Sat. Aug 13th, 2022

Australians thinking about over-claiming work-related expenses to help with the rising cost of living are being warned by the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) that they will come under fire and potentially face a review and / or audit.

Every year, about eight and a half million Australians claim about $ 20 billion worth of work-related expenses. The average claim is about $ 3,000.

ATO assistant commissioner Tim Loh told ABC News that people trying to push the envelope on work-related expenses, COVID-related expenses, rental deductions and failure to reveal or downplay cryptocurrency investments would be targeted.

When it came to work-related travel expenses, he expected these would fall because most people had been working from home during the pandemic.

Tim Loh sitting in a foyer in a deak gray suit
ATO assistant commissioner Tim Loh says people trying to push the envelope on work-related expenses will be targeted.(Supplied.)

“We did see a bit of a decrease last year. But we do expect the current travel expenses to go down quite significantly because if you’ve been working from home, you can not be at two places at once.”

“The other thing we are focused on is laundry expenses. Obviously, if people have been working from home, [they would have not been] wearing their uniform. “

For people working in a field with COVID-related expenses, Mr Loh said there were certain rules that needed to be satisfied in order to claim back deductions for things like rapid-antigen tests.

“So, if you’re working out whether you can go with your mates to Byron Bay, that’s not going to be a deductible expense for that rapid test.”

ATO’s 80 cents tax shortcut runs until June 30

Mr Loh said the 80 cents shortcut method, introduced during the pandemic, would still be available until June 30 this year.

The ATO introduced this shortcut method in 2020, in response to the expectation that work-from-home claims would rise due to pandemic lockdowns.


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