-party institutions such as banks to sniff out whether any information, such as sales of shares or property, has been left off a tax return — and the number of Aussies receiving these “please explain” letters is growing every year.

ATO flashes reminder ahead of TPAR deadline

13 August 2019

Credit: Accountants Daily

Taxable payments annual reports (TPAR) are due by 28 August this year, with businesses that provide cleaning or courier services set to lodge for the first time, joining businesses in the building and construction industry that have been doing so since 2012.

As of early August, over 30,000 businesses have already lodged a TPAR for 2018–19 or told the ATO that they are not required to lodge.

myGov tax-time scams set to surge amid STP changes

8 August 2019

Credit: Accountants Daily

With tax time now in full swing, the Australian Cyber Security Centre is warning tax practitioners and their clients to expect a surge in scammers impersonating trusted brands like myGov or the ATO.

According to the ACSC, the ATO received 6,444 reports of tax-time scams that impersonated the ATO in June 2019, with emails with links to fake myGov login pages being the biggest email scam in that month.

STP regime sees increase in ATO ‘please explain’ letters

5 August 2019

Credit: Accountants Daily

Speaking with Accountants Daily, Carbon Group partner Michelle Maynard said the firm has seen a rise in clients receiving letters from the ATO asking if they have met all their superannuation guarantee obligations.

“I’ve had three or four letters in the past two weeks saying, ‘We don’t think you’ve met your super obligations for a certain period…

‘No industry is immune’: What accountants should know about the underpayments saga

1 August 2019

Credit: Accountants Daily

As the government moves to criminalise wage theft in the wake of a number of high-profile wage underpayment cases, including the latest example of celebrity chef George Calombaris’ MAdE Establishment group of companies backpaying $7.8 million, BDO partner Ben Renshaw believes more cases are set to get featured as Fair Work continues its crackdown and employees become more self-aware.

Australian business ‘completely unprepared’ for cyber hacks, up 700%

1 August 2019

Credit: The Sydney Morning Herald

Australian businesses are “completely unprepared” for cyber attacks or data breaches, with reported incidents increasing by more than 700 per cent since February last year, costing the nation $7.8 billion, a report has revealed.

Solitary hackers, organised crime groups and “bad actors” working on behalf of foreign governments, such as China…

Up to 9 in 10 ‘other’ expenses adjusted as ATO reveals dodgy claims

31 July 2019

Credit: Accountants Daily

ATO assistant commissioner Karen Foat has revealed that nearly 700,000 taxpayers claimed almost $2 billion of ‘other’ expenses last year.

Accountants Daily understands that a random sample of 400 of those ‘other’ expenses claims saw adjustments made to 88 per cent of them.

Are you claiming all you are entitled to this tax time?

30 July 2019

Credit: Nestegg

“Good things come to those who wait” is the catchcry of the Australian Taxation Office this tax time, so ASIC’s MoneySmart has provided an updated guide for what can and can’t be claimed in 2019 for those yet to prepare their return.

When completing your tax return, you’re entitled to claim deductions for some expenses, most of which are directly related to earning your income, the guide stated.

Business tax debts set to be disclosed under new law

26 July 2019

Credit: Accountants Daily

With the introduction of Treasury Laws Amendment (2019 Tax Integrity and Other Measures No. 1) Bill 2019, a measure seeking to allow the ATO to disclose business tax debts to credit reporting bureaus has been revived.

The measure, which lapsed with the calling of the election earlier this year, has been slightly tweaked from its original proposal.

ATO set to visit almost 500 businesses in cash crackdown

24 July 2019

Credit: Accountants Daily

In a public update, the ATO said it is planning to visit close to 500 businesses in or around Port Macquarie and Wauchope in late July and early August as part of ongoing efforts to combat the black economy.

ATO assistant commissioner Peter Holt said there are a number of businesses in this region who are not registered for GST or pay as you go withholding which can be a sign of the black economy.

