The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) is using increasingly sophisticated techniques to identify taxpayers whose tax return disclosures do not match other data the ATO holds. Every year, they identify areas within the tax system to target.

According to the Australian Tax Commissioner, Chris Jordan, on an interview with the magazine Acuity on December 2017, the “tax gap” – the estimated gap between tax theoretical tax payable and the amount actually paid – is bigger for small taxpayers as a group than for its “large market” group of big businesses.

So, according to Jordan, for 2018 the ATO will target its focus to individuals and small business, including  work-related expenses, share economy, undeclared business income, wrongly-claimed non-business expenses and unpaid superannuation guarantee contributions.

Work-Related Expenses

Work-related expenses commonly include expenses for car and travel, clothing, laundry dry-cleaning, self-education and tools and equipment relating to earning your income

When claiming work-related expenses, you need to ensure that the expense:

  • Has been incurred and not reimbursed by the employer
  • Is directly related to the taxpayer’s income earning capacity
  • Is substantiated by appropriate records.

What happen in the case of work and private purposes expenses?

In the case that the expense was for both work and private purposes, you can only claim a deduction for the work-related portion.

Since when you can consider work-related expenses for the claim?

On the other hand, employees (including casuals) can claim work-related expenses in the financial year they are incurred. Even if you start employment in June but don’t receive income until the next financial year, you can claim deductions for work-related expenses incurred in June.

Additional assistant considered a work-related expense?

If you employ someone to assist you in your employment, you cannot claim a deduction for employing that person.


Is important to highlight that the ATO can seek information from your employer if they think you have claimed a deduction for an expense that you have already been reimbursed for.

Share Economy

The ATO will be focus at those who work in a shared economy to ensure that income and expenses are correctly reported.  Are considered as shared economies the following activities:

Ride- sourcing: Transporting passengers for a fare (Uber, Ola drivers)

Renting out a room or house for accomodation: One clear example are Airbnb hosts.

Those expenses must be directly related to the earning of income and accurate the respectives records or receipts to back-up a claim. It doesn’t matter how little you earn through car or room sharing, it is important to include in the tax return.

Other Expenses that the ATO will focus on

  • Undeclared income
  • Unexplained wealth of lifestyle
  • Private expenses wrongly claimed
  • Unpaid superannuation guarantee contributions
  • Concentrations of cash-only businesses

If you have any tax related queries, please feel free to contact us at [email protected]. We also have free income tax calculator to get your free tax return estimate.

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