ATO's apps and other online tools
As a result of user feedback, the ATO has improved their ATO Small Business app and it continues to expand in functionality and usability.
The most useful features for small business include:
ABN Lookup, which verifies business details.
Tax withheld calculator, which shows how much tax to withhold.
Key dates, which can set important tax and super reminders and alerts.
Report a concern, which enables users to report suspected tax evasion.
The ATO has also released a new function for the app which includes a business performance check tool (which provides a snapshot of profitability, cash flow, working capital and debt serviceability).
It also compares a business's performance against similar businesses in its industry using the benchmark database.
'myDeductions' online tool
Another online tool that came live recently is "myDeductions", which allows taxpayers to upload their receipts and information for deductions for the 2015/16 year. Taxpayers are advised to simply take a photo of a receipt and upload it.
The deductions covered include work-related expenses, car expenses (it also includes a trip information calculator using Google maps) and other travel expenses, uniforms, self-education, and other types of deductions (such as the cost of managing tax affairs and donations).
Data will be stored in the taxpayer's mobile device and, at the end of the financial year, can be shared with their tax agent.
Work-related car expense deductions
Commensing 2015/16 income year and later income years the ATO has changed the way taxpayers claim. Currently, taxpayers have an option to use one of four methods to determine their work‑related car expense deductions.
The government is proposing to reduce the number of methods by removing the '12% of original value method' and the 'one-third of actual expenses method'.
The other two methods, the 'cents per kilometre method' and the 'logbook method' are being retained.
Cents per kilometre method is also being changed by replacing the three current rates based on engine size with one rate set at 66 cents per kilometre, which applies to all motor vehicles.
The government says that these changes will enable taxpayers who drive electric and hybrid vehicles to claim on a cents per kilometre basis, which is not currently an option for them.
Please Note: Many of the comments in this publication are general in nature and anyone intending to apply the information to practical circumstances should seek professional advice to independently verify their interpretation and the information’s applicability to their particular circumstances.