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ATO developing software to stop tax avoidance

The ATO is in the midst of developing advanced data programs to find individuals who are leaving a source of income out of their tax return. Analytical tools have been developed to utilise the amount of data the ATO receives to identify instances where income has gone unreported. This is to address the annual $1.4 billion tax shortfall caused by individuals who leave income out of their return.

The ATO has identified that the most common mistakes are made by taxpayers leaving out cash wages. There are also issues with the non-disclosure of income from second jobs, capital gains on cryptocurrency, the sharing economy, the gig economy and foreign-sourced income.

Concerning foreign sourced income, the ATO has identified that most funds come from the UK, USA, China, Switzerland, Hong Kong, New Zealand and Singapore. In response to this, the ATO is developing a single global standard for collection, reporting and exchange of financial account information on foreign tax residents.

The ATO imposes penalties and interest for a failure to disclose an accurate statement of income tax. The penalties can range from 25 per cent up to 75 per cent of the shortfall, in addition to paying the money owed.

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Penalty interest deductibles

June 24, 2019

The ATO has recently replaced the Taxation Ruling (TR) 93/7W on whether penalty interest is deductible to the new TR 2019/2. This new ruling highlights the circumstances in which penalty interest is deductible and the situations where it is not.

“Penalty interest” refers to an amount charged by a lender to a borrower under a loan agreement if instalments are not paid. The payable amount is then calculated by reference to a number of months of interest that would have been received.

TR 2019/2 says that penalty interest is generally deductible under section 8-1 where:

Penalty interest that is incurred to discharge a mortgage is also deductible under section 25-30, to the extent that borrowed funds were used to produce assessable income. The ATO makes a note that unlike the general deduction provisions, there’s no influence from the expense being capital or revenue in nature.

You cannot deduct a loss or outgoing under section 8-1(2) to the extent that: