Gig Economy Escapes Scrutiny Thanks to Election
Treasury bill lapses that would have forced sharing platforms to report transactions.
Ride-sharing and short-stay rental apps have been given a reprieve from mandatory reporting requirements thanks to the election.
The 21 May federal vote means a law, which would have required digital platforms to relay all transactions to the ATO, lapses and must start again under the next Parliament.
If the bill had passed, the new regime would have begun on 1 July, but it now looks almost certain to miss that deadline.
Tony Greco of the IPA said there might still be an opportunity to resurrect the bill in time, but a delay that might extend to a year was more likely.
“That lets a lot of people off the hook as far as the ATO keeping a watchful eye and making sure they comply,” he said.
The measure, a recommendation of the Black Economy Taskforce, would have drawn electronic platforms for taxis and accommodation into the tax net in its first year and extend the reporting mandate to all other aspects of the sharing economy in July 2023.
In the same bill was a measure to remove the $250 non-deductible threshold for work-related self-education expenses, due to commence from the 2022-23 income year and the 2023-24 FBT year.
Mr Greco said this was a missed opportunity to delete a legacy requirement that simply added an administration burden.
“It doesn’t cost the government any money, it’s past its use-by date, and should be removed,” Mr Greco said.
Also left in limbo by the election timing is a Treasury Laws Amendment Act that, among other things, would allow the Administrative Appeals Tribunal to prevent the ATO from collecting a small-business tax debt that is the subject of a dispute before the tribunal.
Mr Grego said the AAT’s ability to pause the debt collection could be a lifesaver for small businesses.
“If you’ve got a dispute with the tax office and go to the AAT to have the decision reviewed, the tax office legally can still chase you for the debt,” Mr Greco said.
“We find that grossly unfair. For a small business that can be quite debilitating if they have to cough up the money before a dispute is resolved – especially if the decision goes in their favour.
“It’s an important safety guard – if you’re in that situation then the AAT can say to the ATO, back off.”
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