Australian Taxation Office (ATO) target areas for tax time 2023
The ATO has provided some insights to the areas it will be focusing on consisting of rental property deductions, work-related expenses, and capital gains tax.
Specifically, the ATO will be targeting loan interest expenses, working from home deductions, and possible capital gains tax where a main residence is also used for income producing purposes. Overall this tax time, the ATO expects fewer individuals to receive refunds or to receive smaller refunds, and more individuals perhaps with tax debts.
A recent ATO review indicated that nine out of 10 rental property owners are getting their returns wrong, so it is no surprise that this area remains as one of the main tax time targets. Common mistakes of taxpayers include rental income not being reported, overclaiming expenses, or claiming improvements to private properties. However, this tax time, the ATO is particularly focused on interest expenses.
Further, the ATO reminds taxpayers of the recent commencement of the residential investment property loan data matching program that spans the income years of 2021–2022 to 2025–2026. Data such as amounts of interest charged and loan repayments from various financial institutions will be used to identify discrepancies in returns lodged.
The other focus area the ATO will be enforcing is work-related expenses. There have been changes to the methods to work out working from home deductions from 1 July 2022. From that date, you can either choose the actual cost method or the fixed rate method, with the 80 cents per hour “shortcut” method no longer available. To use either of the available methods, you’ll need to keep appropriate records, including the total number of hours worked from home.
The ATO’s last area of focus for tax time 2023 is CGT. In addition to the usual disposal of assets such as shares, crypto-assets, managed investments and properties, the ATO will be looking at situations where a main residence or part of a main residence is used to produce income and is then subsequently sold. This applies where you have rented out all or part of your main residence through traditional means or through the sharing economy (using Airbnb, Stayz, etc), or where a business is run from home.