Over the last few years the ATO has found that sending letters to targeted occupations substantially reduces the claims made by that group. In June 2009 they wrote to over 178,000 taxpayers in seven occupations including:

  • concreters;
  • construction and plumbers assistants;
  • electricians;
  • sales and marketing managers;
  • sales representatives;
  • university lecturers and tutors; and
  • truck drivers

advising them of their obligations for the year ended 30 June 2009. On average, targeted taxpayers decreased their claims by 7.6%, with a total work-related expenses claim change of $40.3 million.

This year they will focus on:

  • occupations with a pattern of large and/or rising claims or with issues identified from our intelligence
  • returns which do not fit the pattern or norm for a particular occupation across the community, and
  • returns lodged by tax agents that are significantly outside the norm for their average claim for their clients.

Due to previous claim patterns and behaviours, the ATO will be specifically focussing on people employed as:

  • engineers
  • mechanics, and
  • teachers.

The most common mistakes by people in these occupations include:

  • insufficient documentation available to support motor vehicle and travel expenses
  • incorrectly claiming motor vehicle expenses on the basis that they are carrying bulky equipment
  • incorrectly claiming travel or motor vehicle expenses when they are required to travel from home to work more than once per day, and
  • incorrectly claiming home office, mobile phone and internet expenses.