From the Commissioner…
His newest weapon is the data-matching of utility records, like electricity and gas meters, against properties that are claimed to be unoccupied, to test if landlords are telling the truth.
“There’s going to be a whole lot of new things,” he said. “So when people say their place wasn’t rented, well, we’ll look at the electricity records and (see) they went up. And we’ll say (to landlords): ‘Hey, you said the place wasn’t rented, so why are your electricity records going up?’
“So once you can start to use all these matching tools, you start to be able to say ‘Someone was there, so was that you using it, or (was it) a rental? And if you were using it, why weren’t you apportioning some of your deductions?’”
The ATO was particularly interested to see figures in the latest national census suggesting 11 per cent of properties in Australia — or 1.1 million dwellings — are reported as unoccupied.
There are going to be a lot of questions asked of rental property owners… why is your rent down substantially this year? Because I did not have a tenant. Then why is your electricity bill up this year? Because I lived in it? So why are you claiming all your costs and not apportioning????