Tax warning for property investors

By Staff Reporter

The ATO is about to gain access to a raft of information that may implicate landlords who have failed to keep check of their property dealings, according to a well-known accounting firm.

Tax accountancy firm H&R Block has used the looming Christmas break to warn property investors to make sure their property dealings have been in line with regulation, as the Australian Tax Office prepares to delve into taxpayers’ property transactions dating back to 1985. 

According to H&R Block, the ATO is set to acquire details of all taxpayers’ property transactions from 1985, including state revenue offices, rental bond authorities and land title offices.

“Amongst the haul of information the ATO will obtain over the next few months are names of landlords, lease periods, amounts of rental bond, rents payable, dates of property transfers, names of transferers and transferees and valuation details,” a release from the company stated.

This new information will then be cross-referenced against existing data, including tax return data disclosed by taxpayers over the years, held by the ATO in order to ensure taxpayers are correctly meeting their tax and other obligations in relation to property dealings.

Mark Chapman, director of tax communications with H&R Block, explained the initiative is set to have major implications for those who have purchased property during the last three decades.

“This huge data haul has implications for everyone who has bought, sold or rented out a property over the last 30 years. If taxpayers are nervous they might have under-declared some income or gains, or over-claimed expenses, they should be heading down to their nearest tax agent to get a tax ‘health-check’ on any property dealings,” Mr Chapman said.

“The ATO can build a complete picture of all taxpayers’ property-related transactions over that period, and without doubt if they find discrepancies, they’ll be coming to talk to them. Better to get in first and make a voluntary disclosure. That way penalties can be avoided if an audit takes place,” he added.


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