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FBT issues that raise ATO attention

With the FBT year-end just around the corner, it is a good time to review your FBT compliance to avoid raising attention from the Australian Tax Office (ATO).

The ATO is currently targeting the following rules for FBT:

Motor vehicles
Situations where an employer-provided motor vehicle is used or available for private travel for staff. This is a fringe benefit and must be declared on the FBT return (if lodgment is required). However, there are some circumstances where this is exempt; be sure to check before lodgement.

Employee contributions
The ATO focus on employee contributions that have been paid by an employee to an employer and are declared on both the FBT return and employer’s income tax return to ensure they are correctly reported.

Employer rebate
A taxpayer must be a rebatable employer to claim a FBT rebate, the ATO will check the taxpayer’s eligibility as some employers incorrectly claim for this rebate.

Living-away-from-home (LAFHA) allowance
Common errors with the LAFHA allowance include claiming reductions for ineligible employees, failing to obtain declarations from employees, claiming a reduction in the taxable value of the LAFHA benefit for exempt accommodation and food in invalid circumstances and failing to substantiate expenses relating to accommodation and food or drink.

Non-lodgement
Employers who provide fringe benefits must lodge a FBT return unless the taxable value of all benefits has been reduced to nil.

Car parking valuation
Common errors include market valuations that are significantly less than the fees charged for parking within a one km radius of the premises on which the car is parked, the use of rates paid where the parking facility is not readily identifiable as a commercial parking station, rates charged for monthly parking on properties purchased for future development that do not have any car park infrastructure, and insufficient evidence to support the rates used as the lowest fee charged for all day parking by a commercial parking station.

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News

What Are The Consequences Of Improperly Lodged Tax Returns?

May 4, 2021

With tax return season approaching quickly this year, you may have already started looking into lodging your income tax return. Ensuring that your details are correct and that any information about your earned income from the year is lodged is the responsibility of the taxpayer and their tax agent. However, if during this income tax return process the tax obligations of the taxpayer fail to be complied with, the Australian Taxation Office has severe penalties that they can enforce.

Australian taxation laws authorise the ATO with the ability to impose administrative penalties for failing to comply with the tax obligations that taxpayers inherently possess.

As an example, taxpayers may be liable to penalties for making false or misleading statements, failing to lodge tax returns or taking a tax position that is not reasonably arguable. False or misleading statements have different consequences if the statement given results in a shortfall amount or not. In both cases, the penalty will not be imposed if the taxpayer took reasonable care in making the statement (though they may still be subject to another penalty provision) or the statement of the taxpayer is in accordance with the ATO’s advice, published statements or general administrative practices in relation to a tax law.

The penalty base rate for statements that resulted in a shortfall amount is calculated as a percentage of the tax shortfall, or in the case of no shortfall amount, as a multiple of a penalty unit. This percentage is determined by the behaviour that led to the shortfall amount or as a multiple of a penalty unit, which are as follows:

If a statement fails to be lodged at the appropriate time, you may be liable for a penalty of 75% of the tax-related liability if:

To ensure that the statements, returns and lodgements are done correctly, and avoid the risk of potential penalties, contact us today. We’re here to help.