It is common for those preparing their own tax return (or having it done at a stand in the shopping mall by an amateur) to inflate their claims to generate a larger return. At a stretch of the imagination, it is conceivable that claims for travel, clothing and your favourite bath scrub may relate to ‘work’. However, the ATO sets strict parameters for these claims and making a false clam may place you in hot water.
According to Assistant Commissioner, Graham Whyte, with more than eight million Australians claiming more than $31 billion in work-related expense each year, there can be a plethora of exaggerated claims. Between 2014-15, the ATO conducted around 450, 000 reviews and audits of individual taxpayers leading to an adjustment of $1.1 billion in income tax.
Some of the claims deemed unlawful by the ATO this year included the transportation of ‘bulky goods’ that can be stored at work, holiday travel that is not related to work, fake attendance at a work conference, unsubstantiated car-related travel, rental deductions which are unrelated to work.
Despite strict restrictions on what can be claimed, the ATO has made allowances for objects including sunscreen, makeup, handbags, subscriptions, car maintenance, investment seminars and even garden gnomes.
The process of maximising your return through lawful claims is nuanced and requires the assistance of a CPA-qualified accountant. If you are looking for assistance in navigating the ins and outs of your tax return, contact one of our experienced accountants at Best Business Practice on 02 6672 6700.