The ATO has rental properties in its sights

The ATO has announced it will double the number of audits into rental property deductions this year.

Assistant Commissioner Gavin Siebert says it is a top priority and they will be looking very closely at rental property claims this year.

The ATO will audit 4,500 tax returns in depth for 2019 as recent audit activity for 2018 revealed 9 out of 10 taxpayers getting it wrong (although the sample size was only 300).

The main mistakes that are consistently being made are:

  • Still claiming deductions for travel expenses – these were stopped from 1 July 2017 for individuals and trusts
  • Over claiming deductions for interest expenses
  • Capital works claimed as repairs
  • Incorrect apportionment of expenses for holiday homes used personally or by friends and family
  • Omitting income arising from sharing platforms

In 2018 2.2 million Australians apparently claimed $47 billion in rental tax deductions!

The ATO’s data matching systems allow them to interrogate tax returns and identify where expenses are out of line with rental income earned which will start the audit process.

If you are concerned you have an audit risk for previously lodged tax returns, or would like advice on preparing your 2019 rental calculations to avoid future audit risks please contact your usual Bentleys advisor.