TV and radio airwaves have been awash with the annual announcement of who the Australian Tax Office will be targeting for the 2012/13 income tax year. Every year the ATO releases its Compliance in focus report. This time around the real estate industry, amongst other sectors, has been highlighted.
What does this mean for you?
Real estate has been singled out for non-payment of superannuation:
“Every time an employee tells us that their employer has not paid their superannuation guarantee entitlement, we investigate. In the coming year we expect to contact around 12,000 employers as a result of these complaints.” Source: ATO Compliance in Focus 2013-14 report
This is a serious matter. Although lagging super payments during times of tight cash flow may seem logical, it could put the spotlight on your business for the 2013/14 tax year.
Also relevant to real estate agents are the ATO emphasis on employers’ compliance with:
– Identifying and reporting for FBT – see p8
– Fraudulent Phoenix Activity – see p8
– Workers incorrectly treated as contractors rather than employees – see p8
– Payment of superannuation guarantee – see p8 and p20
Essentially, the ATO examines businesses by size and transaction type as part of its annual compliance strategy. The announcements are nothing new. They simply state where the ATO is placing greater emphasis and enforcement of existing tax laws.
If you have any concerns or doubts, the simplest solution is to speak to your Tax Accountant and follow their advice. One of the best ways to avoid non-compliance is to have an experienced, qualified bookkeeper in your business. A good bookkeeper will handle these matters along the way, and where needed can get the right answers directly from a Qualified Tax Agent.
If you don’t know who to speak to, or for help managing your real estate books, please contact us at Live Bookkeeping. We really know real estate, and will save you time, money and headaches.
Take care, and I hope your sales and rent rolls are growing. As I always advise, keep your tax up to date. The ATO is always a better friend than enemy.