Show download pdf controls
  • Consultation paper – Occupation and industry specific advice and guidance

    Your feedback

    This paper invites your feedback on the occupation and industry specific advice and guidance consultation paper.

    Closing date for comment: Sunday 20 September 2020.

    Provide feedback by email to: PAGIND&SMB@ato.gov.au

    Contact officer: Ruth Geary, (02) 6058 7157.

    We encourage you to raise any other relevant issues or specific concerns about matters discussed in this paper. Your responses may be made available to the public on ato.gov.au unless you indicate that you would like all or part of your response to remain confidential. Automatically generated confidentiality statements in emails do not suffice for this purpose. Confidential elements should be marked or provided in a separate document.

    Note that occupation and industry specific advice and guidance does not include information specific to floods, bushfires, drought or COVID-19. You can access information on these matters at Dealing with disasters on ato.gov.au

    Purpose of paper

    The ATO is seeking feedback on our current occupation and industry specific advice and guidance so that we can provide clarity and certainty to taxpayers.

    Currently the ATO provides specific advice and guidance for some occupations and industries through multiple products. We are reviewing these products with a view to provide tailored and clear information in the best way to help taxpayers understand their rights and entitlements as well as their obligations.

    For the purpose of this consultation we are focusing on the occupation and industry specific taxation rulings and guides listed below. Information and advice that is consistent across occupations and industries is captured and explained in the Employees guide for work expenses on the ATO Legal database.

    Occupation and industry specific Taxation Rulings

    The following occupation and industry specific Taxation Rulings are published on the ATO legal database:

    Occupation and industry specific guides

    The following occupation and industry specific guides are published on ato.gov.au:

    Background

    The ATO continues to explore ways to better provide advice and guidance to help taxpayers understand their rights and entitlements as well as their obligations. We have been providing occupation and industry specific advice and guidance for over 20 years and understand that this information is valuable and effective. The ATO would like to continue to provide this information in a way that is contemporary, clear, consistent and importantly, tailored to taxpayer’s occupations and industries.

    Alongside our occupation and industry specific advice and guidance, material on specific topics and general information is available on the ato.gov.au and the ATO Legal database. For example, we have published Home office expenses and Deductions you can claim on ato.gov.au, and earlier this year we published Taxation Ruling TR 2020/1 Income tax: employees: deductions for work expenses under section 8-1 of the Income Tax Assessment Act 1997, and Employees guide for work expenses on the ATO Legal database. We have also developed one-page summary documents for many occupations and industries which can be downloaded from the ATO Publication Ordering ServiceExternal Link.

    We understand the employment environment has evolved over the years especially in relation to the way taxpayers work, what taxpayers need to do their work, and how taxpayers are paid. Your feedback will ensure our advice and guidance is contemporary to take into account these changes so that it continues to be helpful.

    In time, we propose to retire 16 occupation and industry specific taxation rulings (published on the ATO legal database) on the basis that the ATO view in these rulings is provided in Taxation Ruling TR 2020/1 Income tax: employees: deductions for work expenses under section 8-1 of the Income Tax Assessment Act 1997, the Employees guide for work expenses and an occupation and industry specific Guide. We wish to assure taxpayers that this shift will not in any way reduce the amount of information available to them or offer less protection than they are currently afforded. We invite feedback on this course of action at question 6.

    By improving our information, taxpayers will be better placed to correctly declare their income and claim the amount they are properly entitled to claim as a deduction each year. This will lead to:

    • less confusion
    • a reduced need for the ATO to check tax returns
    • a reduction in disputes in this area.

    Consultation questions

    The ATO invites interested parties to lodge written submissions on the following questions. Other ideas, comments and suggestions in relation to occupation and industry specific information are also welcome.

    When you respond regarding a particular occupation or industry, be clear which occupation or industry you are referring to.

    In the questions, the term ‘Guide’ refers to the Occupation and industry specific guides available on ato.gov.au and also listed in this consultation paper.

