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ATO To Crack Down On Bogus Claims

The Australian Taxation Office is on the lookout for anyone trying to scam working-from-home expenses while also maintaining or increasing claims for things like car, travel or clothing expenses.

The ATO had to shift a gear last year to get out stimulus benefits, but warns it will return its attention to overclaiming work-related expenses this tax time, noting the pandemic had changed people’s work habits.

“We know many people started working from home during Covid-19, so a jump in these claims is expected,” assistant commissioner Tim Loh said.

“But, if you are working at home, we would not expect to see claims for travelling between worksites, laundering uniforms or business trips.

“You can’t simply copy and paste previous year’s claims without evidence.”

Last year, the value of car and travel expenses decreased by nearly 5.5 percent, but there was a 2.6 percent rise in uniform and laundry claims, driven by frontline workers’ first-time need for products like hand sanitiser and face masks.

Loh warns firm action will be taken against people deliberately making claims they are not entitled to.

“We know some of these unusual claims may be legitimate. So, if you explain your claim with evidence, you have nothing to fear,” Loh said.

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