Archive for the ‘Tax Cases’ Category

Illegal phoenix activity: public examinations in Federal Court matter

Tuesday, October 2nd, 2018

The ATO has announced that public examinations started in a Federal Court matter on 27 August 2018 in relation to a group of entities connected to a pre-insolvency advisor. The examinations will focus on the suspected promotion and facilitation of phoenix activities and tax schemes.
More than 45 service providers, clients and employees of pre-insolvency advisors, as well as alleged “dummy directors” of phoenix companies, will be examined.

GST: supplies of real property connected with Australia

Thursday, September 6th, 2018

GST Ruling GSTR 2018/1, issued on 22 August 2018, sets out the ATO’s view on when supplies of real property are connected with the indirect tax zone (Australia).
It states that a supply of real property is connected with Australia if the real property, or the land to which it relates, is in Australia. The ATO stresses that the test is the physical land’s location, not the location of the interest or right over the land. The supply of a right to accommodation in Australia also constitutes the supply of real property connected with Australia.

Delay in extending reportable payments to courier and cleaning services

Thursday, September 6th, 2018

The legislative logjam in Federal Parliament is affecting the implementation of a wide range of tax measures, and the ATO is having to implement some practical work-arounds.
In the 2017–18 Federal Budget the Government announced that from 1 July 2018, businesses that supply courier or cleaning services will need to report payments they make to contractors for courier or cleaning services. The payments must be reported to the ATO each year using the taxable payments annual report (TPAR). However, legislation to implement this is still before the Senate.
The ATO will not require TPARs to be lodged up until the law change is passed by Parliament. Taxpayers will be expected to keep sufficient business records to enable a TPAR to be prepared and lodged “as soon as is reasonably practicable after the law is enacted”.

ATO targeting car sharing platforms

Thursday, September 6th, 2018

The ATO has announced it will turn its attention to anyone earning income through car sharing platforms. ATO Assistant Commissioner Kath Anderson said there is evidence that some people who are undertaking sharing activities using third-party services such as Car Next Door, Carhood and DriveMyCar Rentals might not understand the taxation implications involved.
TIP: You must declare in your tax return any income you receive, and you cannot avoid tax by calling the car sharing a hobby.
While any car sharing expenses you claim as tax deductions must relate directly to the renting, hiring or sharing of your car, the Assistant Commissioner has said that most car sharers can legitimately claim deductions for costs like platform membership fees, availability fees, cleaning fees and car running expenses.

First Home Super Saver scheme: ATO guidance

Thursday, September 6th, 2018

Law Companion Ruling LCR 2018/5, issued by the ATO on 15 August 2018, provides guidance on the First Home Super Saver (FHSS) scheme.
TIP: The FHSS scheme is designed to help eligible first-home buyers by allowing them to make voluntary superannuation contributions and then withdraw those amounts and associated earnings to use when purchasing a first home.
People who meet the eligibility criteria can access the scheme by applying to the ATO for a determination and a release authority. They must make superannuation contributions that are eligible for release under the scheme, namely voluntary concessional or non-concessional contributions that come within the relevant contributions cap.
There are limits on the amounts withdrawn ($15,000 per financial year and $30,000 in total, subject to the contribution caps).

Tax return required for excess super non-concessional contributions

Thursday, September 6th, 2018

The ATO has reminded taxpayers that they need to lodge a tax return for any financial year in which they exceed their non-concessional contributions cap, and that making excess contributions may lead to having to pay extra tax.
The annual non-concessional cap for individuals is $100,000 (or $300,000 over three years for people aged under 65), provided you have a total superannuation balance of less than $1.6 million at 30 June of the prior year. The ATO determines if you have exceeded the non-concessional cap by looking at your date of birth and the information reported by your super funds and in your tax return.
Taxpayers who go over the non-concessional cap can withdraw the excess non-concessional contributions (plus 85% of the associated earnings). The full amount of the earnings (100%) are then included in the taxpayer’s assessable income (and subject to a 15% tax offset). If an individual does not withdraw the excess contributions they are taxed at the top marginal tax rate (plus the Medicare levy).

Illegal early access to super: ATO warning about scammers

Thursday, August 2nd, 2018

The ATO has issued a warning to be aware of scammers who promise to organise access to people’s retirement savings for a fee. Unscrupulous promoters encourage people to illegally access their super early to help with expenses such as the purchase of a car, paying off debts, sending money to overseas relatives and taking a holiday. The ATO has seen promoters, mostly in western Sydney, targeting people with small to medium super balances, those involved in local community groups, and those who may not have engaged with their super before being approached.

Court finds pay-as-you-go amounts “withheld” from salary payments

Tuesday, April 10th, 2018

The Federal Court has ruled that pay-as-you-go (PAYG) amounts were “withheld” from a taxpayer’s salary payments so that she was entitled to a tax credit, despite the amounts never being remitted or notified to the ATO by her employers.
This case illustrates the importance of records and documentation in tax matters. The Court examined evidence such as the taxpayer’s offer of employment, payslips, bank statements and payment summaries, which suggested that the salary payments she received were “net pay” amounts (and not “gross”).
The Court noted that where an employer has not remitted PAYG withholding amounts to the ATO, this will raise questions about whether amounts were really withheld. However, adequate documentation can – as in this case – be used to prove that PAYG has in fact been withheld by an employer, even if the employer has subsequently failed to remit this to the ATO.

Windfarm grant was an assessable recoupment

Tuesday, February 27th, 2018

The Full Federal Court has dismissed a taxpayer’s appeal and held that a Commonwealth grant of almost $2.5 million for the establishment of a windfarm was an assessable recoupment (Denmark Community Windfarm Ltd v FCT [2018] FCAFC 11).
In May 2011, the taxpayer was given a renewable energy grant for 50% of the project costs it incurred in constructing two wind turbines. The grant was paid in instalments on the completion of identified project milestones.
The ATO made a private ruling that the grant would be assessable income. The taxpayer argued against the ruling, but the Full Federal Court dismissed the taxpayer’s appeal.

Federal Court rules on PAYG avoidance

Monday, August 21st, 2017

The Federal Court and Administrative Appeals Tribunal have agreed with the ATO that a business, Sunraysia Harvesting Contractors Pty Ltd, was making use of a “sham” arrangement with three other companies to avoid pay as you go (PAYG) and payroll accounting responsibilities. Sunraysia’s operators argued, unsuccessfully, that the three other companies employed Sunraysia’s workers, and those companies were responsible for PAYG deductions and payroll tax. The Federal Court said the arrangement was a “crude” structure with “no worth”, and ruled to deny Sunraysia’s input tax credits and impose penalties for GST shortfall and the business’s failure to meet its PAYG, payroll and other income tax obligations.


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