Bechtel Workers on Curtis Island to be Audited by the Tax Office

It is sometimes nice for the Australian Tax Office to tell us what they are planning in terms of their audit program. This time they seem to be targeting Bechtel employee's who have worked on Curtis Island over the last couple of years.

If you have worked for Bechtel on Curtis Island in the last 2 years you need to read and understand this message.

The ATO have released a Fact Sheet summarising the very limited deductions they consider are allowable for Bechtel employees working on Curtis Island. A copy of that Fact Sheet is available at the bottom of this post. Unsurprisingly the ATO advise there are very few deductions allowed because in many examples Bechtel pay for or reimburse the costs.

What Does This Mean for Bechtel Employee's Working on Curtis Island?

The Fact Sheet provides a suggestion all Bechtel employee's should review their work related expenses for the 2014 and 2015 tax years. They give a deadline of 31 October to have these "mistakes" fixed. This indicates the ATO may be planning further audit activity after 31 October for any employee's who fall outside the limited scope of the deductions outlined on their Fact Sheet.

We point out that the Fact Sheet is not exhaustive and there are many circumstances where an employee can properly claim expenses outside the scope of the few examples listed in the Fact Sheet. Whether your expenses are deductible or not will rest with the facts rather than any blanket approach.

What Can Bechtel Employees do to Reduce This Audit Risk?

Many ATO audits are now generated electronically and it is a relatively simple matter for the ATO to issue hundreds of audit letters at a time. Often these letters are based on statistical analysis or other electronic interrogation of tax returns. Even if your deductions are completely within the law and your are not at fault there is a cost to receive and respond to these computer generated audit letters.

We recommend employees of Bechtel working at Curtis Island take the following actions:

  • Review your 2014 and 2015 Income Tax returns and make sure you properly understand the basis for your expense claims so you can respond to any audit letter received.

You may have completed your tax return yourself, had help from a friend, or paid somebody in a shopping mall. In these situations you have little come back if things are not correct so if you have any doubt at all we recommend you seek qualified professional advice. Our staff are experts and are available during normal office hours to answer your questions just call us on (07) 5439 1600. Even if you are not a client of ours we can still help, although there will be a fee for our advice it may be cheaper than doing nothing.

  • Consider Taking Audit Insurance.

Audit insurance is available through our office for a cost around $100 in most cases. While the insurance will not cover any shortfall in tax or penalties imposed as a result of an audit it will cover up to $10,000 of our costs to help you deal with the audit. Remember that even if you have not done anything wrong, the cost to explain that to the ATO in a way they will understand and accept could still add up to hundreds of dollars.

To organise a quote for audit insurance please call Lynley in our office on (07) 5439 1600 or CLICK HERE to send us an email.

More Information

For more information please give our office a call on (07) 5439 1600 or CLCK HERE to read the ATO Fact Sheet