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Upcoming ATO compliance targets 2014-2015 returns

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Every year, the ATO announces a number of compliance areas that will be subject to additional scrutiny.

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It always pays to be aware of these focuses, as non-compliance is, more often than not, the result of an honest mistake as opposed to wilful deception. Unfortunately, an honest mistake can still cost you dearly in penalties and/or interest on late payments to the ATO. In the 2014/15 financial year, the ATO will be focusing on:

Personal technology

Deductions claimed for personal technology items such as smartphones, tablets and laptops. Taxpayers who are claiming deductions on such items should ensure that they have adequate documentation to prove the breakdown of personal/work use (for example diary entries). You are only able to claim a tax deduction equivalent to the portion of the use that is work related.

Cash economy

The ATO will be aiming to identify businesses that operate off the books by failing to accurately record their cash transactions. This may involve paying employees in cash (and therefore avoiding minimum wage requirements and the super guarantee) and/or underreporting the business’s profits, thereby reducing the overall tax liability.

GST compliance

The GST compliance program involves ensuring that all businesses that are required to register for GST have done so (that is all businesses with an annual turnover in excess of $75 000). The accuracy of BAS reporting is also under scrutiny.

Travel costs

Taxpayers claiming large deductions in the form of work-related travel costs will be subject to additional examination from the ATO this year. In particular, the tax office has warned that it will be focusing on the validity of deductions claimed for the transportation of bulky tools and equipment. 

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