The ATO is warning that it is ramping up its use of data matching technology with third parties to detect undeclared income. In fact, last year alone the ATO wrote to over 20,000 ride-sharing drivers about their tax obligations after data-matching identified them as earning income from Uber or similar apps.

In addition, data matching enables the ATO to ensure those earning income from ‘the shared economy’ are registered for GST, irrespective of turnover, as required from August 2015.

ATO assistant commissioner Matthew Bambrick said that his organisation obtains more than 650 million records from “a range of third party sources such as Uber to match and analyse with its own data to catch Australians not declaring income”.

“The data enables us to put together a picture of what a person’s assessable income should be. If something doesn’t look quite right, it will send up a red flag and we’ll investigate further,” he said.

In a nutshell, the ATO believe they are keeping up with the sharing economy and have the ability to identify if you have left out components of income.

More specifically, the tax office website shows that data-matching processes are currently in place for ridesharing, eBay sales, credit and debit cards, “specialised” payment systems and motor vehicle registrations, meaning it’s not just Uber drivers in the spot light!

So, what do Uber drivers need to do?

  1. Ensure you are registered for GST.
  2. Ensure you are retaining your Uber statements so all income and fee expenses can be declared accurately.
  3. Keep receipts for all costs associated with driving such as fuel, mints, water, insurances, car washes, services and the like.
  4. Keep your invoices and finance documents for vehicle purchases.
  5. Keep a log book for three months so the accurate percentage of vehicle depreciation and expenses can be claimed.
  6. Remember to keep receipts for all other expenses associated with your sole-trader business such as mobile phones, internet, reference books, training courses, Accountant fees, uniforms etc.

And last but not least, get yourself a good Tax Agent. At ABA Tax we are committed to offering Uber drivers a very painless and cost-effective service to ensure they are not only compliant, but claiming every possible deduction along the way!


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