Early lodgement spike sparks tax assessment fears

19 July 2019

Credit: Accountants Daily

Accountants Daily understands the ATO has now received 2.4 million lodgements this tax time, around 24 per cent up over last year’s figures at the same time.

To date, over 935,000 individual tax refunds have been processed, with a total value of over $2.2 billion. The average refund amount is $2,360.

ATO releases new toolkit amid rental property scrutiny

18 July 2019

Credit: Accountants Daily

Earlier this year, commissioner of taxation Chris Jordan singled out rental deduction claims as a priority for his agency this tax time, after a random audit sample of returns with rental deductions found that nine out of 10 contained an error.

Over 50,000 SMSFs contacted in late-lodgement crackdown

17 July 2019

Credit: Accountants Daily

As part of its compliance action on overdue SMSF annual returns over the past year, the ATO has written to 50,000 SMSF trustees, advising them that their lodgement is overdue and that the fund’s details have been removed from Super Fund Lookup (SFLU).

The ATO said super funds and employers should not roll over benefits or pay super guarantee payments to funds that aren’t on SFLU.

Seven easy cyber security checks all business owners should do

15 July 2019

Credit: Smart Company

Running virtually any business these days leads to cyber exposure. From how you take payments and storing customer data to managing files in the cloud, businesses have new and evolving cyber exposures they need to be aware of and manage.

Keeping across all of this can be daunting, but alongside ensuring you have good cyber insurance protection, below are a few key points to consider.

Risky behaviours with cryptocurrency and SMSFs on ATO’s radar

9 July 2019

Credit: SMSF Adviser

With the ATO requiring SMSFs to fill out additional data about their cryptocurrency investments in their tax return, this could be a sign that the regulator will be checking to see that trustees are undertaking proper record keeping and that there is clear separation of ownership, warns an auditor.

Speaking to SMSF Adviser, Hayes Knight director of SMSF services Ray Itaoui said that, as part of the 2019 tax return, SMSFs are required to record if they have any cyrptocurrency investments in their fund.

Reserve Bank resilient and ASC sails through, but Australia Post has work to do

5 July 2019

Credit: The Mandarin

The Reserve Bank and naval vessel manufacturer ASC have “effectively managed cyber security risks” but Australia Post has not, according to the latest report on public sector cyber resilience from federal auditor-general Grant Hehir.

“Australia Post has not effectively managed cyber security risks, and should continue to implement its cyber security improvement program and key controls across all its critical assets to enable cyber risks to be within its tolerance level,” says this week’s installment in the series, which is all about corporate entities.

Expert reveals pros and cons of paper versus online tax lodgement

25 June 2019


Many Aussies consider tax time to be a bit of a chore at best – but it doesn’t have to be so stressful.

According to Ben Johnston from leading Sydney accounting firm Willett Johnston Partners, taxpayers need to arm themselves with as much information as possible to avoid being stung by the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) and to increase their chances of scoring a tax refund.

ATO to use new tax return label for SMSF risk profiling

19 June 2019

Credit: SMSF Adviser

As previously reported by SMSF Adviser, the 2019 SMSF annual return contains a new label requiring tax agents or trustees to indicate whether Part A of the fund’s audit report was qualified.

While SMSFs were asked in previous years whether Part B of the audit report had been qualified, which is the section relating to the fund’s compliance, this is the first year funds will also need to answer if Part A was qualified.

Unreported ‘cash in hand’ payments to workers no longer tax deductible

18 June 2019

Credit: ATO

The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) today reminded employers that any unreported ‘cash in hand’ payments made to workers from 1 July 2019 will not be tax deductible.

‘Cash in hand’ refers to cash payments to employees that do not comply with pay as you go (PAYG) withholding obligations. Payments made to contractors where the contractor does not provide an ABN and the business does not withhold any tax will also not be tax deductible from 1 July.

ATO movement sparks audit, reviews concern

17 June 2019

Credit: My Business

RMS senior manager Tracey Dunn (pictured) told My Business’s sister publication Accountants Daily that recent Tax Office activity and the introduction of new regulatory measures point towards a spike in enforcement activity over the next few months.

