Each year, over 8 million taxpayers claim nearly $22 billion worth of work-related expenses.
The ATO said the most common mistakes it sees at tax time include taxpayers:
- Claiming for items where they didn’t spend the money
- Claiming for private expenses or not apportioning between private and work use
- Not having the records to prove claims
Mistakes for specific types of deductions also include:
- Car expense claims for private travel between home and work
- Travel expense claims where a travel allowance was received but no cost was incurred
- Uniform expense claims for ineligible clothing
- Self-education expense claims for education unrelated to their current job
- Incorrect home office claims for costs like rent and mortgage payments
- Internet and phone and computer claims not apportioned between work and private use
- Incorrect claims for the full cost of items like tools and computers that exceed $300
- Claims for safety equipment already provided by the employer
The ATO reiterated that it is open to working with taxpayers who make honest mistakes and are willing to rectify their actions.
However, those who are intentionally doing the wrong thing now have a significantly higher chance of being detected, and are at risk of being penalised.
As the ATO has flagged on multiple occasions, its data matching capabilities with large Australian institutions and government agencies are at their most advanced, and the chances of getting away with non-compliance have been greatly reduced.