finance

The ATO’s top 5 dodgiest tax claims.

Search long enough and you’ll find a taxation accountant who will help you put through a few dodgy claims on your tax return. But be warned, the ATO is cracking down, choosing a group of deductions to clamp down on each year.

This year they turned their attention to work-related travel and rental claims.

Nice try but no dice.

The Sydney Morning Herald has revealed the top 5 dodgiest claims rejected by the ATO since June 30.

1. Vehicle claims

The taxpayer’s car expense claims were disallowed because the equipment could be stored at work and carrying them was his personal choice, not a requirement of his employer.

If you are required to transport equipment to and from home that is needed in order to complete your job you can claim vehicle expenses because you are using your vehicle to transport it to and from work. Pretty obvious. However, if you can securely store your equipment at work then you can’t claim it, as a railway security guard found out when he attempted to claim $3700 in work-related travel expenses for instruction manuals and bulky equipment.

Be careful about vehicle claims. Image via iStock. 

2. Holiday travel

A wine expert who works in a fancy restaurant tried to claim a European holiday including travel expenses and thousands of dollars of wine. He even tried to claim visits to wineries and vineyards as well as tour expenses.

The ATO rejected all of his claims saying the employees holiday was not a requirement of his job therefore not claimable. Probably shouldn't have spent $9000 on wine then.

ADVERTISEMENT

3. Fake conferences

The claims were disallowed and the taxpayer received a substantial penalty.

The really dodgy tax claims won't just be rejected but you'll also receive a hefty fine, if the ATO proves what a big, fat liar you are. Thus was the case of a worker who claimed to have been overseas for a conference, produced an invoice as a claim and all it took was a couple of phone calls for the ATO to discover the employee was in Australia at the time they alleged they were overseas at the conference. So busted.

Don't bother claiming work travel unless it is specifically for work or unless you actually attended. Image: Up In The Air, Paramount Pictures

4. Unproven car-related travel

We found they had recorded kilometres in their log book on days where there was no record of the car travelling on the toll roads, and further enquiries identified that the taxpayer was out of the country.

If you want to claim vehicle expenses for work-related travel you need to keep a detailed log book and also be the person who is A). Using your vehicle and B). Be in the country at the time. The ATO disallowed one worker's log book claims for car expenses when they discovered the worker had been overseas at the time of the claimed travel.

5. Rental deductions

He claimed he needed this because of the huge amount of books and study material associated with his course and had no space in his private or rented residence where these could be housed.

A taxpayer claimed he needed to rent another residence in order to store all of his materials however it was disallowed because the reason he gave didn't fulfill the criteria. The worker said he needed the space because he "required peace and quiet for uninterrupted study which he could not have in his own home". Don't we all.

Have some of your attempted tax deductions ever been rejected? 

FROM OUR NETWORK
00:00 / ???