Big changes to payment summaries

The new digital tax and super reporting system makes it no longer compulsory for employers to provide annual payment summaries in paper form in early July.

The ATO’s new Single Touch Payroll system, which enables real-time payday reporting, started for large companies last year.

It now extends to all employers from July 1 2019, meaning this is the last year you will receive a compulsory payment summary. The ATO expects most employers will be on this system by 30 June 2020.

With the Single Touch Payroll system, the ATO has immediate access to your payment details, without the need for your employer to submit them.

The big advantage is that you don’t have to go to multiple employers to get payment summaries from each. You can login to your MyGov account to access all your payment records.

The ATO says that if you don’t have online access you would still be able to get a copy of your payment summary through the them.

The phasing out of payment summaries means employees would no longer have to wait for the payment summary to come though to do their tax.

If you are uncertain about this change, then please contact us for advice.

The ATO is watching what you claim

The ATO has identified a range of deductions this year with a focus on false claims or over-claiming in the following areas:

• Claims for work-related clothing, dry cleaning and laundry expenses. The ATO has flagged it will be checking taxpayers who take advantage of the exemption from keeping receipts for people who spend less than $150 on laundry expenses. The ATO believes too many people are claiming this without actually incurring the expense.

• Deductions for home office use. The focus is on claims for “occupation” costs like rent, rates and mortgage interest. These claims are not allowable unless you’re actually running a business from home.

• Overtime meal claims – The ATO is cracking down on unreasonable claims.

• Union fees and subscriptions – These must be legitimate expenses and you may need evidence via statements form unions or professional associations.

• Mobile phone and internet costs, with a particular focus on people who are claiming the whole (or a substantial part) of the bill for their personal mobile as work related.

The ATO will impose heavy penalties on false or deliberate exaggerations of the above expenses.

For you own benefit, please contact us for assistance prior to lodging your return.

Beware Fake ATO email scam

Scammers have set up a clone of the myGov website to trick you into sharing your login and bank account details.

The scam starts with a phishing email that looks like it is from Medicare, asking you to update your Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT) details, so you can start receiving payments for Medicare benefits and claims.

Screenshot of the phishing email that looks like it is from Medicare

If you click on the link in the email you are taken a replica of the real myGov website. You’ll note the URL includes ‘.net’ instead of ‘.gov.au’, which is an indication the website is not a legitimate Australian Government domain!

Screenshot of the replica of the real myGov website

If you input your login details you are directed to also enter your secret security question and answer, before you’re taken to the fake Medicare website to input your bank account details.

Screenshot of the fake Medicare website

These emails and web pages feature myGov and Medicare design and branding, making them appear legitimate.

Remember, clicking on the link and sharing your details gives these scammers access to your personal information, which they then use to steal your money and identity!

How do I stay safe?
Email continues to be a popular method for criminals hoping to trick you into handing over your money or personal information.

There are some simple steps you can take to avoid an email scam:

  • Do not click on links in emails or text messages claiming to be from myGov or Medicare. myGov will never send you a text, email or attachment with hyperlinks or web addresses.
  • Don’t open messages if you don’t know the sender, or if you’re not expecting them.
  • Be suspicious of messages that aren’t addressed directly to you, or don’t use your correct name.
  • Login to your official myGov account by typing the web address into your browser, to check your inbox for any legitimate emails from Medicare.
  • You can also contact the organisation separately to check if they have sent the message.
  • If you are concerned that your personal information has been compromised and misused, you can contact Australia’s National Identity and Cyber Support Service, IDCare or use their free Cyber First Aid Kit.

    If you have been a victim of a cybercrime such as fraud, report it to the Australian Cybercrime Online Reporting Network (ACORN).

    ATO crackdown on Car Expense claims

    The Australian Tax Office is cracking down on false work-related car expense claims on their tax after more than $7.2 billion was claimed in the last financial year alone.

    The ATO is now promising to put similar claims under the microscope, in a search for false and fraudulent claims.

    Here is the Golden Rule Of Car Expenses Claims

    The primary rule is that generally trips between home and work cannot be claimed unless you are required to use your car for work for a specific purpose.

    “You must have a work-related need to travel while performing your job, like travelling from site to site or be required to transport bulky tools.”

    How Are Claims Calculated?
    Most car-related expenses on tax  are claimed  using either the cents per kilometre method or the log book method.

