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ATO launches Uber and eBay crackdown

The ATO has announced a compliance crackdown focused on Uber drivers and eBay sellers across Australia. With the ride-sharing service operating in full force in Australia, the dispute as to whether GST should be applicable on rides has continued, culminating in drivers clearly warned to register and account for GST from 1 August 2015. In order to target GST and income tax avoidance the ATO has announced it will obtain the details of payments made to drivers through bank accounts held by “ride-sourcing facilitators”. This data will subsequently be matched with tax office records to catch out those drivers not disclosing income and not paying income tax. Mark Chapman, director of tax communications with H&R Block, noted it is now much easier for the ATO to keep tabs on Uber drivers once they have registered. Not just settling for drivers, eBay traders have also been placed under the ATO microscope. Those sellers who sold goods and services of $10,000 or more during the 2014/15 financial year will also have their data obtained by the tax office to ascertain those individuals who have failed to account for income tax and GST. “The whole focus on newer, tech-focused businesses like Uber and eBay shows that after several years struggling to keep up with online business models, the ATO is looking to rapidly make up lost ground to ensure people in these sectors are taxed in the same way as people operating through traditional ‘bricks and mortar’ business models,” Mr Chapman concluded.


Before you start the journey of selling or closing your business, make sure you understand the end-to-end process. ATO has developed a webcast which details your obligations across various government agencies. The webcast is presented by a panel of experts from the ATO, the Department of Industry and Science, the Australian Securities and Investments Commission and the Fair Work Ombudsman. To see the webcast click here.


2015 tax-free threshold increase "deferred"

The already legislated increase in the tax-free threshold to $19,400 from 1 July 2015 will not proceed and will instead be "deferred". The deferral of the so-called Clean Energy Future personal tax cuts came about due to the lower than originally anticipated carbon price after 1 July 2015. Legislation will be required to implement this tax-free threshold change. The already legislated increase in the second marginal tax rate from 32.5% to 33% from 1 July 2015 will still go ahead.

Scrapping of planned FTB Part A increase

The Government has announced that it will not proceed with its 2012-13 Budget proposal to provide $1.8bn in funding over 4 years to increase the maximum payment rate of Family Tax Benefit (FTB) Part A by $300 pa for families with one child and $600 pa for families with 2 or more children. For families receiving the base rate of FTB Part A, the increase would have been $100 pa for families with one child and $200 pa for families with 2 or more children. The increased FTB was to have come into effect from 1 July 2013.

FTB Part A change to age of eligibility

The Government announced it will change eligibility for FTB Part A for children aged 16 years and over. FTB Part A will only be paid until the end of the calendar year in which a child completes school. This change will start from 1 January 2014. Individuals who no longer qualify for FTB Part A may be eligible to receive Youth Allowance, subject to the usual eligibility requirements.

Seniors downsizing from family home - means test exemption

The Government will trial a pilot program from 1 July 2014 to provide a means test exemption for Age Pension recipients who are downsizing from their family home. The proposed measure will seek to remove the disincentive for pensioners to move to more age-appropriate housing (including granny flats, retirement homes, but not residential aged care). Under the proposal, the family home must have been owned for at least 25 years with at least 80% of proceeds from the sale (up to $200,000) to be deposited into a special account by an authorised deposit taking institution (ADI). These funds (plus earned interest) will be exempt from pension means testing for up to 10 years provided there are no withdrawals during the life of the account.


Medicare levy increase to 2% confirmed to fund Disability Care

The Medicare levy will be increased by 0.50% to 2% with effect from 1 July 2014, to help fund the Government's proposed National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS), now renamed DisabilityCare Australia. Low income earners will continue to receive relief from the Medicare levy through the low income thresholds for singles, families, seniors and pensioners. The current exemptions from the Medicare levy will also remain in place, including for blind pensioners and sickness allowance recipients. If the appropriate bills are passed, the increase will apply from 1 July 2014.

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Oct 2015
ATO launches Uber and eBay crackdown
2015 tax-free threshold increase "deferred"
Scrapping of planned FTB Part A increase
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