ATO hit list: rental property income and capital gains

By: Bishnu Aryal

Property investors beware: the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) has revealed the four key areas it will be targeting this tax year, and rental property income/deductions and capital gains are high on the hit list.

Tax office Assistant Commissioner Tim Loh says this tax season the ATO will be targeting four key problem areas where it commonly sees people making mistakes, including:

– rental property income and deductions;
– capital gains from property, shares and crypto assets;
– record-keeping; and
– work-related expenses.

“We know there are still some weeks left until tax time, but if you start organising the income and deductions records you’ve kept throughout the year, this will guarantee you a smoother tax time and ensure you claim the deductions you are entitled to,” says Mr Loh.

1. Rental property income and deductions

If you’re a rental property owner, it’s important to include all the income you’ve received from your rental in your tax return, including short-term rental arrangements, insurance payouts and rental bond money you retain.

“We know a lot of rental property owners use a registered tax agent to help with their tax affairs. I encourage you to keep good records, as all rental income and deductions need to be entered manually,” explains Mr Loh.

He adds that if the ATO does notice a discrepancy it may delay the processing of your refund as it may contact you or your registered tax agent to correct your return.

“We can also ask for supporting documentation for any claim that you make after your notice of assessment issues,” Mr Loh adds.

For more information visit ato.gov.au/rental.

2. Capital gains from property, shares and crypto assets

If you dispose of an asset such as property, shares, or a crypto asset including non-fungible tokens (NFTs) this financial year, you will need to calculate a capital gain or capital loss and record it in your tax return.

Generally, a capital gain or capital loss is the difference between what an asset cost you and what you receive when you dispose of it.

“Through our data collection processes, we know that many Aussies are buying, selling or exchanging digital coins and assets so it’s important people understand what this means for their tax obligations,” adds Mr Loh.

3. Record-keeping

For those who deliberately try to increase their refund, falsify records or cannot substantiate their claims, the ATO warns it will be taking firm action against them this year.

If you’re not in a rush to complete your tax return, it might be better to wait until the end of July, which is when the ATO can automatically pre-fill a lot of information for you.

“We often see lots of mistakes in July as people rush to lodge their tax returns and forget to include interest from banks, dividend income, payments from other government agencies and private health insurers,” the ATO says.

Just note that not all information can be pre-filled for you, so be careful to double-check.

“While we receive and match a lot of information on rental income, foreign-sourced income and capital gains events involving shares, crypto assets or property, we don’t pre-fill all of that information for you,” adds Mr Loh.

4. Work-related expenses

Many people around the country have changed to a hybrid working environment since the start of the pandemic, which saw one-in-three Aussies claiming work-from-home expenses in their tax return last year.

“If you have continued to work from home, we would expect to see a corresponding reduction in car, clothing and other work-related expenses such as parking and tolls,” says Mr Loh.

To claim a deduction for your working from home expenses, there are three methods available depending on your circumstances.

You can choose from the shortcut method (all-inclusive), fixed-rate method, or actual cost method, so long as you meet the eligibility and record-keeping requirements.

For more information visit ato.gov.au/deductions.

We’re around to help you this tax season

The end of financial year is a busy time for all finance professionals – and mortgage brokers are no different, as there are plenty of important June/July deadlines we can help you with.

That includes helping your business obtain finance to make the most of temporary full expensing before CoB June 30, and assisting potential first home buyers apply for the Home Guarantee Scheme come July 1.

So if there’s something you think we can help you with this EOFY period, please don’t hesitate to shout out – we’d love to help you out.

Disclaimer: The content of this article is general in nature and is presented for informative purposes. It is not intended to constitute tax or financial advice, whether general or personal nor is it intended to imply any recommendation or opinion about a financial product. It does not take into consideration your personal situation and may not be relevant to circumstances. Before taking any action, consider your own particular circumstances and seek professional advice. This content is protected by copyright laws and various other intellectual property laws. It is not to be modified, reproduced or republished without prior written consent.

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