Tax­man hones act but work­ers lose out

Townsville Bulletin - - NEWS -

THE tax­man is us­ing new tech­nol­ogy to tar­get a wider range of work­ers but many Aus­tralians are fail­ing to dial up the re­fund they de­serve.

De­spite a surge in mo­bile phone use in re­cent years, tax ac­coun­tants say em­ploy­ees of­ten avoid claim­ing workre­lated phone ex­penses be­cause they don’t un­der­stand the rules or are daunted by com­plex bills.

How­ever, they say work­ers can po­ten­tially re­claim hun­dreds of dol­lars on mo­bile phone bills av­er­ag­ing more than $ 700 an­nu­ally for smart­phones and about $ 500 for older mod­els. The phone ad­vice comes as the Aus­tralian Tax­a­tion Of­fice says its abil­ity to de­tect ques­tion­able tax claims is im­prov­ing rapidly. Gone is the ATO’s an­nual hit list of oc­cu­pa­tions, in­stead re­placed by a wider ap­proach this year that ex­am­ines all work­ers.

“We are find­ing we are get­ting higher- risk claims across all the in­dus­tries; that’s why we are tak­ing a much broader ap­proach,” ATO as­sis­tant com­mis­sioner Adam Ken­drick said.

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