In years past, the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) has singled out particular occupations for closer scrutiny come tax time: in 2011 it included carpenters and flight attendants, in 2013 it was sales and marketing managers. But no such luck this time around: the ATO says it is looking at everyone to make sure deductions are appropriate.
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An announcement from the ATO highlights the broadened approach. "Every return is scrutinised and it is becoming a lot easier to identify claims that are significantly higher than those claimed by people with similar occupations and employment income," assistant commissioner Adam Kendrick said.
Key areas the ATO will be looking at include:
- Expense claims that are much higher than other people in the same occupation;
- Claims for expenses which have already been reimbursed by employers;
- Private expenses (such as travel to and from work);
- Excessive deductions for rental properties and holiday homes.
The simple rule? For an expense to be valid, you have to spend the money yourself, it must be related to your work, and you must have a record of it.
Reminder: For specific tax advice relating to your individual situation, consult a registered professional.