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Tax Alert: ATO targeting false laundry claims

The ATO has advised it will be targeting false clothing and laundry work-related expense claims this tax time.

In 2018, around six million people claimed work-related clothing and laundry expenses totalling nearly $1.5 billion. Assistant Commissioner Karen Foat noted that, although many Australians can claim clothing and laundry expenses, it’s unlikely that half of all taxpayers are required to wear uniforms, protective clothing or occupation-specific clothing to earn their income.

Last year a quarter of all clothing and laundry claims were exactly at the record-keeping limit", Ms Foat said. "But don’t think that we won’t scrutinise a claim because we don’t require receipts”.

The ATO is also concerned about the number of people claiming deductions for conventional clothing, such as retail workers claiming normal clothes "because their boss told them to wear a certain colour, or items from the latest fashion clothing line", or others claiming normal clothes because they only wear them to work.

The ATO’s sophisticated data analytics is constantly improving and can identify unusual claims by comparing taxpayer claims to others in similar occupations. Taxpayers who can’t substantiate their claims should expect to have them refused, and may be penalised for failing to take reasonable care when submitting their tax return.

Wondering whether you are entitled to make a laundry claim as part of your tax return? Give us a call and we will help you work it out.

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