Work Related Expenses Land Chef in Trouble
Helen Feulufai, a 27 year old Crestmead chef, was convicted in the Brisbane Magistrates Court for falsifying her income tax return when she claimed refunds over three years amounting to more than $45,000 from the ATO.
Ms Feulufai was employed as a chef at a Queensland hospital when she was convicted of three criminal offences for fraudulently claiming charity donations in her 2016 to 2018 financial year income tax returns. Equipment including a full work uniform including personal protective equipment and tool were supplied by her employer and in her capacity as a chef, Ms Feulufai was not required to travel or use her own motor vehicle.
The information Ms Feulufai provided showed total claims for $16,970 in the 2016 financial year, $14,417 in the 2017 financial year and $13,691 in the 2018 financial year.
Ms Feulufai has been ordered to repay the refunds, as well as a $3,000 fine and an additional $20,000 to the tax commissioner and to cover court costs.
Ms Feulufai had previously undergone two audits in 2012 and 2014 for attempting to claim similar deductions. Both occasions, she was sent audit finalisation letter and provided education with regard to the valid deductible expenses for travel, vehicle and charitable donations.
ATO assistant commissioner Peter Vujanic states that “this case also serves as an important reminder that you must be able to provide valid deductible expenses in your income tax return, including travel and clothing expenses as well as any charitable donations.”
“Taxpayers who can’t substantiate their claims should expect to have them refused, and may be penalised for failing to take reasonable care when submitting their tax return.
“Even if you lodge through a tax agent, your claims must be legitimate and you must be able to justify them if you asked to by the ATO. If you intend to push the boundaries, or perhaps fudge some parts of your return, the ATO has you in it’s sights.”
The ATO will be extra careful this year after they revealed an $8.7 billion gap caused by incorrect claims for deductions for work-related expenses and omitted income.
In 2018, over 3.6 million people made a work-related car expense claims totaling more than $7.2 billion. In addition, around six million people claimed work-related clothing and laundry expenses totalling nearly $1.5 billion.
PaysOnline’s outsourced payroll solution can help you and your employees remain as compliant as possible. Contact us today to see how payroll should be.
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