ATO warns against “copy/pasting” 2020 work-related claims
The ATO is warning taxpayers against “copying and pasting” their previous year’s claims for work-related expenses without evidence.
The ATO is recommencing its focus on overclaiming of work-related expenses like car and travel claims that are predicted to decrease in this year’s tax returns, given the continued COVID-19 circumstances.
Last year, the value of car and travel expenses decreased by nearly 5.5%. However, there was a slight increase of around 2.6% in clothing expenses. With uniform and laundry claims significantly lower, this increase was driven by frontline workers’ first-time need for items like hand sanitiser and face masks.
COVID-19 changed taxpayers’ work habits and the ATO expects claims for work-related expenses to reflect this.
Changes to work-related expenses brought about by COVID-19 include:
• the introduction of the temporary shortcut method for home expenses for the entire 2020–21 financial year
• the ability to claim for personal protective equipment (PPE) such as gloves, face masks, sanitiser, or anti-bacterial spray if a taxpyer’s duties require physical contact or close proximity to customers or clients, and
• a decrease in the value of work-related expenses for cars, travel, non-PPE clothing and self-education as a result of the introduction of travel restrictions and limits on the number of people who could gather in groups.