TAX MAN EYES RENTALS

Southern Gazette (South Perth) - - RESIDENTIAL -

IN­COR­RECT and false prop­erty claims are in the spot­light this tax time as the Aus­tralian Tax­a­tion Of­fice cracks down on rental prop­erty own­ers.

ATO as­sis­tant com­mis­sioner Gra­ham Whyte said close at­ten­tion would be paid to ex­ces­sive in­ter­est ex­pense claims and in­cor­rectly ap­por­tioned rental in­come and ex­penses be­tween own­ers.

Holiday homes not gen­uinely avail­able for rent and in­cor­rect claims for newly pur­chased rental prop­er­ties would also be looked at.

In an ATO case study, the new owner of a rental prop­erty had a loss of al­most $60,000 dis­al­lowed and penal­ties ap­plied after fail­ing to prove he had ac­tively sought ten­ants or taken suf­fi­cient steps to ad­ver­tise the prop­erty for rent.

“If you are claim­ing de­duc­tions for your rental prop­erty, be sure to in­clude all your rental in­come and make sure that your prop­erty was gen­uinely avail­able for rent when the ex­pense was in­curred,” Mr Whyte said.

“You must also make sure to ap­por­tion any de­duc­tions to take any pri­vate use into ac­count, and you must have records for the claims you make.”

With the shar­ing econ­omy also in the ATO’s crosshairs, in­come earned via ac­com­mo­da­tion shar­ing, such as on­line mar­ket­place Airbnb, will also be checked.

Mr Whyte said the of­fice’s abil­ity to iden­tify in­cor­rect rental prop­erty claims was be­com­ing more so­phis­ti­cated due to technological ad­vance­ments and the ex­ten­sive use of data.

More than 600 mil­lion pieces of data from third party sources, in­clud­ing in­come in­for­ma­tion from banks, en­abled a pic­ture of an in­di­vid­ual’s as­sess­able in­come to be formed so it was im­por­tant to get claims right the first time.

Mr Whyte said rental prop­erty own­ers could visit the ATO web­site to bet­ter un­der­stand their obli­ga­tions.

More in­for­ma­tion is avail­able at ato.gov.au/rental.

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