ATO to target Air BNB and similar online rentals

The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) has recently signaled that it is going to conduct a data-matching program to identify taxpayers receiving income from short term rentals. Information from online platform sharing sites for around 190,000 Australians will be examined to identify taxpayers who have left out rental income and over-claimed deductions.
Assistant Commissioner Kath Anderson said recently that “the availability of short stay rentals has exploded thanks to the online revolution. With the growing number of homes, apartments, units and rooms available via accommodation sharing sites, there is a real risk some people may not understand their tax obligations.”
The ATO’s sophisticated data-matching systems have seen it access details of operators in the ride-sharing industry, and it is now moving to target online rentals. With wide access powers, “there is no high-tech hideaway for rental income” according to Assistant Commissioner Anderson.
While the ATO will be sympathetic to innocent mistakes, blatant attempts to avoid paying tax on income will be met with stiff penalties. Any who may have overlooked declaring such income or over-claimed deductions are well advised to get their house in order before the ATO appears. Keeping comprehensive records is also important.

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