ATO monitors personal living expenses

ATO monitors personal living expenses


In an ongoing effort to address misuse and abuse of the tax and regulatory systems, the ATO has implemented a new tool to monitor what constitutes reasonable personal living expenses.

Information is requested by the tax office to identify unreported cash income when looking at household expenditure. An individual will be required to provide this information to work out if they need to make adjustments to their business and record-keeping practices as well as help the ATO identify if they should be selected for an audit.

In the event of an audit or when making an assessment in the course of examining an individual’s tax affairs, the ATO will employ a set of guidelines presented in the form of questionnaire worksheets. These worksheets will require taxpayers to provide certain details about the living expenses of their household.

There are two versions of the worksheet, both of which outline what the tax office looks at when examining personal living expenses. The worksheets can be used at any time by individuals to:

  • Compare their household income to expenses and assess if their declared income is enough to support their lifestyle.
  • Review their record keeping.
  • Make adjustments to their reported income.
  • Consider whether making a voluntary disclosure is necessary.

Discrepancies in tax returns that have been discovered by individuals completing a personal living expenses worksheet can be adjusted through voluntary disclosure. Taxpayers that voluntarily inform the ATO of mistakes before an audit may be eligible for reduced penalties.

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If you believe the matters discussed above are relevant to your business, please contact Darren Smith of our office to discuss further.


Darren is a Chartered Accountant with extensive experience, including working in the big 4 and medium sized firms before becoming a partner of a city based firm in 2000.

He has gained much experience and has extensive knowledge in providing business and taxation advice, superannuation planning, negotiation of sales and acquisitions of businesses and property development. His client base covers a wide range of industry groups.

Darren works with business owners to grow their businesses and create personal wealth within and outside of their business.


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