The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) has reminded Uber drivers that they have information from third parties that will allow them to track any income is omitted from tax returns.
With the tax return season due to start Monday, ATO assistant commissioner Tom Wheeler said his organisation harvests more than 650 million pieces of data every year to match up against what individuals are actually reporting.
“[We] recently started receiving information directly from ride-sourcing facilitators to better support drivers to report their tax obligations correctly,” he said.
“This also means that if you misreport your income, red flags will be raised in our systems and we’ll start asking questions.”
While businesses that generate less than $75,000 per year do not have to register for GST, taxi drivers must report everything — and Uber and other rideshare drivers are counted as operating a “taxi” for this purpose.
“If you’re providing ride-sourcing services and do not have an Australian business number and GST registration, you should make this your first priority,” said Wheeler.
“By reporting your ride-sourcing income and GST you can also claim tax deductions and GST credits in respect of your business expenses, such as your car, fuel, servicing and your smartphone and data usage.”
The ATO first warned in January that data matching, similar to Centrelink’s controversial welfare overpayment crackdown, was actively in progress to scrutinise Australians making an income from sharing economy apps such as Uber, AirBnB and Airtasker.
Rideshare drivers were generally classified as sole traders, according to Wheeler, and as such could use the myDeductions tool in the ATO app to make their tax record-keeping easier.