ATO warns over-claiming is easier to detect then ever

In relation to 2014/15 individual income tax returns to be lodged this year, the ATO says it will be focusing on:

  • unusually high work-related expense claims across all industries and occupations;
  • expenses claimed that have already been reimbursed by employers; and
  • claims for private expenses such as travel from home to work.

Assistant commissioner Adam Kendrick said that the ATO’s ability to identify and investigate claims that differ from the ‘norm’ is improving each year at a rapid rate due to enhancements in technology and the use of data.

“These enhancements mean that 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,” Mr. Kendrick said.

Case study

In a recent case a railway guard claimed work-related car expenses for travel between his home and workplace.

He indicated that this expense related to the carriage of bulky tools – including a flag, safety vest, handheld radio, torch, instructions and timetables. During the ATO’s investigations, the employer advised that the equipment was able to be securely stored on their premises.

The taxpayer’s car expense claims were disallowed because the transportation of the equipment between home and work was his personal choice.