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Australia Pursuing 'Sharing Economy' Tax Dues

by Mary Swire,, Hong Kong

19 July 2016

The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) has said that it is concerned that those earning money from the "sharing economy" may not realize that they are required to declare these earnings on their tax return.

Assistant Commissioner Graham Whyte said: "The sharing economy has changed the way we do a lot of things, but it hasn't changed the ATO's definition of income. In the sharing economy, buyers and sellers are connected through a facilitator who usually operates an app or website."

"If you earn money from doing odd jobs or providing a service like task sharing, transporting passengers through things like ride-sourcing, or renting out a room or house, you need to declare it because it counts as assessable income. If you are running a business through the sharing economy you also need to declare this income."

"It's a bit different if the goods you provide or the activity you complete through a sharing economy website or platform is done as a hobby or recreational activity. The amount you are paid may not be assessable income. You can check the ATO website for information on how to work this out."

According to Whyte, most people involved in the sharing economy will be entitled to claim deductions if they are declaring income. Depending on their activities, certain taxpayers could be required to register for, and pay, goods and services tax.

Whyte added that the ATO obtains more than 600m pieces of data from a range of third party sources each year. He said: "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."

TAGS: compliance | tax | business | tax compliance | revenue guidance | Australia | social economy | tax authority | retail | services

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