More than 2.1 million taxpayers are claiming $47.4 billion in deductions against $44.1 billion in reported income, the Australian tax commissioner Chris Jordan said in a speech in Hobart.
Looking at the scale of deductions claimed, “you can get a sense of the potential revenue at risk”, he said.
Jordan told a conference of tax agents that the ATO had been making random inquiries about tax returns.
“Our auditors have now completed over 300 audits on rental property claims and found errors in almost nine out of 10 returns reviewed,” he said.
“We’re seeing incorrect interest claims for the entire investment loan where it has been refinanced for private purposes, incorrect classification of capital works as repairs and maintenance, and taxpayers not apportioning deductions for holiday homes when they are not genuinely available for rent.”
As some 85% of taxpayers with rental properties have help with their tax returns, Jordan said agents could reduce the incorrect claims.
The ATO has made a guide for rental properties covering how to deal with rental properties.