    The cents per kilometre method is based on a set rate of 68 cents per kilometre and limits taxpayers to claiming a maximum of $5,000, because claims can be made without receipts.

    Taxpayers must show how they worked out their business kilometres — the ATO suggests keeping diary records of work-related trips.

    The logbook method is based on the percentage of work use of your car and your actual expenses, the ATO said.

    Using this method, taxpayers are required to keep their logbooks which broadly represent work-related car travel throughout the year for a minimum continuous period of 12 weeks.

    Receipts can also be used to claim fuel and oil costs, with taxpayers also required to record their odometer readings at the start and end of each income year.

    Speak to us before you claim any car expenses on your tax return. We can help you get it right.

    Tax return due on 31 October

    Haven’t lodged your tax return yet?  Did you know that with your Tax return due on 31 October, time is running out.

    Tax return due on 31 October

    If you’re struggling to get your tax return in by this date, you could save yourself a lot of trouble by using our Same Day Tax Return service.

    Because we are a registered tax agent, and registered with the Tax Practitioners Board (TPB), we have the ability to not only lodge your tax return but we also are able to get an extension on the date when we lodge it for you.

    Using our registered tax agents will also provide you with consumer protection as the TPB ensures that we:

    •    meet and maintain the required standard or qualifications and experience
    •    comply with the Code of Professional Conduct.

    Our registered tax agents have a special lodgement program and can lodge returns for you after the usual 31 October deadline. The due date will also depend on your personal situation. Contact us for advice.

    If you’re using us for the first time, you need to contact us before 31 October to take advantage of our lodgement program due dates.

    Lodging previous years’ tax returns

    If you haven’t lodged a previous year’s tax return, it’s important to get up to date as soon as possible to avoid penalty.

    Our registered tax agents can prepare and lodge prior year tax returns for you, so contact us for advice. With your Tax return due on 31 October, time is running out, not only for this year but for previous years as well.

    Don’t let it roll on, contact us today and let our tax agents save you the hassles of dealing with the ATO. We are your tax guys and we work for you, not the ATO.

    Income Tax Today can be a Minefield

    Income tax today is even more complex than ever, but it can be easy if you use a registered tax agent like Instant Tax Refunds.

    If you are still wondering how to get your tax done right, come in to see our tax professionals and we will do your tax today.

    Our decades of experience mean that we understand the tax laws better than anybody.

    We can work out the highest level of allowable refunds and advise you about liabilities, obligations or entitlements under the Australian taxation laws.

    You will find our fees very reasonable and in most cases the refunds we get you more than cover the fees we charge, so you come out in front anyway.

    Income tax today is under more scrutiny than ever.

    The other thing to be aware of when it comes to your tax today, is that the ATO has access to more data about you than ever before.

    They can collect data from other government entities and use data matching to check up on your income and claims.

    The ATO says it uses data matching to reassure the community that they protect honest people and businesses from unfair competition.

    And that’s fair enough, so it’s important to correctly declare your income and claim the correct offsets and other benefits to comply with the tax laws.

    By using our registered tax agents, you can be sure all the compliance stuff is done correctly and your tax return will be lodged with the ATO without the worry.

    So come on in and let us to do your tax today. Our experienced tax agents are here to help.

     

     

    Be very careful about tax refund fraud

    The ATO has warned against tax refund fraud which is claiming a tax refund by providing false information to them. They are checking up on cases that are more than carelessness, accidental or an error.

    They are specifically targeting tax returns done in a deliberately deceitful manner, from creating fictitious expenses to creating false documentation to support a claim. Some individuals have lodged fraudulent claims in their own name or for their business.

    Tax refund fraud affects both income tax and GST and includes:

    • providing fictitious payment summary details or fictitious expense claims or offsets on income tax returns and amendments
    • providing false information in statements such as fictitious expenses
    • lodging large numbers of fraudulent returns using false or stolen identities

    Tax refund fraud is stealing from the whole community and disadvantages Australians who do the right thing.

    The Tax office takes this very seriously, and they have a range of controls and systems in place to detect potential tax refund fraud, including:

    • analytical models that use behavioural and statistical algorithms to analyse information on income tax returns, business activity statements and other tax forms
    • sharing data and intelligence with partner agencies
    • obtaining information about suspected fraud from the community and other government agencies.

    Call us to ensure that your Tax Return is done correctly and that you are not lodging claims that could be seen as “fraudulent”.