Earlier this year, the government announced a fresh $1 billion funding boost to the ATO to extend the operation of the Tax Avoidance Taskforce and to expand the Taskforce’s programs and market coverage.

ATO sounds deductions warning ahead of tax time

17 June 2019

Credit: Accountants Daily

Last year, the ATO released its first ever Individuals not in the business gap tax report, revealing an $8.7 billion gap caused primarily by incorrect claims for deductions for work-related expenses and omitted income.

With that in mind, the Tax Office has sounded a warning that it will be taking a closer focus on such deductions this year, particularly clothing and motor vehicle expenses.

Don’t risk your integrity at the expense of client relationships

11 June 2019

Credit: Accountants Daily

Responding to an official enquiry instigated by the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) on behalf of your client can be time consuming. It is a frustrating time for your client and as their accountant, they look to you to help them respond to their situation. Having a proven tax audit insurance offering in place not only ensures that you are compensated for your time, it ensures that you will not need to pass on additional fees to your client – so you can put the needs of your client at first and foremost. 

Global collaboration needed to mitigate cyber threats

17 May 2019

Credit: Mortgage Business

The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) is ramping up its enforcement activities and will undertake 4,500 audits of taxpayers it considers are “high risk” because they overclaim or don’t declare income relating to rental properties.

ATO assistant commissioner Adam Kendrick said it would audit 2017-2018 financial year tax returns relating to rental investments that its data analytics systems had flagged as potentially problematic.

Employers hit with rolling SG audits as ATO toughens stance

28 March 2019

Credit: Accountants Daily

Employers are increasingly being subjected to a rolling series of audits by the ATO where they slip behind on their SG obligations as the Tax Office now taking a harder line on non-compliance, warns a technical expert.

Insyt chief executive Darren Wynen said the focus by the federal government on SG non-compliance has seen the ATO taking a much tougher approach towards non-compliant employers.

ATO ramps up its focus on rental properties and hosts on platforms such as Airbnb

21 March 2019

Credit: ABC News Australia

The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) is ramping up its enforcement activities and will undertake 4,500 audits of taxpayers it considers are “high risk” because they overclaim or don’t declare income relating to rental properties.

ATO assistant commissioner Adam Kendrick said it would audit 2017-2018 financial year tax returns relating to rental investments that its data analytics systems had flagged as potentially problematic.

Errors in 9 our of 10 rental claims prompt new compliance blitz

14 March 2019

Credit: Accountants Daily

ATO Commissioner Chris Jordan has signalled his agency’s intent to crackdown on rental property deductions after seeing dividends in their enforcement of work-related expenses.

Speaking at the Tax Institute’s National Convention in Hobart, ATO Commissioner Chris Jordan said the Tax Office’s audits of over 300 rental property claims found errors in almost nine out of 10 returns reviewed. According to Mr Jordan, 85 per cent of taxpayers with rental properties are represented by a tax agent.

ATO to knock on small business doors as benchmarks updated

5 March 2019

Credit: Sydney Morning Herald

The tax office has urged small businesses to use new small business benchmarks to track their performance against competitors, warning it will be knocking on the doors of 4000 companies between now and July to chase black economy activities.

The Australian Taxation Office’s updated benchmarks published on Tuesday draw information from 1.5 million small business tax returns to paint a picture of the typical margins and costs of sale for smaller operators.

An insurance solution that isn’t a gamble

27 September 2018

Credit: Accountants Daily

As the impact of government agency initiated action increases, the right insurance solution can safeguard accounting professionals against the increased risk of audits and stronger government scrutiny of their clients.

Government data matching across Australia has become very sophisticated. The amount of data readily accessible to the government is not only more than ever before, it is also more current and updated. With the introduction of One Touch Payroll and Super Stream, it would be fair to predict an explosion of government reviews of the Superannuation Guarantee Charge and compliance required with other accounting obligations for companies in the future.