Car sharing

ATO takes its share of car sharing

The extra income earned by people taking part in car sharing services such as Car Next Door or DriveMyCar has come to the attention of the ATO. 

trafficThe car sharing services work by making private cars publicly available in a similar way to other car hire services – it's like AirBNB for cars. Combined, DriveMyCar and Car Next Door state that over $13 million has been paid out to car owners renting through the service. 

The community or peer to peer rental can be confusing as many people taking part see it as private.

The ATO has taken an interest as some people utilising these services are counting the extra income as a hobby – income from a hobby is not assessable and does not need to be included on your income tax return. 

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Inherited property tax

Tax 'safe harbour' for inherited property

When someone inherits a dwelling there are some special rules contained within the main residence exemption provisions that can provide a full exemption if certain conditions are met. 

WillIf the conditions are not met, the beneficiary might face a nasty capital gains tax (CGT) bill for their good fortune.

In some cases, these conditions require the inherited property to be sold within two years of the date of death to qualify for the exemption, although the Commissioner has the discretion to extend this period in some situations. 

To simplify the tax requirements for beneficiaries (and executors) and ensure that they don't have the threat of a large tax bill hanging over their head, the ATO has outlined a safe harbour for inherited property. 

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Peter Fowler SCU Alumnus of the Year

Peter Fowler named outstanding alumnus
Collins Hume Partner, Peter Fowler, named Southern Cross University's School of Business & Tourism 2018 Alumnus of the Year at gala event in Lismore.

Peter Fowler SCU Alumnus of the YearSouthern Cross University 'welcomed home' more than 50 global changemakers to the highly anticipated Alumni of the Year Awards on Friday 28 September. 

Peter Fowler was recognised for the difference he makes to the Northern Rivers business community, providing astute commercial business advice together with innovation and growth initiatives that help the region's businesses to thrive. Peter also spearheads a number of activities to fundraise and provide support to charity.

In his acceptance speech, Peter congratulated all Finalists and thanked his wife, Jess, his parents and the teaching staff at SCU.

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Got a HELP debt?

Impending changes to speed up HELP repayments

The Government has moved to put an end to 'eternal students' who constantly study and never earn an income and speed up the payment cycle for those with outstanding debt.

studentsNew lifetime caps on Higher Education Loan Program (HELP) debt will prevent people from constantly going to University without converting that study into a viable career. From 1 January 2019, new loan limits come into force:
  • $150,000 – for students undertaking medicine, dentistry and veterinary science courses (as defined in HESA). The new limit is more than the intended FEE-HELP limit for 2019 of $130,552.
  • $104,440 – for other students.

The new lifetime limits only apply to new loans. Existing debt is not taken into account.  Read more…

ATO online rental blitz

190k taxpayers 'examined' in online rental blitz

The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) has announced a new data-matching program targeting taxpayers earning income from the exploding popularity of short-term rentals available on platforms like AirBNB and Stayz.

apartmentsUtilising information from online platform sharing sites matched to information from financial institutions, the ATO is targeting 190,000 individuals to make sure they have not failed to declare or under-declared rental income or have overclaimed deductions. In effect, whatever data your sharing platform holds on you will need to match what you have declared in your tax return. And yes, the ATO can potentially check what is coming in and out of your bank account.

The ATO states that there is no such thing as a "rental hobby" so even a one-off rental needs to be declared.

But it's not just the income the ATO is concerned about; deductions claimed are also in the spotlight. The ATO is concerned that some landlords are not only overclaiming - for example, claiming deductions for the whole house when only one room is rented out - but claiming deductions when the accommodation is not genuinely available for rent.

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