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Scrutiny on Takings

Just in case you thought the Tax Office might overlook your small business and ability to sneak a bit of cash from the till without declaring it, think again.

The Government Gazette has revealed the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) will be receiving the debit and credit card date of 200,000 small business customers of the big four banks and the major regional banks.

When their computer systems catch up with technology, they will be able to check who is in business and who is not.

See earlier article about eBay and Trading Post, it is repeated below:

On-line Sales Under Scrutiny

The Tax Office has won approval from the Privacy Commissioner to check on-line sales.

Transactions through eBay and The Trading Post will be analysed back to July 2007.

The data will be compared against activity and income tax returns for individuals or business when sales were more than $20,000 on these sites in any of the last three years.

A business that sells via the internet is taxable in just the same way as if it sold via a shop-front, or mail order or telephone.

An individual who has a hobby and sells a few items on-line (for more than $20,000), is no different than selling that item via a newspaper advertisement.

Someone who has a ‘garage sale' at home or on-line is making a private transaction.

In other words, how an item is sold is largely irrelevant to its tax status.

What is different here, is how easy it is for the records to be accessed by the Tax Office, because both these organisations must provide the computerised transactions direct to the Australian Taxation Office - without the consent of the seller or the buyer!

Businesses should check that sales records include sales from all sources.

If mistakes have occurred, correcting them before the knock on the door from the tax man is wiser and cheaper.