Key small business professions highlighted in tax crackdown
The Tax Office has focused on several occupations within the SME industry that have a number of tax ‘grey areas’ as part of its broader compliance crackdown on work-related tax expenses.
Last year, ATO tax commissioner Chris Jordan said he wanted to address the large number of incorrect claims made for work-related expenses deductions as a means of minimising the tax gap.
Earlier this year, the Tax Office flagged a number of key items that small businesses should be considering ahead of tax time, including up-to-date records and a range of tax concessions.
Now, the ATO has provided tax claim guides for some of the most common occupations, such as teachers, nurses, police officers, hospitality workers, tradies, office workers and IT professionals.
As an example, for retail businesses, the ATO said they can claim a deduction for travel between two workplaces on the same day, work-related phone calls, overtime meal expenses where they worked overtime and were paid an overtime meal allowance, and uniforms that are unique and distinct to your employer.
However, they can’t claim a deduction for plain clothes or makeup that their employer told them to wear, even if they work in a store that sells them. Further, the ATO said they also can’t generally claim the cost of home to work travel, even if you have to work outside of normal business hours.
ATO assistant commissioner Kath Anderson said a key component of the campaign is simple, plain English guidance for the most common occupations, like teachers, nurses, police officers and hospitality workers.
“Last year work-related expenses totalled a record $21.3 billion, and we have already flagged that over-claiming of deductions is a big issue,” Ms Anderson said.
“With so much money at stake, the community expects us to provide help where we can, not just take action when we see mistakes and errors.”