    Question 1

    When you seek occupation or industry specific information from the ATO, what do you usually refer to and why? For example:

    • One of the 36 occupation and industry specific guides on ato.gov.au?
    • One of the 36 occupation/industry infographics (posters) that are available to download from the ATO publication ordering service?
    • One of the 16 occupation/industry taxation rulings on the ATO Legal database?
    • A general source of information such as Taxation Ruling TR 2020/1 Income tax: employees: deductions for work expenses under section 8-1 of the Income Tax Assessment Act 1997 or Employees guide for work expenses?
    • A specific topic, for example, travel allowances, motor vehicle expenses, self-education or home office expenses?
    • Tax return instructions at tax time?
    • Another source - specify.

    Question 2

    Do you find the ATO occupation and industry specific information easy to locate and apply to your facts and circumstances? Do you prefer another source of information, such as an accountant’s website? What improvements, if any, can the ATO make in providing this information?

    Question 3

    Do you think any information in the Employees guide for work expenses is incorrect, misleading or unclear? Provide a detailed explanation.

    Question 4

    Do you think any information in a Guide is incorrect, misleading or unclear? Provide a detailed explanation.

    Question 5

    Do you think the ATO has Guides for the right occupations and industries? Specifically:

    • Do you think there is an occupation or industry that does not have a Guide but should?
    • Do you think a current guide should be split into two or more occupations or industries?
    • Do you think any of the current Guides should be merged?
    • Do you think any of the current Guides should be renamed or refocused to account for changes in an occupation or industry?

    Question 6

    Regarding the 16 occupation and industry specific Taxation Rulings:

    1. Do you think there is information within any of the 16 taxation rulings that would be missing or result in uncertainties if we withdraw them? Provide a detailed explanation.
    2. Do you think there is a reason why any of the 16 taxation rulings should not be withdrawn in their entirety? Provide a detailed explanation.

    Question 7

    Although the Guides are specific to an occupation or industry, we recently formatted them all under the headings 'Income', ‘Deductions’ and ‘Record Keeping’. Is the current format of the Guide for your occupation or industry easy to understand and apply? What changes do you suggest to the format, if any? If you don’t read the Guide in its entirety, what information do you usually read?

    Question 8

    Regarding the income section in a Guide:

    1. Are any of the income, allowances or other payments described within a Guide redundant or have they changed so that information needs to be updated to reflect current descriptions or circumstances? Provide a detailed explanation.
    2. Are there any ‘common’ income, allowances, reimbursements or other payments a taxpayer receives within an occupation or industry that you think should be included within a Guide? Provide details of the payment including what it is paid for, how often, and how it is (if it is) reported in your income statement. When updating the Guides, we will seek to describe which allowances are assessable and which may not be. We will also describe when deductions might be available when you spend your allowance.
    3. Are there any pages on ato.gov.au, or resources that the ATO provides, that you think should be included or linked in the income section of a Guide? Provide a detailed explanation.

    Question 9

    Regarding the deductions section in a Guide:

    1. Are there any work expenses described within a Guide that are no longer relevant or should be updated to reflect current descriptions or circumstances? Provide a detailed explanation.
    2. Are there any work expenses within a particular occupation or industry that you think should be added to a Guide? Provide details of the expense and a description of how the item is used within the occupation or industry.
    3. Are there any pages on ato.gov.au, or resources that the ATO provides, that you think should be included or linked in the deductions section of a Guide? Provide a detailed explanation.

    Question 10

    Regarding the record keeping section in a Guide:

    1. Are there any record keeping requirements described within a Guide that you think should be removed, updated or clarified? Provide a detailed explanation.
    2. Are there any record keeping requirements that you think are missing from a Guide that should be added? Provide a detailed explanation.
    3. Are there any pages on ato.gov.au, or resources that the ATO provides, that you think should be included or linked in the record keeping section of a Guide? Provide a detailed explanation.

    Question 11

    Is there anything else you would like to bring to our attention regarding our occupation and industry specific information? Would you like to discuss any of your feedback with us further?

      Last modified: 04 Aug 2020QC 63343