ATO warns ride-sharing drivers about GST obligation: “We know who you are”

The Australian Taxation Office has put the hard word on ride-sharing drivers and the wider gig economy, reminding drivers working for platforms like Uber about the importance of meeting their GST obligations next tax time.

The tax office determined in 2015 that ride-sharing and ride-sourcing drivers should be classified in the same way as taxi drivers for GST purposes, meaning they must register for an Australian Business Number and for the GST even if they are under the $75,000 threshold.

Uber appealed the decision in the Federal Court earlier this year but lost, and since then the ATO has been periodically reminding drivers of their tax obligations.

However, the tax office says the message isn’t getting through, with ATO assistant commissioner Tom Wheeler saying in a statement that the tax office has notified over 120,000 ride-sharing drivers over the past 18 months regarding their tax obligations.

“We know that most drivers do the right thing, and we are now focusing attention on the minority of drivers that are not currently meeting their obligations,” Wheeler said in a statement this morning.

“Our message to taxpayers is that if you have a ride-sourcing enterprise you must get an Australian Business Number and register for GST as soon as you start driving. You also need to include the income on your tax return at tax time.”

Wheeler notes the ATO is sourcing information “directly” from banks and facilitators, and warns “we know who you are, and we know if you aren’t correctly meeting your obligations”. Read more

Dominic Powell – Smart Company – 27 Oct 2017