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A nation of tax cheats: How Australians are conning the taxman out of nearly $1000 EACH every year – leaving the country short $8.7BILLION

Daily Mail logo Daily Mail 11/07/2018 Charlie Moore

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Video provided by ABC News

Australians are conning the taxman out of $906 each on average, new figures reveal. 

The Tax Office this morning announced it was short $8.7billion due to tax dodging and accidental underpaying by self-employed people in 2014-15.

This was far bigger than the $2.5billion shortage from large companies, dispelling the myth that corporate tax dodging is the most pressing tax issue.

More than 70 per cent of audited returns contained errors, the figures show. 

Deputy Commissioner Alison Lendon said: 'Seven out of ten returns randomly selected for review had one or more errors.

'What we have seen is that most people make small, but avoidable errors so we will ramp up our assistance to help these people understand their obligations and get things right.

'But we are also asking people to take just a little extra care with what they claim, because all of those little amounts add up.

'A smaller number of people are deliberately doing the wrong thing – that has a significant impact on revenue. These people can expect closer attention from us, especially this tax time,' Ms Lendon said. 

a close up of electronics: Australians are conning the taxman out of $906 each on average, new figures reveal © Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited Australians are conning the taxman out of $906 each on average, new figures reveal The estimated net tax gap for individuals not in business in 2014–15 is approximately 6.4 per cent, or $8.7 billion, the figures show.

The tax gap for individuals not in business is primarily driven by incorrectly claimed work-related expenses. 

Common mistakes include claiming deductions where there is no connection to income, claims for private expenses, or not having records to show that an expense was incurred. 

Other areas of concern include high rates of incorrect claims for rental property expenses and non-reporting of cash wages.

In comparison to the gap for individuals not in business, the net income tax gap for large corporates was estimated at 5.8 per cent or $2.5 billion in 2014–15, the most recent published gap.

'The ATO will continue to focus on multinationals and large corporates, where in the last three years we have already made substantial progress from a strong base,' Ms Lendon said.

The community can be assured that the ATO is resolute on further increasing the level of voluntary compliance by large companies operating in Australia.

'We are better equipped than ever before to fulfil this commitment through increases in resources and stronger laws, especially the establishment of the Tax Avoidance Taskforce, and the introduction of new laws such as the Multinational Anti-Avoidance Law (MAAL), the Diverted Profits Tax (DPT) and Country-by-Country reporting (CbC). These initiatives are already showing we are making a difference.' 

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