I recently wrote an article on Uber coming to Gladstone and things that any potential drivers should be aware of with regards to their tax obligations. And just recently the ATO has announced that they will be targeting the sharing economy and will be receiving data directly from Uber, Airbnb, Airtasker and other sharing economy platforms. They will use this information to data match against income reported on the tax returns of individual taxpayers.
And while you may think that you are only a small fish in a big pond and the ATO will not come after you then you are mistaken. With the new technology available to the ATO they can automatically generate thousands of letters where any discrepancies have been identified between tax returns lodged and information they have received from third parties. It is then the taxpayer’s obligation to prove to the ATO that the information in their tax return is correct. Or if it is not correct the taxpayer will need to amend their tax return.
Going forward, the ATO will pre fill tax returns with Uber and other income - similar to how they pre fill income received from wages, interest and dividends. This is a significant step for the ATO as they have identified they are losing out on significant amounts of tax due to the Black Economy and they have a specific taskforce related to this.
One other thing that Airbnb hosts, as well as anyone who has a home based business, should be aware of is the implications of using your home to produce income. Generally your home is exempt from capital gains tax if it is used as your main residence. However if you rent out a room or use your home to produce income, with a specific part of the home set aside for this, then there may be capital gains tax implications when you sell the property. And with data matching information available to the ATO it is likely they will pick an issue up when you sell your home.
If you are have any queries regarding being involved in the sharing economy or if you operate a home based business and would like our assistance please call UHY Haines Norton on 4972 1300 or email email@example.com