Aus Gov covid stimulus 2020

The various COVID19 programs have given the ATO an opportunity to use the additional information provided to determine tax compliance, for example:

  • Businesses who have applied for JobKeeper, are now on the ATO Radar.
  • Similarly, Individuals who claimed Early Release of Super are also on the ATO Radar.
  • The ATO announced that it would also focus on Individuals claiming work-related expenses on their tax returns, such as working from home due to COVID19.

The ATO is increasing its response to fraud and schemes designed to take advantage of the Government’s COVID19 stimulus packages. This includes JobKeeper payments, early release of superannuation and boosting cash flow for employers. Severe penalties will be applied to tax avoidance schemes or those found to be breaking the law.

For more information, read our Factsheet on the Data Matching process and what it means for you.

We have summarised some areas for focus for our Business and Individual Clients to be aware of – which are in the attached tables:

ATO Focus Area – Businesses:
JobKeeper The ATO’s compliance efforts for JobKeeper Payments are focused on ensuring that entities meet the criteria for business income, are claiming for eligible employees and not manipulating their turnover to satisfy the decline in turnover test, as warned in Practical Compliance Guideline PCG 2020/4. *
CashFlow Boost Employers who have entered a scheme in order to gain access to the Cash Flow Boost, or maximise their payments, are also on the ATO’s radar. These are schemes designed to artificially restructure a business, change the character of payments to salary or wages, inflate reported withholding amounts, resurrect dormant entities or phoenixing, or make false statements or fraudulent attempts to create an entitlement. *
Superannuation Guarantee Using the Single Touch Payroll data and that from the Superannuation Clearing House when Super is paid, the ATO are matching when the dates of payments are made to monitor compliance with Super Guarantee obligations.
ATO Focus Area – Individuals:
Early release of super

Individuals also risk additional taxes and penalties if they access the COVID19 early release of Super Concession and do not meet eligibility criteria or artificially arrange their affairs to meet the criteria. The ATO has advised that it has seen some examples of people doing the wrong thing.

The ATO has stopped applications and prevented Super money from being released or have reviewed the circumstances after an application has been processed. Where appropriate, the ATO may apply the Part IVA general anti-avoidance rule for income tax if a taxpayer (or a representative) enters into a scheme mainly to obtain a tax benefit. Other behaviours that attract the ATO’s attention include: applying when there is no change to a taxpayer’s regular salary and wage or employment information, making false statements, fraudulent attempts to meet the eligibility criteria, and withdrawing and re-contributing super for a tax advantage. This can also impact their eligibility for a Super Co-contribution. *

Rental Properties

Rental income is an area that the ATO has long identified as problematic. The ATO has indicated that some taxpayers continue to claim travel expenses to visit their rental properties, while some claim expenses under repairs when they should be depreciated.

There have been other cases where mortgage interest has been claimed when the property was not rented or available for rent but is a holiday house reserved for the owners.

Some property investors who do not use tax advisers seem to be unaware of the ATO’s data-matching capabilities and make claims that might not be fully compliant. AAG is here to help with professional advice that is not just useful but may be essential to you.

Capital Gains

Shares & Property

The ATO is checking the sale of property and sale of shares with different sources to make sure that people are putting any capital gains tax into their tax returns.

From share registers and share trading accounts, the ATO is provided information to enable them to track back to your tax return if you have declared a capital gain or loss.

With the information-sharing protocols with the various State Governments, the ATO is provided with information relating to the sale of properties from around the country. They use this data to match if you have declared any sale of property in your tax return.

Funds from Overseas If you receive monies from overseas, the ATO receives this information from the various banks. They then may write to you to ask what this was and why it isn’t income that should be in your tax return.

For more information on the ATO compliance measures and data matching programs, please see these links:

https://www.ato.gov.au/General/COVID-19/COVID-19-compliance-measures/

https://www.ato.gov.au/General/Gen/Data-matching-protocols/

AAG AustAsia

AAG AustAsia

AAG is a family-owned group providing Tax planning, management accounting, wealth management, and more. Established in 1979, AAG acts entirely in their clients' best interest by providing financial expertise and upholds a reputation of nurturing long-lasting relationships with clients to assist them with all their personal and business financial issues.

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