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Tax update

‘myDeductions’ online tool

Tech-minded readers lamenting the lack of hoverboards can console themselves with a recently released online tool, myDeductions. It allows taxpayers to upload their receipts and information for deductions for the 2015/16 year simply by uploading a photo of a receipt.

The deductions covered include work-related expenses, car expenses (it also includes a trip information calculator using Google maps) and other travel expenses, uniforms, self-education, and other types of deductions (such as the cost of managing tax affairs and donations).

Data will be stored in the taxpayer’s mobile device and, at the end of the financial year, can be shared with their tax agent.

Holiday rentals under the microscope

The ATO has advised that it is sending letters to taxpayers in approximately 500 postcodes across Australia, reminding them to only claim the deductions they are entitled to, for the periods a holiday home is rented out, or is genuinely available for rent.

They advise that, to avoid making mistakes on their tax return, property owners should:

  • keep accurate records to ensure they declare the right amount of rental income and have evidence for claims made; and
  • only claim deductions for the periods the property is rented out, or is genuinely available for rent.

If a property is rented at below market rates, for example to family or friends, claims for deductions must be limited to the income earned while renting.

Credit and debit cards data-matching program

The ATO has announced that it will conduct a data-matching program on credit and debit card transactions for the 2012/13 and 2013/14 years.
Data will be collected from the following financial institutions:

  • American Express Australia Limited;
  • Australia and New Zealand Group Limited;
  • Bank of Queensland Limited;
  • Bendigo and Adelaide Limited;
  • BWA Merchant Services Pty Ltd;
  • Commonwealth Bank of Australia;
  • Diners Club Australia;
  • National Australia Bank Limited
  • St George Bank; and
  • Westpac Banking Corporation

Based on previous programs, it is estimated that over 8 million records will be acquired, relating to over 940,000 merchants. These records are linked to approximately 90,000 individuals and 850,000 non-individuals.