Tax Changes, and What’s New in TAX this year!

What are the tax changes, and what’s new in tax this year!  Here are 6 areas to watch out for.

With the ever increasing popularity of the sharing economy, the ATO is looking out for those using Airbnb to make some extra cash.
The payments you receive through Airbnb will normally be deemed as assessable income, and are subject to income tax. This means in your tax return you must declare the income you receive and you are also entitled to claim a deduction for the associated expenses.
If you are only renting part of your residence, you will be required to apportion the expenses claimed based on the time your room was available for rent and the floor area of your house that is used for renting.
You should keep records of all of your income and expenses regardless of the amount you earn.

Property investors that purchased a property previously used for residential accommodation after 9 May 2017 are no longer allowed to claim depreciation for plant and equipment that was existing prior to the time of purchase.
The purchase of any new plant and equipment will continue to be depreciable over the effective life of the asset.
Investors will also still be eligible to claim a deduction for capital works otherwise known as building write off.
From 1 July 2017, property investors are no longer able to claim a deduction for travel expenses relating to inspecting, maintaining, or collecting rent for a residential rental property. However, this does not apply to commercial properties.


There has been a lot in the media recently regarding the ATO’s crackdown on taxpayers claiming clothing and laundry expenses. The ATO has indicated it will pay special attention to this area because in 2015/16 over 6.3 million taxpayers claimed almost $1.8 billion in clothing and laundry expenses. These claims have increased by 20% over the past 5 years.
For clothes to be eligible as a deduction they must be occupation-specific clothing (e.g. protective clothing or a uniform that is unique to the organisation you work for, not simply a dress or colour code your employer tells you to wear.
Laundry expenses can only be claimed for clothing that fall into one of the above categories. Whilst the ATO has allowed a claim of up to $150 without requiring written evidence, this is not an automatic deduction. The taxpayer must still be able to demonstrate that they had incurred the expenditure on deductible clothing and that the claim was made on a reasonable estimate. The ATO considers that a reasonable basis for working out a laundry claim would be $1 per load – this includes washing, drying and ironing – if it is made up only of the deductible clothes. The claim is reduced to 50 cents per load if other laundry items are included.


Did you know that you may be able to claim your personal superannuation contributions as a tax deduction?
Previously, an individual (mainly those who are self-employed) could claim a deduction for personal super contributions where they met certain conditions. One of these conditions is that less than 10% of their income is from salary and wages. This is known as the ‘10% Test’.
From the 1st July 2017, the 10% test no longer applies, and individuals are generally able to claim a tax deduction for the full amount of any personal contributions. The superannuation fund must have received the contributions before the end of the financial year and there are certain restrictions for those individuals who are under 18 or over 65.
If you are eligible and want to claim a tax deduction, you need to complete a Notice of intent to claim a deduction form and send it to your fund within the required timeframe. You can get this from your fund or from the ATO website.
You will need to receive an acknowledgment from your fund before you lodge your tax return for the relevant year. Then you can claim a deduction in your tax return for the contributions you made.


These claims fall into two categories – cars and other vehicles. Other vehicles are generally utes or vehicles primarily designed to carry cargo.
The tax changes are that there are now only two options for claiming expenses for cars. Cents per kilometre or keeping a logbook for 12 continuous weeks. Most claims are made on the cents per kilometre basis. You need to demonstrate how you have worked out your claim. For example, record your trips in a diary for a month. This method means that you don’t need to keep all your receipts relating to the car.
With the logbook you need to keep all your receipts, though you can use an estimate for fuel based on a sample of your usage or by published consumption rates.
With utes and commercial vehicles things are a bit different. You need to keep all receipts including fuel receipts. The ATO also now wants you to keep a logbook to establish your business use.
Scanning and cloud storage makes the keeping of these receipts easy now.

Many of us work from home to some degree. Generally, you can claim for electricity, phone and internet, stationery and for equipment purchased to perform this work e.g. Desks, chairs, storage, computers and printers.
Yes, you need to keep receipts for items purchases and diary records for the hours worked and the internet and phone usage. A month is sufficient to establish a pattern. With mobile phone usage, the percentage use claim can be based either on the value of work calls made vs the total value of calls or on a time basis, as we generally have capped call plans now.
You can work out your claim for expenses based on 45 cents per hour of use, or calculate the claim based on the actual consumption of power. Generally, you can’t claim your rent or mortgage expenses