Lifestyle assets continue to be an ATO audit target
The ATO has revealed it will request a further five years’ worth of policy information from over 30 insurance companies about taxpayers who own marine vessels, thoroughbred horses, fine art, high-value motor vehicles and aircraft.
Insurers are required to provide the ATO with policy information where the value of assets is equal to or exceeds the following thresholds:
- Marine vessels $100,000
- Motor vehicles $65,000
- Thoroughbred horses $65,000
- Fine art $100,000 per item
- Aircraft $150,000
The data will not be used to initiate automated compliance activity but is intended to be used by the ATO as part of its compliance profiling activities. For example, ATO Deputy Commissioner Deborah Jenkins said:
“If a taxpayer is reporting a taxable income of $70,000 to us but we know they own a three million dollar yacht then this is likely to raise some red flags.”
Mid Year Economic & Financial Outlook – 2019/20
Proposed new record-keeping course
The ATO would be provided with a new discretion to direct taxpayers (found to be lacking in their substantiation efforts under audit) to undertake an approved record-keeping course, instead of applying financial penalties.
This is yet another measure designed to tackle the ‘black’ or ‘cash’ economy.
Specifically, the Commissioner will be given the discretion to direct taxpayers to undertake the course where he reasonably believes there has been a failure by the taxpayer to comply with their reporting obligations.
The Commissioner will not apply this discretion to those who disengage with the tax system or who deliberately avoid their record-keeping obligations.
New ‘gig’ economy reporting
The Government has announced its intention to implement a new third party reporting regime for the sharing economy.
This will apply to businesses who operate via online platforms within the ‘sharing’ or ‘gig’ economy (e.g. Uber and Airbnb). It is proposed to be introduced in two stages, starting from 1 July 2022 (for ride-sharing and accommodation platforms) and from 1 July 2023 (for asset sharing, food delivery and tasking-based platforms).
The online platforms will be required to report identification and income information for all its participating members. These reports will go directly to the ATO for data-matching purposes.