The Share Economy is becoming big business in Australia. More than one in 200 homes are on apartment rental sites like airbnb. If you need a parking spot, Parkhound lets you rent a nearby driveway. If you’d like a caravan for a week, Camplify lets you lease one. Research by Deloitte Access Economics states that 53 per cent of Australian consumers “participated in some form of collaborative economy” last year, and 63 per cent planned to in the near future, as sharing becomes a more accepted way of doing business. And the ATO wants to make sure all that income is being taxed.Last year, Uber was dragged kicking and screaming to its GST obligations, and the tax office warned its 20,000 drivers to declare their incomes or be audited and penalised before launching a data matching offensive.Insiders say that Airbnb is next on the ATO’s hit list, with an educational campaign blitz expected to be followed by increased auditing of hosts of the 75,000 Australian properties currently listed on the home sharing site.CPA Australia Head of Policy Paul Drum warned that hiding income from the tax man was not only illegal, but incredibly risky in the digital age.“The ATO can analyse transaction data almost at the flick of a switch now, just like they can crunch land tax receipts and ask ‘how can this taxpayer afford that property?’” Mr Drum said.For example, he said, the amount of commissions Uber and Airbnb received from each ride or stay could easily reveal how much each driver or host would have earned over the financial year.“This can all be data matched extremely quickly now,” Mr Drum said, adding that any issues with foreign-owned companies holding back data would soon be resolved by growing international co-operation in fighting corporate tax avoidance.And while many people think that the tax office can only delve seven years back into a taxpayer’s records, Mr Drum said this was not the case.“If you’ve been hiding out, which means you’re committing tax fraud and evasion, there’s no limit — they could make you back pay to whenever,” he said. “There’s no threshold,” Mr Drum said. “The measure is ‘are you going about it in a business like If you need advice on your Share Economy income, book a free consultation with us to discuss your circumstances.
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