Finance Finance News Tax office launches crackdown on ‘lifestyle assets’
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Tax office launches crackdown on ‘lifestyle assets’

Falls in luxury car sales often coincide with house price drops.
The Australian Taxation Office is coming after people with yachts, private planes and other expensive assets. Photo: Getty
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Are you declaring an average income but inexplicably able to afford a private jet or fancy car?

The tax office would like a word.

Wealthy Australians with yachts, fine art and thoroughbred horses are coming under the microscope of the ATO.

More than 30 insurers have been told to hand over information on clients with “lifestyle assets” including private planes and luxury cars.

“If a taxpayer is reporting a taxable income of $70,000 to us but we know they own a $3 million yacht then this is likely to raise some red flags,” ATO deputy commissioner Deborah Jenkins said on Wednesday.

“Regardless of your level of wealth, we all need to pay the correct amount of tax.”

Roughly 350,000 taxpayers are being targeted in the crackdown.

“Doing things like being untruthful about your income or failing to declare capital gains is effectively stealing from the community,” Ms Jenkins said.

“This is money the community is missing out on to pay for infrastructure and services we all rely on like schools, hospitals, and roads.”

The compliance action is primarily aimed at taxpayers understating their incomes.

But the data will also expose taxpayers who have made undeclared capital gains on the disposal of certain assets.

The tax office also wants to flush out people buying assets for purely personal reasons and claiming GST credits as if the items were business assets.

“If we discover incorrect GST input tax credit claims for items purchased for personal reasons, we’ll be following up and seeking full repayment on top of any applicable interest and penalties,” Ms Jenkins said.

Self-managed super funds will also be examined.

The investigation will trace assets owned since mid-2015, as the ATO has already collected data on the two financial years before that.

People who suspect they have failed to comply with their tax or superannuation obligations are being enticed with reduce penalties if they dob themselves in.

Insurers have been instructed to provide policy information on assets that meet these thresholds:

  • Aircraft $150,000
  • Marine vessels $100,000
  • Fine art $100,000 per item
  • Motor vehicles $65,000
  • Thoroughbred horses $65,000

-with AAP

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