February 2017 Update


This month we have the ATO focusing on UBER DRIVERS & ONLINE RETAILERS if you have any questions about the above give Mitchell Calley from our office a call as this is his area of specialty.

The are some other interesting updates to read over - as always pick up the phone and call us if you have any questions

Best Regards Adrian De Vito - CPA

ATO data matching programs

CAS: The ATO has announced that it will be undertaking the following two data matching programs.

Ride Sourcing data matching program

The Ride Sourcing data matching program has been developed to address the compliance risk of the registration, lodgement and reporting of businesses offering ride sourcing services as a driver.

CAS: 'Ride sourcing' = Uber (basically).

It is estimated that up to 74,000 individuals ('ride sourcing drivers') offer, or have offered, this service.

The ATO will request details of all payments made to ride sourcing providers from accounts held by a ride sourcing facilitator's financial institution for the 2016/17 and 2017/18 financial years, and match the data provided against their records.

This will identify ride sourcing drivers that may not be meeting their registration, reporting, lodgement and/or payment obligations.

Where the ATO is unable to match a driver's details against ATO records, it will obtain further information from the financial institution where the driver's account is held.

Credit and debit card and online selling data matching program

The ATO is collecting new data from financial institutions and online selling sites as part of its credit and debit cards and online selling data-matching programs, specifically:

  1. the total credit and debit card payments received by businesses; and

  2. information on online sellers who have sold at least $12,000 worth of goods or services.

The ATO will be matching this data with information it has from income tax returns, activity statements and other ATO records to identify businesses that may not be reporting all their income or meeting their registration, lodgement or payment obligations.

Deductibility of expenditure on a commercial website

The ATO has released a public taxation ruling covering the ATO’s views on the deductibility of expenditure incurred in acquiring, developing, maintaining or modifying a website for use in the carrying on of a business.

Importantly, if the expenditure is incurred in maintaining a website, it would be considered 'revenue' in nature, and therefore generally deductible upfront.

This would be the case where the expenditure relates to the preservation of the website, and does not:

  1. alter the functionality of the website;

  2. improve the efficiency or function of the website; or

  3. extend the useful life of the website.

However, if the expenditure is incurred in acquiring or developing a commercial website for a new or existing business, or even in modifying an existing website, it would generally be considered capital in nature (in which case an outright deduction cannot be claimed).

CAS: Please contact us if you want any guidance about the ATO's latest views on this important issue.

Changes to the ‘backpacker tax’

From 1 January 2017, tax rates changed for working holiday makers who are in Australia on a 417 or 462 visa (these rates are known as ‘working holiday maker tax rates').

If a business employs a working holiday maker in Australia on a 417 or 462 visa, from 1 January 2017, they should withhold 15% from every dollar earned up to $37,000, with foreign resident tax rates applying from $37,001.

Businesses must register with the ATO by 31 January 2017 to withhold at the working holiday maker tax rate.

If they don’t register, they will need to withhold at the foreign resident tax rate of 32.5% (and penalties may apply to businesses employing holiday makers that don't register).

CAS: Therefore, if this affects you and you haven't registered by the time you read this, please contact us immediately!

Also, note that businesses already employing working holiday makers will need to issue two payment summaries (with different rates) this year – one for the period to 31 December 2016, and a second for any period from 1 January 2017.

Easier GST reporting for new small businesses

The ATO has notified taxpayers that, from 19 January 2017, newly registered small businesses have the option to report less GST information on their business activity statement (BAS).

Therefore, if you plan to register for GST after receiving this Update, we can help you access the reporting benefits of the simpler BAS early.

CAS: From 1 July 2017, small businesses generally will only need to report GST on sales, GST on purchases, and Total sales on their BAS.

Please Note: Many of the comments in this publication are general in nature and anyone intending to apply the information to practical circumstances should give Adrian & the team at Clear Accounting Solutions a call to independently verify your interpretation and the information’s applicability to your particular circumstances.


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