WITH more than 50,000 individual tax returns tipped to be lodged in Bendigo, it’s heads down for accountants.
The Australian Taxation Office reports more than 700,000 returns have already been lodged nationally since July 1, with an average refund of about $3000 per person.
Anthony Cappy, a partner at MGR Accountants, said the influx of returns wouldn’t include those for companies, trusts or partnerships, which would continue to flood in beyond the self-lodgement deadline of October 31.
“According to the ATO more than 53,000 individual returns were lodged in Bendigo in 2013 – figures are not in for 2014 yet – which covers off postcodes 3550, 3551, five and six,” Mr Cappy said. “We find most salary and wage earners tend to lodge returns as quickly as possible, especially if they are expecting money back, as they hope to access refunds sooner rather than later.”
With more than 30 tax agents registered in the region, he said taxpayers should seek advice if they were not sure on deductions as ATO’s data matching software could pick up on lodgement anomalies.
“This year the ATO is able to access share registry information to match data on selling and buying shares; selling online is another focus, especially for those people who run an online store to make money. If you are in doubt, ask questions of your tax agent,” he said.
CPA Australia’s head of policy Paul Drum said the ATO would pay close attention on the cash economy.
“It has indicated that it is looking extra closely at hairdressers and those trades in the building and construction industry, such as concreting, bricklaying, roofing, landscaping and plumbing services, amongst many others,” Mr Drum said.
“They focus on an industry where they see a disproportionate number of businesses that show certain hallmarks, such as indications of unrealistic income relative to the assets and lifestyle of the business and owner, failing to register or lodge business activity or income tax returns, are operating outside the usual financial ratios for their industry or have been failing to meet super or employer obligations.”
The $20,000 instant asset tax write-off was proving popular with small business, Mr Cappy said. However, Mr Drum warned the ATO would be watching. “We expect the $20,000 capital asset immediate write-off initiative will also come under scrutiny when tax returns roll in this year, with talk of some taxpayers seeking to exploit the new rules by claiming essentially private items as business deductions.”