2024 ATO Audit Focus: 3 Key Areas

by | Jun 18, 2024

The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) has identified three main areas of focus for this tax season to ensure compliance and accuracy in tax returns. These key areas include work-related expenses, rental property income, and capital gains from cryptocurrency transactions. As the ATO sharpens its focus on these areas, taxpayers are urged to align closely with the guidelines laid out by the authority and uphold meticulous documentation standards. This proactive approach not only mitigates the risk of scrutiny but also facilitates a seamless processing of tax returns, fostering compliance and accuracy in the fiscal landscape. 

I. Work-Related Expenses 

To avoid ATO scrutiny, it is crucial to accurately claim work-related expenses and maintain proper documentation.

Documentation Requirements

Timesheets: Keep detailed records of hours worked from home, noting specific work activities and the duration of each session. This helps substantiate the amount of time spent working remotely. 

Running Expenses: Save evidence of expenses such as phone and electricity bills. Keep copies of your utility statements and phone bills to demonstrate the additional costs incurred from working at home. 

Depreciating Assets: Retain receipts for items like technology (e.g., computers, printers) and office furniture (e.g., desks, chairs). Document the date of purchase and the cost to claim depreciation over the asset’s useful life.

Claim Methods

Properly documenting and justifying work-related expenses will help ensure compliance with ATO regulations and reduce the likelihood of an audit. By maintaining meticulous records and choosing the appropriate claim method, you can accurately reflect your work-related costs and avoid potential issues with your tax return. 

Fixed Rate Method: This method allows you to claim 67 cents per hour worked from home. It covers all your running expenses, including electricity, phone usage, and depreciation of office furniture and equipment. It’s simpler but may result in a lower deduction. 

Actual Cost Method: Use this method if it offers greater benefits. You need to calculate the actual costs incurred and maintain detailed records for each expense. This method requires keeping track of all receipts, bills, and a detailed log of work-related usage to justify the claims. 

II. Rental Property Income 

Accurate reporting of rental property income and expenses is essential to comply with ATO guidelines.

Income and Expenses Reporting

Accurate Reporting of Rental Income: Ensure all rental income is correctly reported on your tax return. This includes rent received and any other payments related to the property. 

Repairs vs. Capital Improvements: Clearly distinguish between repairs and capital improvements. Repairs due to wear and tear or tenant damage are tax-deductible in the year they occur. In contrast, capital improvements, which enhance the property’s value, must be depreciated over time. 

Mortgage Interest

Full Interest Claims: You can claim the full interest on your mortgage only if there have been no drawdowns for private purposes. If you have used part of the loan for private expenses, only the interest related to the rental property portion is deductible. 

Properly categorising and reporting rental property income and expenses will help ensure compliance and avoid issues with the ATO. 

III. Capital Gains from Crypto Assets 

Understanding the tax obligations for cryptocurrency transactions is crucial to ensure compliance with ATO regulations.

Tax Obligations

Crypto Transactions Subject to Capital Gains Tax (CGT): Any transaction involving cryptocurrency, such as selling, exchanging, or swapping, triggers a CGT event. These events can result in either capital gains or losses, which must be accurately reported on your tax return. The taxable amount is calculated based on the difference between the purchase price and the sale price of the cryptocurrency. 

Record Keeping

Detailed Records of All Crypto Transactions: Maintain comprehensive records of all cryptocurrency transactions, including dates of acquisition and disposal, the value of the cryptocurrency in Australian dollars at the time of each transaction, the purpose of the transaction, and the details of the other party involved (even if it’s just an exchange platform).  

Eligibility for CGT Discount: If a cryptocurrency asset is held for more than 12 months before being sold, you may be eligible for a 50% CGT discount on the capital gain. This can significantly reduce the taxable amount, so it’s beneficial to track the holding period of each crypto asset. 

Accurate and compliant tax reporting is essential to avoid ATO scrutiny. Using digital tools for record-keeping and consulting tax professionals can help navigate complex deductions and ensure all income and expenses are correctly reported. Ensuring thoroughness and accuracy in your tax return will help you avoid potential issues and audits.  

We’re here to help   

When it comes to sidestepping accounting errors, outsourcing can be a smart move. Consider exploring outsourcing options with a trusted accounting firm like Chan & Naylor Pymble Sydney. Our experienced team specialises in offering customised bookkeeping and accounting services to fit your financial needs. Reach out today to see how outsourcing your bookkeeping can simplify your tasks and help you reach your business goals. Let’s team up to take your business to new heights.  

About Chan & Naylor     

Founded in 1990, we have partnered with thousands of businesses and property investors all over Australia. Choosing Chan & Naylor Pymble means you’re not just selecting a service provider; you’re gaining a partner aligned with your business goals. You’ll have access to a dedicated client manager supported by a team of accountants that specialises in business tax and investments.  Contact us today so we can discuss how we can help you.    


This article serves as general information only and may not account for the unique circumstances of individual readers. For personalised and strategic solutions tailored to your specific situation, we invite you to seek professional advice from Chan & Naylor. Our highly experienced team is dedicated to helping you navigate the complexities of Australian taxation, ensuring that your financial strategies align with the latest regulations. Contact us today to embark on a path of informed and customised tax planning for your property investments.