    74% of Australians are using a tax agent

    The ATO reports that 74 per cent of Australians are using a tax agent. That’s simply because when you use a registered tax agent, they work for you, not the ATO.

    But if you are looking at lodging your tax return yourself, take care as the ATO is checking more returns than ever this year.

    The ATO is expanding its data matching and real-time monitoring, enabling it to quickly find inaccurate claims or suspicious returns.

    That means anyone who has been potentially holding out on additional income, inflating costs or deducting items incorrectly are all in the firing line.

    The ATO has access to an enormous amount of data. This means that they can create benchmark figures by occupation, income bracket and previous returns.

    They can also access data from your bank, employers, other government departments, and even directly from sharing platforms like Uber or Airbnb.

    So, the easiest way to get the best tax refund without running into trouble is to keep in the ATO’s good books.

    Working with and using a tax agent like Instant Tax Refunds is by far the best way to ensure the maximum refund with the least risk.

    More and more people are using a tax agent for that very reason.

    Figuring out what you can claim is where we come in right at the beginning. And then we work out how to calculate your claims. Knowing how to do this can be the difference between a smooth return with a refund, or red flagging the attention of the ATO.

    Reputable and highly experienced tax agents like ours have the expertise to make sure you know what you can claim.

    We also have systems and checks in place to ensure any potentially dodgy claims are checked before they are sent to the ATO.

    And our small, once-per-year tax agent fee is also tax deductible.

    So if you are still considering doing your own tax return, why not give us an obligation free call first on 1300 TAX GUY.

    It could save you a whole lot of money and a whole lot of trouble.

    Haven’t done your 2017 tax return yet?

    Well here’s some good news (even if you haven’t done your 2017 tax return yet).

    Our experienced income tax specialists can quickly get your tax return done and in most cases, get you a maximum tax refund along the way.

    By now you should have your payment summaries from your employers. (If not give them a hurry up).

    To get your maximum tax refund, have a look at our Income Tax Today Checklist here.

    Once you have everything checked off, just give us a call and we will complete and lodge your tax return for you, to ensure that you get the maximum refund that you are eligible to receive.

    That’s why it makes sense to use our expertise as we know the tax rules better than anyone.

    So no there’s need for you to worry about want you can and cannot claim. Let us do the hard work for you and then you can get on with doing what you do best while we do what we do best.

    And what we do best is looking after you and your 2017 tax return!

    With over 100 years combined team experience preparing individual tax returns, you’re in good hands with the Instant Tax Refunds team.

    So call us now on 1300 TAX GUY, or use our contact form here.

    Don’t let your Tax Return raise a red flag with ATO

    It’s more important than ever to lodge an accurate tax return as the ATO now has so much data to call on and to verify your tax returns. They are cracking down hard on fraudulent claims so don’t let an inaccurate Tax Return raise a red flag.

    Claiming exaggerated or best guess expenses claims, with a lack of receipts and evidence, will often raise a red flag with the ATO.

    The following two mistakes need to be avoided if you don’t want to place yourself on the ATO’s tax audit list.

    1.  Not providing proof of purchase

    Without receipts for your expenses, you can only claim a maximum of $300 worth of work related expenses.

    With our help, you may well find that you are eligible to claim more than $300.

    This could increase your tax refund considerably, but, without receipts, it’s your word against theirs. The ATO says, no proof, no claim, so keep your receipts year-round.

    If you claim and receive a bigger refund than you’re entitled to, the ATO can force you to repay the difference – with interest charged and with possible penalties added as well.

    By keeping good tax receipt records, you can ensure that the maximum refund can be calculated and claimed.

    2. Guessing your tax deductions and income

    It’s vital to ensure that you use accurate figures when you enter your income, deductions, and the amount of tax you’ve paid into your tax return.

    The ATO already has records of tax paid, so can compare what you enter against the information they have.

    It might seem the quick and easy way to get your tax done by estimating these items, but inaccuracy is a tax return mistake that should be avoided.

    All your entries must be completed correctly, as even a few dollars out of place can bring you to the attention of the ATO.

    So by entering the actual and true amounts on your receipts into your claims, you will be safe from possible prosecution.

    And by waiting until you receive your official PAYG summary before you complete your tax return you know your amounts will match the ATO’s records.

    Don’t let your Tax Return raise a red flag with the ATO.

    Give us  a call before you do your tax, and we can more than likely increase your tax refund AND make sure its done right!