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Tax Office Warns Against False Claims on Aussie Tax Returns

Tax Office

Australia’s tax office received a major funding boost. The increase will crack down on individuals making false claims in their returns. But the move has angered one of the country’s lobby groups.

The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) received an extra $ 89.6 million this month. Treasurer Jim Chalmers made the allocation. It was a bid to augment the Personal Income Tax Compliance Program. Most of the extra funding is set to roll out starting July 2025. But the tax office will be getting more resources beginning in July this year. This should help the organization crack down on tax claims.

The move will see tax officials concentrate their resources on investor landlords. It will also focus on homeowners selling property. They’ll also look into Australians who are making work-related claims. Especially those who are cutting and pasting information from the previous year's returns.

One lobby group is making their displeasure over this known. Brian Marlow of the Australian Taxpayers Alliance described it as an unjustified crackdown. Marlow, who runs a libertarian lobby group, has started a petition against the move.

The lobbyist said Labor is draining the wallets of common citizens. He added that these people are already feeling the pinch of inflation. The tax office crackdown will only worsen the money pressures faced by Australians. Marlow also said the move would stifle economic growth. It will even become an obstacle in the country coming back from these depressing times.

Papers from the Treasury Budget declared the extra resources of the tax office. It stated these would become used to go after specific landlords. The office is looking into those who listed their homes as short-term rentals. For example, as an Airbnb. But some of these owners would then claim deductions for long-term leases.

Treasury said the new resources will allow the ATO to provide corrective actions. Especially when it comes to non-compliance. The office will also impose preventive measures to stop the issue. They will also broaden the program’s scope so they can address emerging issues. The ATO will focus on risk areas. One such area is deductions related to short-term rental properties. This is to find out if they’re earmarked for rent.

Asst. Commissioner Tim Loh also said they're cracking down on those copying old tax returns. This came on the heels of changes to work-from-home rules. A new ruling states professionals can only claim 67 cents an hour. It used to be 80.

Loh said there have been changes to calculations. It’s why taxpayers should not copy from their last year’s claims.

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