ATO tipped to target foreign income
Undisclosed offshore income is likely to be high on the ATO’s radar at tax time this year, along with unsubstantiated claims for home offices, according to one national accounting network.
The amnesty period provided by the ATO, where individuals were able to come forward and declare international tax liabilities at reduced penalties, ended around a year ago, the director of communications at H&R Block, Mark Chapman, said.
“We suspect the ATO probably had intelligence which it gathered from overseas jurisdictions, which it will be able to match with people who didn’t make a disclosure [during that period],” said Mr Chapman.
“The ATO’s amnesty a year or so ago was quite generous in its terms, so if people didn’t choose to take part in the amnesty, the tax office usually comes down on them a bit harder.”
There has also been a lot of public attention in this area, he said, so the ATO will want to maintain community confidence in the tax system by looking into offshore avoidance and evasion.
The main issues with claims for home offices, Mr Chapman said, is confusion around what they can and can’t claim and not holding sufficient records to justify the amount they’re actually claiming.
“It’s really worthwhile first of all going through your records to make sure you can substantiate everything that you’re trying to claim, and also talking to your accountant, just to make sure that you’re actually eligible to make the claim in the first case,” he said.
“Home office is another area which the Tax Office will focus on, because I think some of the claims in that space have gone up in recent years.”